Leisure, food and shopping
Aug 24 2010 by Francesca Craggs, The Journal
From Britain's best shopping centre to an abundance of independent boutiques, the North East is a shopper's dream. Francesca Craggs takes to the high street to bring you the best in the region's retail therapy.
IT is, with more than 330 stores and 50 restaurants sprawled over 1.818 million sq ft, the largest shopping centre in the European Union.
It is also the best in Britain, according to some industry awards.
With a new cinema featuring a 3D screen and an IMAX digital – the first in the region, and wonderful transport links to the rest of the region, it is easy to see why it picks up the accolades. It’s even got its own chaplain.
The famous blue, green, red and yellow malls are synonymous with the shopping centre experience. Metrocentre offers everything you need to enjoy retail, dining and leisure.
Stocked full of key designer and cost- conscious brands, the centre boasts several department stores including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, as well as themed shopping areas that house a variety of specialist independent shops.
Metrocentre Qube, the latest addition to the centre, includes a range of eateries from YO!Sushi to Zizzi. These new names have added to the exceptional choice of restaurants already at the centre.
The Namco Funscape provides even more fun for the whole family with 18 ten-pin bowling lanes and the fastest dodgem track in Europe.
In Newcastle, the Eldon Square complex is bigger and better than ever thanks to a £170m redevelopment programme.
One of the UK’s largest city-centre shopping destinations, this year saw the launch of brand new mall, St Andrew’s Way.
Opened to a wave of excitement in February, not least due to the presence of a highly-anticipated Apple store, shoppers queued round the block to be among the first inside the new development.
A joint partnership between Capital Shopping Centres plc (CSC) and Newcastle City Council (NCC), the mall includes a four-storey Debenhams, and flagship stores for River Island, New Look and Topshop.
It also features high street names like Tesco Metro, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Schuh, Republic and Paperchase, as well as Hollister, Superdry, Guess, All Saints and Oasis.
The Apple store is the only one to be found between Sheffield and Glasgow.
Over the past five years, Eldon Square has been remodelled and extended to almost 1.4 million sq ft, and during this time has welcomed many new retailers and relocated stores already part of the Eldon Square family.
As well as popular high street names, there is also the addition of many new food outlets including Nando's, Strada, Starbucks Coffee, Waitrose, Wagamama and Esquires Coffee.
While the new Eldon Square and the Metrocentre are the big hitters on Tyneside, the likes of the Prince Bishops centre in Durham and the Bridges in Sunderland, provide ample choice for the rest of the region.