* Prices may differ from that shown
Westfield is one of London's hotspots for shopping. There are two Westfields shopping centres in London, the first one is located in Shepherd's Bush/White City, in West London. This one is more designer than high street but there are some high street stores such as Topshop, H+M, Lipsy, House of Fraser and among others. The second one is in Stratford, located in East London which opened in 2011, prior to the London 2012 Olympics/Paralympics. This one has to be my favorite one because there is more high street stores and no designer stores. First time I went to the Shepherd's Bush/White City one was when I was attending a concert at the 02 Shepherd's Bush empire in August 2011 and the first time I went to the Stratford one was when I was working during the Olympic games, and went to visit there on my day off!
Shepherd's Bush/White City stores include:
House of Fraser
If you go to the designer section in the Shepherd's Bush/White City one, it will feel more like a mini Harrods/Selfridges, but more Selfridges because of the high street stores that are located in the shopping centre.
Stratford stores include:
The Perfume Shop
Marks and Spencer
There are a huge selections of restaurants in these shopping centres such as McDonald's, Yo-Sushi, Nandos, chinese, Indian, Thai, KFC, Burger King, but they are more relaxed or eat on the go places rather than sit-down and eat, because it is a similar atomsphere to Oxford Street. But they do have the odd sit down to eat places.
Both Westfields have Vue cinemas, but more expensive than a regular cinema, but not as expensive as a leicester square or covent garden cinema.
The places are huge, so make sure you have a map on you or look on a map before hand because you can get lost very easily, I will admit I did went I first went to them, I still do because I do not visit these places often as I don't know them as well!
Directions to get here, it is really easy access from all parts of London by bus or tube.
Stratford : Central Line (red)
London Overground (orange)
Jubaliee Line (grey)
Shepherd's Bush/White City : Central Line (red)
Hammersmith and City Line (pink) (shepherd's bush market)
Circle line (yellow) (Shepherd's Bush Market)
London Overground (orange) (Shepherd's Bush)
There are car parks for these shopping centres, but it is a bit of a walk and the parking can be more expensive due to location and the fact, London is more expensive than any other part of England.
I like both these shopping centres, just because I love shopping, but if I had to pick one, it would have to be the Stratford one because there is a lot more I can afford there, compared to the one in White City/shepherd's Bush and it feels more like Oxford Street than Shepherd's Bush/White city because as it has the Selfridges feel, and I can never afford anything there, unless it was a high street brand. But this is a nice change, from the Oxford Street shopping scene.
Westfield shopping centre has got to be one of the most tiring shopping centres ever. I went on my own the other day for the second time, and had a great day. The best thing about it was that, on a friday afternoon, I was able to wonder around without getting pushed around by crowds, I got excellent help from the shop assistants, and it wasnt at all noisy.
There are all my favourite shops apart from Primark, shops like H and M, New Look, Zara, Republic, Dorothy Perkins and River Island. There are also shops that sell electronics, designer stores for the wealthy and fussy, and a whole host of restaurants and bars.
As the biggest indoor shopping centre in Europe with 260 shops, I thought I would be able to find some jeans. However Topshop was out of stock in my size, New Look had a pitiful collection, and H and M had no jeans to be found that didnt have ridiculously large flares. I ended up buying mine from Dorothy Perkins.
When I visited Westfield before it was to meet a friend for dinner and drinks. We queued up at Pizza Express, used her staff discount and had a normal pizza express meal, the service was quick and we were in and out before we knew it. We then went to the pub style bar in the outside restaurant section where we had a great night getting drunk on reasonably priced drinks. The bar staff were very friendly and chatty, and the atmosphere was good for a fake sort of pub.
I would recommend westfield if you need a shopping fix, but definately go in the week as I can imagine at weekends it is totally unbearable. Also wear comfortable shoes as its a huge area to cover walking from shop to shop.
Easily accessible by tube at Shepards Bush and you can get buses easily to Camden, and NW London. I would recommend the overground train if you are coming from SW London.
Today was my second visit to Westfield shopping centre and although it is this visit I am writing my review on, I will quickly mention my previous visit.
The first time I visited Westfield was in the post Christmas sales. Even arriving at 9am as I did it was busy and by lunchtime it was packed with people all trying to grab the same bargains. Although there were plenty of bargains to be had, getting them took some effort- fighting through people to get a look at the clothes rails and then long queues for changing rooms. I did come away with some good buys, but I will avoid such a place again around the sales. Being such a big shopping centre it obviously attracts thousands of people and the car park queue for those arriving as we were leaving at about 3pm must have been over an hour long.
This was a much more pleasant experience, and one I look forward to repeating. This time I took the tube. This is very easy to do as there are several tube stations (namely Wood Lane and White City) only about 2 mins walk from the entrance. Arriving at about 2.30pm it was surprised at how quiet is was(considering my previous experience maybe not surprising!). The range of shops is fantastic-there is something for everyone. What impresses me most though isn't the shopping, good as it is, but the layout and overall design of the centre. It is focused around a central area at the top of which is the cinema. Around here there are also plenty of eating places to suit all palettes. Around this there are what I would best describe as a network of streets. Big enough for you to lose your bearings at times, but not so big you get totally lost(and there are electronic maps at regular intervals should you want to find a particular store) At the bottom of this central section at Christmas there is an ice-rink-fun both to go on and to watch.
Throughout the centre there are areas of seats-but not just benches as in many shopping centres. They are carefully designed to look appealing and they invite you to sit down and take a rest from the shopping. Some even have a children's area to young families-a thoughtful touch.
Outside, there are the Southern Terrace restaurants. A collection of different restaurants serving food from a range of countries. This is where I ate today. All the restaurants have shaded tables outside along the pedestrian 'street' similar in style to restaurants you find in Paris and Italy and when its sunny this is a wonderful place to eat a reasonably priced and very tasty meal.
My personal favourite area of Westfield was a section called 'The Village'. This is the area where the designer shops such as Prada can be found and the atmosphere in here changes to a calmer feel. Even if you will not be buying anything there it is lovely to wander round and have a look in the shops.
I found all the staff who worked in Westfield helpful and attentive and the cleanliness of the centre was outstanding. From the food areas to the toilets I had no complaints at all on the levels of cleanliness. It also has the advantage of being so big you do not feel enclosed. It is easy to forget you are in a shopping centre as everything is on such a big scale and there are so many places to take a few moments out from shopping.
When I first stepped into the Westfield Shopping Centre (or should I say Mall, it feels way more American than any other shopping centre I've been to, including American ones) I was overawed by the size and cleanliness of the place.
Being from Essex, I grew up with Lakeside AKA Chavside, which did the job of my town High Street, but under one compact roof. Now when I was younger I thought that was big. If Westfield was open back then, it would have seen colossal.
