- May B's Blog
- High speed shopping at Stratford Westfield
High speed shopping at Stratford Westfield
Posted by May B on Saturday 25th of February 2012
Earlier in the week, I had to go to a client meeting in Kent so I took the high speed train from St Pancras. I was amazed that in under 10 minutes we were at Stratford International – which is home to a shopping destination that I had been meaning to check out since it opened. So on the return journey which reminded me a bit of the bullet train in Japan, I alighted at Stratford International. The station looked like either the construction workers had left early or that they had attempted some sort of minimalist rough finish art – the bare walls are high as if someone had just cut a chunk out of mountain for the train to pass through.
I walked to the steps and within a moment I was crossing a small road and entering shopping heaven – the smart wooden walls and the light stone floors making me instantly forget the rawness of the station. First to catch my eye was a batch of cash machines and a large Curry PC World. I spied a food court and was struck by the bright colours and sensational spice aromas from a permanent Caribbean food stall. On a Monday afternoon the place was surprisingly busy – but not uncomfortably so.
There was a store selling olive oil opposite a large Primark – so they’re catering for both ends of the market. There was a Boots the size of an aeroplane hangar and a Greggs. Was I in Stratford or Hounslow after a makeover? Amongst the various mid-market chains there was a healthy selection of independent shops – Unze caught my eye.
Tucked behind an elevator was a car park of bright red kiddy carts and a large Starbucks was doing a busy trade as was Marks & Spencer. Satisfied that it takes just five or six minutes to get from the train station to the tube station I returned my attention to exploring the shops.
I took a peek at a familiar Fat Face store and then some rainbow bright outfits in Forever 21 and an external area called “The Street” and noted the signs to a world food court and the Great Eastern Market. My nose alerted me to a nearby Lush while my eyes were drawn to an Italian make up store called Kiko. I passed H&M but paused at La Senza where I took advantage of a 5 pairs for £10 deal on delicates.
Then I was in an area with a large concentration of jewellery stores amongst the clothes and shoe shops – I could feel my charge card shaking. I admit that I took a little time browsing a silver concession in the middle of the walk way where I purchased a small bracelet.
Then I was drawn to the lights of a Kurt Geiger shoe shop like a moth to the flame. Here there was what looked like an upside Christmas tree adorned with brightly coloured shoe baubles – luckily the pair of nude courts that I admired were not available in my size although it took a major act of will to step away from the silver strappy high heeled sandals I’d seen earlier in a magazine.
In the fresh air outside I admired the glass and light sculptures of a bubbling stream – complete with its own sound track – but wouldn’t it have been easier to have real water? I guess the health and safety folk might have had an issue with that. Anyway, I peered into an enormous Arctic Bar which looked like it might be fun in the evenings and realised that I had strayed into the designer area.
I managed to walk past Boss but was unable to avoid entering Prada and here I coveted a stunning orange handbag (for the fashionistas – Saffiano in Papaya). I left the store to check out a pop up Speedo shop and Mulberry.
There’s a Holiday Inn here which doesn’t appear to be open yet and then an avenue of stores with a sports and outdoor (and bloke) theme. Timberland, Nike, North Face and another with a full size Mini fixed to the wall. There was even a rugby store. At this point I was getting tired and decided to continue my journey home.
Rather than taking the fast train back into St Pancras I was heading towards the tube with an idea that I’d take the Jubilee Line to Waterloo and the train from there. But then I decided to try out the Overground which went direct to Richmond. Whilst perfectly pleasant (and going through some parts of London I rarely visit) this journey took an hour.
So now I face a quandary. Next time I fancy a Westfield “hit” do I take two trains to Shepherd’s Bush or the one Overground to Stratford? It felt to me like Stratford was somewhat larger and more diverse and I liked that there were more open spaces with fresh air – and there is no doubt a lot more to be explored there, what with the Olympic Village there. Looks like Blue Water and Lakeside have some serious competition.
Like this blog? See below for more from May B
May B's BlogMaybe it’s because I’m a Londoner – that I love London town... thoughts from the girl who’s still in love with her home town.
Read more from May B's Blog
More from All In London