Hello Grand Central!
I knew you were to be super swanky and futuristic and all but man, did I not expect this beauty! For those who are not local (although you would have to be from Mars not to have heard about Grand Central), New Street Station and the shopping centre Pallasades in Birmingham were under construction for about – I want to say… 5 years? They were to be transformed into an amazing destination where people meet (after all it’s on top of a train station), people eat (it has a large food hub) and people shop til they drop (Grand Central shopping promenade & John Lewis). Late September saw the big reveal and here we are – in the very heart of Birmingham inside of a massive shopping/food/travel complex which has 3 eyes and a mind blowing roof.
I applaud everyone who took part in designing and constructing this beast, it’s just the greatest. Now we’ve done the aaah-ing and wow-ing, here are my 10 first impressions of the complex as a whole:
✓ It’s so spacious! Pardon my French but the old Pallasades looked like a bloody socialist parking lot. The new Grand Central & New Street Station are so bright and roomy you will never be forced to shuffle behind a crowd of fellow commuters again.
✓ The roof is absolutely stunning – I mean, the roof is Grand Central. They obviously went for super modernist, one would say almost extraterrestrial which is always quite brave when it comes to frequently used spaces like this but I do have to say they nailed it. The roof of Grand Central rocks.
✓ Always check the toilets. They are swanky. I approve.
✓ Grand Central literally brings the city together. It creates this awesome corridor between all Birmingham’s shopping avenues. A 3 minute walk from the Mailbox, straight into Grand Central – all the way through to TK Maxx and you’re in Bullring and Selfridges. Another 3 minute walk and you’re in the Custard Factory for some independent retail experience. Genius.
✓ Grand Central houses some hard-to-find (usually only-in-London) brands such as Foyles (the prettiest selection of books), Steel & Jelly (your modern day gentleman’s attire) and Tapas Revolution (for a Spanish snack or two).
✓ It’s open until late (most places shut at 8pm). Bingo!
✓ The close proximity to the train station is genius. Waiting for the train? Well, why wouldn’t you pop into Tiger or have a little burrit-go?
✓ The food court is not just your ol’ boring food court you were used to from places such as the Pavillions. Each eating outlet has its own seating area which gives you the ‘restaurant’ feel without being enclosed within four walls.
✓ Tiger. Have I mentioned they have Tiger? Yeah, they have Tiger there. Right at the old Pallasades entrance. Just saying.
✓ To bring the quintessential Britishness into play you can also find John Lewis adjacent to Grand Central. And it has 4 floors. Jesus.