The shopping centre (mall) is a little confusing at first, and the technological advanced maps are always heavily popular, making it difficult to navigate at times. After checking the internet map before going, and being a man who is not so bad at locating things, it doesn't pose too much of a problem.
I saw a review on here lamenting the lack of MacDonalds and KFC. Are you mad? I was refreshed to not see the treacherous Golden Arches and Colonels smug beardy face.
Alright there's a Burger King, but that is a posh person's MacDonalds, so it's not too bad. You should open your palette to some of the delights the food court offers. I mean, it does have a Nandos! But a place I like is called TiffinBites, an Indian place with serious good food. You don't have to go overboard, they do lovely clay-oven wraps and rolls (and if you have a Taste London card, 50% off, result!)
Now to the important part - shopping. Part of me is sad at the demise of the High Street, with empty shops not being filled, probably with the popularity of the big three - Bluewater, Lakeside and Westfields.
But part of me wants to say 'I told you so.' Every High Street looks the same. Same shops, same bland food, same benches - it's kind of depressing that I could be shopping in Southend High Street and then shopping in 'Northern Town' High Street and it could be the same place.
Westfields offers everything easily under one large roof. The usual Topman, Zara, H&M and HMV, mixed with some you don't get in my local High Street, Hollister, Ed Hardy and All Saints.
Oh and there's no Primark - refreshing!
And for the richer amongst you, a 'millionaires' row of designer shops, like Louis Vitton and others that I cannot think of, simply because I don't shop there (although, like many others, window shop!)
The transport links are great, tube, buses and overground all seconds away. Being on the Central Line, means you can easily do, if you're brave, Oxford Street and Westfields (although, comparing the two, Oxford Street is crowded and stressful.)
Oh and let me mention the toilets before I sign off. The ones by 'millionaires' row. Wow. Best public toilets in London, if not London, if not Europe, if not the world! Luxurious.
A pleasant experience can be found at Westfields, and I'm not that big on shopping. If you get dragged around by the other half, you can be save in the knowledge that all the thirsty work can be quenched by a nice frosty beer in one of the lovely pub/restaurants in the outside bit, which is lovely in the Summer.
Westfield London is an indoor shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, London.
I hate it, yet find myself there several times a month.
Growing up in inner London I've never been to any large shopping malls such as Lakeside or Blue Water which are located further out in Greater London. I can't compare them to Westfield but I believe this is the reason why Westfield was built; there are no large-scale indoor shopping centres in London. Westfield seems to be an attempt of an indoor and more compact Oxford Street.
SHOPPING AT WESTFIELD
With over 260 stores, it's the biggest inner-city shopping centre in Europe. It's huge, too huge, so expect crowds and to get lost at least once. Touch-screen maps are located around all floors but the interfaces on these are poor; they take ages to respond, freeze, only display one store at a time and frequently completely crash so queues are always formed. On my first visit to Westfield, on its opening day, every interactive map had broken down. If you want a printed map you will have to request one at the help desk.
What makes Westfield unique apart from its size are the premium designer shops. A rarity in shopping malls, Westfield has an area called The Village located at the entrance at Shepherd's Bush Green end. 34+ black label brands including Dior, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Gucci and Tiffany & Co are located here. As most of these stores are usually empty of customers, its location is ideal to avoid crowding around the entrance.
Searcys, a champagne bar is the focal point between Tiffany & Co, Dior and De Bears.
So far, Westfield feels like a world away from any typical shopping mall. However, after passing The Village and into the main area, it's a different story. The main area holds all your main high-street stores, all with large floor space and friendly staff.
There are four dominate department stores, one in each corner - House of Fraser, Debenhams, Next and M&S all occupying three floors and each trying to out-do one another in terms of size. Other popular stores include; Apple, HMV, H&M, ZARA, UGG Australia, Jimmy Choo, Boots, MAC, LUSH, L'Occitane, Timberland, Alessi, Habitat, Laura Ashley, Links of London, Myla, Addidas, Topshop. Most of these shops are too expensive for me and make it impossible to find a bargain. Shops that surprsingly are missing are Urban Outfitters, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge & Primark.
A Waitrose supermarket is situated next to the entrance underneath House of Fraser.
Banks are Halifax, ICE Bureau de Change & Natwest. There are shockingly very few ATMs which are hard to find. They are tucked away next to the toilets in The Village (ground floor).
The building itself is clean and spacious, but the design is tacky; giant hot pink chandeliers attached to high undulating roofs and random white sculptures covered in moss.
Places to eat are plentiful and located on all floors as well as outside.
The price of food ranges, though Westfield could offer more budget-friendly family restaurants.
The Loft & The Balcony are Westfield's food courts, with the most impressive range I've ever seen in a food court. The Loft is the more family-friendly court (Nandos, Byron, Pizza Express and Spaghetti House). The Balcony is for communal dining, although still child-friendly with places like Pho and Chip+Fish which are both very popular (so queues for tables form). Pho sells decent medium-sized portions of noodles which are reasonably priced at £6.45 to £7.95. Chip+Fish is a new restaurant unique to Westfield.
Overall the food here is very good but there is not much choice for those wishing to eat on a small budget.
During the summer eating outside is pleasant. Exterior cafes along the entrance offer food-to-go such as drinks (Starbucks, Costa), hamburgers (GBK & Burger King), sandwiches (EAT., Food Station), paninis (Benugo) and sweet treats (Joe Delucci's Ice Cream, Millies Cookies). Alternatively you can by snack food in M&S or Waitrose. Prices range and are ideal for enjoying a quick snack while sitting along the small wall fountain (there is no proper seating here).
The M&S store also offer a food station infront of its store offering hot drinks, fresh juice, light snacks and a spacious seating area. The fresh juice is lovely, but seems rather pointless as M&S fresh juice is served cheaper inside the store.
Along the centre of each floor are other food-stations for quick bites. My favourites are Sblended and Snog. Sblended is a make-your-own-milkshake bar where you can choose from a huge list popular confectionary as well as bizarre doughnut fillings such as Marmite and banana. Sblended is not good for the waistline but coincidentally my other favourite food station is Snog which sell delicious and healthy frozen yoghurt in old-fashion ice-cream mini tubs.
All food stations are close to 'husband/boyfriend' areas, seating areas of giant leather chairs so you can grab a milkshake and relax.
Westfield is ideal for those with young children. The spacious layout, wide doors and stair-free access make it easy for those with buggies. The baby and feeding rooms are clean and spacious with toys, television and furniture to make you feel at home. Family toilets feature toddler and adult toilets side-by-side. For the kids there is a play area and toy cars for children over the age of 1 to use.
