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Arndale Centre (Manchester)

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Arndale Centre, Manchester M4 2EA. Tel: 0161 839 4060.

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      19.01.2010 09:19
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      Shoppers Paradise

      Manchester Arndale is the UK's largest inner-city shopping centre and one of the first "American-style" malls that have been built in the UK. It is located in the heart of Manchester City Centre and has over 240 shops and major department stores which is a shopper's paradise Also there are lots of restaurants and fast food outlets to accommodate hungry shoppers located both around the centre and in the Food Chain with popular and well known chains such as McDonalds, Greggs, Subway and Wings. The number of food places is so vast that if you want a curry, chinese, burger, sausage roll, sandwich, sushi, ice cream or just a good old pretzel, you can get it there Within a few minutes' walk, there is Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and the Printworks with its 19-screen Odeon cinema complex with over 15 bars, restaurants and clubs as well as the only I-MAX cinema in the North West so you can let your missus shop for a few hours and you go watch a film. Manchester Arndale has a 1,450 space multi-storey car park, shopping malls on two levels and office space in the tower so parking is no problem and getting to Manchester Arndale couldn't be easier with regular trains, buses and Metrolink running into the city, so getting there is also no problem. The opening times are set to provide flexibility to all different types of shoppers which are below, but do change in the holiday seasons so do be aware: Monday to Friday - 9am to 8pm Saturday - 9am to 7pm Sunday - 10am to 6pm From an objective point of view and having experienced shopping at the main shopping centres in UK such as the bullring, Liverpool one and London, the Arndale centre is the best shopping centre in the UK and far better than the Trafford centre which many Mancunians will agree with. It's easy to get too, the variety of shops is so large that you could spend your whole life and spend all your money there, so do be careful As someone who lives in Manchester and shops with his girlfriend every week often, we never got bored of it and a true sign of a good shopping centre is when your girlfriend wants to spend at least 3 hours there, while us poor guys are waiting, texting mates on our mobile phones, which is what I see on a regular basis and do suffer from sometimes. As us guys cannot keep up with the ladies when it comes to shopping. Thank you for reading my review and if you haven't been to the Arndale centre and love shopping or are just wondering what it's like, then you must go and enjoy what Manchester has to offer, but do be careful to go early, especially on Saturdays and Sundays as the car parks and shops will be packed. Also do not bring too much money with you as the shops will simply take it away from you :S

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      22.05.2009 13:49
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      A great day out if you're in the city centre, that doesn't have to cost you and Arn or a leg

