Bluewater Shopping Centre has, over the years, become more than just a shopping destination. It’s a place where the hustle and bustle of retail therapy meets serene natural landscapes, offering visitors a well-rounded experience that extends beyond purchasing goods. Opened in 1999 in a former chalk quarry, this architectural masterpiece sits amidst the breath-taking cliffs of Stone, Greenhithe, blending seamlessly with its natural surroundings.

Architectural Grandeur

Designed by renowned architect Eric Kuhne, Bluewater exudes an air of architectural finesse that’s hard to miss. The centre’s triangular design, flanked by three anchor stores – Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, and House of Fraser – is complemented by the natural lighting illuminating the 330 stores and 40 eateries that call Bluewater home. These stores arrayed along the Thames Walk, Guildhall, and Rose Gallery create a delightful atmosphere for shoppers.

Shopping Experience

The diverse range of shops caters to a variety of tastes and budgets. However, it’s important to note that like many business establishments, Bluewater has experienced the ebb and flow of retail dynamics, leading to the occasional closed unit. But even amidst these shifts, the shopping centre continues to offer a rich array of options, from high-end boutiques to familiar high-street brands.

Visiting Bluewater is more than a shopping spree; it’s a comprehensive experience that combines retail therapy with culinary delight and entertainment, offering an escape where every visitor can satisfy their unique preferences and interests.

Diverse Shopping Outlets

Bluewater presents an eclectic mix of renowned international and local brands. With shops like Calvin Klein for the fashion-savvy, Apple for tech enthusiasts, and LEGO Store for the kids, the diversity ensures that every family member finds their heart’s desire. Visitors can revamp their wardrobe at Mango, indulge in luxurious fragrances at Jo Malone London, or explore innovative gadgets at the EE Experience Store. The addition of shops like HUGO adds a touch of luxury, making the mall a fashion haven.

Bluewater Upstairs

Gastronomic Adventures

Food lovers have a sanctuary at Bluewater with over 50 places to explore, offering an array of cuisines from around the world. The Argentinian flavours of Buenasado promise a mouth-watering experience, while those looking for quick bites can find solace in outlets like Burger King. Coffee aficionados can enjoy premium brews at Caffè Nero, and those with a sweet tooth can satisfy their cravings at Krispy Kreme.

Extended Shopping Hours

The convenience of shopping is epitomized with stores open until 9pm from Monday to Saturday. Late-night shopping is complemented by the Showcase Cinema de Lux, open until 3am on weekends, making Bluewater a nocturnal haven for movie lovers.

Entertainment and Beyond

The shopping experience transcends to immersive entertainment at Pirate Cove Adventure Park and Hangloose Adventure, where both kids and adults can embark on thrilling escapades. The Dinotropolis ignites the imagination, providing an interactive space for children to explore and play.

Unmatched Convenience

With meticulous organization, shoppers can filter through the diverse array of shops effortlessly. Regular updates on opening hours are provided on brand websites, ensuring visitors can plan their journey efficiently. Services like Smile Tech Dental and Vision Express add a touch of utility, transforming Bluewater into a one-stop destination for not just shopping but holistic lifestyle needs.

Dining and Leisure at Bluewater

Dining at Bluewater

Bluewater isn’t just about shopping; it’s an experience that caters to diverse tastes and occasions. Whether you are a culinary enthusiast, a family looking for an enjoyable outing, or friends seeking an entertaining evening, the dining and leisure options at Bluewater are bound to exceed your expectations.

Dining at Bluewater is a journey through the world of flavours. A variety of over 50 eateries ensures that every palate is catered to. From the aromatic spices of the Far East to the classic flavours of Italy, to the vibrant street food vibe, your taste buds are in for a treat. Recently, the prestigious Argentinian steakhouse, Buena ado, opened its doors, offering another exquisite option for meat lovers.

And if you are a fan of entertainment, the Showcase Cinema de Lux is the place to be. Open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays; it promises an immersive experience with the latest blockbusters. Make a night of it at Bluewater, with late shopping hours complemented by a host of dining and entertainment options.

