As someone who loves London and everything it has to offer, I do have to say that shopping on Oxford Street is really a complete disaster. So many people, wandering around, you can never remember which way your favourite shops are. I’ve given up going there, and really do avoid it if I can.
In contrast Bicester Village, though busy, is civilised most of the year (avoid in December at all costs if you value your time!).
It’s like something you have never seen before in the UK. Parking used to be a nightmare but has got much better this year; I managed to get a spot straight away arriving at 2pm on a Sunday.
As a destination for discounted brands I don’t think there is anywhere better in England. Most similar places tend to have brands you don’t really want and stock which really looks like they are desperate to be rid of it. Bicester though has so many brands from Gucci, LK Bennett, Mulberry to Calvin Klein. I now don’t shop at a lot of the high street stores and will wait until I go to Bicester and buy last season’s clothes, which I remember from a few months ago, there at usually less than 50% of the original price.The only shop which really takes the biscuit is Ralph Lauren, which makes you queue outside behind a roped line. The queuing doesn’t stop there as the tills are absolutely chocker. I have heard that a lot of what Ralph Lauren sell in these outlets is specially made for the outlet and so would never have been full price in their high street store.
Top Tip: Some companies are recognised by their VIP club (Police, Law, etc) and you can get a 10% discount card which applies to pretty much everything in the Village.
My favourite buy was this super sparkly Reiss jumper !Overall, Bicester Village is a great place to visit and there are some real bargains in almost every shop. From Prada handbags and Jimmy Choos to White Company bedding and Links jewellery, it really makes you wonder why you ever pay full price for these things in their high street shops. Yes absolutely some queuing will be involved, but on the whole this is quite well managed and it never feels out-of-hand or manic. The village is clean and modern, with good facilities. If you want to eat in one of the restaurants I recommend booking as they are all busy. If not there is Pret (the biggest I’ve ever seen) and Starbucks for a more casual snack. If you haven’t been and you live within an hour or two’s drive I would absolutely recommend it as you’ll earn the petrol money back with the savings you make.