Hey Rachel, why the hell are you chatting to us about a shopping centre? What’s that got to do with anything else on here?
On the face of it, why would I even bother talking to you shopping?
Well, my friends, that is because the Trafford Centre is not just any shopping centre. It is an M&S shopping cen… wait sorry wrong advert (if you don’t get it see here).
Yes, there is a Marks and Spencer’s but the Trafford Centre, or Trafford as it is lovingly known by the locals, just happens to be the 2nd largest indoor shopping centre in Europe (behind Intu Metrocentre in Newcastle) and offers so much more than clothes shops.
Covering a total 0f 207,000m² with 11,500 free car parking spaces and an annual footfall of 31 million people it is surprisingly easy to bump into someone you know.
That’s because everyone goes there, and I mean everyone.
However, I digress. Here are 7 reasons to explore this amazing place.
1. The Architecture
“They don’t make buildings like that anymore”
A phrase I often hear when looking at older buildings. You know the ones, that were built back when the aim of building seemed to be to make them as fancy and intricate and awesome as possible.
Yeah well, the guys that designed the Trafford Centre took all that into account. This is building that has that sense of artwork about it.
It’s full of intricate designs, statues and a couple of huge glass domes.
The Grand staircase in the Great Hall would be right at home in any Royal Palace and the genius of designing the Orient food court to look like the deck of a ship complete with pool and starry sky is something else.
2. You Can Catch a Film
Found off the Orient and up in one of its signature domes, the Trafford Centre is home to an Odeon cinema.
Not only are there 20 screens including an IMAX but it plays host to Europe’s first virtual reality (VR) IMAX centre. I haven’t had the chance to check this out myself yet but Odeon states that “Suspend reality with fully immersive visuals, 360 degree sound and haptic controls that will launch you and your friends into exciting virtual worlds more realistic than anything you’ve ever imagined.”
So I’m guessing it would be pretty fun.
3. The Arcade
Found in an Aztec cave off the side of the Orient you can pretend you’re back on that childhood seaside holiday. That one where you spent all your money on the 2p drop machines and the reason why you believe you would smash any opponent if you went on the Tipping Point.
Officially called Namco Funscape, this little treasure trove is full of all the arcade games you would expect.
Plus it’s got its very own dodgems (or bumper cars), an 18 lane bowling alley and a bar for those of you wanting to add a more grown-up twist to your entertainment.
So prepare to have hours of fun!
Do I need to say anything else?
Yep, the Trafford Centre even has its own Legoland discovery centre.
Located in Barton Square head on down and get your lego on – because we all know you love to create those random little builds still.
Hey go for it, build that dream house out of lego. We all know you ain’t going to be able to afford a real, are we?
And besides, when things go wrong we can knock it down.
5. There are Creatures of the Deep
Keeping the Lego Discovery Centre company on Barton Square is the Sea Life Centre.
Go on an underwater adventure and see the real-life creatures of our Blue Planet.
Get your David Attenborough on and get up close to a variety of aquatic creatures. From turtles to sharks, to starfish and Jellyfish see them all and without getting your hair wet too!
6. It’s Open Late
And I mean late.
Not your poncy city centre 8 pm late night shopping night once a week.
No, the Trafford Centre is open until 10 pm Mon-Sat and 6 pm Sunday.
Plus all your dining options are available until midnight! (and 11 pm on Sundays)
Now that’s what I call late night.
7. It has all the shops
Need a new outfit? Wardrobe? Cushions? A bed even?
Yep, you can find it all at the Trafford Centre.
From your high street shops, department stores, bookshops and even travel agents the only store that will have you heading back into the city centre is Primark.
Not for long though, as it was recently announced that they will be moving into Barton Square under plans to expand the space and bring the main concourse inside (you can read more here).
So like I said, the Trafford Centre is so much more than just a shopping centre. You can easily spend a whole a day there and I should know as I have done, many a time.
So do like the locals do (and the rest of the North West for that matter) and plan a visit to the Trafford Centre while you’re in town. I do, however, suggest you opt to go during the week as it can get seriously busy on a weekend.
P.S. Don’t forget to take a break by the fountain, the Trafford Centre’s very own Old Faithful.
Until next time
For more ideas about how to Manchester like a local check out my other posts in this series including;
- Your Ultimate Guide to Chester Zoo
- 7 things you probably didn’t know about Manchester
- Things to do at Heaton Park
- 5 Reasons to Visit Dunham Massey