Newest Review: ... anything meadowhall related. parking is a bit of a faff though, the car parks are devided into colours and you have to drive for quite a ... more
Shop, but don't drop!
Member Name: NinkyNonk
Advantages: Variety of stores and food outlets, undercover, free parking
Disadvantages: Very busy at peak times
I live about 40 minutes away from Meadowhall, which is located off J34 of the M1 motorway and we head up there about 4 times a year when wanting to make purchases our local town can't adequately service.
We were last there on Friday night; our son was at his grandparents and Meadowhall is open until 10pm at the moment (9pm outside of the Christmas period) and we wanted to make inroads into our Christmas shopping without having to manouvre the buggy amongst the crowds.
We headed up around 6.30 and it was very, very busy getting into the shopping centre. I guess I shouldn't have expected any different at this time of year, particularly on a Friday evening. We parked quite easily though (just checked on their website www.meadowhall.co.uk and they have a whopping 12,000 free parking spaces!)
The website also states they have 280 stores and new ones seem to appear frequently. We noticed a Hotel Chocolat had appeared since our last visit and Firetrap and Pandora are opening soon. The main stores we frequent include Gap, Zara, French Connection, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Warehouse, HMV and Boots. Typical, well-known high-street brands. Other favourites include Lush, Molton Brown and Waterstones.
There are a plethora of places to eat, from a cookie at Millies to a quick burger at McDonalds or even a 3 course meal at Zizzi's. I have recently written a review of La Tasca and another of our favourites is Nandos for the chicken, yum! A recent addition is the Yo! Sushi bar which I am keen to sample. Situated in the middle of a walkway on the upper level, you can't mss the iconic conveyor belt with coloured dishes travelling around, ready to be selected and devoured. This eatery was attracting lots of interest on Friday. Most of the food outlets are situated in the Oasis eating area which has big screens playing music and advertising and cafeteria style tables and chairs if you're eating at one of the take-away outlets.
Given that it houses 280 stores and a huge food court, Meadowhall is big. Just checked and it's actually 1.5 million square foot of floor space. Despite this, it doesn't ever feel like any shop is out of reach when trekking up and down the levels. There are plenty of escalators and lifts if required and toilets are dotted around at various points. There are ATM machines handily located close to the entrance / exit and the lighting is bright but not overly so. Meadowhall is all completely under cover so a good option when the weather is bad and the temperature seems to be at a constant, comfortable rate.
Meadowhall has its own train stop which I remember using as a teenager. The trains are frequent and efficient and worth bearing in mind as an alternative to driving. You can also catch either a bus or tram directly into Meadowhall's interchange.
Another feature that Meadowhall has, but one which I haven't used, is the Vue cinema. Could be useful if you wanted to combine shopping with watching a film? Personally, it's one or the other for me but it always seems busy when we pass by.
Meadowhall can get very busy, particularly on Bank Holidays and I wouldn't risk going on a weekend in December. I've tried it before and vowed never again. The walkways are 4 or 5 deep and the queues to eat are massive.
I would be surprised if you'd be left feeling disappointed after a shopping trip to Meadowhall, and I'd be shocked if anyone came home empty handed. Plan your trip to avoid the queues if you think this may be an issue (or if you have a buggy! Can't think of anything worse than huge crowds, big queues and a wilfull toddler screeching for a drink or snack!)
It's definitely worth a visit after Christmas for the sales if you don't mind the crowds.
To sum up, all of your favourite stores conveniently located under one roof, with a variety of food outlets to ensure your energy levels are maintained so you shop, but don't drop!
Summary: Everything you would hope for and more in a shopping experience under one roof