What if we told you that festive family shopping trips don’t need to be stressful? And that in fact, they can be a Christmas highlight? Welcome to Brent Cross: the North West London shopping centre that is pulling out all the stops to make your Christmas extra jolly.
1 There are great new stores to visit
Even if you’re a local, you’ll want to check out Brent Cross’s newest additions. UK lifestyle label Fat Face has just opened its doors – wrap yourself up in their new knits, or pick up some cute accessories as gifts (we’ve got our eyes on the socks with dinosaurs wearing Christmas jumpers). MANGO is also joining Brent Cross, as is Khaadi: the much-loved Pakistani womenswear brand. Kids will light up at the sight of new toy retailer The Entertainer, and there’ll also be kiosks selling everything from handmade chocolates to Christmas decorations by local makers. This is all on top of more than 100 other brands, including Fenwick. Gift shopping sorted!
2 Kids can get a photo with Santa
That’s right: the man himself will be stopping by at Brent Cross, from November 15 to December 24. Follow the sound of sleigh bells ringing to Santa’s Grotto, where you’ll find a crackling fire and friendly elves. The Grotto is free to enter, but we recommend booking a ticket online for £1, to avoid disappointment. Want to take a photo home with you? A photo costs £7, but if you download the free Brent Cross PLUS app, you’ll save £2. There’ll also be special SEN hours for children with additional needs.
3 Tasty dining options abound
You’ve spent your afternoon ticking off your Christmas shopping and hanging out with Santa: now it’s time to relax. Luckily, there are more than 25 places to eat to choose from (the majority of which have high chairs). Craving some winter comfort food? Tuck into a burger at American diner Gourmet Burger Kitchen or enjoy crispy deep-fried chicken in Wagamama’s Japanese katsu curry. Make sure you stop by the brand new CoCo Bubble Tea for a refreshing tea or juice.
4 Enjoy free parking and late opening hours
Not only is Brent Cross super accessible on public transport (just catch the Northern line to Brent Cross), but there are 8,000 free parking spaces – plus larger spots for young families to make it easier to get out of the car with pushchairs and prams. The centre is open until 9pm from Monday to Saturday, so you don’t need to worry about ducking out during work hours to get your Christmas shopping done. Could it get any more convenient?