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Shopping in the South East

(29 Posts)
Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 13:09:34


Moved down here from the Midlands two years ago and the shopping down here (we are 30 minutes south of Guildford) is driving me bat shit crazy! Where do people go down here?! I've tried lots of places and find them all hopeless. Here is the list of places I have been so far:

Guildford - quite crap and huge hill to trudge up and down

Southampton - has a John Lewis but other shops useless, particularly the Marks and Spencer

Chichester - quaint but no John Lewis and little Marks and Spencer. All outside.

Gunwharf Quays - don't even get my started. Chav paradise and everything is last season tat. Really don't see the attraction!

Portsmouth - beyond depressing.

Winchester - not much there. AWFUL Debenhams and Marks and Spencer.

I'm prepared to take the train - would LOVE to find a good shopping centre where it's all under one roof. I had three within 30 minutes of where I used to live! Paying so much to live in/renovate this house and yet facilities are just CRAP! Wish we had never moved!

Thanks for any suggestions! X

homebythesea Thu 10-Nov-16 13:21:17

How can you call Guildford is "quite crap" for shopping? It's the most high end range around. Yes it's outside, and on a hill but hey ho.

If you are after one roof then Bluewater (need a car) is prob nearest

acurtis1234 Thu 10-Nov-16 13:51:31

So what do you consider the essential elements of a good shopping centre then? Is shopping a recreational experience for you or an essential trip based on needs? If you want a John Lewis, M&S and an indoor mall, then that sounds pretty bog standard high street to me, or do you want independent boutiques and designer labels? Gunwharf Quays is supposed to be last season, it's an outlet mall, people go there to get things they can't normally afford or to grab a bargain. Not the same as a high street.

Maybe online shopping is the way to go?

Tagetes Thu 10-Nov-16 13:55:56

Tunbridge Wells has Victoria Place and the High Street around/beyond the station but that's also on quite a steep hill. Kingston (Upon Thames) is good.

AndShesGone Thu 10-Nov-16 13:56:23

I don't mean to be dippy but surely London? confused

Not oxford street unless it floats your boat but maybe one of the lovely areas for shopping like Bond Street, a centre like Stratford or Westfield ?

LIZS Thu 10-Nov-16 13:59:22

Where did you move from that was such a shopping mecca? Guildford is fine imho. Horsham quite quaint and now has JL at home, Winchester, Bluewater if you want to make a day of it, Brighton.

LuckySantangelo1 Thu 10-Nov-16 13:59:53

Hmm. Nice description of gunwharf quays as 'chav paradise.

You seem mainly bothered about M&S & John Lewis. Just order online and then you won't have to mix with the 'chavs' OP.

pennycarbonara Thu 10-Nov-16 14:04:02

Honestly, I know what you mean. Northern and Midland cities have their shops in more compact areas than Central London does, often with high street shops and a mall within a few minutes walk of each other. You could go past most of them or have a quick look in an afternoon, without having to deal with the dense crowds of Oxford Street and the smaller towns in the South East are kind of bitty by comparison.

I have dealt with this by being a lot less into shopping than I used to be, and where necessary, buying online, which doesn't really answer your question.

Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 14:10:33

Ok, I probably should explain more clearly what I'm looking for smile I would like a shopping centre (as in all under one roof, park and walk in) and a good M&S and/or John Lewis and then other usual shops like Oasis, Warehouse, Zara etc Preferably in a modern, clean shopping centre - not dated and run down as most seem to be down here. I moved from an area that had seen two shopping centres get completely redone and were great for those quick pops to the shops on a Sunday, or late night shopping.

Guildford really isn't all that. I thought it would be too judging by the way people went on about it. Yes it has a Jo Malone, Space NK, Jigsaw and so on but for every day shopping it's rubbish! I personally dislike House of Fraser which is the only proper department store and the M&S in Guildford is awful - small and tired. I'm not the only one round here who feels this way about Guildford. They were supposed to be getting a JL but the plans got scrapped confused Shame.

London is quite a journey from here - over an hour just to Waterloo. Then you have to get to shops. It's an hour and a half to Shepherds Bush and more to Stratford. I don't like Oxford Street - too busy and actually quite grotty I think. Agree there are nicer areas to shop if in London. Also - if going into London I've spent a fortune on train tickets before I've even arrived.

It just seems as though-- for all the Range Rovers and yummy mummies,-- the South East has been left way behind in terms of retail. Blue Water is next on my list but that's an hour and twenty mins away by car...

