Apple launched its third UK retail store at Bluewater, Kent on Saturday July 9.

The company also has stores in London (Regent Street) and Birmingham (Bullring). Stores in Sheffield and Manchester are planned.

A respectable crowd gathered to mark the moment, though numbers appeared down slightly in the wake of last week's terrifying attack on London commuters.

1,000 gather at opening doors

Two Apple fans Luis Rebelo and Rogerio Morais joined the queue at midnight to ensure they were first through the door. Despite the post-attack fears, Macworld estimates 1,000 people had gathered to greet the store by the time it opened.

Following Apple's usual practice, Apple staff cheered and applauded as the first customers entered the store.

To promote its new shop, Apple is offering visitors to the store during its opening month a chance to win a Digital Lifestyle Collection worth £2,145.

The collection includes: A 20-inch flat-panel iMac with SuperDrive, an iPod mini, a Canon lxus 40 digital camera, a Canon MV800 digital camcorder and a Canon iP6000D printer.

Full details of forthcoming seminars are available on Apple's dedicated Bluewater Web page.

Macworld's image gallery taken during the opening can be viewed here.