Local shopping destinations are an easy alternative for groups, with Wyre Markets offering the finest fare at Fleetwood. European destinations also deliver a host of cultural and gastronomical delights for groups to enjoy.

CHIC OUTLET SHOPPING

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Chic Outlet Shopping boasts a vast number of locations within the UK & Europe.

Chic Outlet Shopping offers an insider’s guide to discovering Europe, with a range of destinations suitable for gastronomy, culture and some major sporting events.

*For culture, Chantilly is home to two deluxe chateaux, extensive landscaped gardens and a classic art collection for guests to enjoy. Stretching 22,000 acres and situated less than an hour from La Vallee Village in Paris, Chantilly is one of Europe’s most impressive private estates. When visiting La Vallee Village, groups are encouraged to make the River Seine a central feature.

*For the avid foodie, groups should visit Bologna, inviting mouth-watering delis which serve up cultural delights, from every sort of salami to slices of prosciutto. There’s plenty of pasta too, with tortellini invented in the region. *Scheduled day trips to Madrid will see group shopping needs satisfied at Las Rozas Village. *Ghent, with its wondrous architecture, is often overlooked as travellers hop from Brussels to Bruges on the exchange. This charming city is located in close proximity to the Belgian capital. *Maasmechelen Village is a chic shopping hotspot.

KATOWICE, POLAND

Katowice, in Poland, is commended as a great place for shopping. GTW recently took a trip to the Silesian Province, which houses several spacious shopping malls, conveniently placed to provide adequate coach parking and access via public transport. GTW visited the Galeria Katowicka, inviting a vast space connected to the railway station, with an underground bus station on the premises. The site functions as an interesting combination of authentic 1970s architecture and contemporary design. More popular is the Silesia City Centre, which welcomes approximately 15million visitors per annum. The entire building has been embedded in a post-mining structure, with original mine shaft still present – a direct reference to the region’s unique heritage.

WYRE, LANCASHIRE

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Fleetwood Market in Wyre, Lancashire, is considered a shoppers paradise.

There are a vast range of markets available to visit in Wyre, Lancashire, making it an avid shopper’s paradise. From the coastal setting of Fleetwood Market, that dates back to the 1800s, to the recently established Poulton Street Market. There are also two rural markets at Garstang and Great Eccleston. Fleetwood Market in particular houses 250 indoor and outdoor stalls. For larger groups visiting, free coach parking is available on-site, as well as plenty of on-road parking for guests. Contact rebecca.bleasdale@wyre.gov.uk for more information. The market is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday between 0900hrs and 1630hrs, including Bank Holidays and Tram Sunday: Fleetwood’s Festival of Transport.

One To Watch

Liverpool is home to the spacious Liverpool One shopping centre, which hosts a wide range of offers and events throughout the year. More recently for example, the site has hosted a giant model shopping bag, prominent on The Strand from June 24-August 31, 2014.

For groups visiting, Liverpool One welcomes coach visits, with a bus station that contains designated coach drop off and pick up bays. Pre-booking is essential. Once arrived, visitors can embark on a welcome scheme tour hosted by an informed guide. Liverpool has a proud heritage, boasting many tourism opportunities for visitors, from museums to restaurants and sports centres to shopping. Liverpool One especially is famous for its “Fab Four” shopping districts situated in the heart of the city, with hotspots on Peter’s Lane, South John Street, Paradise Street and Hanover Street. All are in walking distance from one another. Groups can make a day of it by heading off to The Galleria to catch a movie at the spacious 14-screen ODEON cinema. There’s also a designated family friendly area, complete with Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf.

NEW EXHIBITION CENTRE OPENED IN LIVERPOOL

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Liverpool’s new exhibition centre will sit alongside the Echo Arena, and is scheduled to host consumer events.

When plans were announced in March 2011 to build 8,100 square metres of conference venue on Liverpool’s historic waterfront, the city’s tourism looked forward to a vibrant future. Construction started in autumn last year, with the venue soon to provide the opportunity for business professionals to organise and attend consumer events. The spacious attraction is located two hours out of London and will feature three separate halls, each measured at approximately 2,700 square metres. It is said that Liverpool itself has the fastest growing regional economy, with an estimated 2million consumers, therefore the demand for tourism needs to be met.

The contemporary style exhibition centre is due for completion next year, and looks to become the home of consumer exhibitions in the North West. For more information visit www.exhibitioncentreliverpool.com Sister venue, the Echo Arena Liverpool is to host a Family Fun Weekend on February 14-15, 2015, with additional events mostly centred around entertainment.

The new exhibition centre is to join the Arena, which has a capacity of 11,000. Travelling to the attraction is easy, as the city can be reached direct from the UK by road, rail and air. There is also plenty of on-site parking for drivers and/or coaches, for those who wish to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Alternatively, those visiting Liverpool One can choose from three car parks available either on-site, at John Lewis on Liver Street or via Hanover Street. Prices and height restrictions apply. Visit www.liverpool-one.com for more details.

Shopper Nations Experience 5-Year Low

On August 22, 2014, International Retail Tourism Experts, Global Blue, revealed that the tax-free spend by global shoppers travelling to the UK has fallen for the first time since 2009, with a recorded decrease of -4% year-on-year (YOY) from January 2014 to July 2014. Global Blue operates tax-free services in 43 countries worldwide, reporting a significant drop in spending across leading retail tourism destinations, demonstrated through a -3% YOY decrease. Key influences of the drop have been pinpointed to political unrest and weakening currencies in some of the top spending shopper nations. The UK is not the only nation affected, as shoppers from Russia and Thailand, for example, have seen the biggest decrease in spending, with China and the Middle Eastern nations leading, despite low economic growth. Gordon Clark, UK Country Manager at Global Blue, says: “As the two top markets, China and Middle Eastern nations have continued to lead spend in the UK, but growth has slowed. Chinese spend is up +8% YOY so far this year, much less than the 20-50% growth we have seen in the past few years.However, as economies begin to recover, we expect to see growth from key nations pick up again.