As you leave Shepherd’s Bush Station in London, you see no indication of the Mall but for a small sign saying ‘Westfield London’, with an arrow pointing you in the right direction. A minute’s walk later, you turn a corner and there It is. It is hard to comprehend the scale of this place from the outside. You see a row of restaurants, an escalator going up to Westfield Village (more on this little gem later) and in the very far distance you see the entrance to the main part of the Mall. It’s only when you head off towards the main entrance that the scale begins to come into focus - after walking for a while you start to think ‘my goodness, this thing stretches far’. As you enter, a short escalator climb awaits you and as you rise, Westfield London reveals itself to you in all its glory.
The Centre opened in 2008 and was developed by Australian Mall Group Westfield, one of the premier Mall real-estate companies around today. It was for a short time the biggest Mall in London before being usurped by its younger sister, Westfield Stratford City, in 2011. That being said, you won’t for a second think that this Mall is small. It is on a whole new scale, along with all of the other next generation mega-Malls around the World. Quality and style was in no way compromised- the Mall is stunning, carefully finished and cost billions of Dollars to build. A new extension, due to officially open this year and anchored by a John Lewis department store, should push the Mall back into the number one spot.
The main part of the Centre consists of two main floors, with halls running out from the central atrium which are filled to the brim with interesting stores - not only interesting inside, but many of the stores have really put a great deal of thought into their exteriors. The window displays are upmarket and innovative, from the Havaianas sandal store window which has flip-flops pouring out of a cereal box and into a giant cereal bowl, to the Lululemon sports fashion store with plants covering the entire exterior, making it feels as if you are entering a jungle. The Timberland store’s exterior is all rugged and manly and the HMV music store has an installation of TV screens and vintage speakers. All of these little touches really made the stores in this Mall stand out. That’s without even mentioning the latest electric car models available to drool over at the Tesla store!
The exterior of the Mall
The Southern Terrace
The stores vary a great deal. Even if you have the most focussed of interests, you can easily spend the day here. There is fashion, high-end audio, make-up, music, video, gadgets, books, perfumes, jewellery, lego, audio equipment, pharmaceuticals, cars, stationary, you name it. There is also a huge supermarket, massage area (both automatic and manned) and multiple child play areas, one of which is called Kidzania, which to me sounds more like some kind of failed despotic State than a children's play-park! There are even a couple of fully furnished gyms should you wish to punish yourself for having too much fun!
From the main levels of the Mall you can access the food court, where you will find the entire globe in one space - you can have Vietnamese street food, British fish & chips, Lebanese shawarmas, Mexican enchiladas or Japanese teppanyaki. Seating is a bit of a problem - there were a few people wandering around aimlessly, forlornly gazing at all of the seated folk. More seating is certainly required. The food section is also wonderfully crafted, with wooden finishes, high class seating and beautiful soft lighting. It really entices people in. If you don’t like anything on this level, there is another level above, with larger restaurants including a Byron steakhouse and Nando’s peri-peri restaurant. If that is still not enough to entice you, the exterior section of the Mall, known as the southern terrace, has a plethora of interesting eateries, from Brazilian barbecue to Chinese dim sum. Above these two food levels, there is a beautifully furbished Vue Cinema, which has 17 state-of-the-art screens and VIP seating.
The spacious main section of the Mall
The opulent Westfield Village
The main part of the Centre has an beautiful undulating roof made of polygonal steel and glass. It is very interesting to see such a regular pattern juxtaposed with the very organic flow of the roof. The ceiling is also incredibly high and, when combined with the natural light flowing in from the glass, gives the Mall a lovely sense of space.
Accessible from the inside and outside of the main Mall is ‘Westfield Village’. Walking into this section was when I went from liking the Centre a whole bunch to falling hopelessly in love. This three level section is like a whole Mall unto itself and contains all of the very highest luxury brands - Burberry, Bentley, Versace, Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Prada, Breitling and Tiffany & Co, to name but a few. The interior design is rich, with modern chandeliers flowing down from the ceiling. The Watch gallery had a guard who looked like he could physically damage me with only a glare, and for good reason, because only the very finest timepieces were on display. I know I could afford very little of what this section of the Mall has to offer, but I enjoy nothing more than having a look at these high-end wares. We have seen high-end brands in many Malls before, but never in their own little section, complete with macaron stand, oyster bar and champagne-soaked cafe. We love malratting in the shoddiest of dirt-malls, but we equally love this sort of polar opulence. Glorious!
A view of the atrium from the Vue Cinema
All of the luxury brands are found in Westfield Village
The Website and incorporated app also work fantastically with Westfield London. It is one of a handful of Malls which are pioneering the ability to search not only for the stores and restaurants, but also the entire catalogue of every store in the Mall. This allows you to quickly locate a specific item you are looking for - the Mall website will tell you where you can get it and how much it will cost. So if your Mall mission is less of an aimless wander and more of a targeted strike, this is an invaluable tool for you. You also have the ability to see if another store has the same item for which you are searching, but for a more reasonable price. Of course you can internet with abandon using the free in-Mall wi-fi. If you need even more shopping assistance, the Centre offers a concierge service, where a personal shopper can help you find just the right thing.
Westfield London is the very epitome of an ideal Mall experience. London is a place where an hour can go by like a minute, and before we had seen a quarter of the Centre it was already late in the afternoon. So, if you’re a Mall fan and are looking to holiday in the grand English Capital, dedicate an entire day because you’re going to need it. The only downside I can see is, with the upcoming extension about to open, my head may well explode because this is almost too much Mall for me, but I happily accept the challenge and will return as many times as it takes in order to conquer this beast! Without a doubt a Mallrate Gold experience.
Address: Ariel Way, Shepherds Bush, London, W12 7GF
Contact: 02033 712 300
Number of Stores: 368
Number of Levels: 4
Opening Times: Monday - Saturday 10h00 to 22h00, Sunday 12h00 to 18h00