Family events are held regulary at Westfield including free face painting on Sundays, Mummy Mornings on Mondays and early-morning weekend cinema screenings from 95p a ticket. The free Kid's Club offers discounts and a goodie bag (more information is on the Westfield Website).
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?
Westfield regularly holds celebrity events; Mariah Carey turned on the Christmas lights and mini-concerts happen often. I advise that you check the website prior to visiting, especially if you wish to avoid these.
I made the mistake of visiting during a Justin Bieber signing at the HMV store. Not only was Westfield more crowded than usual with thousands of screaming schoolgirls and exhausted looking security guards, but HMV was completely inaccessible as there was no room.
A year after opening, Westfield opened a 14-screen VUE cinema which I've yet to visit but it sounds amazing; reclining seats and 'large-format digital screens the size of four double-decker buses' according to the Westfield website. Tickets can range in price depending on the time and day so it's best to plan online in advance.
A library costing £2 million has recently been built with over 10,000 books, a 1000 new DVDs, 600 CDs and 25 computers! with over 1000 new DVDs, 600 CDs and 25 computers. If covers two floors.
Other services include cloakrooms, shopmobility, family rooms, drycleaning services.
Despite it's odd location, Westfield has strong transport links.
For public transport, the Overground (train) from Clapham Junction or Willesden Junction which takes approximately 10mins from either, alighting at Shepherd's Bush. This is what I use most often, it's easy (there are only two platforms), cheap, and fast. Trains leave around every 20mins.
Underground/Tube (a separate station from the Overground) connects to the Central Line (red) and Hammersmith & City Line (pink).
A new bus station was built with frequent buses. More details can be found on the TFL website.
All stations are located around the entrance to Westfield. Oyster Card (including Pay-As-You-Go) can be used on all these options making it affordable and easy if you have a topped up Oyster Card. The Overground Station only has one ticket window but rarely has long queues, however the Underground can form enormous queues around rush hour so it's best to top-up before hand.
By car, Westfield is easy to access from the West Cross. The car park is housed below the shops with 4,500 parking spaces spread over 3 levels. A traffic light system indicates availability; red light for full, green for vacant, blue for disabled and orange for parents with buggies. All this comes at a cost though.
Car park rates start from £2 for 2 hours on weekends & £2 for 1 hour on weekdays. They go up by the hour, so if you plan on spending a day here it can work out ridiculously expensive (4+ hours on a weekend is £12!).
MY OVERALL THOUGHTS
Westfield have attempted to bring a new shopping experience to London, one that would rival Oxford Street. Yes, I've visited Oxford Street significantly less since Westfield opened, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the better option. All that Westfield seems to be is a new, therefore slightly fancier, shopping centre that's on a giant scale. As a shopping centre it serves its purpose by making shopping easier, but it lacks character to make it stand out; the decor is foul and generic and the shops are mainly the leading names. Westfield achieves having its name in the papers through hype and by hosting events with the latest "it" celebrities, but Westfield can't compete with places such as Oxford Street or Harrods as unique shopping experiences. It simply meets an objective more efficiently; you need to buy a dress for a specific occasion so you visit Westfield for ease and convenience. The Village may be unique, but it's only useful for those who can regularly drop £500 on a handbag, and if I could, I would still much prefer to buy one on Regent's Street.
For these reasons Westfield is not a place I enjoy visiting; I simply visit because it's close.
Having always preferred indoor shopping centres like Lakeside and Bluewater to the busy streets of London I was quite excited when this first opened up. I didn't however visit it until just recently, as it is totally on the other side of London to where I am most of the time. I am now working a bit of the time in Shepherds Bush and so I pop in quite frequently. I was surprised the first time I walked in as I was expecting this giant shopping centre, but for me it didn't feel any bigger than its rivals Lakeside or Bluewater. In fact I would go as far as to say it isn't AS big as they are.
Lakeside in Essex had a lot more high street style shops and Bluewater has more high end shops. Westfield is more like Bluewater. You won't find a Primark or a Peacocks but more an Ugg store and Hollister, and lots of top designer shops as well such as Burberry. The high street shops it does have are more high end like Zara - although it does have a H&M, New Look and Topshop/Topman. They have a good food court both indoors and outdoors and have recently just opened a Vue cinema in there on the top floor which is a welcome addition.
The ceilings are much higher in Westfield which gives you the illusion that everything is much bigger. It isn't! In fact the H&M is so tiny in Westfield (with no mens section last time I was there) that it's hardly worth looking in! There is a good selection of shops I would say though. You have your every day places like Boots, Superdrug, WH Smith, HMV, you also have a variety of banks including Halifax and there is also a Debenhams in there and a Waitrose for food shopping (only really handy if you don't live far away I would guess). Like I said clothes shops wise there is a good selection. I for one love the fact that there is a New Look and an Ugg store pretty close together - something Oxford Street can't offer you. But it perhaps could do with a few more high street shops. The Boots is quite large but I find that things aren't very ordered in there and I find it quite difficult to find things if I am looking for something specific.
Whenever I have been in there it's been during the day not evenings or weekends so I am not sure how busy it would get. It's fairly roomy in there with plenty of leather recliner seats scattered around - handy for the men out shopping with their other halves to stop and have a rest! Its quite a pretty shopping centre as well I suppose - its all very clean and new though so we'll see how it looks in ten years time! There's even a champagne bar (!) you can stop and have a cheeky glass of champers at! I imagine popular after work with some people but seems like a bit of a waste of space they could be using for something else more profitable to me.
One downside I found with Westfield is that basically the place is on two floors in a circular shape so you will eventually get back to where you started from. But there don't seem to be any maps anywhere except at the door where you walk in (although this is usually always empty). Very frustrating when you are looking for one shop and walk around for ages looking for it. There are a couple of monitors you can go to, to search for your store but they are few and far between. Probably an excuse to make you walk round and round looking for something, and to buy more things along the way.
Food wise there is plenty to choose from - no fast food though! Not a McDonalds in sight - if you want that you'll have to head out and walk round to the main high street where you'll find a McDonalds and a KFC and a Wetherspoons. There are places to eat inside and also a little walkway outside with other places to eat along with al fresco dining. Not had a chance to try it out yet but I think it will be quite nice in the summer. Nothing is very cheap here though. Even grabbing a sandwich will probably set you back a fiver unless you buy it from Boots! But then again, the shops in Westfield don't really cater for people with no money - you expect to spend a bit when you come here, just judging by the type of stores they have.
There's several tube stations you can use to get here. Shepherds Bush (Central Line or Overground) are a 2 minute walk past the outdoor restaurants. White City is about a 5 minute walk, and Wood Lane is right next door and was purposefully built for access to the shopping centre. During the week the centre opens at 10am til 10pm, Saturdays 9am til 9pm and Sundays 12pm til 6pm. Restaurants and the cinema are obviously open later than this. They do have free car parking - I have never driven there so can't comment on what it is like, other than that they do have it!
