Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bicester Village Shopping Review


One thing my friends know about me is that prior to any trip, lunch date or holiday I will have googled the venue/destination to death finding out all I can and gorging on as much information as possible. The same approach was adopted for Bicester Village at the weekend despite having been on numerous occasions. What surprised me when I stumbled across some reviews on Tripadvisor was the expectations some people had on visiting, no you will not find a Prada bag for £50, and how little they had looked into stores available, no you will not find Marks and Spencer at Bicester Village so I thought it made sense for me to provide a review for anyone planning the trip to Oxford.

Before you even decide to make the trip, take a look at the brands on offer. If you've treated yourself to a Karen Millen dress or Lacoste polo shirt in the past then the trip may be worth your visit and if you have a special event coming up and would love a dress from Coast but the cost is restrictive you may well find one for the sort of price you're looking to pay. Similarly if you've dreamed of owning a Prada bag but the thought of spending thousands of pounds on one is just a dream but you would consider treating yourself to a purse at a couple of hundred pounds then you could get lucky at Bicester Village

Here are my three tips for your trip.


1. Go early
I have been to Bicester four times in the past year, with the one exception always on a Saturday and always arrive for it's opening at 9am. This will give you an hour or two to shop in relative peace because by lunchtime you will find you have to queue to get in stores (they tend to move quickly) and you will be battling with tourists. Ben wanted to go Ralph Lauren for some holiday clothes so it was the store we hit first on Saturday and as you can see from the queue when we left at 3pm was glad we did. Ralph Lauren's multiple stores are extremely popular with the crowds so cross them off the list as soon as you can.

2. Be prepared to come home empty handed
Anyone who has been to shopping outlets before will know that you never know what you will find and I have been once before and came home empty handed. This is not the sort of place you visit with a shopping list. Whilst I visited Saturday I had in mind 'will I get lucky and find the Anya Hindmarch flight bag that went in the sale' I was fully prepared that they may be sold out - and they were. I've also visited wanting a Lulu Guinness suitcase and they were sold out but last weekend they had a selection on offer so it pays to be open minded.


3. Be prepared to spend some serious cash
Many people are surprised at how expensive prices are at Bicester Village but who really expects to walk in Mulberry and pay £50 for a bag that was retailing for £1000? On Saturday they had a beautiful pink Bayswater bag for £600, originally £1000, that's nearly half price and whilst a lot of money if I'd been in the market for a new Mulberry handbag this would be a great price to pay and I very nearly did snap it up! That said mum picked up this Michael Kors bag which had originally been approx £250, reduced at the outlet to £125 and then gone into their sale so she paid about £60 for it so it's not all about the bank breaking prices.


I love the Bicester Village shopping experience, for a shopping village it's lovely, especially in the sunshine and if you're prepared to go early and aren't phased by crowds you should enjoy a visit. Some people complain about 'made for outlet' items and last season stock but I've always been impressed by how much the ranges reflect the current season and tend to use it as a cheaper way to treat myself to some nice things.


It's well laid out, easy to navigate and has some of the best toilets I've seen in a public place - although ladies, of course there's always a queue. If you've been to Bicester Village before or know of any other outlets worth a visit pop your tips in the comments below.


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23 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a fantastic shopping trip, I hope I can get up there soon :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

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  2. I spent a few weeks in Bicester actioning some training for a local store. Many a lunchtime was spent wandering around the village.

    Yes it is expensive but quality costs a little more.

    X x

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    1. So true and I always justify that these purchases are used frequently whereas a purse from New Look or pair of shoes from Next can easily be discarded if I don't like them anymore.

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  3. I love Bicester. I found a wonderful pair of jewelled Jimmy Choo heels last time - I'd been eyeing them up on the website for ages but at £1,200, there was no way I was splashing out. Found them here for £500 and I still adore them! Going to visit mid-week next month to see what's on offer...

    Congrats on your purchases!

    Caroline x
    Cocktails and Caroline

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    1. They were meant to be! I love when you finding something reduced that you'd originally lusted after at full price. Mum & I went on a Thursday last year which is apparently supposed to be a good day as they receive all the stock in for the weekend then x

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  4. Love the picture of your mum; no wonder she's got a smile to light up the world...what a great find. Classic, go-with-anything and in GOLD!!!
    Z xx

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    1. She promptly sent that photo to all her friends! x

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  5. I went there the summer before last - I can't believe it was that long ago! It feels like last week!! I loved it and came out with a beautiful Ted Baker little black dress for like £30! It's about a three hour drive each way for us though so it's not somewhere we can just pop to on a whim!
    The picture of your mum is lovely and I'm glad she found something special :)
    Keep in touch!
    Andrea
    www.lanouvellenoire.com xxx

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    1. Agree you definitely need to plan a trip when it's that sort of journey! x

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  6. Thanks for the review, I have always wanted to go to bicester village before. Great advice, I will keep in mind to get there early as I hate queuing!!

    http://allaboutevesbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. The queue's can get tiresome but if you're with friends it's not too bad and it's quite to take a rest from the shopping and people watch if someone nips in a shop you're not interested in

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  7. Good advice. You got some lovely things, but even at their reduced prices they are still way out of my price range sadly.

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    1. Maybe save some money and treat yourself xx

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  8. This post was quite helpful as I was planning to visit Bicester Village at some stage and I did not imagine that there would be queues for the shops! I've been to outlets before and I've never seen people queueing! So I'll make sure I get there extra early if I do decide to go to Bicester Village.

    IAmLinderella.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Don't be too put off there's not queues for every store and as I say get there nice and early and you should miss them! x

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  9. I haven't been to Bicester in years and I had no idea that they had a Jimmy Choo!! I'll be heading there soon.
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

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    1. Get yourself there for some Choos for your honeymoon! x

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  10. Good review. What's your take on the discounts, are they genuine or is their 'original price' more than you'd really pay if you walked into the equivalent non-outlet shop?

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    1. It's mixed I think with some made for outlet stuff/exaggerated pricing I'm sure but I know I pay about £900-1k for Mulberry, had seen one of the Bayswaters in Selfridges etc and it was in Bicester for £600... likewise the Kate Spade wallet I brought is available from Nordstrom in the US and the UK price/conversion listed was £80 and I paid £60. I think it depends what you're looking at/buying etc. I've seen my LK Bennett shoes in the stores for the full price so they're definitely discounted.

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  11. Great review, give me a shout next time and we can do lunch!

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Thank you for visiting Florence and Mary I love reading everyone's comments and you'll always see a reply from me so don't forget to check back.

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