April 08, 2013

Forget Your Umbrella, Tote Shopping Bags Instead

Photo courtesy of Westfield Stratford City
             The rainy weather is upon us and we’re stuck in that awkward period right before spring where we’re anticipating substantially warmer days but not getting them. Roaming the busy high streets of London while under attack from the rain and the wind is not a fun experience; trust me. After having your umbrella turned inside out and your coat soaked through, the last thing on your mind is to keep soldiering on. For those of you missing the comforts that a shopping mall has to offer and in search of a rainy day activity, look no further than Westfield. There are two Westfield shopping malls located in London, one in White City/Shepherd’s Bush and the other in Stratford. With my friend, I took a trip to Stratford. Overground trains run directly to Stratford from Richmond, which is where I live, so there’s no hassle with changing trains or changing stations. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the hour-long ride (and the glaringly orange and brown seats).

             Upon arriving at Stratford station, arrows lead you directly to Westfield. It’s hard to miss, as it greets you almost as soon as your Oyster card has been accepted. The Westfield in Stratford is situated conveniently close to London’s Olympic Park. Westfield was built to expand London’s tourism industry and also act as a way to rejuvenate the area. The mall itself is indeed impressive and expansive, still very much a glitzy new present to be unwrapped and enjoyed. Westfield boasts a cinema, a food court, and a wide array of shops and booths. For you ladies needing a fix of Victoria’s Secret or Forever 21 (three floors, might I add), Westfield delivers. For you gentlemen wanting a markedly less crowded Apple store to cradle the new iPhone 5, Westfield delivers. In fact, Westfield delivers on almost all fronts. Designer shops coincide with shops that are more student-budget friendly, proving that there really is something for everyone. Places like Oxford Circus are remarkable in their own right simply due to the massive versions of chain stores all in one place. However, they can be overwhelming at times. Their sheer vastness can cause you to miss out on good sales or get tired of swimming around in sweaters and swarms of people. Westfield is much more enjoyable for the opposite reason; it allows you to be leisurely and uncompetitive.

             My friend and I made the slightly disastrous decision of choosing our shopping day to be on a Saturday, so there was a lack of sitting areas and a verging on aggressive struggle to bark our requests to food court staff. In the end, we managed to perch on a couch eating our Nutella-and salt-covered pretzels as we tried to recover from the “drop” part of “shop till you drop.” It’s all part of the experience though. London is a city populated with people and no matter where you go, this is always going to be a defining and constant feature. Westfield was pleasantly British as well, something that is often unique in itself in a city that houses such wide diversity.  

             There were some very good sales on at the time that my friend and I visited and the journey to Stratford was definitely worth it. Going to a shopping mall always creates a novel experience in itself, because it almost always leads to a successful day out. Don’t forget to ask if the shops offer student discounts, because 10 percent, or sometimes 15 percent, off of an item is nothing to scoff at! Don’t hesitate to be bold either, because some shops even discount sale items further.

             The best part of the day? I didn’t even need to pack an umbrella.

             If you're interested in seeing what Westfield has to offer, take a look here

Photo courtesy of Mall Express

No comments:

Post a Comment