“ Address: High Street / Bromley / London / BR1 1DN „
Whilst I have no problem with Glades Shopping Centre, I must admit that the High Street - and Market Square particularly - does not exactly cater for all. I am talking about, of course, the shops such as Topshop and Miss Selfridge that are all aimed at young girls of today. Where are the BHS stores? I think there needs to be a better balance - it feels like the shops are aimed at young people in their 20s and, being a few years older than that (!) I would take comfort in more shops like M&S and less like Topshop.Sorry for this rant, but I felt the need to say this!
The Glades is the central shopping centre of Bromley, based in the South East London and Kent area.
The Glades is a modern, clean and busy shopping centre, popular with families, teenagers and others of all ages. The shopping centre has just over 120 retailers, covering a wide variety of shops including men's' and women's' fashion, accessories, sports shops, bookshop, technology, jewellers and department stores (in the form of Marks and Spencer and Debenhams).
~*~* Opening Hours *~*~
The shopping centre is open 7-days a week, opening from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
Thursday is late-night shopping night in the Glades, where the stores shut at 9pm. Sundays and Bank Holidays offer restricted trading hours, with the shopping centre open from 10am to 5pm.
Having been to other shopping centres, I think that the weekday opening hours (and the Saturday hours in particular) are a bit limited. I would expect the shopping centre to be open later than 6pm on a Saturday to allow for longer shopping, so this is a little disappointing.
~*~* Shops *~*~
The shops in the Glades are varied and are typical of those on any other English high-street. Unlike Westfield, the Glades does not have dedicated 'high end' or premium designer stores - clothing stores are more likely to be Oasis, H&M and French Connection than Prada or DKNY. That said, for women's fashion, accessories and homewares, the stores offer a good choice, with many well-known brands operating. A full list of stores is here, on the Glades Spring 2010 store guide: http://www.theglades.uk.com/sitefiles/22Glades%20-%20Spring%20Store%20Guide.pdf.
I think the Glades is well situated by supporting shops in the surrounding 'Market Square' of the shopping area outside the Glades, which houses HMV, Monsoon, Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and other stores such as BHS and a huge Primark.
*~*~ Information and other services *~*~
Dotted around the shopping centre (which is split along 2 floors, connected by stairs, escalators and lifts), there are information stands, containing an interactive display map of the shopping centre as well as directions on how to get to the shop of your choice. In addition, the ground floor has a manned information stand where assistants can answer queries and offer extra guidance.
The Glades does appear to offer a good level of accessibility, with automatic entrances, escalators and wheelchair accessible loos and store-fronts (though the level of accessibility does vary by store, some of which are very small and crammed retail units).
The Glades also offers crèche facilities for parents and often houses special themed events aimed at young children to keep them entertained on shopping trips.
~*~* Eating and drinking *~*~
One drawback to the Glades, in comparison to larger shopping centres such as Bluewater (also in Kent) and Westfield in central London, is the lack of serious eateries inside the centre itself, though this is due largely to size restrictions of units I expect.
The Glades does offer smaller, cafe-style shops (such as Cafe Giardino, coffee chains and houses both a Debenhams and Marks and Spencer cafe) but visitors must leave the centre to find larger restaurants. These are, however, a short walk from the shopping centre and in the busy Market Place shopping area of Bromley so not too far of a trek. Outside of the Glades, visitors can access a row of restaurants including Cafe Rouge, Pizza Express, Nandos and Zizzis.
The Glades also offers some true fast food outlets from McDonalds and also some smaller, takeaway retailers scattered throughout the centre each shopping avenue including a Millie's Cookies, Baskin Robbins and others for a quick pick-me-up.
~*~* Travelling to the Glades *~*~
The Glades can be accessed by car (with car parking spaces available), mainline rail and bus. Local buses service the shopping centre frequently, which makes travel convenient for local residents.
The Glades can also be accessed by train, either from Bromley South railway station (a 2 minute walk to the shopping centre) where trains come in from London Victoria, Blackfriars and Ashford International stations and Bromley North (a 10 minute walk, with trains from Orpington and Sevenoaks).
~*~* The Verdict *~*~
Overall, I do enjoy a trip to the Glades. The stores are well-known and exactly what you'd expect from an average high-street or shopping mall, but without the premium aspect of high-end designers. There is a wide variety of shops and so I find that my shopping needs are met.
My only criticisms would be that the opening hours are a little restricted, particularly for Saturday shopping and that there is a lack of restaurant eating areas within the shopping centre (although this is rectified by a strong restaurant presence very close to the shopping centre and quick, take away style offerings inside the centre).