You don’t necessarily think of outlet malls when you think of London, do you?
Outlet shopping is more of a North American thing, so I wasn’t surprised when my (London living) friends and family had no idea what or where the heck Bicester Village Outlet was.
The Bicester Village is an outlet centre in Oxfordshire, between London and Birmingham where high-end luxury brands sell their wares at discount prices. Brands include, Vivienne Westwood, Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Agent Provocateur, Pringle of Scotland and a whole slew of others.
I heard about it two years ago from my internet friend J., she calls herself a ‘fashionphile’, takes exotic shopping vacations and writes about it.
She made me promise go to Bicester while I’m in London, “and bring me back a scarf from Folli Follie to remind me of Greece” she said.
Thankfully, I do love outlet shopping – every Canadian living close to the US border probably does (and that’s about three-quarters of the population!). But long before I discovered cross-border shopping I used to do the outlet malls in and around Maryland. My favourites were the ones in Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.
I read a lot about this outlet centre before going, we got our train tickets two days earlier. I was looking forward to taking the Chiltern Railways because I used to take that train (and route) years ago when I attended school in Buckinghamshire.
Bicester Village is a nice 50 minute train ride from London Marylebone Station, with great views of the country side.
We even stopped at nice charming stations. We got off at Bicester North and took the village taxi bus (a plush Mercedes van) to the outlet centre.
The outlet centre is built to look like a quaint town square, it’s outdoors and spacious with over 100 stores, cafes and restaurants.
Since it was our first time there and we had all day, we decided to browse every one of the stores, besides it was raining like crazy back in London.
We ended up having a fun day; we stopped for lunch at Villandry and felt very European about it.
I didn’t buy much, some of the prices were still a little bit high for me – I walked through Valentino thinking “wow, that’s sad; I still can’t afford Valentino at discount prices”. There were a few bargains to be had. I got a very cute Anya Hindmarch blouse for Â£45.00 and a few other accessories from Luella and Radley.
There were so many things I wanted to get but alas I didn’t want to spend all my money in one place and I hadn’t really budgeted for a big outlet shopping spree.
The complex was crowded with very fashionable looking people, a lot of them tourists.
There were a few ‘locals’, families and young mommies pushing fancy strollers.
It was overall a very nice experience, I’d do this every once in a while if I lived in London.
I can’t wait to go back, I’ve started saving so next time I’ll have a budget!