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Coming from a small town I was thrilled to move to Bristol and reach my full shopping potential! There are many great areas in Bristol to go shopping but I have to say that Cabot Circus is my favourite as it has something for everyone and lots for me! It's a new centre built using wood, metal and glass so it looks really fresh and modern. There are three floors each packed with different stores and a fourth containing a number of restaurants like Zizzi's, Coal and Nandos to name only a couple. As well as there being a number of cafe's dotted arounf the complex. There's also a Showcase Cinema de Lux which is amazing! It has 13 screens and 3000 seats that are actually comfortable. There are far too many shops to mention but a full guide can be found on the Cabot Circus website. My favourite shops include Topshop, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Hotel Chocolat, Aldo, The body shop and there's so many more. There are not only clothes shops but game shops, gadget shops, snack bars, PC World so there's something for everyone. Not to mentions the huge House of Fraser store that spans all three levels. I have noticed that there are no book or music shops within the complex but there is a Waterstones and a HMV a few minutes walk in to the old town. The shops are open Monday to Saturday: 10am - 8pm and Sunday: 11am - 5pm. However, the cinema and restaurants stay open much later. There's a huge car park with 2500 spaces and it's open 24 hours 7 days a week. It cost £1 per hour to park or £2 for the stay between 5pm and 7am and on a Sunday. When you considering that it's fully secure car park with guards on constant patrol it's not bad value. I even park here when I'm going to other places nearby as it's much cheaper than any of the NCP's. There are plenty of disabled spaces in the car park complimenting the overall wheelchair friendly set up of the entire centre with lifts to all floors and nowhere being inaccessible for wheelchair users. It has all the facilities you need, phones, cash machines, toilets and all floors are easily accessible by stairs, escalators and lifts. The whole complex is always kept clean and tidy, especially the loos, which is really nice and makes the experience so much more pleasant. There's a large information desk where the staff are all really friends and then you often see staff and security wondering around that are, again, friendly and approachable. On the ground floor of the centre there is a large open space where you can often find different things taking place. I have seen fashion shows, street dance and competitions taking place here and I imagine there's an awful lot I have missed too! There's stepped seating scattered on all the levels so that when these activities are taking place then people can easily sit and watch them from all levels of the centre. The only downside to the development is because it's such a nice place to visit and there is something for everyone it can get very busy on a weekend. Personally I don't ever go on a Saturday because it is just so busy (and parking is cheaper on a Sunday). Overall, it's a really impressive development with a lot to offer most visitors. I think without Cabot Circus Bristol shopping would not be anywhere near as good as the everything else this wonderful city has to offer.
Hi, my name is Ruth, and I'm a shopaholic. Well, that maybe a bit extreme, but I am a massive fan of shopping and spend time quite regularly in and out of clothes, beauty, bric-a-brac and food shops. I recently moved to Bristol for University and now get to regularly experience the joy of shopping that is Cabot Circuc. Cabot Circus is a massive shopping and entertainment centre in the heart of Bristol right next to the shopping centre Broadmead. It is perfect for both child, student, the middle aged and elderly. There is something for everyone. My favourite shops have to be Newlook, Accessorize, Topshop, Cult, Hollister and Harvey Nicks. There are gadget themed shops, phone shops, banks, a huge variety of clothes shops, jewellers, restuarants, an indoors mini golf, a showcase delux cinema, milkshake store and much, much more! The complex is based over several floors wich can be reached by both stairs, escalators and lifts, so it is possible for everyone to move around with ease and comfort. The restuarants and entertainment complexes are based at the top floors of Cabot, whilst the main shops are based near and on the gound floor. Cabot looks very expensive, and you'd think that the shops within it would be out of the price range of the majority of people. But the shops there have something that is suitable for every budget. I'm a student with not a massive amount of money and I can come back with several bags of reasonably priced and inexpesive items. One of my favourite parts of Cabot is the showcase cinema delux. It is very luxruious! The seats are massive, comfortable and can be rocked into a position you feel comfortable in. The snack section is the most amazing thing I have ever seen at a cinema. They serve the usual pic-n-mix, cold drinks, popcorn and hot dogs, but they also sell onion rings, chips and burgers which I haven;t seen anywhere before. I'm lucky in that I live close enough to Cabot to be able to walk there, but for those who aren;t so lucky Cabot boasts a massive parking complex, where you are pretty much guaranteed a parking space! I'd definitely recommend others a trip to Cabot for a shopping heaven.
