Bracknell’s brand new shopping centre The Lexicon opened last week, and after seeing some amazing pictures on the BBC Berkshire website, we HAD to have a look! If you aren’t aware, Bracknell used to have an awful High Street fully of concrete buildings and tunnels, loads of empty shops (remind you of somewhere? Cough, cough Slough) – anyway they demolished the area behind the High Street, like EVERYTHING – the buildings, the giant Bentells department store, the pavements, the road, the old bandstand – well everything except The Bull pub which is listed and the only original building left, and some other buildings along the High Street. And they built this beautiful shiny new shopping centre in its place. I filmed a video, so you can have a look at how it looks:
I drove there with the family on Sunday afternoon, it’s about a half-an-hour drive from Slough. I’ve got to admit, the roads are confusing and there’s a huge ring road around the centre, but I followed the road signs and parked in the Princess Square car park. It cost us £3 for 3 hours. The car park was still being built in some places, as I think it was an old car park that they have refurbed. It does look all shiny and new, apart from the tiling in the lift area that gives it away!
This entrance leads you into the old Princess Square shopping centre – this is not the new one, so don’t be shocked when you walk into this bit and see Poundworld! When we walked out of this shopping centre into Braccan Walk, there we saw the new bit.
It’s not finished in places and there are fenced off areas and pavement still being laid, some units are still not let out yet. Apart from that, it really is wow. Is this Bracknell?! Here is a full list of the stores, so you can see for yourself.
The Lexicon is all open, so there is no roof, but it still feels like a shopping centre. It’s all pedestrianised with new paving stones, landscaping with trees and plants, HUGE stores with HUGE signs and HUGE windows. What you see from afar is this beautiful Fenwick stylish building, that you end up walking towards.
There were young staff handing out store guides, and what is nice about this guide is how everything is included from the old shopping centre to the new, like it is one new shopping centre. I think that is great for the retailers that are in the old centre, like they are not forgotten.
All the big High Street brands are here, but massive stores, ones that stock the whole range. The store signs and windows are huge too, giving it a wow feel. One area has an eye-catching glass roof.
We had a wander around, went inside Next, Dorothy Perkins, Superdry, New Look, River Island, MenKind and M&S. I can’t get over how big these stores were. And you know what is lovely about a new shopping centre is how clean everything is, before there is any wear and tear.
Tyler suddenly needed the loo, and according to the map there are only two areas, so we went inside M&S inside and luckily they had loos by their cafe. So new and clean too. We had coffee and cake here, looking out of the windows at the views. Not much to look at yet, as this regeneration is not complete yet.
We actually went into the foodhall at M&S as we miss our one in Slough 😦 The M&S has entrance to The Avenue car park, so that might be a better place to park as this is the new bit.
Walking out of M&S, we walked through the restaurant bit, with GBK, Zizzi, Pizza Express, Nandos, Wagamama, Prezzo, Cineworld, leading on to the Bull pub which has a new section that kind of looks like Slough’s Curve building, and the old bit completely restored. It looks beautiful. And that leads on to the old High Street which is unrecognisable, apart from the McDonalds, whose lease expires next year before that side gets regenerated.
There’s an area called ‘The Deck’, which is where Bentalls used to be, that has not been built yet. So more is still to come.
This whole centre is a really pleasant experience. The only downside I can see is that when it rains, you’ll get wet. And when it’s winter, it will be cold, as it’s all outdoors. And perhaps there should be more loos, like Westfield.
Apart from that, you really need to see this place. It would incredible if something like this could happen to Slough – please powers that be, make it happen!!
If you’re coming by car, this is the postcode to The Avenue car park: RG12 1AP. I’m coming back without the kids so I can shop in peace!