Overall, Westfield is what it is - a shopping centre for people who want to spend a bit more money than usual. If you are like me, you'll go there every now and then and buy a couple of things, if you have a lot of money you will be in there every week with bagfuls of stuff. It has shops that I like, but wish it had a few more cheaper high street shops.
I should have listened to what the GPS was trying to tell me. We started our day wanting to do something and not too sure what that something was. After breakfast we had decided to make our way to Westfield shopping centre. Friends, family and colleagues had been telling us to go and singing its praises so we thought why not finally give it a go.
I went onto the internet and found the postcode they give you to use specially on a GPS. Our fairly new Navigon didn't know the postcode so we ended up putting another one that was very close which would take us one street farther but once you're that close you just follow the signs so no problem, right? The GPS gave us three options of routes to take. My other half had it in his hand at the time and decided which one to go for. I hate the North Circular! I was nearly hit by a number of cars randomly changing lanes and when I finally got to the final round-about with signs for Westfield I got into the sign posted lane which took me along the inside of the round-about and thus I couldn't get over in time for the exit! Grr! I went around again and made it but did feel like we were in that scene from National Lampoon's European Vacation when they are stuck on a round-about for ages.
We made our way to the shopping centre following the signs and went into the car park. It was dead. 11:30am on a Sunday so none of the shops were open yet. It was only half an hour until everything would be open so we got ourselves together and had a little wander to see what was where. The centre looked clean and well designed. Sounds a bit sad but it looks like they out a lot of effort into it because they've grouped types of shops together. Most of the shoe shops are in one area, children's shops in another and so on.
As we walking around we came across an area of shops called the village (luxury retail). It was nice looking into some of these as they are just such lovely shops but honestly my bank account would never survive in there. There's even a champagne bar in the middle! Maybe for some people this is a normal weekend trip to the shops ... quickly nip into Du Beers and then have a glass of bubbly but unfortunately it's not the norm for me.
Moving on from the designer boutiques there are three of the major department stores and everything you'd expect to find on the high street like Next, phone stores such as T-Mobile, Oasis, JD Sports and Jane Norman to name a few. The high street stores seem to be trying to play with the big boys here as some of the prices I came across were higher then I had seen in the little high street shopping walk near home. I have been eyeing up a dress in a certain store for weeks and so I know what the price of it is. I saw it whilst at Westfield and noticed that it had a sale sticker on it. My first thought was of joy and soon it would be mine. Now the dress normally is priced at £22. I turned over the sale tag and saw that it read
Original price: £44
Sale price: £22
What kind of game are they playing here??? I checked to see if the original tag was on it and it conveniently had the original price bit ripped off. I've checked the stores website since and seen that I wasn't going mad and the original dress price was £22 and not £44. I've sent them a little e-mail letting them know as I think it's wrong to do something like that.
Alexandra Burke was singing and signing posters at the Orange store and there were people everywhere in that hallway. It was a nightmare. Tons of security standing around but no one helping to clear a path. At one point I got budged by a lady who obviously thought that her need to get past was far more important then mine. Because of this I got one of the pushchair wheels stuck against a wall and to move away I would need to swing the front wheel out a little bit but people behind me weren't willing to stop and give me the 2 seconds needed. My other half stopped to see why I had fallen behind and I said out loud, "I would catch up with you dear but no one will let me move!" (There might have been an F word in there somewhere) ... Funnily enough after saying this people moved. I must have got quite wound up because as I made it through I turned to the security guard who looked right at me and did nothing and said thank you for his help. That's not like me at all normally. Usually I think all this but never say it.
My biggest problem with Brent Cross shopping centre is the roads I have to go down and take my life in my hands to get there and no matter what time or day of the week it is you feel like a sardine. Thus why I love Bluewater shopping centre so much. Even on Boxing Day it didn't feel overcrowded. The hallways are big enough to accommodate the number of people and so it's easy to get around even with a pushchair. Now getting to my point ... Westfield felt rather big when we first got there but after the shops had opened I was struggling to get down a hallway without bumping into someone else.
Bluewater is built like a big circle so it's easy to figure out where you are whereas Westfield is a bit more of a maze. There seemed to be more of a figure eight design going on.
Another quick comparison with Bluewater ... The little pretzel stands and the like at placed under the stairs or escalators whereas Westfield have placed them in main open areas and thus people lining up for service are blocking the flow of shopping traffic.
According to the mall guide I picked up (didn't find the guide until we were leaving) there are 5 cash points on the ground floor. There came a time in the day when I wanted to draw out some cash. We searched around and after 20 minutes managed to find a cash point. We noted another one as we were leaving for the car park. That's all I saw and we were actively searching so the other three are very well hidden.
Along the course of the day we made two trips to the toilets. On the first trip (men stop reading and start again on the next paragraph) I was looking for a tampon/pads machine as Boots hadn't opened yet. There wasn't one anywhere which was a bit disappointing. It wasn't an emergency or anything but would have been nice.
The second bathroom break was for the baby. The baby changing area looked quite nice as you walk in. A little play area with a television. The television had three options on it and we went for Peppa Pig (of course). Because of the television the baby didn't budge which made changing him easy.
T4imbo3107 mentioned in his review of Westfield that he wasn't too sure what type of shopper this place was aimed for. I couldn't agree more.
We hadn't been at the centre for very long before we overheard a lady chatting about how expensive the parking was. Stupidly we hadn't looked to see what it was but we figured it couldn't be too bad on a Sunday. Normally Westfield offer the first two hours free Monday to Friday. After a couple hours of walking around, shopping and lunch we faced the £12 parking fee! Brent cross and Bluewater are free you thieving ... right calm down! I dread to think what the valet service charges.
Getting there without a car:
Closest station is Shepherd's Bush which is on the Central Line, Shepherd's Bush Overground station and Southern Bus Interchange (White City Bus station).
Another close station is Shepherd's Bush Market which is on the Hammersmith & City Line and is roughly a 10 minute walk from the shopping centre.
With a car:
W12 7SL is the postcode to use on the GPS (see above comment)
Monday - Wednesday 10am - 9pm
Thursday - Friday 10am - 10pm
Saturday 9am - 9pm
Sunday 12 Noon - 6pm
Some store hours may vary
Restaurants in the Southern Terrace are open until midnight Monday - Saturday and 11pm on Sunday
Car Park opening hours:
Monday - Saturday 8am - 1am
Sunday 11am - 1am
The car park closes to incoming traffic every day at 11pm
Everyone seems to be raving about Westfield and honestly I do not understand why. I don't intend on visiting again.
