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Whiteley – back to school 2023

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

With a summer of 10th birthday celebrations including baby dino shows, balloon modelling, superheroes and princesses with climbing at Rock Up and family movies at Cineworld 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, Smiggle, Next, JD Sports, Clarks, schuh,, Tiger, Waterstones and more.

Don’t forget: head to Specsavers and Vision Express for optician check-ups and pick up kids’ vitamins, antihistamine and more from Boots, Superdrug and Holland and Barrett.

Download the back to school checklist

Bags, water bottles and lunch boxes

River Island back to school

Image provided by River Island

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) and Accessorize for more carryall inspiration.

Smiggle, Mountain Warehouse, 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 Accessorize 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

The body shop back to school

Image provided by The Body Shop

Get stocked up on with natural deodorants and tea tree oil products at 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). Don’t forget the basics: head to Poundland for toothpaste, cotton wool and hair accessories in one quick sweep.

You can also get walk-in appointments at Barbers On The Square while Hair Ott do kids’ prices for the under-10s from £10 if they’ve got availability.

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

Marks & Spencer back to school

Image provided by Marks & Spencer

Enjoy a stress-free lunch with kids’ menus from from Frankie & Benny’s (from £6.80 for a starter, main, side, drink and dessert); 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?; Jurassic Grill for £6.50 mains of protoceratops pasta and the Teeny Rex Burger and Wildwood’s delicious two courses and a drink for £7.25 including pizzas, pasta, sausages and fries plus desserts of ice creams and fruit lollies.

Plus, we’re always home to the crowd pleasers with Burger King, Five Guys, Starbucks and wagamama. 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 Smiggle and Tiger; they’ve also got art supplies including sketchpads and paints.

For helpful study books and inspired reads, head to Waterstones. The WH Smith team is helpful if you’re buying headphones, calculators 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. For tweens and teens, there’s ear piercing at Claire’s and bath gels at The Body Shop .

End-of-the-day entertainment

Whiteley bear back to school

One of the biggest events of the summer is Whiteley’s 10th birthday celebrations featuring singing princesses, superheroes, choir performances and storytelling so plan your day out to enjoy the fun (get the full calendar here).

We’ve also got fun rock climbing at Rock Up and Cineworld’s 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).

Whiteley is turning 10 this year and we’ll be planning some special events for everyone to celebrate. Keep an eye on our social channels at Facebook and Instagram and the what’s on section of our website. Plus, sign up to our newsletter


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