      ~ So what is the Arndale Centre? ~ The Arndale Centre is currently the largest inner-city shopping centre in the UK, and has around 240 stores (give or take depending on the economic climate, some have recently closed). The centre also has an NCP car park attached to it, with around 1400 parking spaces available. There are also a large number of car parks within walking distance of the centre, offering you a wide choice and to suit most budgets. For those of us old enough to remember, in 1996 the Arndale centre was a target for the IRA, who unfortunately successfully planted a bomb, which then detonated on a street just outside causing substantial damage. This though in turn has led to massive regeneration of the site, and the final work was completed in late 2006, early 2007. I will be reviewing this partly as a shopper, but also partly as someone with disabilities and therefore different access needs, which I hope will give a broad review for those who might want to visit the Arndale Centre themselves. ~ First up - finding the place! ~ Actually, most of Manchester City centre is pretty accessible via a number of different options. It has a wonderful Tram system in place, as well as excellent bus, rail and road access from all areas outside the city, so whether you're coming in from the north, south, east or west - Its all fairly straightforward. In this instance we come in from the North side in our car, but we've also used bus services before to get in to the city as well as the Tram service. The centre itself is easily found, but at the time of writing this review (Late May '09) a lot of the Tram sections are being upgraded, and this works are interfering with some of the access not just to the city centre, but also the Arndale centre. However, using a stat nav we managed to find an alternative route in to the car park easily enough. We also had a map, which also allowed us to find the route this way had we needed it. The Centre is easily spotted if on foot and there is a big wheel (a little like the London Eye only smaller) just outside the one entrance. A landmark easily spotted if needed. ~ Once in there - Parking ~ Parking is plentiful for a mid week, which is when we went. However I imagine that it will be a different proposition altogether on a weekend, particularly a Saturday so I would recommend you either go early, or have an alternative parking venue set up if it is full when you get there. As far as disabled parking bays go - again there are a good number, and all within good lift access for the centre itself. One complaint - If you're going for the first time, once you are in the lifts (Particularly if you use the singular ones to either side) there is no signage to tell you what floor you need to go to in order to get to the centre properly! So you don't know if it's up, down or sideways! If you use the central lifts, you can see its down, but the other lifts give absolutely no indication, which for a place of this size is not a good point. Could be improved. One point, if you use the Shopmobility, you can get the parking ticket validated and this enables you to have as long as you need going about your business, whether it is in the Arndale Centre, or outside of this in the city centre proper. Please note: You have to register with the Shopmolity first, and also show you have a need to use them. I've asked Dooyoo to put a section in for Manchesters Shopmobility so I can do a separate review on them, rather than clog this review up with it all. ~ Finding your way around ~ The main thing that strikes you about this place is it is large for its type. While it hasn't got the floor area of the nearby out of city Trafford centre, in some respects this is also part of its charm. I find the Trafford centre is almost too big, and this is a particular problem if you want to get something from one store, which is at opposing ends to another store you need to be in. The Arndale Centre might not have quite the same selection, but overall what is there is good enough for the average shopper, and much more accessible in one place. So for me - this is a point in its favour. Swings and roundabouts - It's all about what you want from a shopping centre. Personally I find the Arndale much better suited for my shopping needs. I also find that a lot of the stores are fractionally cheaper here than in the Trafford centre, even using the Trafford's discount scheme. I also love the diversity of the city on the doorstep and being able to go further than just the Centre if we want to. There are a number of electronic information boards, all clearly showing where you are, and how to get to other stores. Once you get yourself orientated, which we did in a matter of minutes, we found it easy enough to find the stores we were particularly interested in, as well as finding some other smaller shops intermingled between the well known brands. To add to this, there are also information leaflets available from the main information points, and the staffs in all areas were helpful with any queries we had. Again a nice pleasant change to some experiences we've had elsewhere. As a user of a powered scooter, I also found pretty well all areas fully accessible, and again