Sustainability Efforts

In a world increasingly conscious of sustainability, Bluewater has not been left behind. Though not without its challenges, the centre is gradually carving a niche for itself in the realm of environmentally conscious retailing. It strikes a balance between offering a premium shopping experience and fostering a sustainable environment.

Visitor Experience

Visitors have shared mixed reviews about their experiences. The ease of access to numerous shops, ample parking spaces, and the availability of public transportation are often lauded. However, some visitors have expressed concerns about the need for clearer signages to navigate the expansive centre more easily.

Getting to Bluewater

Whether by public transport or car, reaching Bluewater is hassle-free. An extensive bus network caters to guests throughout the day and evening, aligning with Bluewater’s late-night opening hours. Greenhithe is the closest train station, with regular bus services ensuring a smooth transition to Bluewater.

For those driving, Bluewater’s strategic location near major motorways, including the A2, M2, M25, and M20, ensures easy access. The parking experience is enhanced by 13,000 free car parking spaces, all extra wide and situated no more than a five-minute walk from the entrances. Safety and convenience are at the forefront, with separate pedestrian pathways and the Safer Parking Award attesting to the high standards maintained.

Special parking arrangements include designated spaces for guests with disabilities, families with small children and pushchairs, and spaces for motorhomes, minibuses, and coaches.

Opening Hours

Bluewater is open seven days a week, offering flexibility for all schedules. Core opening hours during the week are from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, with extended hours on Saturdays starting at 9:00 am and adjusted hours on Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Individual store and restaurant hours may vary, so checking in advance is advisable.

  • Monday 10 am–9 pm
  • Tuesday 10 am–9 pm
  • Wednesday 10 am–9 pm
  • Thursday 10 am–9 pm
  • Friday 10 am–9 pm
  • Saturday 9 am–9 pm
  • Sunday 11am – 5pm

Bluewater Nature Trail

As you step outside the bustling atmosphere of shopping and dining, the Bluewater Nature Trail awaits. A sanctuary of calm and natural beauty, it offers guests an opportunity to connect with nature, breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy a tranquil escape from the indoors.

Winding pathways lead you through a diverse landscape teeming with wildlife. It’s an educational journey, too, with informative signs narrating the story of the local fauna and flora. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a family looking to educate and entertain the kids, or simply seeking a serene backdrop for a leisurely walk, the Bluewater Nature Trail is a destination in itself.

In essence, Bluewater is not just a shopping center but a comprehensive experience that melds retail, dining, entertainment, and nature. With ease of access, extensive opening hours, and diverse offerings, every visit is tailored to be unique, memorable, and worth repeating.

The Journey Ahead

The future of Bluewater is as dynamic as its past. The shopping centre’s evolution is shaped by the changing retail landscape, consumer preferences, and the ever-present aspiration to offer a unique and enjoyable experience to every visitor. The centre continues to adapt, underscoring its resilience and unwavering appeal to both locals and visitors alike.

In conclusion, Bluewater Shopping Centre, with its architectural allure, diverse retail offerings, and natural beauty, remains a notable destination in Kent. It encapsulates a blend of the commercial and natural world, offering visitors an experience that goes beyond traditional retail therapy.

Is Bluewater the biggest shopping centre in Europe?

No, Bluewater Shopping Centre is not the biggest shopping centre in Europe. While it is one of the largest in the UK, several shopping centres in Europe surpass it in size.

What’s better, Lakeside or Bluewater?

The choice between Lakeside and Bluewater depends on individual preferences. Bluewater is known for its unique architecture, a wider variety of shops, and its integration with natural landscapes. Lakeside has its own strengths but might not offer the same breadth of experience as Bluewater.

Which is better, Bluewater or Westfield?

Comparing Bluewater and Westfield can be subjective. Bluewater offers a unique shopping experience with its picturesque location and a diverse range of stores. Westfield centres, on the other hand, are known for their modern urban shopping environments. The choice depends on the shopper’s preferences for location, store selection, and overall shopping experience ambience.

What town is near Bluewater?

Bluewater Shopping Centre is located near the town of Greenhithe in Kent. It’s situated in a former chalk quarry and is easily accessible from surrounding areas, blending its retail experience with the natural beauty of the area.

Downstairs at Bluewater