Until late 2008, Bristol really struggled in the shopping stakes. Having lived there for several years, when I then used to come back and see friends from time to time, it was an even bigger shock to the system to remind myself just how badly shoppers were catered for in Bristol. Years earlier, an out of town development at Cribbs Causeway in North Bristol provided some additional shops, but aside from a large branch of John Lewis, it always seemed to have very little in the way of choice - and it's a significant distance out of Bristol too. Cabot Circus occupies a large plot of land at the east end of the central area. A large section of the existing shopping area Broadmead was demolished at one end (no loss), the main trunk road through Bristol city centre was diverted and the approach from the M32 into Bristol was widened in preparation for the work. This was a significant project with a total budget of £500 million and it's safe to say that the finished product has, literally, transformed Bristol city centre. The centre piece of Cabot Circus is a large glass-roofed complex that occupies several floors of retailers, restaurants and entertainment. The name 'Circus' was quite purposefully chosen to reflect a centre piece of community activity and under the glass roof there is an infectious bustle of shoppers and visitors coming together in one place. Unlike other shopping centres, however, although shoppers are protected from the elements by the glass roof, the principle of the main shopping area is that it is effectively 'outdoors' so you don't have that horrible claustrophobic feeling that other, more traditional shopping centres suffer from. Moving away from the Circus, however, the development extends into the existing Broadmead development, creating an entirely new series of shops and streets that are intended to blend seamlessly into the existing development. Such is the quality of the new development, however, that I'm afraid it's immediately apparent where the old stuff starts and no end of cladding and new pavements will disguise a tired and traditional shopping area. Transport to the site is pretty good. As this occupies a prime central location, bus services are extremely frequent. It's probably 15 or 20 minutes' walk from Bristol's main train station (Temple Meads) but there is a shuttle service that runs every couple of minutes. A large new car park was built as part of the development, which is very well lit, generously proportioned and reasonably priced. This is good but it does rather defeat the environment objectives of encouraging people out of their cars. With discounted parking rates at weekends, there is little incentive for shoppers to the Circus to abandon their cars and it's clear from the constant stream of pedestrians in and out of the car park that this is, by far, the preferred means of travel for most. Curiously, at peak times, congestion into the car park seems worsened by decisions to keep the top floor(s) of the park closed, which seems to cram everyone in lower down. Disabled parking spaces are extremely plentiful (and probably excessive if the low occupation is anything to go by). Indeed, the entire development is wheelchair friendly. Within the glass-topped part of the circus there are lifts to all floors and wide walkways on each. The other parts of the development are entirely step-free. The core shopping hours are from 10:00 to 18:00 Monday to Wednesday, with an additional two hours until 20:00 on a Thursday and an additional hour to 19:00 on a Friday and Saturday. Sunday shopping hours are 11:00-17:00. From my visits, it would seem that stores operate different policies on these hours, however, and some close later than others. Understandably, at Christmas, most of these hours are extended throughout the week. Needless to say, the cafes and restaurants open far later, and the cinema on the top floor runs late screenings at the weekends. The architecture of Cabot Circus, notably the glass roof, means that it's a very different place according to the time of day and the weather. On a sunny day, it's a very upbeat place, bathed in light, but not in a claustrophobic manner and it's actually quite pleasant to stroll around outside of peak shopping hours. On Saturdays or Sundays, however, it's pretty chaotic and unpleasant and if you want to wander and shop at leisure, I'd try and do so at quieter times. Of an evening (or late afternoon in the winter) the darkness gives it a more intimate feeling and this is certainly my favourite time to shop. The lighting isn't overly intensive and there's something mysterious and almost romantic abut parts of the development. This was particularly the case at Christmas where some impressive decorations made the place come alive. You can see a full directory of the shops on the Cabot Circus website. The development opened just as the