I was impressed with all the shops we entered (including some of the smaller ones) that all allowed the scooter manoeuvrability through somehow, and all shops seemed very aware of the needs of not only disabled shoppers, but also families with prams. Toilets were all wide, and again easily accessible. The only area it gets a little cramped is the Food Mall section. This is part of the older centre, not affected by the bombing, and I would simply advise using it away from the main lunch time, since this area also attracts a lot of workers using it for their lunch breaks that doesn't help with crowd numbers. ~ So what are the stores like? ~ As I've mentioned, I like the diversity of the stores in the centre. There are all the usual large department stores you've come to expect (Next, Topshop and Topman, Disney Store etc) as well as the larger name's involved in the food and drink (Starbucks, Bella Italia, Costa Coffee etc). But intermingled with these are wonderful small independent shops and food/drink outlets that give the Arndale Centre diversity rarely found in any shopping centre. From the small shop selling incense, dream catchers and charms, through to the jewellery and cosmetics. It is well worth taking your time and really delving in to all the nooks and crannies of the place to get the full benefit. I would particularly recommend the Sushi take out box from Wings if you enjoy Sushi. Excellent price, and superb food! As Sushi lovers, this is one of the best we've ever tried. As I've also mentioned, generally we find the prices are as good as the Trafford centre (at least for everything we've ever bought) and in some cases, slightly better. How this might hold up for some items depends on everyone's individual shopping habits and so I would be reluctant to say its right across the board. If you want different stores, as mentioned the city centre is a mere step outside away - as well as being within easy walking distance of China Town, and Piccadilly gardens if you want to find somewhere to relax outside. Again, something the Trafford centre doesn't give you. I spotted a Bureau de Change, and also scattered throughout numerous cash points, all declaring you aren't charged to withdraw from them. All seemed to have minimal queues and all seemed to be working although we didn't need to use one. Again, the only area other than parking signage I can mark the centre down is on the website. While overall it gives great amounts of information, I also felt the look of it is somewhat outdated and it wouldn't perhaps hurt just to give it a face-lift. The use of Fonts in particularly I find poor - But not everyone would be as bothered by that, so this is a personal preference, and since most information is easy enough to find, and most navigation is easy, I'm not going to mark it down for that. ~ Final thoughts ~ As you've probably already guessed, I'm a particular fan of the Arndale Centre. And while many shops are struggling at the moment (It used to have a Zavvi store for example), in general many in the Arndale seem to be holding their own quite well. I admit, I generally hate shopping partly because of my mobility issues - But I do enjoy the overall experience of the Arndale compared to many other places, even those offering disabled access. So for me to feel that positive about the whole thing is not easily achieved. All too often we are let down with poor store access, or poor access to displays of items - Arndale seems really geared up to stop this from happening, and I've always felt most stores are very aware of accessibility needs. But it is much more than that - I love the independent shops there, offering goods as well as food and drink. I generally always prefer to support these places, and overall often find the quality control is better, with prices as good as the larger stores - in many cases better, but I also like the option to go to one of the known national stores if needed. The main downside is - avoid it over the weekend if you can. Its busy even midweek, but Saturday's in particular are a nightmare! So if you go over the weekend, you do have to be prepared for a lot more bumping in to people and squeezing in to stores. So, not without its faults, but some you can't do much about. Crowds for example are a prime example of how well the centre is doing, even today in this tough economic climate, and the signage issues, as well as my personal dislike of some of the website design, I don't think it is enough to pull it down a full star. Personally if I could give a half star then I would mark it at 4.5 stars, but I can't so I'm placing a five there with the note that it actually doesn't quite get the full 5 stars, but its close enough. If you just want to go shopping at a centre, and don't want the hassle of going in to the city - then the Trafford centre is most likely the best choice. However, if like me you want a little more, something a little different - then I would recommend the Arndale Centre without hesitation. A trip I enjoy making, albeit not as often as I would like, and personally I prefer it to its bigger brother on the outskirts of the city, the Trafford Centre. http://www.manchesterarndale.com/ is the link for their website.

