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Festival Place, Basingstoke

November 5, 2009

This will only be of interest to people, like me, who live within reach of the town, I imagine.

However, ……….

After my first visit today I have to vote it the very worst indoor shopping centre and car park I have ever visited.

Finding it was easy; off the A30, one junction up the ring road, follow the signs into the centre and we’re there in a couple of minutes. Parking was OK. Finding our way out was not. Are there any routes that don’t through Debenhams? When we found an exit (and they don’t make it easy by putting up signs, say) we had no idea where we were. The hundreds of shops in there seemed to have been deliberately mixed up so every section looked similar. At the exit there were a few signs pointing to places we didn’t want but no map. By luck we had come out on the South side, near to the place we’d come to visit. So far so good.

Later, back inside, there were very few places from where you could see the outside and so judge where you were on the inside. The malls ran straight, curved, up and down slopes, had junctions but very few signs and no maps that I could see. Eventually I found lifts back up to the 4th floor and our car.

Now the worst bit, getting out. Have you done it? Isn’t it appalling? It took 5 minutes of continual driving; left, right, left, left, right, right, ……. On and on it went. Down a level then left, right, right ….. following temporary add-on yellow exit signs. How the hell did anyone get out without them ????????

Finally the exit. Where were we? No idea. Did I want to go to Reading or Alton or Winchester or any of the places on the road signs? Of course not. I want the A30, London bound. By luck and inspiration we didn’t take any wrong turnings and so, about 3 miles later, we were approaching the A30 and home.


Rant over. Just don’t ever ask me to go there again.

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