economy was starting to dip badly and even now, there are a number of unoccupied units. This doesn't seem to have curbed the centre's appeal, however, and there is a good selection of shops. Where the older part of town (Broadmead) has tended to retain the mainstream high street shops, Cabot Circus has picked up a selection of higher end and luxury shops and as such, has positioned itself at the better end of the market. Outside the main complex, a series of high end fashion chains such as Hugo Boss occupy individual units around one of the development's flagship stores - a new Harvey Nichols department store. This kind of retail presence was exactly what Bristol needed and it's nice to have the store here, but it's actually only a 'boutique' style store and therefore carries a much smaller range than its London or Leeds counterparts. There's a tiny food hall, for example, and very few eateries - and the menswear department is very small indeed. Interestingly, there's a real focus on fashion and clothing throughout the development. Occupying the central position within the main development, there's a large new House of Fraser store (one of the largest I've seen, in fact) which is dominated by fashion concessions and a large beauty and perfumery section. At one of the entrances there is now a large Hollister store (the little brother of Abercrombie and Fitch) and throughout the development you'll find plenty of branded clothing stores (including All Saints, Bench, Fred Perry, Henleys and loads more). It seems that as we migrate to buying certain things online (particularly books, CDs and DVDs) shopping centres are becoming dominated by fashion and impulse retail. Indeed, rather tellingly there are no book shops or music stores in the new development at all (with a cursory branch of HMV and a Waterstones left in the old part of town). There has already, however, been one high profile closure, with the loss of fashion retailer Cruise opting not to renew its initial lease. The unit has been taken over by John Anthony, but it's clear that trade isn't 'easy' yet. There are some other welcome additions. There's a good-sized Apple store (Bristol previously only had a third-party reseller out at Temple Meads, which was a nightmare to get to). There's a lovely Patisserie Valerie, largely seen in London, but now bringing their fresh cream cakes and pastries out to the provincials. There's also a gorgeous silver jeweller, Thomas Sabo, with some really beautiful and unusual gift ideas. There are some welcome absences too. The likes of TK Maxx and Primark don't fit in here and they're relegated right to the other end of town. The selection of places to eat is OK, if not a little mainstream. There's a nice Asian place called Tampopo (founded in Manchester) that's fast, fresh and tasty and probably better than Wagamama, but it's still part of a chain the same as pretty much everything else. By the time you've spotted the likes of Nando's, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Giraffe and Carluccio's you could be forgiven that you'd wandered into any similar complex, and it's a little disappointing that more variety and independent restaurants weren't encouraged here. The restaurant in Harvey Nichols is nice, if not a little pretentious for the location but the emphasis seems to be more about catering for cinema-goers rather than anyone else. The Cinema De Lux on the top floor is part of the Showcase chain and offers luxury seating, food and drink. It's certainly a good cinema and even better means that the film watchers don't need to travel out of town. Unlike most shopping centres, the toilets are always really clean, but the decision to only have them on the ground floor seems a bit limiting. There's a large information desk and staff members are also contactable as they wander round the development. Later on, there is a strong security presence; the streets are walkways are accessible throughout the night so they're keen to prevent vandalism and other crime. Notably, this isn't a good place to bring young children unless you can really keep an eye on them. The layout, noise and general volume of customers at peak times makes this quite stressful. Nonetheless, the Cabot Circus development is one of the best I've seen in a long time (the new Liverpool One development is good, but not on the same scale) and has really made its mark on the city centre. Indeed Cabot Circus is SO good that it kind of puts the old bit of town to shame, leading many shoppers to question the merits of turning intentions of re-development in that direction also. For local shoppers, this is a great boost to the area and is also a worthwhile day trip from slightly further out locations like Swindon and Gloucester. But it still can't match the big three - Birmingham, Manchester and London still, clearly, leave the place standing.