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        07.10.2001 15:45
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        Many years ago (ok, about 2) I loved shopping. I would shop every day of the week given half the chance, and never tired of it. Then something changed – I moved to Manchester and got a new job. In a shop. Suddenly the last thing I wanted to do at weekends after finishing work was go into yet more shops, and since I was supposed to be in lectures Monday to Friday this I basically didn’t shop for a year. Or shop *properly* at least – I still had food and books and CDs and presents delivered from the internet, but I managed to set foot in very few shops. I went away from the summer and did way too much shopping, and now that I’m back in Manchester I find it’s a hard habit to break, which is why, on Friday afternoon with nowhere better to be and nothing better to be doing, I found myself shopping in the City Centre, with 90% of my time devoted to the Arndale (the rest being my necessary weekly trip to Tesco for bread and chocolate). History It was in 1972 that they started building this place and by its completion in 1979 it was the largest covered town shopping centre in Europe, covering some 30 acres in the old city centre, with 750,000 shoppers visiting it each week. Being home to over 200 shops, major department stores, restaurants and fast food outlets it has become an integral part of the Manchester Shopping Experience. The centre houses an 1800 space multi-storey car park, shopping malls on two level and the Arndale Centre Bus Station at Cannon Street, (which was closed by the IRA bombing of Manchester in 1996 but is now fully re-opened) and which handles over 40 000 passengers a day. The centre was designed by the architects Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley, who had already redeveloped the University Precinct on Oxford Road, as well as having had a considerable involvement in the redevelopment of housing in the Hulme area. At the time it was a controversial development as it obliterated some of Manchester's old streets and alleys, and stubbornly defying all the old Victorian grandeur surrounding it, with its massive monolithic concrete forms and unrelieved ceramic cladding. The whole project cost some £100million - a then unthinkable sum. It cost a total of £100 000 000 to build, and it has since had a £25,000,000 refurbishment. It averages 900 000 shoppers per week (over 1 500 000 in a week at Christmas), Shops – Dorothy Perkins BHS Littlewoods New Look Lilly Wittingham Benetton Burtons Top Shop Miss Selfridge Mothercare Adams Warner Brothers Store County Bookshops WH Smiths The Works Gadget Shop Discovery Store Quarters Argos Index Superdrug, Thorntons, Going Places Carphone Warehouse Boots Superdrug The Body Shop Plus many more Food There are a number of cafes and restaurants throughout the centre, but the majority are concentrated in the new-last-year food court at one end (near Boots). Here you’ll find a wide array of foods on offer ranging from Chinese dishes to Jacket Potatoes, fast food courtesy of a mini Mc Donalds branch and, erm, ice cream. Elsewhere you can find Frozen Yoghurt stands and Millies Cookies and Baskin Robbins – hmmm, what does this say about Mancunian’s diets? Layout Spread over 2 floors, at first glance it appears to be well laid out with lots of pathways and escalators and stairs wherever you need them. When you look closer, however, you can detect little faults or oddities. For example, near Argos there are a couple of escalators (one up, one down…). Down you go and at the bottom you find, Argos. And just Argos. Separating this area from the rest of that floor are 3 walls, meaning that to get from there to the shop about 3 m away, you have to go up the escalator, across the pa th, down another escalator and then head backwards about 2m…..sensible? Noooooo. Problems Lots of people shop there daily (probably something to do with the fact that it’s enclosed and it has been known, very occasionally, to rain in Manchester….) so often by early afternoon it’s a complete and utter tip. They do employ cleaners and they are usually around for all to see, but the majority seem to spend all their time talking to each other rather than actually working. You wonder why they manage to keep their jobs the lack of work some of them do. Although there are public loos, these are pretty grotty, and I wouldn’t recommend them. Aside From The Shops In the central part there’s a largish open plan area that houses different things depending on the day or season. On Friday it was home to a careers / recruitment exhibition, but at Christmas it is transformed into a Winter Wonderland complete with Santa in his grotto with his little elf helpers. Getting There It’s walkable from pretty much anywhere in the city – less than 5 minutes walk from both Deansgate and the Printworks. If you’re coming from out of town it’s within walking distance of Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations, with the nearest Metro Link stop being Market Street (right out side Debenhams). At the end of the day, not much to say. It’s just a shopping centre after all, but as shopping centres go it pretty much lives up to standard.

