Newest Review: ... and of course lots of dressed up Northeners. Apparently, The Trafford Centre also has £5.8 million of marble and granite flooring. The mar... more
The shopping centre of your dreams
Trafford Centre (Manchester)
Member Name: jennikitten
Trafford Centre (Manchester)
Date: 29/12/08, updated on 30/12/08 (92 review reads)
Advantages: Amazing for shopping and much more
Disadvantages: Parking can be difficult, a few big names are still missing
I've been to many shopping centres all over the world and none quite compare to the Trafford Centre (apart from maybe the Mall of America). It's one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in Europe, boasting over 230 shops and restaurants and expanding on a fairly regular basis. The upper food area alone is bigger than Broad Marsh shopping centre in Nottingham.
So what makes it different? Firstly, the decor. There are classical bits like fountains and pillars, and there is also stuff bordering on the tacky side like the ceiling in the upper food court which is painted like a cloudy/blue sky (at night I think there are stars?), and part of it is designed to look like the top deck of a ship.
It is also massive - I went on Boxing Day and it took us a good few hours to go into the shops we wanted (not all of them, and some like Next were closed). It's definitely good for a day out.
If you're not too keen on shopping (but the rest of your family/friends/whoever are), they also have an ice rink up at the moment. There's also a full cinema and a wide variety of restaurants, from Burger King to the Exchange Bar and Grill. The upper food court mainly houses the proper restaurants, whereas the lower one is more for fast food. The upper court was where we ate on Boxing Day as it was quiet. It's called 'New Orleans' and is decorated like it, with fake house fronts and people's washing out, etc. (high up though) That makes it a bit of a surreal setting for the variety of food places on offer: from the Italian we were sitting at there was a bar and grill and a pub in view, amongst other things.
The shops themselves are ones you would find anywhere, but almost every shop you would expect to see, including banks. I was a bit disappointed to find they didn't have a Hawkin's Bazaar though, but there is a Krispy Kreme place nearby which makes up for it in a weird way. For northerners out there, there is also a big Selfridges. Many of the bigger shops cover two floors, such as Debehams and John Lewis, but even some traditionally smaller ones like Game and Claire's Accessories can be found on both floors. Including the Game in Debhenhams, that's 3!
You might be put off by things being hard to find, but in reality there are various information desks and electronic things you can use to search by store or category. Once you select a shop it even draws you a line on the map to tell you the best way to go.
It has long opening hours, longer at Christmas, though you may find parking and queuing difficult around big sale times despite large car parks (free). They also offer evening activities, often related to hobbies, and special kids' events which are worth looking out for.
If you want to find more specific information, www.traffordcentreshopping.co.uk is a good place to start :)
Summary: Go at least once!