My local 'town shopping' is pretty pants to be honest and I much prefer to take a short trip up to Bristol. I usually go to the mall, but since Cabot Circus has opened I haven't really been to the mall! Cabot Circus is basically a new(ish) shopping centre in the middle of Bristol, near / in Boradmead. Unlike the mall it has a wider arrange of shops from the more expensice ones such as Harvery Nichols and Radley (and others) to the normal ones you'd expect like New Look, Claires, etc. Cabot Circus is designed to with a glass roof, but it is an 'open' shpping area and by this I mean there is no door to go into there, this does mean that it can get cold as the wind can go gushing through there. I am not sure whether the glass roof is for any kinf of protection, maybe from rain of just dor the sheer appeal or the design. It has numerous floor levels, the floor one being mainly shops, including Accesorize, Urban Outfitters, Jane Norman, etc, the enxt floor has a few shops along side big name cafes such as Costa, Pret a manger and others, it has a few place where they serve full meals too. The top floor was a kind of hit and miss, by letting little independent stores and cafes sell here, but many of them have already shut down as people seem to walk straight pass and they cannot keep up with the credit crunch, etc. Cabot Circus is a really fun day out and has a shop for anyone! Whether your money is burning a whole in your pocket and you fancy a big splurge, or you are on a bit of a tight budget and just fancy picking up a few bits and bobs. The main part of Cabot Circus with the cinema delux, which is fantastic! They gave a wide array of films showing and you can sit on sofa like chairs, which are big and comfy! You also can (depending on what ticket you pay for) have a bell on your sofa side table which you can ring to order an ice cream, food, drink, etc! It is a really great place if you fancy a short stop from shopping or even just if you want to go up there for the very reason! I think it is situated in a great place, altough some disagree and say that it shouldn't actually be in there! Overall I would highly reccoment Cabot Circus for a cheap (possibly) day out with freinds or family!
So Cabot Circus has just celebrated its 1st Birthday and its better now than it ever has been. The amazing architechture is starting to fit into the centre better with the surrounding areas having had a makeover. Although some stores have closed down, a couple due to the recession and a couple just because the stores havent been making enough money for them to be worthwhile, with more stores opening it has a much higher occupancy rate than at the opening. For entertainment inside the centre there are all of the restraunts, the cinema de lux and a newly opened adventure golf course. The adventure gold opened summer this year and is a great way to pass an hour or 2 whilst in town, personally i have been 3 times and always have a blast. Its quite a surreal experience to think you're playing mini golf inside a shopping centre but great fun. The cinema de lux has to be one of the nicest cinemas i've been to in the uk aswell. Not only is there a decent amount of leg room in all screens, helpful staff and a nice bar/ restraunt on the entrance level, but there is also the "directors lounge" and "studio 1" the directors lounge is a great experience for a couple £ extra with high backed leather seats, a swing around table for each seat and its own personal bar area. I wont go into too much detail on the restraunts, i have however managed to dine in nearly all of them so for further information on specific ones, please feel free to contact me. The ones that i can list off the top of my head are: Coal - grilled food and bar Cafe rouge Franky and bennys Nandos La tasca Carluccios Yo sushi Hey potato Gourmet burger kitchen Giraffe Brasserie blanc Tampopo And also a pizzeria The biggest shopping attractions to this centre have to be the harvey nics and house of fraser but it also boasts some shops that i rarely see anywhere else, such as hotel chocolat, patisserie valerie, urban outfitters, reiss and so many others i daren't carry on. Opening soon will be hollister (an A&F company) and currys digital. For full store listings i'd recommend the official cabot circus website but also become a fan on facebook as they put up some exclusive offers from stores from time to time. If you have a day to spare then its deffinately worth a trip. The official opening times are 10-8 Monday to Saturday and 11-5 on Sundays and bank holiday Mondays for stores. The cinema, golf and restraunts tend to stay open untill at least 11pm most evenings You will need to set aside a decent length of time tho. My first trip was on a Sunday so i only had 6 hours of shopping and apart from managing to max out 2 credit cards, I had only made it around half of the stores! So i had to make a return shopping trip the next month. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
