intu Trafford Centre great hall staircase

The Trafford Centre has been an iconic North West shopping and leisure destination for over 20 years, famous for its luxurious marble malls and unique architecture.

Many might not realise it, but there’s so much more to The Trafford Centre than fashion and food. 

Whilst it’s partially closed, the shopping centre giant has revealed 18 secrets and interesting facts about the centre that you might not know:

  1. The idea of The Trafford Centre was conceived in 1984. Planning permission was sought in 1986 and approval was finally upheld by the House of Lords in 1995. It took 27 months to build and opened on 10th September 1998.

  2. The Great Hall entrance is home to one of the world’s largest chandeliers – so big it houses its own interior staircase! Made up of thousands of pieces of Chinese crystal, the chandelier measures 11m x 9m and weighs a hefty 5 ½ tons.

  3. The Great Hall staircase is made of Chicken Red Marble from the Luoyong district of China and was modelled on the staircase of the Titanic.

  4. Extensive use has been made of natural stone for the floors of the malls and for the frontages and interiors of the shops. The different stones used were chosen for their attractiveness in terms of colour and pattern. The variety of stone types selected provided examples of all three major rock types to be seen in the earth’s crust.

  5. The Orient is the largest food court in Europe, seating 1,600 people, and its design is based on an ocean liner visiting different areas of the world including China, Egypt, Europe and America.

  6. The Orient ceiling has been modelled to resemble the sky with the colour changing from pink at dawn, blues in the afternoon and reds and purples at dusk. 2000 bright stars twinkle throughout the evening, followed by the 12 constellations and the stars of the Milky Way.

intu Trafford Centre

  7. Outside The Great Hall entrance you’ll find the Trafford Crest Sculpture consisting of a Roman Centurion, a griffin and a unicorn. The piece is based on various elements within the Trafford Coat of Arms and took 16 months to complete.

  8. Since the centre opened, nearly £1million has been collected in total from the centre’s spectacular fountains. Every single coin generously dropped into the water by shoppers is washed, cleaned and donated to the centre’s local nominated charities.

  9. The palm trees on Peel Avenue are not only real, they are originally from California and were transported to the centre with a short stint in Amsterdam to acclimatise.

  10. The main dome by Selfridges is based on the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in London and can change colour from blue to green, yellow and red.

  11. intu Trafford Centre was the chosen location for the first Selfridges outside London. The high-end department store is synonymous with designer brands, stylish homeware and gourmet food.

  12. Look at the floor by the glass lifts in the Main Dome and you’ll find a plaque to mark where a time capsule was buried in 1998, with children attending from local primary school Barton Clough.

intu Trafford Centre hall

  13. A time capsule was also buried in the newly transformed Barton Square in February 2020, again with students from Barton Clough primary school who drew pictures of the centre to go in the capsule.

  14. The portraits above Regent Crescent (near Debenhams) are the individuals involved in the original build, including architects, artists, developers and designers.

  15. The centre contains 3.5 miles of brass which is cleaned and polished every single night.

  16. The centre’s 135 toilets and 60 urinals are cleaned and maintained so regularly that the centre has achieved a national award ‘Loo of the Year’ for 17 years in a row – a royal flush!

  17. Unlike most other shopping malls, the centre is set amidst a 150-acre site of beautiful landscaping. Influenced by the landscaped boulevards of Los Angeles, borders of fresh woodland plants line all routes in to the Centre and natural wooded areas surround the building.

  18. The preserved Wilderspool Wood, near The Great Hall entrance, attracts a host of birds including green finch, wrens and blue tits.

intu Trafford Centre orient