“ Outlet Shopping Centre in Spalding, Lincolnshire, England „
Well it was a typical UK bank holiday weekend and it was raining. Plans to visit more outdoor type places in the area were scuppered by the weather. I was visiting a friend in West Norfolk when they suggested we go shopping at Springfield's outlet centre in nearby Spalding. Whilst not undercover, the shops are sufficiently close together that you can dash from one to the other if you need to. I have to say that I am not much of a shopper, and generally find these outlet shops to be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes you can get some really nice stuff and another time, it just seems to be a pile of crap.
The centre has its own car park which charges you. However as it is an out of town type place there is no where else to park so you have to pay. I think this is a bit cheeky as you are going to spend money here (potentially) and they should do a bit more to encourage that, and it isn't like there is anything else in the area. We paid £1 for three hours, so it is fairly reasonable, but that isn't the point. I think it is £1.50 for over three hours. We parked in the West Car Park and although fairly large, it was quite full.
There are some big high street names here: Game, M&S Outlet, The Body Shop, Clarks and The Gap to name a few. My first foray was into the Clarks shop and I was disappointed. They had hardly any styles in my size (I'm a three), and those that they did have, were not the sort of thing I would wear. My next stop was more successful. It was a ladieswear shop called Klass which I had not heard off before (the assistant said that they were mainly in outlet centres) and they had some lovely print tunic tops for £22 (RRP £32). Not a huge saving, but I was happy with the price and after trying them on I purchased two.
I have never had much luck in the M&S outlet stores, often there is a reason why these things have not sold. I saw a pair of flip flops that I bought last year on sale for £4 (I paid £5), so only a modest saving. I did, however, get an umbrella in my favourite colour for £5. At the end of one of the 'avenues' (which extend like points of the compass), was a Tula shop and I have bought their handbags in the past, they also had many Radley handbags. I expected carnage to be wrought on my credit card but it was not to be. The Radley bags were 30% off, but seeing as I had recently purchased one for 50% off in a Debenhams promotion, this didn't seem such a good deal. To be honest, they didn't have anything particularly nice that stood out for me, and the colours seemed to be more autumnal, whereas it was supposed to be spring (allegedly - the weather obviously was unaware of the fact). A subsequent return a few weeks later, did cause carnage to the credit card however, so things do change often. My friend quite liked the Lakeland Clothing and Animal shop and we spent some time in The Gap, but ultimately no purchases were made.
I did have a huge bargain in the outdoors shop Trespass. I had been looking for a 3-in-1 rain jacket for a while now, and spotted one here in my favourite colour for £40, reduced from £100. Now this is the type of bargain I like! Mountain Warehouse also had a few deals on, but nothing as good (for me). They also have a Sports Direct and a Nike outlet store here, but I wasn't really in the market for anything here, but they did seem to have a good selection (although I would assume them to be last season's styles).
I also found the Denby store to have some good offers on. I for four pasta bowls for my dinner service for £25 when the RRP is £15 each. It would have been rude not to. They also had Holland & Barrett and Thornton's here, but I couldn't see what they sold that was different from a 'normal' shopping centre.
We didn't eat here in the end, deciding to go somewhere else on my friend's recommendation but they do have a Costa Coffee, a tavern, a restaurant in their Garden Centre and a Frankie & Benny's.
As well as a large garden centre they have landscaped gardens in the complex. Due to the weather we didn't explore them. There is also a Play Barn and Adventure Golf, but this was across the other side of the gardens, so I didn't check them out as we had no cause to. There are a number of toilets dotted about according to the visitor guide but I didn't see them (although to be honest, I wasn't looking!).
The centre is on the A16, just outside Spalding, which isn't far off the A1 and is open everyday except Christmas day.
Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
FREE parking after 6 p.m.
Thursday late nights until 8 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Public Holidays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
I still maintain that outlet centres can be a bit hit and miss. Things may be cheaper here, but are not always a big bargain or massively discounted. I do recommend visiting here, ideally midweek when it is quieter, as even I (who is not much of a shopper) was successful here and would return.
Outlet shopping parks are springing up all over the country. This one - situtaed just outside Spalding in Lincolnshire - is allied to a garden centre and children's amusement park. Deep in the heart of bulb growing country the alliance with a garden centre is a useful one - although I found the centre to be expensive.
Within the retail park, the shops are arranged in a cross formation with well known names such as Marks and Spencer, Tula, Past Times and Julian Graeves. The Works had one of their biggest shops that I have seen whilst Klass and Roman Originals represented more unique fashion.
Springfields is just over an hour away be car from me and we certainly had a nice day out. The weather was fine (it is not enclosed), there were plenty of cafe's and toilets, and everywhere was clean. My only concern was that there was nothing unique there - nothing that would inspire me to make a regular jaunt to the centre. Just as well really - the car park was not free - around £2 for the day) and there were plenty of cars outside - we had to queue to get in. However, once in, the shops did not feel crowded and it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I would certainly go again - just not every week!