The centre of bristol has literally come alive since the opening of the Cabot circus shopping centre and brought much needed investment and life into Bristol centre. Shops: A wide range of shops including some more 'high end' and designer shops [including Harvey Nicholls] as well as the more usual clothes shops, gadget shops [including the sony shop, a must for my boyfriend] shoe shops etc. Primarily though the shops are made up of womens clothes shops, so men prepare yourselves! Restaurants: Again a wide range of restaurants including Yo sushi, Pizza Express, la tasca, Giraffe etc. I would definitely not recommend Coal bar and Grill, I had a really bad meal there and the service was awful. Nearby Tampopo or Zizzi are a much better bet. Make sure you look for vouchers for BOGOF's on the restaurants, as they're pretty much main stream places to eat and it will be worth it. For the more special occasion there is Brasserie Blanc, which I've been recommended by a friend...perhaps one day... Architecture: well some of it works extremely well and some of it doesn't. The whole complex turns it's back on the major routes into the city, which is a shame and creates quite an austere 'wall' to any visitors outside bristol. How this got past the planners I don't know...but then... The inside can sound a little like a swimming pool when it's very busy, but otherwise I like all the balconies and generally the place is well thought out...once you get your bearings! Cinema: New showcase cinema which is awesome. Go on a saturday morning and you can watch the latest blockbusters pretty much on your own for a great price Car parking: Definitely worth checking out especially on a sunday when you can park there all day for just £2 and the car park always has spaces. In all, a good experience and well worth a visit...makes a change to the mall anyway! Oh and now the city centre has a HUGE new primark !! http://www.cabotcircus.com
Cabot circus is definitely impressive. A pedestrianised area all under glass rooves and bridges. The ground floor is mainly clothes shops while the top two floors being mainly restraunts, cafes and entertainment places (cinema, minigolf). The shops consist of well known high street brands and a few upmarket jewellery and accessory shops. The place itself is modern and can be expensive to shop at as it is home to many upmarket shops like Harvey Nichols, Monsoon and Espirit. Across the road in Quakers Friars also homes many designer outlets such as Lacoste, Guess, Hugo Boss, Radley and French Connection. There is also an Apple Store that holds frequent workshops. Although around the corner there is a Primark, McDonalds and Peacocks. There are several facilities like toilets and Cash Machines available. At weekends it can get very crowded especially when there is an event on. It is very easy to find as there are lots of signs from Temple Meads station and 3 park and ride buses that go there. Good alternative places to shop at bristol with less expensive shops would be the Mall at Cribbs Causeway and Broadmead.
I am Bristol born and bred and live within a 10 minute drive of Cabot Circus shopping centre but I am not yet convinced or impressed by it. Previous to building Cabot Circus, bristols shopping areas consisted of the galleries and broadmead area which housed the usual high street names such as debenhams, house of frazer, primark, new look, topshop etc. Or The Mall at Cribbs Causeway which is a large mall building with all the stores under one roof. Cabot Circus was built as a series of shop buildings under a glass roof which links them together. There is no specific entrance or exit but just pavements and walkways that lead from the other stores of the old broadmead into this new area where you are suddenly under this large glass roof. One design flaw that I find really annoying is that there is no fluidity to the shops, you start in one place then go through the the center then end up walking back through the central point again to get to the other shops, sort of like a star shape so you have to keep coming back to the same stores again and again. I have been there on several occassions and end up either getting lost or bored of walking the same bits and end up leaving early. The buildings and walkways are on three floors but you'll struggle to find the lifts and escalators. The actual shops that are in Cabots Circus are great though. There is a huge Harvey Nics, a large House of Frazer, a Henleys store, Next, The Entertainer etc. There is also a whole level dedicated to food, housing a Nandos (yummy portugese chicken at a great price), Yo Sushi, Girraffe, Cafe Rouge and Brasserie Blanc (Raymond Blanc's restaurant) There is also a huge cinema complex on the top level with has it's own bar and restaurant as well as the general food counters. It is very expensive though with 2 tickets booked in advance costing me £17.45. The screens themselves are no differnt than any other large cinema complex. One good thing is there are lots of car parking spaces and a bridge linking the car park with the shopping centre. I have only ever used the car park at night where it cost £2.50 for the whole night but I have heard it is expensive in the day so I use the galleries carpark and walk across instead.
Cabot Circus is a pretty impressive building and is good fun to wander around. It is a major development for the centre of Bristol and it has changed the face of the previously shabby shopping area. There are lots of major designer shops to choose from and lots of places to eat. As you enter the city on the M32, Cabot circus and its parking area are the first thing you see. The parking is next to the main shopping area and is attached through a bridge across a very busy road. The main architectural feature is the glass roof that looks curve from over the centre of the shopping centre and is very impressive. Although the shopping is very impressive for Bristol and the surrounding area, Cabot Cirus does not compete with other major shopping centres like the Bullring in Bristol or Bluewater in Kent. There will soon be major competition from a new shopping centre development in nearby Bath. Some of the shops that were around at the Grand Opening have already gone under and there are a few empty shop fronts cleverly disguished behind massive advertisement boards.
