As most of you will have gathered by now, I’m not very good at doing reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoy doing reviews – especially when they’re more than just objects. And for some strange reason, people keep asking me to review stuff – so I merrily carry on. This latest assignment was a little different, and as you’ll see from my post, I embraced it with open arms. Because I was asked to review… an entire shopping centre!
Yes, I was asked to review the Westfield shopping centre. More specifically, I was asked to head down to my local Westfield (which, as luck would have it, is just a few miles away from where I work in Chiswick) and see what dads might make of it. I guess the science behind the theory is that most dads hate shopping (something I certainly can’t buck the trend on!) but that Westfield has enough to amuse even the most curmudgeonly of fathers.
As a self-confessed shop-o-phobe, I relished the challenge I was set – even more so when they handed me a gift card and suggested I buy myself a treat or two. So, yesterday evening, I headed over to Westfield and had myself a wander. Rather than just rattling off a long essay about what I thought of it, I thought I’d “do a Buzzfeed” and summarise my findings in a handy list.
So, here are my 10 reasons that dads (or parents in general, really) might be pleasantly surprised by a trip to Westfield…
10. It’s easy to get there.
I personally got the bus from Chiswick (which dropped me right at the main entrance to the centre) but you’re also in easy reach of at least 2 underground stations AND they’ve got a massive car park. The only thing they’re missing is an airport!
9. There’s food bloody everywhere.
You certainly won’t go hungry in Westfield. Whether you want to sit down for a full meal, stop for a drink or stock-up on sweets for the kids, there are food-stops all over the place.
8. There are maps and signs everywhere.
I know that sounds a bit random, but I lose count of the amount of times I get lost in shopping centres, and we all know how much kids LOVE it when you have to keep going round and round looking for shops.
7. Computer terminals too!
Around virtually every corner is a computer-screen information pod… thing, which contains maps, a search-able shop directory, how to find your nearest toilet – everything you need, basically.
6. There’s plenty for kids to to.
As well as all the traditional retail-based options, there are several “kid zones” dotted around the centre, which are basically miniature crèches where the kids can chill-out when they get bored.
5. It’s cleverly planned.
I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, but all the child-friendly shops seem to be in the same place. If you’re smart you’ll make it the last area you go to – the light at the end of the tunnel for the whining child you’re with!
4. All the posh shops are kept separate.
Again, that might seem like a random observation, but by creating ‘The Village’ (where all the posh shops seem to be) at one end of Westfield you can ensure you don’t step into a classy shop with a screaming child by mistake. After all, nobody in Debenhams bats an eyelid when a child screams, but take them into Prada and you’ll get dirty looks left, right and centre!
3. It’s not just clothes.
I’ve been to a few shopping centres (I’m looking at you, Bicester) where it’s nothing but shoes and clothing – not a ‘fun’ shop to be seen anywhere. Thankfully Westfield has a great mix of shops and stores to keep even the most ardent shop-o-phobe happy.
2. Everywhere is immaculately clean.
Including the toilets! I didn’t look in every one (after all, that would be creepy) but every ‘facility’ I used was sparklingly clean – plenty of baby-changing facilities too.
1. They have one of THESE bad boys.
Yep, they have a Lego Store. No prizes for guessing which shop I chose to ‘treat’ myself in… :D
If you want to find out what else is going on at Westfield (including some fun ‘themed’ events) you can download their ‘Make a Date’ booklet here: http://uk.westfield.com/london/make-a-date