Most Coach Friendly Shopping Attraction

This award is designed to recognise and reward shopping attractions who have gone 'that extra mile' to accommodate, attract, and welcome coaches, their drivers and their passengers.

Winners: The Trafford Centre

Stunning architecture boosts the attractiveness of the Trafford CentreThe Trafford Centre is a £1.4 billion shopping centre situated next to the M60 motorway to the south west of Manchester.  In 2009 The Trafford Centre welcomed over 30 million visitors and the number of visitors has increased every year since the Centre opened in 1998. It offers over 200 stores and visitors can chjoose between 60 different restaurants and cafés.

Operators and judges were very impressed by the Trafford Centre’s new approach and their hard work to make coaches, coach drivers and passengers especially welcome, with pre-booking facilities and discount vouchers. The driver is looked after too, with a meal voucher – and a free ticket to the Odeon!

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Runners Up: Lowry Outlet Mall, Salford Quays

The Lowry Outlet Mall offers more than 260 brands at over 80 stores offering huge discounts over high street stores. The Mall offers a choice of cafés and restaurants, free shopper parking and a stunning Quayside location. There are plenty of incentives for coach visitors when pre-booked.

Operators and judges alike were very impressed by the offers for groups and operators - and particularly praised the special group days programme, combining shopping with lunch, a classic film and a tea dance. There are combined itineraries, too, with other attractions at Salford Quays, including the Lowry Centre next door and the Imperial War Museum of the North.

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Highly Commended

Other shopping venues nominated by operators and highly commended by the judges were:

Boundary Mill Stores, Colne, Lancashire

Boundary Mill Stores is the largest mill store of its kind in the UK, and now has branches at Grantham, Shiremoor (near Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and Walsall as well as the original location at Colne, in Lancashire, where a brand new store was opened in 2007. Founded in 1983, the company's philosophy is to offer our customers quality branded goods at discount prices.

Groups booking in advance (25 passengers or more with a two hour stay) will be welcomed by one of the company's Coach Co-ordinators. The driver and the group organiser are well looked after, too.

Edinburgh Woollen Mills

Edinburgh Woollen Mills has grown to be a major retail chain in recent years, with 192 mainstream high street stores, 94 speciality tourist stores and 28 destination sites which contain all of the Group's concepts and other brands to increase their attractiveness as a retail destination.

These destination sites trade under local, individual brands, such as Antartex Village, Masson Mill, Kernow Mill, Mackinnon Mills, and EWM acts also as anchor tenants in larger developments like Wilton Shopping Village. Coaches are made very welcome at all these sites.

Ilkeston Market, Derbyshire

Ilkeston is the third largest town in Derbyshire stands on top of a hill above the Erewash Valley, close to the eastern border of Derbyshire.

The main market now takes place twice a week on Thursday and Saturday, when the town’s Market Place is packed with stalls selling a wide range of goods. In addition there is a small market  held on Fridays and a Farmers Market on the fourth Friday of the month.

Over 750 years after the granting of the original charter to hold an annual fair, the Ilkeston Charter Fair is still going from strength to strength. It is the largest street fair in Derbyshire and nationally recognised in the calendar of street fairs. Unlike other major fairs, it has retained its town centre site and takes place every October. It is a popular event, attended by people from many miles around the area, when not only the Market Place, but also the surrounding streets are filled with fairground rides and stalls.

Oswaldtwistle Mills Shopping Village, Lancashire

Last year's winner, and still with an outsanding reputation for group travel, Oswaldtwistle Mills Shopping Village is a popular tourist attraction in Accrington, Lancashire. Housed in five former weaving sheds, the complex covers 88,000 square feet and offers full disabled access. The village offers over 80 retail concessions, selling everything from arts and craft supplies to gadgets to furniture to locally produced foods.

Over 1600 coach parties have visited the Mill over the last two years: each and every one was personally greeted by a member of staff, and every visitor was provided with gratuity vouchers to use in store.  Oswaldtwistle has a dedicated group bookings team to advise visitors, and helps with catering, itinerary planning and even organising coach travel.

Who can be nominated?

Shopping attractions around the UK including markets, mills, out of town shopping centres and town or city centre shopping centres.

… and by whom

Readers of Coach and Bus Week magazine who are coach operators were asked to nominate shopping attractions whose service they had admired during the last 12 months. They were asked to explain why they think the nominated attraction deserves this award.

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