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          15.08.2001 23:34
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          "I'm going to tell you all that there is to know about Manchester." That was what my thought was when I began writing this opinion about a week ago. I have since realised that that is a simply ridiculous notion. (as is the fact I have to put 'that' twice in this sentence to make it make sense) Therefore this opinion has now been dissected into daytime op and night-time op. This is the daytime one, night-time one will follow. Eventually. (Directions to Manchester from anywhere in the country are detailed at the bottom of this opinion) Firstly, a confession. Manchester's not technically my hometown, GeeCross is. But then nobody has ever, EVER heard of GeeCross. Not even Taxi drivers know it exists. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday Morning 3.06am "Gee Crosh pleassshe driver" "Where my friend?" "Chee Crosh! Near Hyde?" "Hyde? Ain't that where that Shipman fellow lives? Do you know him? Hello? We're on the Motorway! You can't get out here!" {then you get the rolling and the bouncing with pain and the snapping and the.......................} "Tameside Hospital please driver..." ------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't think the Mayor of Hyde, (and I'm sure all he does all day is set the dog-poo penalties you get on those lamppost signs) even knows it exists. And he lives here. In fact. I challenge you to tell me something interesting about my own village. Anything at all. Not including anything from GeeCross.com. Go on. You know you want to. It is for this reason, plus the fact I've worked there my whole adult life, that I consider Manchester my home. Basically. I believ e no other city can top the place for stuff to do* I'll start with daytime activities shall I? Ok. Shops. There are a voluminous collection of shops to cater for every walk of life. We have posh shops for posh people. Like that crazy granny dressmaker Vivienne Westwood, drearily monickered Paul Smith, and there are 2 Armani stores (which bizarrely are both next to each other - don't think they thought that one through with quite enough detail when they were picking locations) There are other designer stores in the city centre, but seeing as I can't afford to buy the stuff they cobble together, I'm not going to tell you which ones they are. They're all very nice though. And they aren't just clothes shops. Oh no. We even have a designer lamp-shop. Incase any of you want thoroughbred light-bulbs. Then we have the "we think you're posh" shops, for "You think we're posh" clientele. I'm not going to name the store, because I'll upset someone and they'll sue me for slander. but if you ever visit to Manchester, It's on a road called Deansgate. About halfway down. It's huge. As some sort of odd tribute, someone christened a chocolate coated minted energy cake popular with ramblers after this shop. An even more eccentric salvo is that they also named a whole town after the place. A town called Kendal. They did take away the 's' from the end of the store name when consecrating the town, so to save confusion. Glad to get passed that bit without you knowing that store name, could have been potentially embarrassing. Next in the social ladder that is Manchester retail, there is an enormous, hollow, toilet block. Called the Arndale Centre. Not many people know this, but the Arndale was built in 6990bc. When the earth was populated by giants. And like any ci vilised community, they need privacy ready for when nature calls, so they built the 'Arndale Municipal crapper' . It got converted to a Mall in about 1975, but because it's officially older than time itself, the architects thoughtfully retained the original yellow tiled effect. Even after an upset group of Irish blokes, (I think they were in the UK on a Stag do) lit a fart and blew up half the city, the Arndale stood firmly. If a little bit further up the street than it was previously. That's the virtues of giants' developers for you. In and around the Arndale are all your standard high street stores - Mobile phone shop, McDonalds, Mobile Phone shop, Macdonalds and a mobile phone shop. Also inside the Arndale is an indoor market where you can buy cooked chicken, and, not too far from the centre of Manchester is St Mary's Hospital, where the nurses will happily look after you until you come round. Finally on this whistle stop emporia (noun: A retail establishment where merchandise is sold) tour of the north west's finest city, is an area called the "Northern Quarter" This is like the fashionable bit. So that's why I can't tell you anything more about it. Other than the fact that there is a building called Affleck's Palace. I'm not sure who Affleck is, why his palace is in an old warehouse or which country is his Kingdom, but here, not only can you buy clothes, but also Bongs. And Sex toys. Marvellous. If you can't be bothered to traipse around a city centre stocked with culture to do your shopping, you could always go to the Trafford Centre. When new, The Trafford Centre was hailed as Europe's largest Mall. A title it held for all of about 4 days, because then they opened someplace called blue-something. Near somewhere south of here. I don't like the Trafford Centre. The only good thi ng about the place is that it has acted like one of those blue neon lightboxes in Kebab shops to the flies that are the scourge which is all things Scally. This keeps them out of my way. I've never seen so many elegantly dressed teenies in all my life. The Rockport Boot / White Sock / Tracksuit bottoms / LaCoste shirt combo is the new little black dress. While the hat symmetry is breath taking. I can't really do justice to the myriad of retail opportunity that there is in Manchester City Centre. You'll just have to visit instead. Of course you can do more than just shop in Manchester. You could take a tour of the Manchester United Museum, and see how brilliant they are. Alternatively, if Red is not your colour, you could do a stint in the Maine Road Museum. Do take a couple of seconds to admire their trophy cabinet. The Dovetail joins are awe-inspiring.. Watch out though. If you see small grey haired bloke screaming how much he 'LOVE IT, LOVES IT!' Into a microphone, he might just play you in central defence. There are also loads of Restaurants and bars, about which I shall chunner on forthright about in another op about when it goes dark in town, and something really odd happens. Now as promised is directions to Manchester from anywhere: If you are in the South: Drive North. If you see Edinburgh Castle, that's in Edinburgh and means you've gone too far. If you are in the North: Drive a bit South. Not too far. If you stop to have a drink, and they offer you a Cinzano and Lemonade, Turn round and come up a bit. If you are coming from the East: Drive West. If the road signs start to look like they were written by a monkey, take immediate emergency action, as this means you have crossed over into Wales and are in danger of death by road sign. If you are Coming from the West: Drive East. If you see a Sheep smoking a Cigarette in a pleasured post coital manner, then sadly there is no hope for you, unfortunately you have hit Leeds. *excluded from my belief structure, is any foreign city, any capital cities, and anywhere where you might live. I just don't want to argue.** ** This disclaimer is not because I'm a coward. Just ignobly lacking in courage*** ***this doesn't mean you can call me names.

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            12.04.2001 05:35

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            My first ever shopping visit in Manchester was to the newly opened Trafford Centre, and so when I went Christmas shopping to the Arndale Centre, I wasn't very impressed. However, after giving it a chance and not comparing it with the Trafford Centre, I discovered that it was actually a great place to shop, especially if you don't feel like a drive out of the city and into the outskirts. It has a great Marks and Spencers, Top Shop, Miss Selfridges, Bhs - and all of the usual high street stores. There is even a market which is handy for fresh fish, meat and groceries. There is nothing you won't find the Arndale centre. It caters for all agegropus, male and female. It's indoors, and so you won't get wet and cold (typical Manchester weather) and there are also shops located next to and nearby the centre. There is also a great food place to go to when your feeling hungry, which has a McDondalds, KFC, and many more - basically what ever you feel like for lunch, you can get.

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