© oioiyou 2010
The opening of the Westfield Shopping Centre was an incredibly big deal for many people living in and outside of London - a massive super mall in the vein of the Americans, the Westfield promised an unparalleled shopping experience, offering all of your favourite (and soon to be favourite) brands and shops under one roof. It warranted its own Tube station! Within two months of it openings its doors, we made the trek from Canary Wharf to Shepherds Bush, ready to be blown away.
We were definitely overwhelmed, to say the least. It was a Sunday, and the Tube station was full to 'Bank Station at rush hour on Monday morning' capacity. The crowds basically picked us up and drew us towards the mall, depositing us at the outdoor food court (the 'Southern Terrace' restaurants, which boasts restaurants you know and love - GBK, Wagamama, etc. - and those you're less familiar with - Del Aziz and Balans were names I hadn't heard of).
The Southern Terrace is right next to the Village, the premium brands section of mall. Gucci, Tag, LV, Dior, De Beers - all your favourites are here. This area was quite full - I lost sight of my husband more than once - but the store assistants were very polite and attentive, if a little overwhelmed. I can see the benefits of shopping here as opposed to Bond Street if the weather was very rainy - but only just. It's 45 minutes from Canary Wharf to Shepherd's Bush and only 20 minutes to Bond Street or Oxford Circus, so it fails on that front.
From the Villlage, we made our way to the main body of the mall, and that's when the true size of the place really hit me - and the number of people. There were lines snaking out of Ugg and Hollister, and crowds of people wherever you turn. Living in London, you learn to deal with a level of constant claustrophobia - I am more than used to the sardine experience of the Tube, standing up at gigs, going out generally - but my husband and I both began to feel incredibly uncomfortable and overwhelmed. In fact, we managed to walk about a quarter of the way round (got as far as the Boots!) when I needed to step outside for some fresh air. We didn't fancy our chances again, so we left.
I haven't been back since as I don't really see the point - when I was living in Oxford, it might have been a more viable option for me as it's already on the western outskirts of the city and therefore closer for me in terms of transportation. But having Oxford Street and Bond Street (admittedly both very busy thoroughfares but not within enclosed spaces) much closer at hand, I don't have any inclination to repeat my experience there.
Living in West London, we waited we baited breath for the opening of this grand centre for retail therapy and mostly, I have not been disappointed. I first went a week after it opened and was overwhelmed by how busy it was (this was end of November so Xmas shopping had already begun) and thought I would never return. 8 months later, I did, and I'm thankful that I did.
The location is ideal. It is situated within a few minutes walk from both Shepherds Bush and White City underground and the new overground station. There are also numerous buses passing through making it easily accessible from all areas.
The shopping centre itself is architecturally interesting and inside both spacious and glamorous. Shops range from 'The Village' with it's Tiffany's and Prada through to high street stores like Top Shop. Shop-wise, it caters for all needs and does so in a pleasnat environment. No longer do we need to battle our way through Oxford Street as it's all here under one roof. Fashion - check. Music - check. Food halls - check. Opticians - check, and on, and on....
The only downside as you may expect is that the stores are somewhat smaller than their West end siblings. I've not found this to be a problem (but then I'm no shop-a-holic) but I imagine it could become frustrating.
There are also a number of great bars and restaurants too so if you get tired and need a rest, there are perfect options from a champagne bar through to Wagamama and fast food.
A thumbs up from this newly converted retailee.
I have a real love hate relationship with this shopping centre - I love the prospect of visiting but hate actually being there. Perhaps I have been deluded by thinking that each of my trips there can be completed in under an hour - how wrong can I be. I don't even go into many shops but the place is so big and so confusing that it is impossible not to get lost and clock up an inevitably large charge in the car park. The centre has almost every shop you can imagine plus some nice quirky little places that you wouldn't find on every other high street. It has ample restaurants and cafes, a cinema and a champagne bar surrounded by designer shops in the "village" area of the centre. The parking has never been a problem and I have always managed to find a space which gets me quickly into the centre but once inside I can never seem to get to the shop I need without having to walk around the entire centre to find an escalator to the next floor and then needing to pass every other shop and stand in order to get even close to where I want to be. And if you don't know where your shop is forget about finding a map, instead you must queue to use the computorised system which, although fun the first time, really does slow everything down. I am sure there are only about five of these devices in the centre and so I am sure it is the managers every intention for me to wander around aimlessly for hours without a clue of where I am or where I am trying to get to. It is a stunning centre no doubt but you will walk miles while there which leaves me very cynical about the manipulation factor of the design. I don't want some shopping centre designer trying to con me into spending my hard earned pennies and would be much more appreciative of the place if a visit there didn't feel like an expedition to the summit of Everest.
I lived in London for 14 years. Specifically, I lived in west London - an area which is full of contradictions - the Notting Hill of the movie and remnants of the Shepherds Bush of Steptoe & Son.
In the 14 years I lived there I saw a lot of changes and a lot of proposed changes, one of which was a shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. We lived in an area which was only a short stroll from the land mooted for this centre and were going to be affected by this centre so as a result I was aware of its existence almost from conception.
Over the years progress was slow - I saw the Vanderbilt Club demolished (a place made famous because Princess Diana played tennis there) and a local hostelry vanish. By the time I moved from London in 2004 it seemed to me that only some foundations and a new road for the builders had been completed and I wondered when it would ever be finished.
Well Westfield London finally opened at the end of October 2008, along with some huge public transport changes in the area and having now visited this retail behemoth, I am full of awe at the finished product.
Westfield is like nothing London has ever seen before. Sure there are huge retail malls at Lakeside and Bluewater, but they aren't IN London. This is entirely new for Greater London - and to be specific, inner London.
I have seen few shopping malls on the scale of Westfield - the only one that even comes close that I have visited within the UK is the Trafford Centre - but this one is more like the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas - a mixture of high street names and designer brands, albeit with less parking spaces. There are over 260 stores to be found here.
I got an idea of the size of the place when I realised you could get off the Central Line at Shepherds Bush and walk through the mall to the other end and come out just a short stroll from the next tube station on the line at White City. Yes - it's that big.
This is a mall where public transport is king - it is home to a new bus station, and two tube stations - one of which is completely new. There are parking facilities for 4,500 vehicles but this is a mall where you are positively encouraged to take the bus - parking isn't free!
I arrived on the Hammersmith & City line, using the new station at Wood Lane. This is just a short stroll to Westfield and as soon as you enter you are hit by the sheer size of the place.
The main retail area is on two levels with an atrium level on the ground floor. Both areas are huge - there are four anchor stores in Debenhams, House of Fraser, Next and Marks and Spencer but you are surrounded by great swathes of stores on either level as you try to flit between them. There is also The Village area which is where I can but window shop - it is home to designer brands such as Burberry, Tiffany, Gucci and Prada, with Missoni and Valentino due to open soon.
