Shop till you drop in the January Sales

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ShoppersOh well, the New Year has finally arrived and with that comes resolutions that we may not stick to and the strange desire to grab a bargain in the infamous January Sales. Whether you like to window shop, are a secret shopaholic or simply love saving a penny or two, taking a coach trip to some of the greatest shopping malls in the world should be high on your list of things to do in 2012. Not only can you check out the local area, see the sights but you can also throw in a spot of bargain-hunting too! Take a look at some of the destinations we think should be in your Top 5 of places to visit for shopping breaks but as always, should we have missed out on somewhere that you love, get in touch and we’ll add it next time…

The UK
Think it’s fair to say that the UK is home to some of the greatest shopping centres in the world from the Trafford Centre located in Manchester to Europe’s newest and
biggest urban shopping centre Westfield Stratford City in London – there’s certainly somewhere to suit every shopaholic out there. Westfield Stratford City alone houses 300 stores, 70 restaurants and a 14-screen cinema so you can finish your shopping break with a film before heading home. If you don’t fancy heading to the famous shopping havens of Oxford and Regent Street or landmark stores such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London, head into Kent and explore Bluewater which was once the biggest shopping mall in Europe until Westfield Stratford City was constructed. Those shopaholics on the other side of London should pay a trip to the recently renovated Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex or check out the bargains to be had on designer items at Bicester Shopping Village in Oxford. Don’t worry if you’re located up North as there are plenty of places to visit where you can shop till your heart’s content including Liverpool’s One, Manchester’s Trafford Centre Mall, Newcastle’s Metro Centre and The Bullring in Birmingham to name but a few.

USA
How about combining your shopping break with a holiday overseas? If this sounds appealing then you should
definitely consider USA touring holidays where you can literally shop till you drop in famous places such as New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and more depending on what you’re looking to buy. When considering a shopping break in The States, most people immediately think of New York City – the Big Apple which never sleeps! Here you’ll find all sorts of stores to suit any shoppers needs, you can catch designer brands along Fifth Avenue where Louis Vuitton, Tiffanys, Gucci and many others wait for you to spend your dollars on their wares. Shopping favourites for tourists in the Big Apple are Bloomingdales and Macys as well as a visit to Fao & Schwartz (the store that featured in the film ‘Big’ where they play Chopsticks on the floor piano with their feet). If you’re a shopaholic in Las Vegas, you should check at Via Bellagio that boasts the finest hotel shopping in the country with designers such as Fendi, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent to name but a few. Don’t despair if you’re desperate to shop in Los Angeles as The Grove houses trendy stores, famous clientele and even a few paparazzi!

Italy
It’s no secret that Italy is quite possibly the fashion capital of the world and we doubt that shoppers will be left disappointed when they discover the amazing range of shops to frequent on Italy coach holidays. Milan immediately
springs to mind when considering shopping breaks, after all it’s one of Victoria Beckham’s favourite places to visit when she’s in town to launch her latest clothing range. But did you know there are many other large shopping malls desperately waiting for you to spend your hard earned euros? There’s the Orio Centre located near Bergamo which is Northern Italy’s biggest shopping mall with over 210 shops to explore. If you’re in the Veneto area of Italy, pay a visit to Le Piramidi near Vicenza and you won’t be disappointed – it’s the biggest shopping mall in Venetia with around 150 shops. When in Rome, shop at Euroma2 or the Porta de Romi that has 280 shops including a bowling alley, cinema, swimming pool, gym and much more. You may wish to consider escorted tours of Italy in 2013 because that is when the Segrate Shopping Centre near Milan will open – rumoured to become Europe’s biggest shopping centre with approx. 550 shops and a 25,000m² hypermarket. Italy is most definitely a shoppers paradise – don’t you think?

France
When you first consider France for a shopping break, most people will think of the discount wine, beer and cigarette
warehouses located in areas such as Boulogne and Calais but if you dig a little deeper, you will find extraordinary boutique shops and amazing shopping malls to suit everyone. For many, Paris is most definitely a shoppers heaven with its elite haute-couture houses on Avenue Montaigne to the designer labels of Faubourg St-Honoré and St-Germain-des-Prés. Those of you who love to shop for your feet, a visit to Rue de Grenelle is a must with its gorgeous shoe shops to be found on every corner! The arcades of Palais Royal will suit those looking for antiques or head to Northern Marais for funky fashions and a mass of multimark stores and vintage stores. If you’d rather give the boutique stores a miss and prefer to shop under one roof, check out the grand magasins (department stores) of Paris that include Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann or the elegant Bon Marché on the Left Bank. Whatever your shopping needs, Paris will certainly be able to provide a solution to the most ardent shopaholic!

Dubai
One of the main reasons for visiting Dubai on holidays to the United Arab Emirates is because of the wonderful
shopping opportunities available. The weather is also a massive draw for visitors to the area and with sweltering temperatures, the air-conditioned shopping malls of Dubai become a welcome reprieve from the extensive heat and a wonderful place to socialise with others. Dubai is a shopaholic’s dream destination with no less than FIVE fabulous shopping malls to visit. The most popular one being the Deira City Centre which is one of the first malls to be built in Dubai. Visit the elegant Mall of Bur Juman, go beneath Burj Khalifa to visit the glamourous Dubai Mall, see the opulent Mall of the Emirates and not forgetting the Ibn Battuta which consists of five themed malls within a mall! Soak up the traditional air of Dubai and make sure you plan a visit to its famous Souqs (markets). The Souqs in Deira include the wonderful Spice Souq but unfortunately spices have been replaced by stalls selling silly trinkets and other souvenirs to try and capture the tourist market. If you’re looking for fabulous fabrics, head to Bur Dubai where you’ll find Textile Souqs and the surrounding streets sell everything from electronics to cameras, Indian saris and Bollywood CDs and videos. It is wise to thoroughly plan your visit to the Souqs because in the summer months everything shuts down at noon and it is way too hot to explore during the day. Best to visit the Souqs in the evening when it is a lot cooler and you can really enjoy the atmosphere of the locals (and in some cases tourists) haggling for bargains!

Do you love to shop? Will you be paying a visit to any of the destinations mentioned above? If so, let us know what it’s like by getting in touch!