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Smiling school children

Meadowhall – back to school 2023

Get prepped for the new term with Meadowhall’s go-to stores for the essentials, arts and crafts, books, lunch boxes plus grooming and beauty finds for tweens and teens.

With our incredible water park, summer beach and fairground, kids-eat-free offers and special menus, free adventure playground, family movies plus really easy free parking and public transport, we’re taking the headache out of back-to-school shopping.

Plan a day out or come back over the holidays to keep them entertained and get organised…

The essentials…

Kids in classroom wearing schuh shoes

Image provided by shuh

From uniform to regulation black shoes and sports kits, we’ve created the ultimate downloadable back-to-school guide so you can tick off the key pieces as you go. Plus, we’ve got Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark, Charles Clinkard, Deichmann, Clarks, Foot Locker, Footasylum, Kids at Clinks, schuh kids, Office, Shoe Zone, Skechers and (You can also book shoe fitting appointments and beat the queues for Charles Clinkard here and Clarks here.)

Download the back to school checklist

For designer clothes for special occasions at school and boots that’ll last into next year, Kids Around and Dr Martens have everything you need.

Finally don’t forget: head to Pop Specs, M&S Opticians, Vision Express and Optical Express for optician check-ups and pick up kids’ vitamins, antihistamine and more from Boots, Superdrug and Holland & Barrett.

Bags, water bottles and lunch boxes

New Look handbag

Image provided by New Look

River Island’s capacious totes and shoppers are the go-to bags for teens at the moment (plus their handy Take Back Scheme means you can donate any three items from any brand for a £5 voucher the next time you shop).

See also Michael Kors, H&M (where you can also recycle for vouchers if you’re a member), Ted Baker, Urban Outfitters, New Look, and Zara for more carryall inspiration.

Primark back to school

Image provided by Primark

Smiggle, TK Maxx, Marks & Spencer, Next, Primark have rucksacks and backpacks for younger children, water bottles and lunch boxes (you could also head to Claire’s for useful collapsible ones and Typo and Kenji for fun designs). Smiggle’s unique pencil cases are also having a moment with the Budz Pop Out and Vibin’ Pop Out.

Grooming and beauty bits for teens

Lush Spongebob squarepants

Image provided by Lush

Get stocked up on with natural deodorants and tea tree oil products from The Body Shop and great teen skincare from Boots and Superdrug (CeraVe’s cleansers, moisturisers and toners, Boots’ own range witch hazel and Byoma are inexpensive and good for all skin types) while Next’s new beauty boutique has mix’n’match boxes for £15 with covetable brands including The Ordinary and Olaplex (check out Flannels’ incredible beauty hall too).

For a new and caring skincare routine, head to Dermalogica for expert advice or find some calming treats for bathing at Rituals and Bath & Body Works in Next. Lush has them covered for shower gels, vegan and afro hair products while Poundland and Wilko mean you can get all the basics: toothpaste, cotton wool and hair accessories in one quick sweep.

You can get walk-in appointments at Supercuts (prices range from £13 for eight and under and they also do Student and Blue Light discounts) and brows, lashes and nails at Beauty Boutique, BROWS. and Mint Nail & Brow Bar.

Kids-eat-for-free and children’s menus to know

TGI Fridays hamburger and chips

Image provided by Friday’s

Top tip: join Friday’s Stripes Rewards and kids can eat for free when you order an adult meal. Order from the Little League or Major League sections of the kids’ menu and choose from chicken burger or tenders, hot dog, two sides and a fizzy fruit cooler.

Enjoy a stress-free lunch with kids’ menus from Frankie & Benny’s (from £6.80 for a starter, main, side, drink and dessert); Pizza Express (doughballs, pizza or pasta with salad, dessert, a Bambicino and activity pack for £7.75); Marks & Spencer (£4 for main with snack and drink) and Nando’s (£5.95 for main, two sides and dessert or drink – bottomless frozen yoghurt anyone?).

On the go? Head to Bubble CiTea for cooling bubble teas or Hotel Chocolat, Sweet Tradition, Krispy Kreme and Lindt for sweet treats. Plus, we’re always home to the crowd pleasers with Five Guys, Greggs, KFC, McDonald’s, Pret, Slim Chickens, wagamama and YO!.

Keep checking our offers page for special summer kids’ menus too.

Stationery, books, arts and crafts

Back to school smiggle

Image provided by Smiggles

One handy tip for encouraging them to do their homework is to create a home study space they’ll love. Even if they’re working at the kitchen table, if they’ve got an organised pencil case, post-its and highlighters, things are that much more simple – try the winning stationery at Typo, Flying Tiger, Kenji and The Works.

For helpful study books and inspired reads, head to Waterstones and WH Smith or for crafting ideas and art supplies such as sketchpads and paints, Wilko and TK Maxx are brilliant. The Apple, Argos and currys’ teams are incredibly knowledgeable if you’re buying tablets, laptops, headphones and Bluetooth speakers for the new term. Pick up this season’s pastel phone cases from H&M.

The treat to make it all worth their time

Claire's back to school

Image provided by Claire’s

Avoid the endless moaning that ‘they’re bored’ with shopping treats. The Entertainer has Mini Brands surprises, Play-Doh, Barbies, Butter Cloudz Assortments and Mr and Mrs Potato Head for £10 and under while Lego is home to treats of all budgets. For tweens and teens, there’s ear piercing at Claire’s, cyber pets and desk toys at Menkind and bath bombs at Lush.

End-of-the-day entertainment

Clubhouse back to school

Image provided by Clubhouse

One of the biggest events of the summer is Meadowhall’s water park, beach and fairground that’s the perfect way to finish a long day shopping. We’ve also got Clubhouse packages where you can enjoy food, mini golf, bowling and much, much more alongside Air Haus inflatable fun for all ages, Jump Inc trampolining, Funstation gaming, Rock Up climbing and the brilliant Riverside Play outdoor adventure playground (for more day out ideas, discover our handy guide here).

You can also head to Vue as summer movies are still going strong with Barbie (out 21 July), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (out 4 August) and Strays (out 18 August).

Watch this space for new openings coming in 2023.

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