I have to say it's a great idea keeping all these stores together - it means you know where to head for if you are a designer freak, or where to avoid if, like me, this stuff is out of your league. I suspect this might be the place to go if you are hoping to spot the odd celebrity too!
There are few high street names missing from this place - Primark and BHS are absent, but not really missed. However you will find H&M, Top Shop, Monsoon, Evans, Jane Norman, Oasis, Top Shop, Zara, Gap, Disney Store, Boots, Superdrug, Waitrose, HMV, Game and Habitat.
But that's just a drop in the ocean. There's also Timberland, Ugg, Crocs, The North Face, Uniqlo, LK Bennett, Aldo, La Senza....you need to visit Westfield or the website to appreciate just how many stores there are.
It is relatively easy to navigate - if you pick up a mall guide. There are electronic mall guides dotted around the place but you really need to have the map to carry around with you as I would imagine it would take several visits to become really familiar with the place.
So there are more shops than I have seen under one roof in quite some time but what about dining? Well once again the sheer number of places here is incredible - there are cafes dotted around but there are dedicated dining areas in "the Balcony" and the "Southern Terrace" areas. The choice is incredible - you can visit Burger King or the Gourmet Burger Kitchen or try Pizza Express, Wagawama, EAT, The Meat & Wine Company - there is food here for all tastes and all budgets.
If you want to take something home to eat there is the food court at Marks & Spencer and a lovely new Waitrose supermarket.
The Terrace area is open in the evenings once the stores shut so you could, if you wanted, shop right up till the stores closed, have a late dinner and then head home!
When I visited it was half-term and Nintendo had set up stands to enable children (and adults!) to try various games out on the DS and Wii consoles. CBBC were also there, allowing children to have a go at being TV stars and being given a DVD of their three minutes of fame. My daughter did this and thoroughly enjoyed herself!
My advice if you want to visit however is to get there early. Arrive for the stores opening at 10.00 am and you can enjoy the place in relative peace and quiet. By the time midday hits the place is starting to get busy and wait till 2.00 pm and its positively heaving. My sister-in-law told me she tried to go Christmas shopping one Sunday and could barely move due to the crowds!
Westfield is open seven days a week and on Monday to Wednesday its open from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm, Thursdays and Fridays its open from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm, Saturdays 9.00 am to 9.00 pm and Sundays 12.00 pm to 6.00 pm. Restaurants in the Southern Terrace are open until midnight Monday to Saturday and 11.00 pm on Sundays.
To get there, you can use the Central Line to Shepherds Bush or White City or the Hammersmith & City Line to Wood Lane. There is a major bus station at Westfield enabling links all over London and there is also a rail station at Shepherds Bush which links Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction to stations beyond both north and south.
As already stated, parking is available, but not free. Given how heavy traffic is around Shepherds Bush Green and particularly on the West Cross Route from the Westway, I would advise using the tube whenever possible - the car park is approached from the West Cross Route adding to congestion in an already busy area. Should you be insistent upon driving car park rates vary from £2.00 for up to an hour (how can you come here and only spend an hour?!) to £7.80 for 4 hours to £24.50 for 10 to 24 hours. Valet parking is also available, and obviously more expensive - £10 in addition to your parking costs.
Criticisms are minor - however there are only two banks here (Nat West and HBOS) so I can only imagine the queues for cash machines at busy times. My advice is to ensure you have all the cash you need or your debit/credit card!
I found the toilets a bit confusing too - the doors are floor to ceiling and instead of formica are made from varnished wood. Its not always obvious if the cubicles are occupied or not. I also found a Family Room - which is a brilliant idea for families with frazzled kids - closed and not in service. Given the centre only opened 4 months prior to my visit, this surprised me.
In conclusion however I would say to anyone who is planning a trip to London anytime soon and who loves shopping - visit Westfield! You have everything you want under one roof in a reasonably accessible part of town. I can't see it replacing Oxford Street in the shopping stakes in the capital but I am sure it must be giving it a good run for its money.
Westfield Shopping Centre in White City, West London opened at the end of October 2008. I had been waiting for its opening with great anticipation as it is relatively near my home, and easily accessible on public transport, even with a toddler in tow. I managed to last a whole three days after opening before the temptation to check it out got too much for me, and since then I have shopped there on multiple occasions, mostly with my toddler but also just with my husband.
Westfield is served by three tube stations - White City and Shepherd's Bush on the Central Line and Wood Lane (which is a new station created especially to serve the shopping centre) on the Hammersmith and City Lane. Only Wood Lane has step-free access. There is also a new bus station at the site, and it is served by overground trains connecting with the National Rail network at Willesden Junction in North London and Clapham Junction in South London. Parking is plentiful but relatively expensive, starting from £2 for up to one hour.
Westfield is anchored by four major stores - House of Fraser, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and Next. There is also a large Waitrose. The anchor stores are spacious and well-laid out, making them very pleasant to shop in. M&S also has a very large food section. There are 265 stores overall, and 16 of these are international stores making their first appearance in the UK. The Village area of the mall is an exclusive, high-end shopping destination featuring the likes of Prada, Tiffany, Mulberry and De Beers. The remainder of the centre has a combination of familiar names from the UK high street such as Top Shop, New Look, Office, Monsoon and Zara and mid-priced international brands. I feel that the mix of stores is good, although it is very fashion-dominated so if you're not interested in shopping for clothes and cosmetics, you might be better going elsewhere. I like the way that they have grouped stores together by type - for example, on the lower level there are a range of stores aimed at shoppers with children including Early Learning Centre, The Entertainer and Pumpkin Patch, whereas upstairs there is a run of Home stores including Habitat, Dwell, The White Company and Zara Home.
Eating and Drinking
One of the best things about Westfield is the range of restaurants. Outside the main centre is an area called the Southern Terrace which has a good selection of restaurants. So far, we have eaten in The Gourmet Burger Company, Wagamama and The Meat and Wine Co, all of which have been great. I would particularly recommend the Meat and Wine Co. which has fabulous steaks and the longest wine list I have ever seen! Inside, there is a Nandos, a Pizza Express and another gourmet burger restaurant. The food court type area is called The Balcony and this is well worth a visit - rather than the chains we would normally expect in a shopping centre food court, there are all kinds of international cuisine on offer including Sushi, Indian, Thai and freshly made crepes. In addition, there are the usual cafes / coffee shops scattered around the centre so it's always easy to get something to eat and drink.
The Centre is well-designed and has plenty of WC / Baby Change facilities located around it. They also offer valet parking, hands-free shopping and home delivery if you've bought too much to carry it home! One of the best things as the mother of a car-obsessed toddler is that you can swap your buggy for a push-along car (or bus if you've got two children) at the Concierge desk - this service is free and is a great way of making shopping more fun for your toddlers.
