Lakeside Shopping Centre

This article is about the shopping centre in West Thurrock. For the leisure and Darts tournament complex in Surrey, see Lakeside Leisure Complex. For other uses, see Lakeside (disambiguation).
Location Thurrock, Essex, UK
Coordinates 51°29′15″N 0°17′0″E / 51.48750°N 0.28333°E / 51.48750; 0.28333Coordinates: 51°29′15″N 0°17′0″E / 51.48750°N 0.28333°E / 51.48750; 0.28333
Opening date 25 October 1990
Owner Intu Properties
Architect Chapman Taylor
No. of stores and services 245
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1,434,000 sq ft (133,200 m2)
No. of floors 3
Parking 13,000 spaces
Public transit access Chafford Hundred Lakeside

Lakeside Shopping Centre, branded as Intu Lakeside, is a large out-of-town shopping centre located in West Thurrock, in the borough of Thurrock, Essex just beyond the eastern boundary of Greater London. It was constructed on the site of a former chalk quarry.[1] The first tenants moved into the complex in 1988 and it was completed in 1990, being opened on 25 October of that year by Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, Marcus Bradford and Angus Ogilvy.

The shopping centre, in addition to the retail parks, forms one of the largest shopping areas in a single location within Europe, with almost 2,600,000 square feet (240,000 m2) of retail space on a site of 200 acres (0.81 km2). The community of Chafford Hundred has grown to the east of the centre since its opening. Its main rival is the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent, just across the River Thames.

The centre was rebranded as "intu Lakeside" in 2013 following the renaming of parent Capital Shopping Centres Group plc as "intu properties plc".[2]

Main shopping centre

The shopping centre is the eleventh largest in Britain with 1,434,000 sq ft (133,200 m2) available as retail floorspace[3] - the MetroCentre in Gateshead, after its expansion in 2004, is the largest. There are over 250 shops (including the anchor stores of Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, Debenhams, and Primark), 50 cafes and restaurants, and a 26-acre (110,000 m2) lake named Alexandra Lake with a PADI certified diving school complex. Intu Lakeside has on average 500,000 visitors per week.

It is currently open on weekdays from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The centre's car parks have capacity for 13,000 cars.

Transport connections

Lakeside Bus Station

The centre has a direct link to Chafford Hundred railway station where c2c trains run to London Fenchurch Street via Upminster and West Ham or east towards Southend Central via Grays and Stanford-le-Hope.

The Centre is connected to the M25 motorway which is London's outermost ring road running south towards Dartford and Gatwick and North towards Enfield, Watford and Heathrow. As well as the M25 the centre is connected to the A13 road which connects central and east London to Basildon and Southend-on-Sea.

It is connected to the London Bus network by 370 to Romford and 372 to Hornchurch with other operators such as Ensignbus to the surrounding Thurrock area and First's route 100 to Basildon and Chelmsford. Route X80 operated by Ensignbus provides a link to Bluewater across the Dartford Crossing.

New developments

'The Boardwalk' under construction in early September 2006, showing the new bridge to the main shopping centre and the old 'Lakeside Pavilion' building.
'The Boardwalk' on opening day - 14 June 2007.

To ensure the centre maintains its competition with the newer (and what is perceived by some as more 'upmarket') Bluewater shopping centre, which lies just over the Thames in Greenhithe, Lakeside has recently undergone major refurbishment at a cost of £30 million. This included new Italian porcelain flooring, new lighting, a new ceiling and new glass roofs which allow much more natural light into the shopping centre. There are now also new, faster lifts, and four more escalators, along with automatic entrance doors. The refurbishment has also encouraged refitting of many shops so that they complement the new surroundings. In September 2005, Next opened an 18,600 sq ft (1,730 m2). extension to its store.

The Lakeside Pavilion, a market area adjoining the main shopping centre via a covered bridge, was closed in 2006 for refurbishment, re-opening in June 2007 as 'The Boardwalk'.

