City escapes: Bicester Village

Bicester Village is a well-known outlet shopping centre which has been open for a good few years now.  I hadn’t been for years (and years!) but I’d heard it had added some new brands so I thought it would be a great meeting point for catching up with one one my friends who lives outside the city.  As outlet shopping centres can be hit and miss I thought I’d post an update on my findings!

For those not in the know Bicester Village is a pretty chic shopping outlet where you’ll find a range of labels from the high-end high street to designer at discounted prices.  The stores are housed in lovely New England style streets and unlike the kind of outlet shops that fill me with dread (I’m not much of a rummaging fan) each store is neatly arranged and branded much like their full priced stores.

OK now for the shopping!  I’m a big fan of good leather handbags and often find myself staring longingly at the designer ones on the tube.  If you’re thinking about making this investment but aren’t quite prepared to pay the full price I recommend taking a look here.  As you’ll see there are some pretty big brands and whilst they may not have up to date products they did have some good classics at good discounts.

Mulberry (oh how I lusted after this bag) it was priced at around £400 (RRP around £600 upwards). If you have a rummage on my Instagram account (thiscitylifeuk) you’ll find a few more examples of what they had on offer.

Smythson had beautifully crafted handbags and accessories at pretty good discounts (it’s hard to resist THAT label).

Coccinelle had some great discounts, some of these handbags were around £100!

Given that I went before the Jubilee the Emma Bridgewater store was full of current products like this one! As was Cath Kidston.

As for the clothing stores you’ll find Aubin & Wills, French Connection, Reiss and many more (find the full list of brands including some well-known beauty, jewellery and homeware brands here).  I thought most of the stores had pretty good items, the discounts varied but there were some bargains to be had.  I like a classic casual shirt as it works well for dress down Fridays and picked this one up from Jack Wills for just £14.

Now as you probably know outlet shops can be hit and miss but if you just fancy a shopping trip and don’t have anything particular in mind I think this makes for a great escape out of the city.  It’s a bit more peaceful than city shopping, you can have a nice day browsing at a leisurely pace and catch up with your friends over a coffee or meal in one of their lovely restaurants.

As for the practical stuff, to get to the Village you need to make your way to Bicester North.  I brought a day ranger ticket for a train from London Marylebone to Bicester North, then a the shuttle bus from the station.  The total for a full price ticket including the shuttle bus is £32 (the shuttle is £4.50 return) but if you buy in advance you can get much cheaper fares.  You can also get a coach but from London it comes to roughly the same price. The overall journey time from London is just an hour.

Have you been to Bicester Village? What did you think?