The closer you get to Christmas, the more shopping takes on a new level of seriousness. Practically classed as a competitive sport come December, last minute rushes for the perfect presents can be a dangerous affair.
While the eager beavers among us have already got their gifts purchased, many of us haven’t even started our lists. In order to ease the pain, we’ve listed the largest shopping centres in the UK and Europe.
In these spacious structures, even the throngs of Christmas shoppers won’t keep you from picking out your last few gifts.
Biggest Shopping Centres in the UK
Newcastle – Intu Metrocentre
Size: 194,400 square metres.
No. of shops: 350.
As Europe’s largest shopping centre it takes the average person one hour and ten minutes to walk the circumference of the centre – a total a three and a half miles. Perfect for any shopaholic looking to get some exercise!
Colossal Fact: At Christmas, Europe’s largest shopping centre needs 18 wagon loads of decorations to deck its halls. And it takes a grand total of 2,250 hours to complete decorating the centre!
Special features include: the indoor amusement arcade is great for any age, and include its own dodgem ride. But if you’re all bumped out, then the 18-lane bowling alley is a must-visit!
Manchester – Intu Trafford Centre
Size: 185,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 280.
Not only is Manchester magnificent for thrift shopping, but it is also home to the UK’s second largest shopping centre. The Intu Trafford Centre looks spectacular at Christmas with more than a million lights decorating the three miles of shop fronts.
But the Centre is more than just a huge mall; The building’s design is truly something to see, with the architecture a quirky take on rococo and late baroque style.
Colossal Fact: If you laid the London Eye on its side it would easily fit inside the area covered by the intu Trafford Centre 11 times!
Special features include: Crazy Golf, High rope adventures and indoor skydiving!
London – Westfield, Stratford
Size: 177,030 square metres.
No. of shops: 350.
Want to skip the crowd at Oxford Circus? Hop on the Jubilee line to Westfield shopping centre. This spacious shopping spot is home to big brands and small boutiques. Although the shopping centre has the environment in mind as the floor tiles convert footsteps into electricity.
Colossal Fact: It is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe in terms of its total size – 1,905,542 square feet.
Special features include: Feeling lucky? Head to the shopping market’s indoor casino!
How to get there: The Westfield shopping centre is served by London’s underground Jubilee line and numerous bus routes. See our travel guide to London for more tips and hints about getting to the capital.
Biggest Shopping Centres in Europe
Poland – Arkadia, Warsaw
Size: 287,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 230.
Arkadia is one of the largest shopping centres in central Europe, and – partly due to having so much on offer – one of the best. It has previously been awarded a 4-star rating, the first shopping centre in Poland to receive the label and the third in all of Europe.
Colossal Fact: Arkadia gets 21 million visitors a year, equal to more than half of Poland’s total population!
Special features: IMAX Cinema, indoor playground and a gym.
How to get there: Once you’ve arrived in Warsaw, the shopping centre is accessible via trams, buses and the metro.
Spain – Centro Comercial Puerto Venecia, Zaragoza
Size: 206,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 200+.
One of the newest and most popular shopping centres in Spain, Centro Commercial Puerto Venecia has been open since 2012 and has been growing annually since.
Colossal Fact: You can tie the knot here on Valentine’s day!
Special features: Stunning grounds that include a lake, an award-winning family entertainment centre and an ice rink.
France – Les Quatre Temps, Paris
Size: 200,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 230.
Unsurprisingly France’s biggest shopping centre is in the Paris business district. Surrounded by futuristic architecture and huge skyscrapers, this retail giant offers more than 200 stores where you can find gifts for anyone.
Colossal Fact: Les Quatre Temps is so big that it could hold the Palace of Versailles and the French Parliament with room to spare!
Special features: Custom made jewellery, monthly culinary shows and weekly running groups.
Austria – Shopping City Süd, Vienna
Size: 173,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 330+.
On your first visit to this shopping centre be sure to make a stop at the onsite Champagne Bar for a complimentary glass of champagne! Spend the rest of your visit wandering around the Christmas Market with a mug of mulled wine.
Colossal Fact: If Usain Bolt sprinted around the entirety of the shopping centre it would take him 5 minutes!
Special features: Shoe shining, kids playgrounds and a cinema.
How to get there: The centre is less than a mile away from the centre of Vienna, and just 10 minutes by tram. Click here for more information.
Italy – Galleria Porta di Roma, Rome
Size: 130,000 sqaure metres.
No. of shops: 240+.
The shopping centre offers the best of both worlds: it is divided into 4 sections with a mixture of smaller boutique style shops, bigger brand names and large department stores (they have an entire building devoted to Ikea!).
Colossal Fact: Big enough to contain almost all of Italy’s biggest tourist sites including the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Uffizi Gallery with room to spare.
Special features: Cooperations with several global charities.
How to get there: Almost a half an hour away from Rome, public transport easily connects shoppers to the centre.
Portugal – Colombo Centro, Lisbon
Size: 119,725 square metres.
No. of shops: 340.
Home to the biggest Primark in Portugal, Colombo Centro is a charming mix of old and new. The original design was based on the “Age of Discovery” in Portuguese history, but a recent remodel has added a contemporary flair.
Colossal Fact: Colombo Centro Comercial has 27 million visitors a year, equal to two and a half times the population of Portugal!
Special features: An indoor amusement park complete with roller coasters and the centre regularly organises cultural events from marginalised groups.
How to get there: Just outside a Lisbon metro station, click here for more information
Germany – CentrO, Oberhausen
Size: 119,000 square metres.
No. of shops: 220.
A Christmas market that doesn’t involve standing outside in the cold? Sign us up. CentrO hosts an indoor market every December. Christened the “Santa Village”, it is complete with dozens of cute little huts.
Colossal Fact: CentrO is large enough to fit 14 football fields inside!
Special features: Second largest food court in Europe.
How to get there: Located just out of the city centre, so just get yourself to Oberhausen and public transport will do the rest.
Belgium –Wijnegem Shopping Centre, Wijengem
Size: 61,913 square metres.
No. of shops: 250.
Unlike most retail venues, December is certainly a great time to visit the Wijnegem Shopping Centre. This year’s Christmas decorations went up on the 5th and will be around for all of December.
Colossal Fact: This shopping centre is so large it could hold 49 Olympic sized swimming pools!
How to get there: Located just over 1 mile away from the centre of Wijnegam.
The Netherlands – Zuidplein, Rotterdam
Size: 55,000 square meters.
No. of shops: 115.
One of the first large-scale American-style shopping centres in Europe, Zuidplein dates back to 1972 and has a huge selection of stores…perfect to purchase for everyone on your Christmas list.
Colossal Fact: This shopping centre gets over 4 times a number of visitors than the Rijksmuseum annually!
Special features: Fashions shows ahead of the seasonal releases, playgrounds and a talent show in the summer.
How to get there: Once in Rotterdam, catch the metro and get off at the station of the same name.
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