East Kilbride Shopping Centre has always been a fun-filled hub and welcomed change of scene for many residents in Lanarkshire.

While everyone knows that Hamilton has the Water Palace, and that Motherwell Football Club continue to 'wow' thousands of fans at their stadium each year, there may just always be a specially reserved nook in our hearts for the pre-teen adventures once had within EK.

From tear-stained Debenhams trips to spectating the ice-skating, here are seven things you definitely did as young a Millennial on a day out to East Kilbride Shopping Centre.


1. Threw on some ice skates!

East Kilbride Connect: Get your skates on at Bicester Garden Centre

Not much in life rivals the excitment felt when your feet touched the ice for the first time in East Kilbride. 

A far cry away from the mortifying prospect of losing your balance mid-skate in George Square at Christmas, the East Kilbride Shopping Centre ice rink was  a family-friendly entry into winter sports for many of us. Each session was brought to life by classic hits from the resident DJ in the region of S Club 7, Liberty X and, later, Lady Gaga.  

After making it round the edges of the rink once or twice with the handrail, and at least halfway without, boredom would emerge as rapidly as the fresh blisters on your ankles and you would leave with a large smile on your face.


2. Begged to go into the Disney Store

East Kilbride Connect: Aela Moore, two, of Osbaldwick among the Disney characters at the re-opening of the Disney Store in Parliament Street in York

Pefectly situated aross from McDonalds, the East Kilbride Disney shop was an oasis of fun and colour that was adored by children and parents of the early noughties.

Stocked from floor to ceiling with stuffed animals, costumes, stationery sets and videos available for purchase, a visit to the store was an unavoidable conclusion to any trip - and usually one which did not find you leaving empty-handed.


3. Slid on your knees through Olympia Mall

East Kilbride Connect:

On a day out completely consumed by shopping with adults, a child had to find their own form entertainment and keep out of trouble.


Luckily, the gradual slope featured within Olympia Mall used to seem quite enormous to our younger selves. Therefore, how could we simply not ruin the knees of our trousers by embarking on a majestic, downhill knee slide?


4. Entered a state of shock after uncovering the "hidden" cinema

East Kilbride Connect:

Located in Upper Princes Mall, only one floor above the much-hurried-towards exit to the car park, is East Kilbride's ODEON cinema.

As a more or less hidden component of the shopping centre's entertainment complex, many of us only discovered the cinema when we were older - much to the relief of our parents, we bet.


5. Kicked up a fuss in Debenhams

East Kilbride Connect:

As adults, we are able to appreciate the benefits of an enlarged shopping centre: more shops, a brand new food court, multiple new toilets and, most obviously, an increase in parking spaces to accomodate everyone.

However, the development of Centre West only seemed to pose threats to our joyous shopping experiences, for example: the arrival a brand-new, two storey Debenhams.

Many a childhood tantrum occured at the mention of visiting Debenhams with a parent, and being so closely situated beside the rear car park it was often unavoidable.


6. Insisted on a walk through Princes Mall

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A trip to East Kilbride Shopping Centre wouldn't have been complete without a stroll through the, now desolate, Princes Mall.

Located at the bus station entrance, the left wing of the shopping centre once boasted the most wonderful shopping opporunities known to children. Think Woolworths, Stationery Box, Poundland and other pocket money favourites, not to mention the amusements centre.


7. Got your hair braided

East Kilbride Connect: HAIR TODAY AND AGAIN NEXT WEEK: Marie Oakley is pictured braiding Georgia Owen's hair. Marie is never short of customers at the Street Theatre.

Often on Saturdays, a mysterious stall adorned with beads, threads and photographs of quirky-looking hairstyles would appear outside of the ice rink.

Once in a blue moon, your parents might have allowed you to indulge in the creative possibilities of hair styling by paying for you to have your hair braided with rainbow thread. The experience was enthralling and fuelled your return to East Kilbride a few weeks later, but by that time the stall had disappeared...


Do you have any fond memories of East Kilbride shopping centre growing up?

Let us know in the comments below.