THE hugely popular picnic and play area at Spinning Gate Shopping Centre has been extended to capture the last few days of the summer holidays.

With lots of shops and offers at the town's shopping centre, a free picnic and play area was provided throughout August.

During the summer holidays, this gave families the opportunity to relax and take a break from shopping, while enjoying garden games and making memories.

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Leigh Journal: The play area has been a hit with families this summerThe play area has been a hit with families this summer (Image: Spinning Gate)

Due the popularity of the play area, managers at the shopping centre have decided to extend it until the rest of the summer holidays, to be closed on Sunday, September 3. 

Over the past 4 weeks, the centre has attracted over 220,000 shoppers, a huge 17% increase from previous years, with some shops in the centre reporting an increase of 22% in sales over the summer.

Leigh Journal: Ruby and Jasmine enjoying the play area activitiesRuby and Jasmine enjoying the play area activities (Image: Spinning Gate)

The picnic and play area, next to Clarks and Costa Coffee has provided some much needed cover from this year's grey and rainy skies, and been a hit with young families.

With the play area surrounded by artificial grass, colourful mats, picnic benches and parasols, dozens of youngsters have enjoyed the space over the summer. 

Leigh Journal: The play area has been extended until the end of the summer holidaysThe play area has been extended until the end of the summer holidays (Image: Spinning Gate)

Joanne Carrighar-Kearns from Leigh, mum to three girls aged 4, 6, and 15 said: “The Spinning Gate picnic and play area gave me a chance to have a coffee and read a book whilst the girls are making new friends and playing away, we literally come every day! 

"It's clean, there is never any litter or rubbish, and it's safe. My little ones love drawing and reading, and it's free fun!”

Leigh Journal: Eadie enjoying the area with mum ZoeEadie enjoying the area with mum Zoe (Image: Spinning Gate)

Karen Cox, Centre Manager the shopping centre added: "This summer, with the cost of living crisis, it was more important than ever for Spinning Gate to provide free family fun during the school holidays. 

"It has been a joy to watch and listen to families return every single day over the past month to make new friends and play away in our picnic and play area. 

"We have decided to extend it for a few days, to ensure the little ones make the most of it before returning to school for the autumn term."

The picnic and play area is open when the centre is open: Mondays to Saturdays 9am – 5.30pm & Sundays 10am – 4pm.  The play area closes for the summer on Sunday 3 September.  Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times,