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The shopping options in Weston-super-Mare
Shopping Areas in Weston-super-mare in general
Member Name: giantrobot42
Shopping Areas in Weston-super-mare in general
Advantages: Plenty of familiar high street names and some interesting independant stores hidden away
Disadvantages: Not much choice for clothes, a lot of big name retailers sadly absent
The places to go shopping in Weston-super-Mare can be divided into three areas, the High Street, the back streets and retail parks.
The High Street is a pedestrianised area with around 40 shops, these being mainly typical big name stores with a selection of cafes mixed in. The biggest store is Marks and Spencer with BHS not far behind. As usual, there's an awful lot of mobile phone shops and the ubiquitous Poundland (occupying a former Woolworths). There's a bank at either end as well as in the middle so you don't have far to go for a cashpoint. Other well-known stores include The Works, Brighthouse, GAME, Boots, Milletts and WH Smiths. In the past there have been more than this but with the recession biting, a few big names have disappeared. Adjacent to the High Street, there's an indoor shopping precinct called the Sovereign Centre. In here, there's a few more named stores, H Samuels, Body Shop, Savers, Waterstones, Wilkinsons and an Animal store plus others. There's also a discount CD/DVD shop where HMV used to be. There is a multi-storey car park backing onto the centre which is probably the most expensive place to park in Weston (other than the sea-front in the summer). Food choices are either a deli at one end or Burger King at the other.
Occasionally there are craft fairs and events at the Wintergardens which is a building facing the seafront that can be accessed through the end of the centre nearest to Burger King. It's worth checking out as these are rarely advertised well.
At the Pier end of the high street, there's a MacDonalds, New Look and Superdrug plus a few smaller shops trailing towards Dolphin Square. Heading away from the Pier, there's a Post Office and eventually the Odeon cinema which looks terrible from the outside but is actually quite good within, having been upgraded with decent seats and digital sound. The opposite end of the High street leads to the Boulevard which is mainly estate agents and restaurants although there's a great little hardware shop that sells all sorts plus some gift shops along here which are worth checking out.
In summary, the High Street has lost a lot of shops over the last few years and is lacking in variety, especially if you're clothes shopping. A new development is being created in Dolphin Square but as yet, no retailers have committed to it although there are plenty of chain restaurants ready to move in. Parking anywhere nearby works out at around £1 an hour, although the seafront during summer months (designated as 1st March to end October) will cost you £7 if you go over 4 hours so I would avoid this if you can.
At the end of the High Street, towards the Grand Pier, turning left past the large 'spring onion' monument, there's a number of smaller retailers hidden away. Down this road there's a Holland and Barrett which signifies the last of the chain stores. Beyond here there's a comic and film memorabilia shop, a craft shop, a place selling camping and hiking gear, somewhere for tattoos, a psychic bookshop, a pet supplies shop, a model shop and a few other quirky gift type places. It's worth a stroll down here as I don't think all visitors to Weston will realise what's on offer. And you're supporting local businesses too.
Lastly, the retail parks. As you come off the motorway at J21, the first area you would pass is on the right and contains a Morrisons, Matalan and Boots. There's also a Subway, Costa Coffee and Dominos with a Sue Ryder charity shop tucked away at the end.
Further down the A370, is the Aisecombe Way retail park. Here there's an enormous B&Q, Aldi, Carpetright, Comet and a Sports Direct. Also, recently opened is a Costa Coffee and a Frankie and Bennys. There's plenty of parking here but it does get busy at weekends.
Beyond here, the A370 meets a big roundabout and this is the last retail park area. Based around the Winterstoke road one-way system, there's a large number of retailers. In the centre is The Range, Dunhelm Mill, Home Bargains, Wickes and a British Heart Foundation furniture charity shop. Across the road are PC World, Currys, Staples, Pets at Home and some carpet and tile places. Pretty much all the big retailers you might expect and a Gala Bingo if you really have to indulge. On the other side of the retail park is Asda, there's a Next tucked in next door and a Mothercare around the back. For munchies, there's a Pizza Hut and drive through McDonalds nearby and a drive through KFC next to PC World.
If you live in Weston, there's a good selection for most things but I find that clothes shopping is a bit restrictive and it's better to head up the motorway to Cribbs Causeway. This also has the benefit of offering free parking, something that's set to become a thing of the past in Weston when the council introduces on-street charging later this year.
If you're down here on a day out and like to browse the shops, then there's plenty of choice. For residents, the shortcomings become clear after a while and you have to travel further afield for a better choice. Cribbs Causeway is the obvious destination with Clarkes Village also worth a visit. If you have the time and your legs can stand it, Bristol's Broadmead shopping area should fulfill all your needs.
Summary: Good choice initially but you realise the shortcomings when you live in the area