Must-visit: 10 of the biggest UK shopping centres for family days out

Whether you’re searching for something in particular, seeking inspiration for gifts, or simply enjoying a browse, visiting a shopping centre beats online shopping every time.

In this blog, we’ve shared our list of the 10 biggest shopping centres in the UK. With cinemas, bowling alleys, top-class restaurants and family-friendly treetop adventures, there’s something for everyone to turn a shopping spree into a fun-filled day out.

1. Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush London

Editorial credit: Pajor Pawel /

Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital’s most-famed tourist sports? Hop on a tube or catch a bus to the beloved Westfield London shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush. With almost 3000 stores, over 80 delicious eating venues and a cinema, to catch the latest blockbuster, the centre has something for the whole family. Little ones can enjoy the indoor city at Kidzania London, and there are plenty of bars for the adults to enjoy a cheeky tipple. Visiting London’s Westfield is always a great idea, especially as they offer seasonal events all year round! 

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2. Metrocentre, Gateshead

Famed for its high street stores, big-name brands, independent retailers and brilliant restaurants, the Metrocentre in Gateshead is the biggest shopping centre in the north of England. But there’s more to it than that. Families can enjoy a game of Angry Birds Aventure Golf, or grab some snacks and head to the cinema. And for those who just can’t sit still, Clip ‘n’ Climb is the perfect way to unleash your inner thrill seeker. For those who crave a little luxury, a relaxing salon experience is always on offer at the DryBar in H Beauty by Harrods.

3. Trafford Centre, Manchester

Located just outside Manchester city centre, the Trafford Centre is an impressive indoor shopping experience offering top brand names, delectable foods, and an array of coffee shops. But it’s not just the shopping that makes the Trafford Centre so special. There’s a family-friendly treetop adventure experience, an Odeon cinema, Laser Quest, arcade, Sea Life Centre, and even a LEGOLAND discovery centre. With all that and more under one roof, it’s certainly worth a visit for families, friends, date nights, and solo shoppers!

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4. Westfield Stratford City, Stratford, London

London’s second Westfield shopping centre in Stratford City boasts the magic of the original mall, but on a smaller scale. Expect to find over 200 shops, including designer labels and high street names, as well as over 90 bars and restaurants to indulge yourself in. The centre also boasts a casino, Vue cinema, bowling alley, and an immersive baseball experience. Plus, there’s even an onsite playground to keep your little ones happy!
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5. Bluewater, Kent

With over 300 stores to explore and plenty of bars, eateries and cafés, it’s no wonder shoppers flock to Kent to explore all Bluewater has to offer. But you don’t have to hit the shops and restaurants to relish an unforgettable trip. Just outside the centre, you’ll find a nature trail inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with bug hotels, play areas and stepping logs dotted around the lakes. And for those who like to release their inner daredevil, the Hangloose Adventure and Gravity Trampoline Parks really push your fears to the limit.

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6. Bullring, Birmingham

Named after Birmingham’s bullring market which was first held during the Middle Ages, the Bullring shopping centre has become a significant landmark within the city. With two wings – the East and West – there are plenty of shops to explore. Whether you’re looking to indulge in delicious food or craving a little retail therapy, you’ll find all your favourite brands in this iconic inner-city mall. You can even let loose with Treetop Adventure Golf – a fabulous experience to enjoy with friends and family!

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7. St James Quarter, Edinburgh

Love shopping? Adore state-of-the-art architecture? A visit to St James Quarter in Edinburgh is a must! Opened in June 2021, this impressive shopping and leisure centre covers 1.7 million square feet and is conveniently situated next to Waverly station. Comprising restaurants, cafés, bars, and an exciting line-up of shops, many brands have debuted in Scotland for the first time within this lively hub. But there’s also a cinema, bowling lanes and a chance to try world-class workouts in a Peloton showroom.

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8. Manchester Arndale, Manchester

Unlike the Trafford Centre, Manchester Arndale sits conveniently in the heart of the city. In fact, it’s the biggest inner-city shopping centre in the UK! Inside, you’ll find a myriad of well-known clothing brands, toy stores, coffee shops and more. Head to the Urban Playground to enjoy a game of crazy golf, see if you can beat ITV’s THE CUBE, or chill out with a bite to eat and a cocktail in the food court. You can even indulge in a beauty treatment (or two) while you’re there. Manchester Arndale is the perfect shopping experience for those who adore the hustle and bustle of lively cities.

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9. Liverpool One, Liverpool

Want to shop ’til you drop under the sun? Or perhaps sipping cocktails beneath the stars is a little more up your street? Liverpool One is an impressive open-air shopping complex in the heart of the city. With over 160 shops, a 14-screen cinema, indoor adventure golf park and plenty of bars and restaurants, this is the ultimate destination for a family day out. Shoppers can even take a break from busy stores to explore the world-famous Albert Dock, which is just a 5-minute walk away from the shopping centre.

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10. Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock

Planning a day out for the whole family to enjoy? Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock has everything you need for a fun-filled trip. Start the adventure by exploring over 200 shops including fashion brands, tech stores, and homeware giants, before stopping for something to eat in “The Boardwalk”. With Hollywood Bowl, Vue cinema, Puttshack and more, there’s always plenty to do – even when you’ve exhausted the shops!

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