What’s a holiday by the seaside without a little retail therapy? As well as a fantastic beach, a lovely Prom, great piers and lots of family entertainment, Blackpool also has decent shopping.

The Houndshill Shopping Centre in Blackpool is probably the most popular shopping centre in town and the one with the highest profile. It is a big place with lots of public spaces, walkways, places to sit and eat and lots of shops. It is a typical British shopping centre, in a good way.

The centre has the usual array of chain stores from Boots to Burger King, Next to New Look and everything in-between. Others include Claire’s JD Sports, Clarks, H&M, Primark, HMV, Café Nero, Superdrug, River Island, Costa, Carphone Warehouse, Disney Store and a number of others.

The range of stores is typical of a British shopping centre but has all the bases covered. Kids can buy their trainers, mobile phones, computer games and then have a coffee. Adults can shop for clothes, stuff for the house, music and whatever they like and they join the kids for a coffee. There is something here for everyone.

The lower floor tends to be the shops and coffee shops while the upper floor is the food court. Here we have Burger King, Roosters, El Taco Loco and the Real Café. It’s small but has enough space for a good number of tables. The service seems fast at each of the outlets and there always seems to be people eating, which is a good sign!

We walk to the Houndshill Shopping Centre from the North Ocean Hotel but parking onsite seems plentiful. It does get busy at peak times but no more than anywhere else. I have no idea about parking charges though as I have never parked there.

One of the nicer things about Houndshill Shopping Centre is that it is relatively calm for somewhere with a high footfall. There are no kids being annoying, no skateboarders or cyclists and no trouble that we have seen. There are staff that walk around to keep trouble out, which seems to work. At least when we have been there.

Considering the size of Blackpool, the shopping centre is the right size and in the right place. It complements the High Street nicely and brings the town kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The fact that it is usually busy shows how far Blackpool has come since the recession.