“ Houses many small independent stores and larger department stores. „
I have lived in Blackburn all my life. Our city centre is not one that I would say Blackburn can be proud of. The Mall as its known is basically the shopping complex in the centre of town. When you compare it to other nearby towns such as Preston or Bolton you have to say that Blackburn is really not up to standard. In recent years the Mall has had a bit of a face lift, the council has plowed money into it and tried to make it s a little bit nicer. However in my opinion it has not really made much difference. Its still scruffy in places and there is still just not much of a nice atmosphere down there. The layout of the Mall is quite strange. Its not easy to find your way round and even though I've lived here all my life I still sometimes get confused when I'm in there. There are plenty of average size shops in the Mall including things like Next, Burtons, River Island, Republic and BHS. There are also lots of phone shops such as O2, T-mobile and a few others. There are lots of little card shops, Clinton being the main one. There is a Sport Direct shop which I hate, but it is cheap. There is a few camera shops, a music shop and a couple of discount book stores. There are little cafes but I tend to avoid these as there pretty nasty places! There are a few little stalls that have sprung up in the middle of the Mall and sometimes you get sales people pestering you as you walk by, something else I don't really like. There are toilets in the Mall but to be honest I probably rather go in my pants than venture in there, they try to keep them clean, but never seem to manage it. Blackburn really needs to invest some serious money in the town centre if there going to bring it upto scratch. Its dirty and not a nice place to be. There is always a nervous tension when walking around town, there are lots of groups of lads and the racism thing is always apparent. I'm not racist in the slightest but you often see groups of Asian lads and groups of English lads and they always look like there about to riot! Its not great, but that a whole other issue! Another thing I've noticed about the Mall is that often shops don't last very long. There are always empty shops where someone has moved or gone out of business, unless its a really well established business people seem to struggle to really make a go of it here. There are a few positives in the Mall. Shops that have been there for years, things like The Early Learning Centre has always been popular and Moories ( a herbal medicine shop) has been there forever. But as these business's get older and the people running them disappear I wonder what will become of the Mall. So even though I often visit the Mall, simply because its handy and there are some shops I use, I don't like it. It behind the times and there is litter everywhere and its just generally not a nice place. If your in the North West and are looking to do some shopping, avoid the Mall in Blackburn. Instead head for Preston or Bolton!
The Mall is Blackburn's main shopping centre which is on 2 levels and has nearly 90 stores, I am not going to name them all because the point of this review is about The Mall itself. The Mall is open seven days a week, and can be accessed either through the multi-story car park entrance or through the pedestrian entrances, either way you will find yourself going round in circles. I have lived in the town on and off for nearly 7 years and it still manages to perplex me how to navigate the place, it seems that if I change my routine and go in at a different entrance then Iam totally bewildered as to how to get back, maybe it's just me but it does have this feeling like your going round in circles. The signage doesn't help at all and just points to certain shops like Boots or Tesco, there's very few signs for toilets for example. The Mall at Blackburn as a shopping arcade is deeply flawed, it isn't a nice experience, it just seems to divide the town centre up in to bits and is not a nice shopping experience at all, it is being currently refurbished in as much as they are attaching another bit to it!. This construction has been going on for a long time and causes a lot of disruption but will bring some new shops to the town like Primark, I just hope that it all connects well together or it will just add to the confusion that is The Mall.
The Mall at Blackburn has not got as many shops as a lot of shopping centre, but Blackburn is only a small town. The Mall includes shops such as Boots, Next, Republic, New Look, Topshop, Perfume Shop etc, common shops in most shopping centres. In amongst the shops there are also small cafes such as the Lancashire Tearoom and BB Muffins, and coffee shops as well as a pizza takeaway, Ditsch. It has multiple carparks that often get filled, so I end up parking on the top level. It is quite cheap to park here with free parking on a Sunday. I wouldn't recommend coming for a day trip to Blackburn for the shopping as there are plenty of other towns and cities near by that are much better for shopping such as Burnley, Manchester or Preston. Other attractions in Blackburn include the ice skating rink, the cinema/bowling complex and our football team Blackburn Rover's grounds, Ewood Park. Near the Mall there is also Blackburn market which features a 3 and 5 day market. There are also lots of shops outside including charity shops and takeaways. I would also recommend a shop called Steals which is just outside the town centre. It is a bit hit and miss but sells end of the line Topshop and Dorothy Perkins stock for much cheap prices (think £2-£10). They have a constant supply of topshop shoes and sandals, my sister got a pair of £45 retail sandals for £10 the other day. Most of the items have a little bit of something wrong with them, and the majority of the shoes have been worn probabaly in a fashion show or something. Recently work has started on Blackburn Mall and it looks to be a huge improvement to the town. At the moment the scaffolding (if you will) has been put up and it looks to be about double of what it currently is however the website of the Mall at Blackburn states that there is room for 20 new shops and 1300 new car parking spaces, which the way its looking looks to be an under exaggeration but watch this space. It looks huge. It is a 66million pound development so hopefully this will bring good things to Blackburn. Apparently it will be completed for Summer 2010 (so I will miss the majority of the building whilst at uni so will look forward to come home at summer!) and there will be a Peacocks and Primark in the new Mall. Can't wait! 3 Stars for now, because at the moment it is pretty rubbish for shopping but hopefully will improve in time!