By the way, I totally appreciate this is a first world problem blush

GrendelsAunty Thu 10-Nov-16 14:11:54


Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 14:20:45

I meant to add Kingston to list of places I've been. John Lewis wasn't the best - weird layout and not huge selection in terms of fashion. Also it took AGES to get there! Thanks though wink

I know Gunwharf Quays is an outlet. It's just people talk about it as though it's a proper shopping destination! Probably because three is very little to choose from I suppose. I only ever see overpriced tat there. And I just find it depressing, sorry!

I do online shopping occasionally but I find it hard to know what sizes I need and invariably send the whole lot back. I miss trying things on!

My 'Mecca' was the Highcross Centre in Leicester (brand new John Lewis - really light, spacious, huge choice) and Derby Westfield Centre (now Itsu I believe) - that had a huge new M&S and all the other usual shops. Nice and clean and spacious. Can't bear Southampton - seems so dated and dark in comparison!!

Glad someone knows what I'm talking about! I feel as though people down here don't quite get it as they don't know any differently!

guzzywuzzy Thu 10-Nov-16 14:42:10

The Oracle in Reading. Shopping mall with House of Fraser, Debenhams and all the usual high Street stores and a 1 min walk to a big John Lewis in one direction and a good M&S in the other.

kipkipkip Thu 10-Nov-16 15:01:35

Westfield Stratford

Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 15:02:25

Thanks Guzzywuzzy. I did actually go to Reading about a year ago but didn't have long there. Can't remember whether I went to John Lewis there. Is it attached to the Oracle? Trying to recall what it was like!

guzzywuzzy Thu 10-Nov-16 16:44:32

It's almost but not quite attached! You literally cross the road from one of the exits to enter. It's a good JL in my experience.

NovemberInDailyFailLand Thu 10-Nov-16 16:46:35


CoffeeCoffeeAndLotsOfIt Thu 10-Nov-16 16:49:47

As a pp has said Basingstoke may tick all your boxes.

Btw, Guildford also has a debenhams.

Princesspond Thu 10-Nov-16 16:54:29

Bluewater is good, lots of interesting places to eat so you can stay on and not leave when traffic is bad. Mid week is best - nice and quiet. Weekends before Xmas get very busy!

Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 20:05:48

Thanks for other replies. Yes, I've been to Basingstoke. It was ok actually and probably the closest to what I was used to 'back home'.

Funnily enough, I've just read that Festival Place was bought in Dec 2015 and it should be getting revamped. A new anchor branch of Next is opening where BHS was in January 2017.

Let's hope it gets a proper John Lewis! grin

fiorentina Thu 10-Nov-16 21:27:07

Just go to London! I live near Guildford and like it for shopping, it has high end brands as well as high street stores and also go to Kingston that has JL and a few different stores. I work in London I don't think it's far to travel for shops depending where you are.

Fields21 Thu 10-Nov-16 21:39:56

I would do if it wasn't so far and so expensive - it's about £40 before I've even got to the shops! It's about 30 mins to get to Guildford on the train from here confused

Icequeen01 Thu 10-Nov-16 21:46:05

I would second the Westfield Centre in Stratford.

L1lyOfTheValley Thu 10-Nov-16 21:48:32

I second Reading - biggish John Lewis, decent size HoF & Debenhams, Zara, Oasis, H&M, New Look, Hollister, Superdry and Topshop etc.

Lots of coffee shops and places to eat during your shopping day. Best to do a park & ride though (2 to choose from depending on your route), traffic is awful into town and the parking is v expensive at the Oracle.

Oh and you can stop off at Ikea too (opened earlier in the summer on the edge of Reading).

fiorentina Thu 10-Nov-16 21:51:10

I think if you want shopping centres then maybe Reading. Or drive to London at the weekend? Sunday morning is easy to drive into town up the A3.

ReigateOptions Thu 10-Nov-16 21:54:52

I'm another surprised by your views on Guildford - all it lacks from my perspective is JL and Cos, and for both of those I go to Kingston. The layout of the JL is odd, but once you've figured it out its perfectly functional. And lots under one roof in the Bentall centre (and you can park there and walk directly into the centre).

As others have said, Bluewater is another good option - much further, but unless you go at peak times pretty quick as its A3 and then motorway the whole way. It has an excellent JL and an excellent M&S. I go there infrequently though, as I find Guildford, Kingston and sometimes central London (when I'm there for work anyway) give me enough options.

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