I’m not a big fan of trips to shopping centres/malls. I find them a bit claustrophobic, I feel like I’m a prisoner and all you can see around is a mass of people and shops. So it’s a rare thing to find me in one.
We went yesterday, because hubby was curious to visit Bluewater, a mall not too far from us (35 minutes by car, without traffic). I’ve been there twice before, one for work and one when I was on maternity leave, Laura being around 3 months old, I think. I wanted to spend my gift vouchers from John Lewis and wanted to stop at Mothercare, so I thought “why not?”. Bluewater is not a very traditional shopping centre – there is a lot to do outdoors, especially for kids, like play areas, gold courses, lakes, etc. Shame that the weather here is not the best for these type of places.
I can’t remember what time we got there, probably close to midday as we were very hungry, and we left around 15:30. It was enough to let Laura exhausted, grumpy, annoyed and annoying and I have to say that I had more than enough too. We had lunch at Giraffe (ok, but no big deal) – a kids friendly chain, but it was my first there, ice cream at a italian ice cream kiosk, I spent my vouchers and got what I had to get from Mothercare, Laura played in the outdoor kids area (free), went twice to the bouncy castle (£2/5 min) and we had a 15 minute boat ride in one of the lakes (£6/15 min). It was fun but, as I said, exhausting.
In terms of shopping malls, from the ones I visited in the UK (Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Westfield Stratford, Trafford in Manchester, Bullring in Birmingham, Lakeside in Essex and Bluewater in Kent), this might be the best one when it comes to location x kids’ area x outdoor space x shops (that are relevant to me). But if I can chose, I rather shop on the high street.