A brash, bold and very big homage to all things consumer. Gaudy shopping heaven
A shopping and entertainment mecca to some, a gaudy retail fairground to others, however you look at it there's no denying that the Trafford Centre is a monumental success.
The architectural offspring of the Taj Mahal, Ancient Rome and Blackpool (think the north of England meets Vegas and you won't go far wrong), the Trafford Centre's impressive collection of shops, themed bars and restaurants makes the place an enormous attraction. There's also a huge food hall and the busiest Odeon cinema outside London (complete with IMAX screen).
Like Vegas, it's in the middle of nowhere but there's lots of public transport and free parking. And once you're there, you really can make a day of it. It's all indoors too, so you don't need to worry about the weather. All of the main high street chains are here, from Apple to All Saints, Debenhams to Dwell, Ted Baker to Topshop. Location themed 'sectors' like New Orleans and Chinatown hint at the food on offer too.
An enormous central glass dome crowns this temple of consumerism, and expansion of the centre continues. In 2007, the Great Hall opened offering further dining experiences for those able to make it past the palm trees, pink marble staircase and enormous chandelier without feeling bilious before they've even sat down.
One high point lies in New Orleans. On one end of the street is a delightful mural to the American Deep South – a paddle steamer sailing down the Mississippi as Louis Armstrong puts a trumpet to his lips. Turn around to face the opposite end and see what happens when you run out of budget and get a less talented painter to recreate the same scene... Absolutely priceless.
So, if you like your shopping brash, and if you're not phased by public toilets cunningly and pointlessly disguised as Egyptian temples, the Trafford Centre is for you.