Here is a little known fact about me. I love a good retail park. I know, I know – you might laugh, but I secretly love visiting all the big ‘superstore’ versions of my favourite shops. What’s not to like about being able to go on a mega shopping spree and browse all of their stock at your leisure? I have been known to look up local retail parks when we visit new places – sure, tiny boutique-y shops are cool, but there is a lot to be said for a superstore. (I even get excited about shopping at new supermarkets I haven’t been to before, I like finding out what different, cool foods they sell. Totally weird, I know).
Next will always have a special place in my heart as a brand – particularly their amazing homewares department which in my opinion is the best on the high street. But I also adore their shoes, clothes, nightwear – pretty much everything they sell, actually. So what happens when one of my favourite brands, opens a mega, pretty amazing looking superstore (one of their biggest in the country), about 45 minutes from where I live? Well, luckily I was invited along to take a peek and find out…
The new Next store in Hedge End (near Fareham – between Southampton and Portsmouth) is visually, just stunning. As we drew up outside, it was clear that the store was going to be totally awesome both inside and out.
There’s a Costa on the top floor, so after being treated to a cup of tea, we were taken on a tour by their store manager Sean.
The first thing that struck us was how light and bright the whole store is – light floods through all of the glass panelling and as you stand in the entrance area you can’t help but feel impressed by the scale of it all (and the hanging armchairs of course).
It even has a real tree growing in the entrance area, strung with pretty bunting…
One of the main aims of the store is that it is eco-friendly and minimises its environmental impact, which ticks some major boxes for me. The store was built on the site of Wildern Mill, and actually use materials from the old Wildern Mill buildings in the building of the store in order to reuse and recycle materials. It has solar panels on the roof to generate electricity, and even bat houses in the woods adjacent to the store to protect the local bats. I think that’s pretty cool!
Mine and Emma‘s favourite part of the store was the garden centre area. There were open sections in the glass panelling so you were sort of outside and inside all at once – there were so many beautiful flowers and plants and even summerhouses! (Can I move into one please, they are so pretty!)
Of course, my next stop was the shoes. Their womens’ footwear department is rather impressive…. It would have been rude not to pay it a visit after they made it look so lovely and neat, right?
I rather fell for these blue brogues – they might have to hop into my A/W wardrobe… I think the pretty pastel colour will mean they bridge the gap between this weird Autumn-Summer we’re currently having and whenever Autumn actually turns up for real!
Of course their homes department was pretty as a picture… I love this ‘house rules’ wall décal.
We also paid a visit to their Menswear department – so many beautiful tailored suits and leather brogues – swoon.
We were kindly given a £50 gift voucher to treat ourselves to something from the new store but I’m afraid I gave the Menswear department the swerve (sorry Tom!) and spent £80 in their womenswear department (okay, I bought a pair of shoes too – oops!) I will share what I bought at a later date in a little outfit post. I also picked up a couple of summer-y dresses and tops for my impending USA adventure.
After our shopping spree, we were taken off to the beautiful Chewton Glen for a spa day and dinner – but I’m going to save that for another post, I can’t wait to tell you about the wonderful day they treated us to!
Are you a Next fan? Will you be visiting their new Hedge End superstore?