Newest Review: ... only a walkway. This part of the metro centre used to have my favourite two shops in but now they have both closed down, old fizzywigs, se... more
Metrocentre - For Serious Retail Therapy
Member Name: Mrs-LT
Advantages: Too many to name!
Disadvantages: No very high-end shops
Firstly I apologise for the length this review is probably going to end up being. How many words does it take to say everything I can about the Metrocentre? Well given that is could probably officially be classed as my second home and pre-baby you were more likely to find me there than anywhere else, I think I am very well qualified to write this.
The Metrocentre is located in Gateshead, which is south of the river Tyne. Now I believe these days the council is promoting it as Newcastle-Gateshead (they certainly were when bidding unsuccessfully to be named Capital of Culture) but let me tell you they are two VERY different places. Newcastle - trendy, urban city....Gateshead - rough and not in any way interesting unless you count the monstrosity that is the Angel of the North. Put it this way, booking a romantic weekend away in Gateshead would be grounds for divorce, whereas in Newcastle you'd be almost guaranteed a good weekend. So if you are planning a trip that involves staying over STAY IN NEWCASTLE. Buses run from the centre of town to the Metrocentre numerous times an hour, or it will take about 15 minutes (maximum) in the car.
The Metrocentre is located just off the A1 motorway. It has more than ample parking which is all free. There are 2 multi-storey car parks but the majority are just open air which are far more accessible for the shops. My bugbear is that there are no parent and child places so often I struggle to open the car door wide enough to get the car seat out, but that is just a minor gripe. Loads of disabled spaces though if you need them.
There is a Marriott hotel next to the Metrocentre which is popular for weddings and is apparently lovely inside (but hideous from the outside). There is also a retail park next door to the shopping centre (not to be confused with the bigger and better Team Valley Retail Park 5 minutes south on the A1).
There used to be an indoor theme park (very small, more like a fairground) in the centre, called Metroland, but this has now been closed down. I believe the bowling alley and Quasar Lasar are still open though, and there is an Odeon Cinema as well as umpteen resuatrants, cafes and a couple of bars (including Wetherspoons). There are also 3 McDonalds restaurants if that is more your cup of tea and a smoothie and juice bar too.
The list of shops is almost endless, but I will give a few examples: M&S, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Schuh, River Island, Faith, Dune, Mothercare, Primark, Jane Norman, Principles, Dorothy Perkins, Topman, Topshop, New Look, Oasis, Warehouse, The Disney Store, Next....
The full list of stores can be found at www.metrocentre.uk.com.
Shops are open 10am-9pm Monday to Friday, 9-7 Saturday and 11-5 Sunday. They open until 10pm in the lead up to Christmas.
The shopping centre itself (with the exception of the new Red Mall) does look a bit dated. It is completely surpassed by Manchester's Trafford Centre in terms of style and design but you cannot beat it for size and range of shops. The only think it lacks are the expensive designer shops (such as Molton Brown and Space NK that the Trafford has) but this is more a sign of the north east not having the demand than a flaw of the shopping centre - we do not have shops like this in the city centre either and it's not like they are everyday shops anyway.
The layout is fairly simple with different sections called different coloured 'Malls'. There are plenty of interactive maps in the centre itself to help you locate specific shops.
There is an offshoot called the Mediterranean Village with nice Italian restaurants and other places to eat which is very nice for a more expensive lunch, or the food court if you're after a cheap bite to eat.
There are also market-type stalls in the walkways selling anything from hair stylers to warming gel pads but the sellers are often really irritating at abushing you on the way past with 'Can I ask you a quick question?' which reminds me of our holiday to Egypt when this is how they attempted to entice you into their shops....Very irritating.
There are Baskin Robbins and Millies Cookies counters at various points throught the malls as well which is great if you fancy a yummy treat whilst indulging in some retail therapy.
My only real bugbear with the Metrocentre is that lifts are a bit too spaced out for my liking, which is annoying if you know exactly which shop you need to get to but have to take a massive detour to find a lift and get to the first floor to access it. Also, a couple of the toilets closed a few years book again making too large an interval between the remaining ones. They have also not taken down the signs to where the toilets used to be so people unfamiliar with this will end up on a wild goose chase (or should that be toilet chase?!).
Transport links are not great either unless you go into Newcastle or Gateshead and go from there. We have a Metro line (under/over ground train) yet it does not run to the METROCentre...I alway did find that odd. So I live a 20 minute drive away but by public transport it would take about 1.5 hours. There is a huge bus station at the Metrocentre, but most buses come from either the immediate Gateshead area or the centre of Newcastle. It should be a bit more accessible by public transport I think.
However, all in all then Metrocentre is a fantastic indoor shopping centre. I was at the Trafford Centre last week and while it looks way more modern, it cannot compare with the sheer range of shops available at the Metrocentre. It is a winner on all fronts!
Summary: I would not be without this place!