Wigan has retained its distinctive townscape, mingling Edwardian red brick with Tudor-style facades added in the 1930s. Over 60 buildings are listed as having historical or architectural interest and the larger part of the town centre has been transformed into an attractive open space with an award-winning example of the public art in the shape of a market cross. It was named ‘one of England’s top 100 places’ by the Urban Design Group.
A high quality pedestrian environment and excellent transport links have resulted in an atttactive, accessible shopping centre, aided by a partnership between the Council, local traders and the business community.
March 2007 saw the opening of the £120 million Grand Arcade, a new shopping complex, which has boosted Wigan's position from 131st to 84th in the ranking of UK Retail Venues. The Grand Arcade, which is anchored by Debenhams and BHS, has some of the most prestigious names on the high street such as Monsoon, Waterstones, H & M, Bank, Jane Norman, TK Maxx, JJB Sports and Top Shop / Top Man. Together with the award winning Galleries Shopping Centre, with its impressive 2 tiered central atrium and high street names such as Argos, New Look and Superdrug, Wigan Town Centre is the largest shopping venue in the Borough.
Leigh is the Borough’s second shopping centre, which has a distinctive character of its own. The Spinning Gate Centre and market hall, town centre by pass, new bus station, public art and pedestrian walkways have injected fresh life into the town.
The right to hold markets was given to the Borough by Royal Charter of Henry III in 1246 and it has been running them ever since. Wigan, Leigh, Hindley, Ashton, Tyldesley, Atherton and Golborne can all boast thriving markets offering everything from glistening rows of fresh fruit and vegetables to the chance of snapping up a bargain or unusual curiosity.
Shopping in the Borough has been enhanced by new “out of town” retail parks at the very accessible locations of Parsonage in Leigh, Marus Bridge and Robin Park in Wigan. They offer a wide choice, mainly for the bulkier type of goods and complement the excellent facilities available in the Borough’s town centres.
Wigan Borough has at least one branch of all the major supermarkets – Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Kwik Save.