I think Westfield is a great addition to the London shopping scene. For me personally, it is great to have a large shopping centre which is easily accessible on public transport with everything all in one place. I do believe that a John Lewis store would be a great addition (although I can't see where there would be space for one now), and possibly a Mothercare to sell baby / children's essentials, but apart from that it is great. It's definitely kept us entertained through the winter when we've wanted to stay out of the cold and it's a nice place to browse even if you're trying hard not to spend too much money and are really just window-shopping. It's good exercise too, my legs always ache after a day's shopping! The whole place feels really light and spacious, even on busier days and some of the interior architecture is spectacular, especially the chandeliers and glass-fronted stores in the Village. I would definitely recommend trying it out if you haven't been already.
I have visited Westfield shopping centre on a few occasions, either on my own, with my husband, or with a young child. Travelling to Westfield by public transport is easy. The Shepherd's Bush central line station is just outside and there appears to be a number of bus stops nearby.
When walking inside it is clear that top brands have put a lot of money into making their stores look visuall stunning, for example All Saints have hundreds of antique-looking sewing machines in their windows.
Paper mall guides are available at the front desk, however because the Mall is so big the paper guide may be a bit difficult to decipher. Electronic touchscreen maps are located throughout the centre and have varying heights for accessibility, although they don't always work properly.
The shopping centre is heated well, i've always ended up taking of my coat in there, even when it's been freezing outside! There are seating areas dotted around the place, this varies from low leather-style seating to bucket-chair style seating. Probably not great for those with mobility problems who struggle to get out of low/deep chairs, but perfect for my two year old to sit for a break.
I would say that this shopping centre is relatively calm most of the time, and the size means that there always seems to be plenty of room to walk about. If taking young children then I would just add that it is quite a long walk to get around all the shops, and there are no fast-food outlets e.g. Macdonalds, KFC, Burger King.
A definate positive for me... the toilet facilities are fabulous! There is luxury toilet paper (having toilet paper can be a luxury in other places!), a spray to clean the toilet, and nice hand-drying facilities. Best of all they always seem to be clean.
The shopping centre doesn't look much different now to when it first opened a few months ago, still very clean and shiny!
When I heard about Westfield Shopping Centre being opened I was very excited. I am a big fan of shopping and I also live two stops down on the tube so it was going to be very near to me. I couldn't wait to be saved from those Saturdays trawling round Oxford Street with all the tourists.
The shopping Centre opened the end of October 2008. We decided to go and visit two days after it first opened on the Saturday. We knew it would be busy because of it only just being opened and so we decided to go early in the morning. It opens at 9 am on a Saturday. It is very easy to get to, you can get the central line and either get off at White City or Shephards Bush. These stations are at either end of the shopping centre and are just a very short walk away. We got off at Shephards Bush the first time and it was obvious they were expecting a lot of people due to the amount of security they had surrounding. We have also travelled by car before as we live near and we drove one evening. It was easy to find by car and is signposted well. The carpark was huge and had lots of spaces. You buy a ticket as you go in and pay as you leave. The price wasn't too expensive for London. The carpark is split into sections so that you can remember where your car is parked.
You begin by walking through the restaurants at the front in the Southern terrace, many of these were not open when we first went but they are now. These include Wagamamas, Gourmet Burger, Fire and Stone and many more. I have not tried any of these restaurants but many have outdoor and indoor and seating and look very good. They are usually very busy when I have walked past though.
Once you have walked past these you get to the main front entrance, this is very impressive and looks very shopping centre like. Before you get to these there is also an escalator on the right to get up to the designer village. The shopping centre is very big and has massive walkways, which is very useful especially when you are expecting large crowds. I visited a couple of weeks before Christmas on a Saturday and it was busy but there was plenty of room to move around which was great. There are two floors and there are escalators positioned around so you can go up or down to a different floor. I like the fact that there are plenty of escalators as I find with some shopping centres you have to walk half way round to change floors. It is very white and clean looking as well as you would expect from a shopping centre.
There is a large range of shops to choose from, with 265 stores within the centre. These include high street shops such as New Look, Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Zara, H & M and Marks and Spencers and many more. I find these stores very good, they are large and have a wide range. I think the New Look here is a lot better than the Oxford Street one. They also have included departments stores within the centre: Debenhams and House Of Fraser. These both include all the departments you would normally expect from these stores. Other stores within the shopping centre include Boots and make up stores such as MAC. There is also an UGG shop, which is often mentioned within papers, as people have to queue up to access the store. It seems to be doing very well though and I see lots of people with bags from the store.
I mentioned earlier that there is also a designer village section. I have not actually been in this but it has stores including Dior, Joseph, Louis Vuitton, Myla and Versace. If your budget stretches that far you will have a good choice.
There are also restaurants and cafes within the centre on the second floor and on the mezzanine floor. These always look very busy but there is again a bit choice including Pizza Express, Yo Sushi, Bamboo Basket and Nandos. There are also smaller cafes and food shops around the shopping centre, which sell items from milkshakes to cookies and sweets. There will always be somewhere to grab something to eat or drink anyway. The only place I have actually eaten in was the café at Debenhams. It was very good service, we were seated quickly although it was busy. We had cups of tea and cakes and it was a reasonable price. The café was also very clean.
One negative thing I would say about the shopping centre is that because it is so big it can get a bit confusing as to what side you are on. You do get used to where things are after a couple of times visiting though. Another negative for me personally is that it does not have a Miss Selfridge. This is my favourite shop so a bit disappointing for me.
The shopping centre is open till 9pm on most evenings and was open till 10pm before Christmas, which is great for some late night shopping. It opens 10am most days apart from Saturday when it opens at 9am. On a Sunday it is open from 12 - 6pm. The restaurants outside are open till midnight most days.
It has most the facilities you would expect from a shopping centre including toilets, cash machines and information points and maps. They also provide little cars that you can push your children around in which I am sure they enjoy.
Overall I find it a very enjoyable shopping centre and it has 99% of what I want under one roof.
The thing that got me within the first minute of entering Westfield was the fact at how 'Americanised' this building actually was. From the outside it resembles a typical American mall with a range of shops and restaurants freely available inside. Well that was the plan, as some areas including the Showcase Cinema as well as a host of shops such as Louis Vuitton that have yet to even open their doors.
Not being put off by the fact that I was walking past empty shops I deliberately arrived around 6:45 in the evening as to try and avoid the crowds. Wrong!!! It seemed just as packed then as I was told it was in the daytime and to be honest was not that impressed with what I saw.