I was so excited to have Cabot Circus being developed in my home town. While Bristol was already quite good for shopping, I felt that it was getting a bit tired. Well, my excitement was definately worth while. Cabot Circus is great. It's got some great shops, admittedly some that I can only dream about being able to buy anything from, but also a lot of shops that I felt Bristol was missing, Zara for example. There are a number of floors to Cabot Circus, with a covered glass roof, which makes it easy to shop in any weather. The shops are laid out in a good way so you can walk around without missing any. On the top floor there are a number of restaurants and a cinema which is a nice resting place between shops. There are also a number of cafe's dotted around the shopping centre so you can always find a nice coffee whenver the need arises. They have also redeveloped some of the old, more forgotten areas of broadmead which has again added to the general feel of Bristol town centre. Definately somewhere I would recommend you take a trip to, even if it is just to look at things you can't afford!
I got back from the wondeful Cabot Circus about one hour ago, and I have got to say, I was majorly impressed by the sheer scale and magnificence of the whole place. The indoor/outdoor (not sure what to call it really, it's just a giant place with hoods over it in some places!) shopping centre is linked to the nicely laid out carpark by a funny little bridge. The ground is level, but the glass covering leans to one side, making it feel like you're a bit drunk. There are over 120 shops and stores, plus the restaurants and bar type things, so you can't go without coming home with something. Restaurants include; Yo Sushi, Giraffe, Coal, Frankie & Bennies, Soho Coffee, Nandos, etc! These restaurants aren't too common which is great. This amazingly swankily designed place has LOADS of escalators, LOADS of floors, and LOADS of space! Even if this place becomes busy, there's still plenty of room to move around in. To be honest, I walked around for the entire duration of my stay with my mouth open wide with awe! What suprised me the most was that Cabot Circus features an actual Apple store (which I had never come across before) and a Harvey Nichols! Apparently, there are only two of these in the whole of England, so Bristol must feel pretty privileged to have one. I could have spent all day in this incredible shopping destination really. It had all my favourite shops (Topshop, Schuh, H&M, Apple, NewLook, Claires, Monsoon, Accessorize, Zara...) and I can't wait to spend all of my money there again! :D I would really recommend this place, because it's AMAZING. My official favourite shopping place in the world.
After living in Bristol as an actual building site, stunted traffic and anticipation for god knows how long... The arrival of le cirque cabôt! - was it worth the wait? Well its very swanky and posh looking and has a strange mixture of indoor and outdoor in fact I still haven't worked out which it is. I guess it's kind of a semi heated outdoors with a hood and an upstairs but i'm not overly thrilled. I was very excited about it but to be honest it's not that special - don't get me wrong, I love all the new shops we didn't have before like Urban outfitters, Zara, American apparel and Cult. And of course the array of new restaurants, but it all strikes me as a bit soulless I guess, it has no really personality or uniqueness. I'd much rather go to bath and trundle round it's one off shops - as well as the big chain giants. I also think certain shops, although I love having them in Bristol, they seemed much more special and unreachable to the unwashed masses when I had to travel to London to access them, now they feel somehow more 'common'. I do think it's given Bristol more status as a city though because now people travel to us as well as London. The building however architecturally impressive, has no atmosphere to love - it's just sort of cold and clinical. The cinema is massive and swanky but walking around in it I felt like a sim in sim city! Although saying that, it is better than what Bristol had before and I must say I rarely venture out of cabot and over to the 'old side o' town' not unless I want debenhams really so it can't be all bad. I guess it just never could've lived up to it's two year drum roll!
