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Drake Circus back to school

Drake Circus – back to school 2023

Get prepped for the new term with Drake Circus’ go-to stores for the essentials, arts and crafts, books, lunch boxes plus grooming and beauty finds for tweens and teens plus The Barcode’s kids-eat-free offers and special menus.

With our summer Underwater Wonderland installation, family movies plus really easy 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…

schuh back to school

Image provided by Schuh

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 (bucket hats and roll-up pencil cases are very popular…). Plus, we’ve got Marks & Spencer, H&M, New Look, Next, Primark, River Island, Foot Locker, Footasylum, JD Sports and schuh.

Download the back to school checklist

Don’t forget: head to M&S Opticians for optician check-ups and pick up kids’ vitamins, antihistamine and more from Boots, Superdrug and Holland and Barrett.

Bags, water bottles and lunch boxes

New Look back to school

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 H&M (where you can also recycle for vouchers if you’re a member), Accessorize, Jack Wills, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and New Look for more carryall inspiration.

Smiggles back to school

Image provided by Smiggle

Smiggle, Primark, The Entertainer and Marks & Spencer have rucksacks and backpacks for younger children, water bottles and lunch boxes (you could also head to Claire’s for useful collapsible bottles, JD Sports for sporty designs and Tiger and Mooch for fun ones). 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

Get stocked up on with natural deodorants and tea tree oil products 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 Lush has them covered for shower gels, vegan and afro hair products. Don’t forget the basics: toothpaste, cotton wool and hair accessories in one quick sweep.

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

M&S back to school

Image provided by Marks & Spencer

Enjoy a stress-free lunch with kids’ menus from Marks & Spencer (£4 for main with snack and drink); Nando’s offer £5.95 for main, two sides and dessert or drink – bottomless frozen yoghurt anyone?; Slim Chickens do a special £5 menu for children while Las Iguanas have delicious mains of fish fingers and chicken burgers with two sides and a dessert for £7.

Sit in the sunshine at Brewdog and enjoy crunchy veg and breadsticks with hummus for £2 or mains including cheese toasties, mac n’ cheese and chicken strips with barbecue sauce for £5.50 (all served with fries, salad and a soft drink).

On the go? Head to Bubble CiTea for cooling bubble teas or Hotel Chocolat and Krispy Kreme for sweet treats. Plus, we’re always home to the crowd pleasers with Burger King, Five Guys, Starbucks and YO!. If they’ve been amazing then Kaspa’s Desserts is heaven on earth with ice creams, gelatos, waffles, crepes, milkshakes, smoothies and sundaes to make your own.

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

Stationery, books, arts and crafts

Smiggle back to school

Image provided by Smiggle

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 Tiger, Smiggle and Mooch; they’ve also got art supplies including sketchpads and paints. For helpful study books and inspired reads, head to Waterstones. The Apple team is 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

Lush back to school

Image provided by Lush

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. For tweens and teens, there’s ear piercing at Claire’s and bath bombs at Lush.

End-of-the-day entertainment

cineworld back to school

Image provided by Cineworld

One of the biggest events of the summer is Drake Circus’ welcoming underwater installation that’s the perfect way to finish a long day shopping. We’ve also got nachos, karaoke and shuffleboard at Boom Battle Bar and two mini golf adventure courses at Paradise Island Adventure Golf (for more day out ideas, discover our handy guide here).

You can also head to Cineworld 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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