Took my 8 yr old daughter and 5 yr old neice to Springfields Winter Wonderland today.What a let down!!! Takes 5 mins to do the walk which costs £2 per adult and £1 per child,would be pretty in the dark but is still nowhere near as good as it sounds on their site!!!£5 to see santa, another fiver if you want a photo!(you're not allowed to take your own photo)Santa was tall,slim probably in his late thirties with a broad cockney accent!!!!! He couldn't have fooled a 2 yr old!!!Spoke to 2 other couples who felt exactly the same!If you're going don't get your hopes up as you'll be very disappointed!
Springfields Shopping Outlet and Festival Gardens is a great place to go for bargain shopping or if you fancy a walk around some beautiful gardens (or maybe both!).
Starting with the shops - there are the following stores.
All Wellan Good - A shop selling discounted cosmetics and hair care products such as Benefit and Tigi Bed Head.
Antler - selling discounted luggage and bags.
Autonomy - up to 75% off ladies wear from sizes 6 to 22.
Bijoux - selling jewelry and a huge selection of watches (most of the watches being sold for around £10)
Christy Towels - selling towels and bedding. We managed to get a whole new bedding set for our Kingsize bed reduced from around £100 to £30!
Claire's Accessories - selling all the usual products sold in their high street stores but with a small discount off everything.
Clarks - sells their shoes at a discounted price.
Cotton Traders - up to 75% discount on their mens and ladies wear.
D S L - (I am not sure what this shop sells but assume it is a clothes shop!)
Denby - up to 50% off Denby goods.
Domo - selling luggage and handbags.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill - all their usual products again with a discount.
Event Jewellery - a more expensive jewellery shop than Bijoux. Again they offer discounts on brands such as D&G, Armani and Rotary.
Farah - up to 75% off their menswear.
Fenscape - gift shop for the Fengate Discovery Centre (which now is free entry).
Festival Garden Centre - selling all your usual garden centre goods together with children's toys, clothing, pet care etc.
Fox Sports - selling sports wear and equipment.
Game - selling all the latest games with up to 75% off some items (though not the newer games!)
GAP Outlet - selling their usual products at discounted prices.
Green & Pleasant - selling hardwood furniture.
Hallmark - selling their cards with up to 75% off some items.
Julian Graves - specialist food retailer selling their usual products with up to 75% off some items.
Klass - ladies wear, bags and jewelery specially designed for the over 30's in sizes 10 - 22.
Leia outlet - Lingere and swimwear.
Lilley & Skinner - mens and ladies footwear with up to 75% discount.
Logo - fashion wear aimed at girls aged 15 - 25.
Marks & Spencer Cafe - that does the best toasted cheese sandwiches!
Marks & Spencer Outlet - selling their ladies/mens/childrens wear together with gifts etc at discounted prices.
Mountain Warehouse - outdoor clothing.
MX Active - mens and ladies clothing and footwear such as Ben Sherman, Teddy Smith, sonnetti, French Connection, Wrangler and others.
Orvis - ladies and mens country clothing and fly fishing equipment.
Papermill - up to 75% off their card making products, paper and card.
Past Times - their usual products at discounted prices.
Pavers - ladies and mens footwear.
Petroleum - men's casual wear.
Pilot - selling their usual girl's clothes at discounted prices.
Playbarn - great playcentre for kids!
Playtex Wonderbra,Shock Absorber - lingere store.
Ponden Mill - selling their usual high street products with up to 75% discount.
ProCook - cookwear shop.
Rectella - soft furnishing, mirrors and lighting.
Reebok - selling their goods at discounted prices.
Roman Originals - laides wear from sizes 10 -22.
Springfields Restaurant - located in the Festival Garden Centre serving hot and cold food and deserts daily.
Suits You - mens suit shop.
Tchibo - selling all their usual high street goods at discounted prices.
The Gardeners Arms - pub serving pub grub every day.
The Works / Art Depot - selling books at discounted prices.
Thorntons - selling their usual chocolate products at discounted prices.
Tog 24 - outdoor and snow wear.
Travelodge Spalding - you can stay over and have more than 1 day of shopping!!
Tula - selling their own bags and purses and radley bags and purses at huge discounts.
Virgin Cosmetics - selling their make up and smellies at discounted prices.
Whittard of Chelsea - selling their usual products at discounted prices.
Springfields has always been excellent for clothes and shoes and now they have expanded and have their new stores it is also a great place to buy presents for people - I will definetly be doing my Christmas shopping there!
As well as all the shops there are also the gardens. At the minute they have a winter wonderland walk leading to Santa's grotto. During the summer they have a flower festival.
The gardens include Formal Gardens, seasonal flower beds, a Japense Garden, water features, woodland walks and celebrity gardens including designs by Charlie Dimmock, Chris Beardshaw and Kim Wilde.
There is also an events centre where various events take place during the year.
There is always plenty of parking (which you have to pay for but it is not expensive) and they have disabled spaces and parent and child spaces nearer to the shops. There are also toilets, disabled toilets and baby change facilities at the entrance.
All in all it is a great day out with plenty of places to eat and you can do a bit of shopping at the same time!
For more info visit their website: http://www.springfieldsshopping.co.uk/default.asp