The Westgate is… OPEN! (*thud*)
How long have we waited? But boy oh boy is it worth it at the £440m new Westgate Centre in Oxford. Come on, let's shop.
So the question I’ve been asked about a trillion times since yesterday is – is the Westgate any good? And the answer is… hell yeah! Well, what do you expect from a £440m spending spree?
The press launch yesterday had quite the pizzazz to it with actors dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters and what I assumed was an acrobatic Phileas Fogg taking off in a hot air balloon and spinning around the centre.
There was plenty of buzz and loads of people came to queue and shop, most markedly at John Lewis (above), a 140,000 ft monster that takes up nearly one fifth of the new centre. I’m as excited as the next girl about that (particularly the private glass terrace out the back), but I’m also particularly buzzing for stores new to Oxford like Cos, And Other Stories, Oliver Bonas, the Curzon cinema (massively can’t wait!), Comptoir Libanais, Sticks n Sushi, The Cinnamon Club and Pizza Pilgrims (below) which has its own back terrace too.
The top floor of the Westgate is totally given over to views, an outdoor piazza, the cinema and the foodie venues and on a summer’s day I think it will be really buzzing.
As as general note, there are some cool designy viewpoints from bridges, and a stylish mix of concrete and wood cladding, and of course it’s brand spinky spanky new so it has that lovely sheen of excitement about it.
Only half the 100 or so shops are open at the moment but you can spend hours in the frankly fabulous Uniqlo (and shall I just say – £69 100% cashmere jumpers?). Cos and & Other Stories due to open at the end of the month (ish), H&M due for early November, and the Curzon Cinema raises its curtain on Fri 17 Nov. No surprise then, to see the builders very much in evidence at the launch event, watching the show from the balcony (below)
… but the hard-hat action is to be expected really with such a huge undertaking and there’s still plenty in the centre to titillate. I for one am beyond thrilled to have this 800,000ft diamond on my doorstep, and shall be polishing it regularly with my credit card.
If you’ve already been and checked out the Westgate, let me know what you think of it in the comment box below, otherwise head along when you get a chance and give me your verdict, I’m all ears!