“ Address: 1221 Gallowgate / Glasgow / G31 4EB „
This review was originally posted to Ciao in November 2012
~The Forge Shopping Centre - Introduction~
The Forge Shopping Centre
The Forge Shopping Centre is located a short distance from Glasgow City Centre and is in the Parkhead area. It is set across 400,000sq ft and is home to over 70 highstreet stores. The Forge has carparking on site for more than 1600 cars (free parking). The centre is also serviced by local buses and buses travelling too and from Glasgow City Centre. There is a bus stop across from the high level entrance to the centre. There are quite a few entrances to the centre and the centre is disabled and buggy friendly.
The main part of the shopping centre is on one level though a small number of shops are on a higher level. The Forge also has its own indoor market which is located in a nearby building and there is a retail park nearby too.
~Visiting The Forge~
I live around 30minutes by bus from The Forge and have been shopping here a few times per year since I was a little girl. My most recent visit was last weekend as my friend asked myself and my son to go into the centre for the Christmas lights. The Forge is very easy to get too - we don't drive so arrived by bus. It took us around 10-15mins by bus to go back into the city centre. It is worth noting that this area of Glasgow becomes very busy when Celtic are playing at home as the stadium is just around the corner. The surrounding area of the shopping centre is in dire need to upgrading as it looks quite dingy.
We normally access the The Forge from the upper level which has a huge pyramid shaped entrance. The centre is clean throughout, spacious and airy. There are toilets located on the upper floor which do get very busy. I'm sure there are some downstairs too though I couldn't spot them. On our most recent visit, the centre was decorated for the arrival of Santa Claus. It looked lovely with large baubles and a lovely big grotto. Personally, I found that there was a little too much crammed into the open space in the middle of the shopping centre. Radio presenters were there and everyone had crowded in the one area which made it impossible to move around. It wasn't nearly as nice as the set up in St Enoch Centre or Buchannan Galleries but an effort was made.
I wouldn't say The Forge has the best range of shops but it does have a lot going for it in my opinion. The upper level has a few stand alone clothes shops and a sweetie shop but nothing spectacular. There is a huge Asda store which has a George department, a cafe, play area and a travel agents inside it - perfect for those wishing to stock up their cupboards whilst out shopping. At one end of the centre, there is a huge Primark and a Dunnes store. I like Dunnes as it offers a lot of household things as well as clothing. I bought my son some comfy trousers for nursery for just £4.00.
There isn't (which I found surprising) a Boots store in the centre but those wishing to purchase cosmetic products will be happy to know there is a well stocked Savers, Body Care and Superdrug. Both myself and my friend were on the lookout for some clothes and shoes during our last visit. The Forge offers a good range of clothing shops for adults and children alike. We spent quite a bit of money in New Look but also had a wander around River Island, H&M (not as big as the one in the City Centre) and Dorothy Perkins. Men will be pleased to know there is a Core and Officers Club.
There are a few smaller stores including card shops, jewellers and stores such as Brighthouse and Shoe Zone. Poundland too! There are a few stalls around the centre including one which sells the most gorgeous scented bathbombs. I was pleased to see that the InShops section was still there but not as good as I remembered. Inshops has a few small, independant shops selling clothing and pet supplies.
There is a cinema on the upper level just as you enter the shopping centre. This is a Cineworld cinema and offers lots of films and treats for all the family. I like this cinema. It is no where near as big as the Cineworld in the City Centre but has a nice atmosphere, good prices and friendly staff. There is an amusement centre on the upper floor too which offers lots of amusement machines and air hockey. The upper floor is also home to some small childrens rides which my son quite enjoys.
~The Forge Market and Retail Park~
I will briefly touch of these areas as they aren't in the main centre. The Forge Market is a few minutes walk from one of the side entrances to shopping centre. There is a bingo hall here too. The Forge Market is open Thursday - Sunday (11-5pm or 9-5pm depending on which day). The Forge Market is an indoor market which features over 180 stalls from lighting, suitcases and a butchers to toys, clothing and sofas. They offer entertainment for the children at the weekends including free face painting and have a small number of rides inside.
I rarely visited the market as a child as it wasn't open so often. On our last visit, my friend suggested we went over for a look and we enjoyed visiting the market. It is crowded when busy and despite looking a tad dingy in areas, is surprisingly clean. It looks like any other indoor market - full of stalls and traders wanting your business. The market was nicely kitted out with Christmas decorations on our visit and we spent a good hour walking around and window shopping really. The prices are good and there is something for everyone. There are a few eating options in the market. My son had a go on the carousel which was reasonably priced at £1.20. I would recommend a visit to the market.
The Forge Retail Park is a little drive down the road from the main shopping centre. It isn't practical for non-drivers to get too in my opinion hence why we don't go very often. It is an open air sort of retail park which as a huge Tesco store, Toys 'R' Us, Sports Direct and Argos Extra to name a few. There is also a KFC and Pizza Hut. My sister likes going here with the children in the car as they love the huge Toys 'R' Us store.
~Eating and Drinking~
There are quite a few eating options at the Forge. There is a McDonalds just outside the centre. Inside, there is a cafe in the Inshops, an expensive Costa Coffee and a few cafes. The upper level has a Chinese restaurant called McChans. On our last visit, we found that all the main eating areas were very busy and there would be a long wait to be served. This isn't always the case on less busy days. On our arrival, my son was peckish so opted for a sausage roll and cookie from Greggs.
We had hoped to dine somewhere nice for dinner but I found that cafes were more suited to lunch meals or snacks and cakes rather than a proper meal. I feel The Forge would benefit from adding a Wetherspoons or pub type establishment but I doubt this will ever happen. We decided to go into the City Centre for a meal on our last visit.
Overall I feel The Forge is a pleasant shopping centre but could be doing with a few improvements regarding places to eat and some more toilets and cash lines. It isn't somewhere I would choose to shop often as I feel I can get a better choice of shops by going further into the CIty Centre. It was nice to visit with my friend and son as it brought back some memories for me. It has changed a little over the years but for the better in my opinion.
Thanks for reading :)