Shopping Westfield Stratford City Style

I was born in Stratford, East London in 1965 and lived in the area until 1987.  Although I moved out of London, in the early 2000s I commuted to London via Stratford. In the 1970s/1980s, Stratford had a small shopping centre – there was a small Mary Quant store, a Sainsbury’s food store and a large Co-Op store which had a small Top Shop area  amongst other small shops.  It wasn’t the nicest of shopping centres to visit – it had a small seating area in the middle of the centre which usually had a few “skinheads” sprawled menacingly  over the seats – the best part was actually the small theatre to the side, Theatre Royal Stratford E15, where many West End shows started life.  Attached to the centre was the railway station – central line underground and British Rail to Liverpool Street – plus a large bus station.  Later the Docklands Light Railway was born – I can remember travelling on the line for the first time – the monorail was brilliant and “so modern”.

When London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, a transformation took place in Stratford.  A new station was built – Stratford International, parkland created, Olympic stadiums built, hotels, new roads, new train lines … and a new shopping centre. I watched the progress of the building of the new shopping centre as I commuted via Stratford. Westfield Stratford City was finally opened on 13 September 2011.  Although I have visited the Olympic Stadium, and skirted the outside of the shopping area – it was only last Sunday that I actually visited the shopping city properly!

“Shopping city” is the ideal word for this centre – it is massive – covering a total floor area of 1,905,542 square feet – making it the 3rd largest shopping centre in the UK in terms of retail space, although if you take into account the surrounding shopping area as well as the indoor centre, it is the largest shopping urban area centre  in Europe.  The centre has approximately 280 stores, 70 restaurants,   2 hotels (Premier Inn & Holiday Inn), 24 – hour casino, 17 screen all digital Vue cinema, 10 pin bowling alley, pubs, champagne bar…

Its 3 anchor stores are John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.  Fashion stores – spoilt for choice – include Jaeger, Mulberry, All Saints, Hugo Boss, Victoria’s Secret, Missguided, Ann Summers, Armani Jeans, Diesel, Calvin Klein Underwear, Charles Tyrwhitt, DKNY Men, FatFace, Fred Perry, Gant, Gap, Hollister, Topshop, Topman

Shoe shops…. Dr Martens, Dune, Kurt Geiger, Linzi, Russell & Bromley, Skechers, Vans ….

Other stores include the Disney Store, Apple, Foyles, Guess Accessories, Hawkins Bazaar, HMV, Hotel Chocolat, IKEA, Kiko MakeUp Milano, Krispy Kreme, Lego, Lush, MAC cosmetics, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Nespresso, Swarovski, The Body Shop ….


And the old shopping centre is still there, with its own array of shops, over the other side of the original Stratford station.

According to Westfield, there are 3 car parks supporting 4,500 car park spaces but 80% of shoppers arrive via public transport.  When central London (St Pancras) is only 7 minutes away by high speed train plus 2 bus stations, 2 railway stations – served by London Underground (central & jubilee lines), TFL Rail, Overground trains, Docklands Light Railway and the new Elizabeth line is due to be opened later this year – there is never a better case for letting the “train take the strain”.


So, what did I truly think?

– I’m not a fan of large indoor shopping malls  BUT this centre is large but very airy with wide walkways and has outdoor areas too – it avoids being  too claustrophobic!

– It gets very busy on Saturdays, especially on days when the stadium is in use ( football & music concerts). I preferred visiting on a Sunday – Sundays are busy but it was a better day to wander comfortably around the shops.

– The array of shops is mind boggling and makes a nice change to physically shop rather than being online. 

– The centre itself is very clean and impressive – and a far cry from the Stratford I knew in the 1980s!

Have you been to Westfield Stratford City? What do you think?  Do share your opinions, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs are by Linda Hobden

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12 thoughts on “Shopping Westfield Stratford City Style”

  1. Oh this sounds wonderful. I’m a shopper and this might be my definition of a bit of heaven!! My daughters are taking a trip to London in the fall. I’ll be sure and tell them about Stratford!

    1. It is a shopaholic’s delight, for sure! It is extremely well connected to most parts of London too. If your daughters are staying in west London or south west London, there is the Westfield centre in Shepherds Bush, which is very similar 🙂

  2. Holy Cow that place sounds enormous! My husband would be having palpatations and needing a lie down. I think it’d be a shop with a friend day and it would be great fun. I’m the world’s best window shopper so I’d probably not even have to spend much to have a great day.

    1. It is a fab place to window shop – I found Saturday was too busy for my liking – but I was staying in the area for the weekend so when I visited on Sunday I was able to mooch around at ease. Funnily enough, the popular pub in the centre is called The Cow, and it always seems to be packed to the rafters with menfolk!!

    1. It is large but doesn’t come across as overwhelming. It has been extremely well designed – it is airy and spacious.I preferred shopping there on a Sunday morning as I enjoy shopping leisurely without the crowds (it does get very busy especially on a Saturday afternoon).

      1. Ya Saturday shopping is to be avoided at all costs. We have an outlet centre on Swindon and you get there for 9 and out by 11, car park packed by then. Don’t like the crowds.

        1. I’ve been shopping Swindon way – years ago though 🙂 When a shopping area is crowded I just shop for what I need and get out again.

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