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Pretty, good selection of shops, not for those hard strapped for cash though!
Westfield Shopping Centre (London)
Member Name: emmajt81
Westfield Shopping Centre (London)
Advantages: Pretty, clean and new, plenty of places to eat and shop
Disadvantages: Expensive shops, not much cheap high street stuff, not very Central
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.
Summary: Nice place to visit once in a while for lunch/window shop but not a place to come to every week!