A weekend break from the city of London was long overdue. A visit to Eamon’s parents was even more overdue. So, off we went to the countryside for a mini-break and some much-needed R&R.
I love trips to Eamon’s parents. We get to breathe fresh air, eat good food and go for long walks along the farm lanes. One of the things that we hardly ever do in London (or out of it)
is, shop! Eamon and I are not the greatest fans of crowded areas.
I know this seems strange considering we chose to live in one of the most densely populated cities in the UK, but that can’t be helped now, can it? Our immense dislike for crowds means that we hardly ever go shopping. We buy most of our things online and have always preferred it this way. So, when Eamon’s mom suggested Bicester Village for a little bit of a splurge, we decided to be daring!
What is Bicester Village you ask?
It is a village styled mall in Oxfordshire, an hour outside of London. It has discounted stores for most major designer and high street brands. The items in the stores are marked down, so you can save up to 60% on your purchases. I was in heaven, or as close to it as I am going to get in this lifetime! We started off with a bite to eat at The Villandry. They have reasonably priced meals in an upmarket environment. It is the perfect place to fuel up for the heavy shopping that will most likely happen thereafter!
Why did I like it so much?
It didn’t feel like a shopping mall. It is set out to look like a little suburban village and each store looks like a little house on the outside. Complete with balconies and pots of flowers.This definitely helps keep your stamina. Knowing that if the store is too much, you can step out into the fresh air for a bit of a recoup.
I also like that there are little eatery stalls dotted throughout. This gives you the chance to grab a snack-to-go or you can choose to sit down at the bigger restaurants. Another plus is that some places choose to monitor how many people enter the store and they create queues outside if they reach maximum capacity. This means when you go inside you don’t have to wade through a sea of people to see the merchandise.
Obviously, the major plus is that you get great discounts on designer items, just go prepared with lots of saved-up cash!
I definitely think that if you don’t have a lot of willpower, you will end spending more than you bargained for. It helps to go there with a set budget. While some stores moderate the amount of buyers in the store, a lot of them don’t and this means EVERYONE flocks to these stores so be prepared (I mainly avoided these, or jumped in for a quick look and back out again.)
There are a lot of tourists, this is not necessarily a bad thing but it means a lot of people that are on a very specific timeline and want to get their shopping done NOW so you get bustled around a lot.
All in all, I really enjoyed the experience and had a lot of fun. I am definitely saving up for my next trip to Bicester for that coveted Kate Spade tote 🙂