Situated in Kent, Bluewater is one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe with more than 330 shops, 40 cafes, bars and restaurants plus a 13 screen Cinema, there attracting thousands of visitors each month. Bluewater has successfully combined retail and leisure to offer a day out destination. Bluewater offers something different to other centres with an unrivalled collection of stores, a wide selection of restaurants and compelling leisure attractions. With a collection of over 330 stores including leading national and international names, Bluewater has brought the best of London shopping to Kent and the surrounding area.
Once you enter the Bluewater, first you will see Welcome Halls. Welcome Hall offers everything customers need for their shopping in Bluewater. There are numbers of cash machines, coffee kiosks, telephone and toilets. There are also some helpful signboards and directories helping customers plan their shopping more effectively, customers can also find concierge desks and lockers in the welcome halls. There are also pushchairs and wheel chairs for disable or senior citizens.
The Shops -
At the three corners of the centre, are the three main department stores: John Lewis, House of Fraser, and Marks & Spencer. As well as stocking a wide range of goods as you would expect, I have found these stores come in very handy for keeping track of where you are in the centre, and of where you parked the car!
Clothes stores probably represent the majority of the shops in the centre, and there are shops for all ages, sexes, sizes, tastes and budgets on offer. Popular chain stores for high street fashions include Top Shop, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, New Look and Bay Trading. There are also several shops specializing in sports clothing including JD Sports and First Sport, and even one bridal wear store.
All in all, I can conclude that there is pretty much something for everyone, and that you are unlikely to leave empty-handed.
Eating & Drinking -
There are several coffee shops situated throughout the malls, including Costa Coffee and Starbucks where you can stop for a drink and a cake, pastry or sandwich when the shopping starts to wear you out. There are also a few ice cream vendors along the way, to keep the children pacified!
There is a food court style area on the ground floor offering a range of quick and simple foods, including baked potatoes, bagels, salads and sandwiches. There are also several fast food restaurants around and about the place including Burger King, McDonalds and KFC, so lunch doesn't have to eat into your shopping time too much.
For those of you who would rather take some more time over your meal, and perhaps try and forget the fact that you are in a shopping centre, I would recommend the Village, Winter Garden or Water Circus areas. In these areas you can find a wider range of restaurants to suit all tastes. Restaurants include TGI Fridays, Pizza express, Mise En Place, and Yo Sushi! Many of these restaurants stay open later than the centre itself, often until 11pm
There is also a 13-screen cinema which has stadium style seating, the cinema offers latest movies from Hollywood or international famous film. You can also find the world largest conveyor belt sushi bar at 95m is at Yo! Sushi, and the winter gareden, the largest green house in the U.K, built by 1000 square meters glass and steel atrium in Bluewater, another special feature of Bluewater will be the in-house police station with six officers on duty at any one time, this make shopping safer in Bluewater.
Leisure, activities, access and mobility in Bluewater:
Facilities: I think this is the most impressive part of Bluewater and sets it aside from all the other major shopping centers. Bluewater understands that shopping with children can be difficult, so they offer the following sericive to make your time with them so much more enjoyable. For shoppers with babies, Bluewater provides baby care rooms, changing facilities, nappy vending, bottle warming and mothers feeding area, as well as high chair in dining areas designed with space for pushchairs.
Offering superb state of the art childcare including arts and crafts, computers, sports area and educational toys, for children age 2 to 4 years, and 5-8 year olds on Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holidays. They will enjoy fun, exciting have a go activities under the careful supervision of our experienced staff. Enjoy some shopping time to yourself whilst your kids have fun.
Transport and Parking: Guest who want to drive to Bluewater are well provided for with 13,000 free parking spaces, extra width bays and valet parking they also offer bicycle parking bays for Bluewater guests with special needs, located throughout the car parks adjacent to the entrances. An extensive public transport network makes Bluewater even more accessible, there are over 60 buses an hour and over 130 trains a day you can take train from centre London and take 45 mins to get there.
Sight and Sound: Bluewater has installed a way finding system for the partially sighted or blind. Equipment can be obtained free of charge from shop mobility.
Wheelchair Hire: Bluewater has a specialist service called shop mobility for the hire of electric wheelchairs and scooters.
Leisure & Activities: this are including Land Rover Adventure Zone, Nestle All Stars Active Zone, the Blue Rock Climbing Wall, The Timberland Discovery Trail, Fishing, Golf Pro Tour Putting, Cycles and Tandems, Boating, Showcase Cinemas and Molton Brown Day Spa.
The Timberland Discovery Trail weaves its way through the beautiful country side, introducing the nature and wild life that surrounds Bluewater.
From beginners to tournament professionals, every one can practise their stoics on Bluewater's Putting Course.
Molton Brown Day Spa: cream, oils, ointments and therapies to relieve the stresses and strains of modern living.
I think before you go if you're unfamiliar with Bluewater a look at the internet site is a must especially if you are planning it as a day out. On there you will find more information about all the facilities and services I've mentioned plus some others that I've not. It might also be a good idea to use the day planner that is available, just choose the types of shops you wish to go to, the kind of restaurants and activities you're interested and it will list all the appropriate shops. You'll get the name/type of shop/location on the map and phone number.
If you like shopping then I'm sure you'll love Bluewater. If you're not used to being on your feet all day, then it can get tiring, but there are plenty of places to sit down or buy refreshments. I would advise you to go on a weekday if possible, as it is much quieter, and to only visit occasionally. It is a great place to shop for Christmas or birthdays as there are so many different kinds of stores that you can probably get all your shopping done whilst you are there. If you live anywhere near or ever come down this way I would advise you to try it out.