Family Fun crack
The Regent Arcade in Cheltenham is the home of the iconic Wishing Fish Clock, together with a wide range of child friendly stores and food and beverage outlets.
Unveiled in 1987, the 45 foot clock has been a major attraction in the town ever since. Its quirky design has a duck on top of a beautifully constructed marquetry fish which blows a stream of bubbles to music on the half hour.
The shopping centre is located at the heart of Cheltenham and links the bustling High Street to the stylish Promenade with over 60 stores on two floors. A multi-million pound refurbishment and a brand new glass roof have created a light and airy contemporary feel although the Regent Arcade very much retains its ethos of old fashioned service.
Unlike many other malls the Regent Arcade doesn’t have a noisy food court. Instead visitors can choose from six individual food and beverage outlets, each with its own atmosphere and speciality offering relaxed eat-in or take-away facilities.
There are cookies from Milles, ice-cream from Thorntons or pretzels from Auntie Anne’s. For coffee and a snack families can visit Soho or Druckers which also has an array of tempting pastries. The newly opened bistro style Bridge Café on the first floor link between Regent Arcade and Cavendish House serves Mediterranean style freshly prepared pastas and salads accompanied by delicious breads baked on the premises by their own chef.
Shopping with children needn’t be stressful, especially if you can mix in visits to shops they’ll enjoy. At Regent Arcade you’ll find gadget stores Red Five and Discovery each with it’s own quirky selection of toys, gifts and games with regular demonstrations of remote controlled vehicles by staff. Take a trip down memory lane in Hawkins Bazaar where traditional toys, puzzles and games sit comfortably alongside the latest in novelty items and a wide range of pocket money toys.
The whole family can enjoy experiencing 3D television in either the Sony or Panasonic showrooms and a must for budding artists is a browse round By-Local to see work by talented Gloucestershire craftsmen.
Fashion conscious offspring will be spoiled for choice. In addition to a variety of independent boutiques the Regent Arcade is home to high street retailers River Island, Monsoon, Schuh and Claire’s Accessories. A large TK Maxx store is located at the top of the escalators on the first floor.
Baby changing facilities can be found in the Mothercare store on the ground floor and within a purpose built baby care area on the first floor near the toilets. The Regent Arcade is a Child-Safe zone – if you become separated from your child or see a child who might be lost, dial the number printed on the orange and blue Child Safe stickers displayed around the centre to be connected straight through to security.
Concluding on a fish theme, when the Clock has finished blowing bubbles you can walk a few paces up the concourse to take a look at the hundreds of tiny garra fish in tanks at the Appy Feet fish spa treatment centre. Staff at Appy Feet welcome accompanied children in their shop during quiet trading periods and are happy to explain how the fish treatment works to curious adults and children alike.