Sunday, 27 May 2018

Bicester Village - A Luxury Designer Outlet Accessible From London

 If you are anything like me - loves shopping and luxury designer goods - chances are you would have already heard of, if not visited Bicester Village, the Designer Shopping Outlet in Oxford, but easily accessible from London. But if for any reasons you haven't, then you are about to be introduced to the wonderful world of shopping for luxury designer goods at a slightly discounted price.

I have been visiting Bicester Village for years and years. I've taken the train and driven there. I've been there on my own as well as with friends, not to mention, taken visitors to the UK for a shopping trip as though Bicester Village is one of the must-visit tourist spots in the UK. Well, it is! If you love shopping and a bargain.

So today, I thought I'd put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and spread the love about Bicester Village. Sharing is after all caring.

Getting to Bicester Village from London is easy peasy, even if you don't own a car like me. There is a direct train from Marylebone Station which will arrive directly at Bicester Village. The journey is approximately 45 minutes and there are 2 trains per hour. An off-peak same-day return ticket is about £26, which is not cheap but not overly expensive either. On all accounts when I've gone to Bicester Village by train, I simply purchased the ticket from the ticket machine at Marylebone station on the day of travel. So far it hadn't caused me any issues.

However, if you are planning a trip involving 3 or more people, I would suggest considering to drive there. And if you don't own a car, the one day rate of renting a car, if split by the number of people going, would probably make the travel cost per person more economical. But for a solo trip, taking the train is the way to go.

The list of luxury designer brands continue to evolve, and I suspect it will pretty much dependent on demand, and popularity. I would always check the website for the most up-to-date list of designer shops. Some of the ones that I keep going back to and have somehow managed to find goodies from include Dior, Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Tod's, Max Mara, Celine, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bally, Anya Hindmarch, Reiss etc. Other than fashion designers, I also love going there to score discounted items from The White Company and Le Creuset. Previously, there was a Wedgwood store but it seems to have been closed. In the past, brands coverage also include high street brands such as Coast and Hobbs, but I no longer see these brands during my recent trips. As I said, they do chop and change their brand offerings from time to time.

Whenever I take visitors to Bicester Village, I often tell them two things to manage expectations and to avoid any disappointments.

1. Always go with an open mind as the stock availability vary. Not only that, the offer / discounted prices also vary depending on the time of the year. Further discounts on the already discounted items are often offered during the Boxing Day/Christmas/January sales and during holiday seasons i.e. Easter or Summer. Some trips I come home with fairly minimal items and at other times, I came home as a winner. Some of my most memorable purchases include a Classic Lady Dior (Carnage) in Black & Baby Pink (for my sister), a 100% wool Anya Hindmarch winter coat, a pair of knee length winter boots and two pairs of ballerina pumps from Bally, a Celine Boogie, just to name a few. But if you compare the prices at Bicester Village to the original RRP, you will get some savings and the travel costs is pretty much funded by the savings.

2. The prices are not entirely cheap, cheap. What I mean by this is that most of the brand items are sold within the 3 digits price range and some luxury items would be close to the 4 digits range (e.g. cult handbags). So don't expect to get things as cheap as what you pay for from the Next Sales or at Primark. These are after all luxury designer goods and one of the main reasons why they ended up there are because they are off-season, no longer in style or being discontinued.

Food & Drinks
Energy refuelling is an absolute must if you want to keep going with your shopping expedition. Just like the luxury brands, there is nothing short when it comes to food in Bicester Village. There are restaurants for those who prefer a sit-down meal, there are grab and go such as Itsu and Pret and there are also pop-up kiosks throughout the Village in between the outlets for a spot of coffee, ice cream, pastry (including Laduree) and wok noodles and middle eastern wrap.

So if you haven't been to Bicester Village, I would highly recommend to check it out. You might be surprised with the gems you may find there.

I hope you're having a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend and hooray to no work Monday. x

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