Being a student in Bristol, having a place like Cabbot Circus nearby is a great advantage. The place is new and modern, and boasts a wide range of shops and serivces, for all groups of people, from pensioners to students. A stone throw away from the happening area of Bristol City centre, whether you want to go and watch a new film in the UK's biggest Cinema Delux complex, go and eat fine French cuisine in the famous Cafe Rouge or just open your purses and walk around the countless amount of shops like Zara, H&M or Burtons, this place has everything. An added extra is the fact that there is no need to worry about thugs or theives that can lurk around areas like this at night or even during the day, as Cabbot Circus has 24 hour security guards making sure you enjoy the experiecne in a safe environment.
The first thing that strikes you about Cabot Circus is its stupid name. Shame on the people that used the word 'Circus' to describe a shopping centre. How would the Moscow State Circus feel if they were renamed 'The Moscow State Shopping Centre'? You can see my point. The first time I walked into Cabot Circus I was blown away by the architecture, and I work in a related field to architecture so I can really appreciate the nuances of the design and thought that went into it. The partially enclosed roof is handy to keep rain and pigeon poo off of your new Ugg Boots, and probably also enables the whole shopping centre to sail away in an emergency. One of the first things I did upon entering this goliath was to visit the Cinema De Lux. Unfortunately this is just a normal cinema made to a look like a posh Beauty Salon, oh yes there is acres of shiny black plastic, but in the end it still stinks of gone off popcorn and is inhabited by oiks that kick the back of your chair through the whole film. Apparently there is a screen with leather seats but it is only available at certain times for certain films, plus it costs an extortionate amount extra. At least those cows died for a good reason I suppose. The next thing I did was visit the toilets, and WOWSERS they are beautiful. If there is only one place you have time to visit at Cabot Circus it is the toilets. So shiny, so clean, so much marble. But the piece de resistance are the hand-dryers. I should issue a warning here, if you have weak wrists the dryer will snap your bones like twigs. I think they are called "AIR BLADE 3000's" or something similar. I have a sneaking suspicion the designers of these toilets may have gone into the future to purchase these things, they just don't belong in this time, we are not worthy. Oh and there are lots of shops and restuarants too, but you know about that, it's pretty obvious.
If you live in the South West/West of England there's a good chance you've heard of Cabot Circus, the latest all singing, all dancing shopping centre which opened just in time for the Xmas rush towards the end of 2008. *Where is it?* Cabot Circus is located close to the end of the M32 which is linked to the M5 and M4. It's well signposted and easy to find from the centre of Bristol and the motorway and has parking for 2500 cars. *Parking charges* To park at the centre is in my opinion very expensive, it ranges from £3 for up to 2 hours right up to £16 for a whole day!. I therefore choose to park at the Park and Ride 10 minutes away in Bristol Road which costs only £2 per person for a return on Saturdays. *Shops* There are over 100 shops at Cabot Circus made up of a mixture of big high street names and top end expensive boutiques spread over 3 floors. The shops include La Senza, Zavvi (well not anymore!) Apple, Next, H&M, The Body Shop, Radley and many others. When the centre opened much fanfare was made about the inclusion of Harvey Nichols which I was very keen to visit when we first went at Xmas, I was disappointed however at the small size of the place and the high prices, including this store was a mistake I think and should have been a Selfridges or John Lewis instead. *Restaurants and cafes'* There is a very good selection of places to refuel during a hard days shopping, most of them being on the top floor with the odd coffee shop and café dotted about between the shops for convenience. Nandos, Giraffe, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, La Tasca and Frankie & Benny's are all well worth a visit being easy to find (once you get the hang of the layout) and packed with efficient, friendly staff. *Entertainment* As well as a vast array of shops and eating places there is also a Cinema de Lux close to the restaurants, the 13 screens and 3000 seats offer plenty of scope for a good night out with order-in-your-seat concessions and bar etc.... *Layout* The one gripe I have with this place is the frankly quite odd layout, it's been architect designed to look amazing which when you first set foot in the place does take the breath away but then you start to wonder how you're meant to get around without getting lost? It can be daunting the first few times you visit but there are maps available and staff on hand to help. It can take a while to get from one floor to another, there are two huge escalators which you have to walk all the way around each floor to access, there are stairs too and lifts but they always seem to have queues so I tend to avoid them. Despite that I always enjoy visiting Cabot Circus and I like the fact it's so close to Broadmead and the rest of Bristol City Centre if for any reason you want a change of scenery.