For starters Westfield in my mind doesn't flow at all. What I mean by this is that the layout doesn't allow the 'experience' to be fulfilling. A good example is Bluewater in Kent, the whole place has three malls that are connected in a circular manner so that you just have to walk and also means that you cant get lost. At Westfield it is different as both floors are spacious, yet laid out in a manner that doesn't give an even coverage and therefore you get people walking about the place not actually sure as to what they are looking for or sure where they are actually going which I think is the reason why some people asked me where WH Smiths was located. Fortunately there was a touch screen store locator a few feet from me so I politely guided them there and then found one myself to see what was actually in this vast Cathedral to retail.
I was surprised at the shops that have already opened, for example De Beers diamonds. Not a shop that I would have expected to see in any Mall at all. Also other names like Dior and Jo Malone also had outlets. Now mix this in with the normal well known names that you find everyday in the High Street, names like Debenhams, HMV, Orange and Carphone Warehouse then to me you get a strange mix of shops don't seem to gel together in a positive way as you would get one looking down its nose at the other.
It's safe to say that a lot of companies have set their shops up to be flagships for the company name, none more so evident in a number of shops such as Next or HMV where every effort has been made to make the shop unique to entice the customers in to spend. In my mind the Westfield branch of Next is the best that I have ever been in. It was spotless with a team of floorwalkers stacking the racks as soon as something was removed.
Thee are a number of independent stores that are open as well, great to look in, but do tend to price up the item for a greater profit than other shops of a similar type. Yet this is an area that raises a few concerns as people were not buying much from one of them that I visited and therefore I wonder how long it will be before the smaller shops begin to crash. Again the reason for this was simple, they were too dear. The thing that I looked at was a model of Thunderbird 3. Modelzone sells the same model for £299, in The Collector Zone they were selling this for £400 and unsurprisingly people caught wind of the high prices and were not even entering the shop.
It seems the bigger the name the bigger the shop, all the stores on the upper floor consist of two floors, Next having three and covering all levels, the same as M&S and House of Fraser. The trouble is that when you are walking around the Mall, one minute the corridor narrows and with all the lights and music that in some cases blares outside the shop can give the feeling of claustrophobia, where as round the corner you enter the main flow where people from the stations are entering for the first time and joining the people who have been there some time, again this is down to the layout and doesn't take into account the flow and as I've said above the coverage can be different depending on what area you are in. One can be quiet while another is rammed as there is no evenness at all.
One of the main things that shocked me was the open air cafes, instead of having a store a company like Costa have opened a café in an alfresco manner. No problem but the trouble is that this Café is positioned in the main corridor in the busiest areas of the Mall. This caused quite a few issues as people were lining up outside and this blocked the path of others trying to get by, which in turn held others up and caused a fair amount of blocking. Personally I though this was a stupid idea to start with and found that people were again going to a well known brand rather than an independent that had seating available and were better priced.
The facilities of the Mall were readily sign posted and were clearly marked, but the trouble was that the Men's only had a cubicle and five "positions" to stand at, this lead to a queue being formed outside the Gents! I didn't wait around but went off to find another toilet, where the queue was a bit shorter. The toilets are bright and clean, but whoever did the planning needs to stop counting on their fingers and use a calculator as there are not enough facilities in the place.
Security are dressed smartly in jackets and ties were definitely out in force as they were needed, it was very hot in there, I think this was mainly due to the fact it was crowded but there were also the little gangs of hoodies that were hanging around outside shops or all walking in together into the massive 02 shop. Security knew these were going to be a problem and you could see them on the radios, I felt this was re-assuring on the whole.
I would have liked to have had something to eat while I was there as there is a plethora of restaurants ranging from Yo Sushi! to Tiffinbites. Impressively cuisines from all across the world have been accounted for. There are a number of areas that people can dine in; the most popular seemed to be the Southern Terrace which is where I entered as a lot of the outlets here were filling up with people queuing for a table.
I've been to this part of London a number of times, mainly to BBC related things such as studio recordings. The BBC is directly opposite on the western side of the Mall anyway, but for me this is a strange place to build something like this as it could have such a negative impact on the structure of the environment with local shops. A good example is the fact that opposite the Train Station is the Vue Multiplex, shortly the Showcase Cinema will be opening in Westfield, so the big question will be who will win the battle. I suspect that Westfield will win as the Showcase Cinema will be state of the art, but again this is impacting the area in really an unnecessary manner.
Even though it was around 7pm that I went, the Mall was in no way quiet as it was still frantically busy, with Westfield being open till 8pm on a Saturday and 10pm on a weekday in the run up to Christmas I was just thankful that I didn't go on a Sunday. Locally this has had a questionable impact on the surrounding area as the traffic levels around the infamous Shepherds Bush one way system have rocketed as the local roads become jammed, not surprising as the decision was made to have only 4500 spaces for parking and even though the emphasis is on public transport the buses seem to have been a victim as well it takes them longer to go through Shepherds Bush than before.
The transport links are the strongest thing that the Mall has going for it, with a train station on the doorstep that has a regular service south to Brighton and north to Milton Keynes, this is a strong selling point, coming home took me just 9 minutes to return to Clapham Junction to get my connection to Sutton. With three separate stations for the London Underground as well including the recently re-opened Shepherds Bush Central Line Station. Other stations include White City and the newly renamed Wood Lane station. This was renamed as this was also called Shepherds Bush but was part of the Hammersmith and City Line, so to avoid confusion it was renamed to Wood Lane. All stations have their own dedicated path to get to the required transport link and this also includes the Bus Station as well, this was still under construction when I visited.
Strategically Westfield sits in the middle of the stations, so finding the place isn't hard, I would strongly advise leaving the car behind as only 4500 spaces have been created for cars and at £2 per hour the parking tariff isn't at all cheap. The funniest observation was that most of the cars coming out of the car park were mainly Chelsea Tractors! Perhaps this says that the local people are using this as their corner shop.
Overall I was pretty disappointed with Westfield; my preference for shopping has not changed as it is still Bluewater that is my preferred location, and besides Lakeside being 20 minutes away over the bridge allows a greater level of stress free shopping to be undertaken. There are a number of reasons for this, put simply the facilities at Bluewater are better, more parking, free parking, a better standard of lavatories and for me a wider range of shops that I can afford to buy items from. In the end I didn't actually buy anything other than some vouchers from Boots that I needed as a lot of the shops just didn't appeal to me at all.
Whether this will succeed or not is a question best left to the Gods of retail, a lot depends on the climate and what level of money people have to spens, I think the down to earth shops will no doubt take more money than the specialist varieties, and this time next year I think we could a totally different type of Mall altogether. There has genuinely been a lot of hype about this place since it opened on 30th October and I felt the hype was not justified at all, not sure as to whether or not this place was specifically aimed for people like me or not. I just found that the place was too busy, too loud with inflated prices.