FROM Britain's best shopping centre to an abundance of independent boutiques, the North East is a shopper's dream.
IT is, with more than 330 stores and 50 restaurants sprawled over 1.818 million sq ft, the largest shopping centre in the European Union.
It is also the best in Britain, according to some industry awards.
With a new cinema featuring a 3D screen and an IMAX digital – the first in the region, and wonderful transport links to the rest of the region, it is easy to see why it picks up the accolades. It’s even got its own chaplain.
The famous blue, green, red and yellow malls are synonymous with the shopping centre experience. Metrocentre offers everything you need to enjoy retail, dining and leisure.
Stocked full of key designer and cost- conscious brands, the centre boasts several department stores including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser, as well as themed shopping areas that house a variety of specialist independent shops.
Metrocentre Qube, the latest addition to the centre, includes a range of eateries from YO!Sushi to Zizzi. These new names have added to the exceptional choice of restaurants already at the centre.
The Namco Funscape provides even more fun for the whole family with 18 ten-pin bowling lanes and the fastest dodgem track in Europe.
In Newcastle, the Eldon Square complex is bigger and better than ever thanks to a £170m redevelopment programme.
One of the UK’s largest city-centre shopping destinations, this year saw the launch of brand new mall, St Andrew’s Way.
Opened to a wave of excitement in February, not least due to the presence of a highly-anticipated Apple store, shoppers queued round the block to be among the first inside the new development.
A joint partnership between Capital Shopping Centres plc (CSC) and Newcastle City Council (NCC), the mall includes a four-storey Debenhams, and flagship stores for River Island, New Look and Topshop.
It also features high street names like Tesco Metro, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Schuh, Republic and Paperchase, as well as Hollister, Superdry, Guess, All Saints and Oasis.
The Apple store is the only one to be found between Sheffield and Glasgow.
Over the past five years, Eldon Square has been remodelled and extended to almost 1.4 million sq ft, and during this time has welcomed many new retailers and relocated stores already part of the Eldon Square family.
As well as popular high street names, there is also the addition of many new food outlets including Nando's, Strada, Starbucks Coffee, Waitrose, Wagamama and Esquires Coffee.
While the new Eldon Square and the Metrocentre are the big hitters on Tyneside, the likes of the Prince Bishops centre in Durham and the Bridges in Sunderland, provide ample choice for the rest of the region.
More for your cash at outlets
SHOPPING out of town means big savings, as overheads are lower and these reduced costs can be passed on to the customer.
Dalton Park, just off the A19 near Murton in County Durham, provides a range of fashion and home brands up to 50% off the normal retail price.
Major high street names include a Marks & Spencer outlet, Next clearance and Levi's.
High fashion brands include Gap outlet, Joseph and the newly opened Radley store offering signature handbags at outlet prices.
Dalton Park has the biggest sportswear offer in the region with Nike factory store, Adidas, Reebok, Lillywhites and New Balance and great performance and outdoor wear from brands such as Mountain Warehouse, Tog 24 and Trespass.
For the home there's Denby, Broomhill, Sleepmasters for top quality beds, Toptable and Whittards.
Royal Quays at North Shields offers a wide range of famous names and big brands at up to 60% off the recommended retail price. The outlet centre includes over 50 stores including The Body Shop, Clarks, Suits You, Le Creuset, Past Times, and the recently opened Cargo.
Shoppers visiting Team Valley in Gateshead now have more choice than ever. From gifts and party food to tools and dental services, there’s always a great deal to be had.