The Boardwalk provides an additional 59,000 sq ft (5,500 m2). of retail space for eleven new restaurants along with more retail and leisure space, as well as a 10-metre boardwalk, offering external seating overlooking Alexandra Lake. The Old Orleans bar and restaurant boat was also refurbished and re-opened on the same day, with new features including a rooftop bar.

Vue cinema formed part of the old Lakeside Pavilion, with a seven screen cinema. This closed on 11 January 2007 to be refurbished, and was re-opened on Friday 15 June 2007; the refurbishment resulted in nine state-of-the-art screens with stadium seating. 'Gold Class', a premium screen that housed luxury seating, has since been abandoned in favour of VIP seating sections in every screen. The 'Evolution Screen', with a combination of giant bean bag chairs amongst VIP seating, was the first of its kind in the UK.[4]

Apple opened[5] its tenth UK store at Lakeside Shopping Centre.[6]

Marks & Spencer, one of the centre's four anchor stores, applied for planning permission in July 2008 to allow construction of a 23,970 sq ft (2,230 m2) third storey extension to their store, in addition to an extensive refurbishment of the store layout and customer facilities. The application was approved at the end of October 2008 although no construction has taken place as of July 2011.[7][8]

Supergroup, owners of the Cult and Superdry brands opened its largest-ever store at the centre in July 2010, in the unit previously occupied by Woolworths.[9] Ed's Easy Diner also opened their fifth restaurant in the centre's food court in July 2010.[10]

Taco Bell re-entered the UK market in June 2010 with the opening of its first stores at intu Lakeside.[11]

In 2011 US fashion giant Forever 21 opened a 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2) flagship store at intu Lakeside, in a three-floor unit.[12] In July 2016 this store closed down.

Intu Lakeside was granted permission in 2012 to extend to include 30-40 new stores, a new footbridge across the Alexandra Lake to the Lakeside Retail Park, a new leisure area, a new 80 bed Travelodge hotel overlooking the river and a brand new transport hub where the current railway station bridge is to allow easier interchange. Intu Lakeside hopes to have these improvements completed by 2016 and estimates the improvements will cost £180 million.[13]

Retail parks

There are also two retail parks nearby called the Lakeside Retail Park and The Junction. Lakeside Retail Park has a number of stores such as:

The Junction (this is part of the Tunnel Estate) has shops such as:

In August 2009, it was announced that US retail giant Best Buy would be opening one of its first UK stores at The Junction. The company had signed a ten-year lease for a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) megastore located on the site of the former Courts store. The new store opened 30 April 2010. As of 14 January 2012, this branch and all Best Buy operations in the UK have ceased trading. The former Best Buy building has now reopened as a Kiddicare outlet. In a move to counter the opening of Best Buy, Currys signed up to take on 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) of retail space in Lakeside Retail Park, on the site vacated by Danish Store ILVA. Currys opened the new megastore in spring 2010.


In 1998, Lakesiders was a BBC docusoap narrated by Pauline Quirke following the activities of management, shopkeepers and staff of the shopping centre. The fractious working relationship between Essex FM's breakfast show DJ Martin Day and his boss Paul Chantler also featured. The theme music was by Simon May. A new series, Return to Lakesiders, was filmed by the BBC in 2007 and was broadcast on BBC Two 18–22 August 2008.


  1. "Centre History". 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  2. "The connected consumer – the future of shopping centres" (PDF) (Press release). Capital Shopping Centres Group. 17 January 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  3. Russell Ash, Top 10 of Britain (Hamlyn, 2009)
  4. Vue cinema Thurrock
  5. "Geekanoids: Apple Store Lakeside Opening! Fun had by all!". Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  6. "Apple Store (United Kingdom) - Lakeside". Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  7. "Marks & Spencer floorspace extension consultation". Retrieved 11 September 2008.
  8. "Thurrock Gazette 20/10/08". Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  11. "Food chain to premiere at Lakeside". Thurrock Gazette. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  12. "Forever 21 announces Lakeside flagship". Thurrock Gazette. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
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