Christmas is nearly here and the number of shopping days left is decreasing at an alarming rate… Even more alarming is the fact that Christmas is on a Monday this year, meaning that there’s even less time to get parcels delivered. Apparently the number of missed parcels this year will reach record numbers, and The Telegraph even claims at at least 12 million parcels will go missing this Christmas… Blimey! If that’s not a reason to do your Christmas shopping yourself I don’t know what is…
Luckily I know just the place – Festival Place, to be exact! You might remember I featured their Eat Street event earlier in the summer, and so they invited me back again for another post!
I have to say, I really enjoyed my trip – the centre is huge so the crowds never got too overwhelming even though we went at one of the busiest times – and the parking was easy too. Over Christmas, the opening times have been extended so you can get in and grab those presents as late as 9pm this week, and 8pm on Saturday. Christmas Eve shopping times are 11am-5pm, so there’s even still time when you’re at your last minute panic stage!
We went shopping for the family and there were so many great shops, including old favourites like Next, Accessorize, Beaverbrooks, Paperchase, Zara, Topshop, Hotel Chocolat, The Body Shop and Debenhams.
There were also some new ones for me, including Smiggle, Apricot, and my new favourite, Neon Sheep. Seriously, they could have called this the ‘Bloggers Favourite Shop’ and I would have believed them! Gorgeous home accessories, fabulous jewellery, ornaments, stationery and gifts… I could have dropped a fortune in there!
They also have a cool grotto where children can meet Santa and get a pressie – called Santa’s Woodland Walk, it’s open until Christmas eve and even features interactive elements with augmented reality on your smartphone! Tickets are £4.50 each and you can book online here.
They also have a glorious temporary Christmas Shop to visit too, which is full of ornaments and accessories to make your Christmas awesome – so. many. baubles. I’m addicted to buying tree ornaments so this shop was one of my favourites!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you should always factor in time for a little break during your shop – whether it’s for a quick coffee, a light meal like a delicious German sausage from the grill, or a proper sit down lunch or dinner from one of the many restaurants around, there are loads of options here. They even have a special Festival Street Kitchen restaurant which was serving a divine smelling paella on the day I visited – just the thing to warm your cockles on a cold winter day!
There’s so much more to talk about – gadget shops, cookwear, even a TX Maxx – but if you’re visiting and you feel overwhelmed by all the options, take my advice and nab yourself a gift card. You can’t go wrong!
Festival Place is located in Basingstoke city centre. Use the postcode RG21 7BA to visit or call 01256 326022 for info. Or visit the website for a full directory of shops and information about opening times, cinema listings, dining, and more!
Festival Place offered me a gift card in return for posting about my experiences – as always, thoughts and photography are my own!