Lifestyle

Bicester Village Survival Guide

img_5622img_5601img_5605img_5647Bicester Village is one of my favourite shopping destinations. Not only does it have an excellent variety of luxury shops but it also has a diverse range of restaurants and food kiosks on offer with something for everyone! It is just a really aesthetically pleasing place to shop – look at all those gorgeous  flowers! img_5634img_5600img_5631img_5607img_5639The village has recently expanded to include some new stores like Monica Vinader, Cos and Acne, to name a few! The Gucci store is pretty massive and the Ralph Lauren store is apparently the largest one in Europe.

Visiting Bicester Village can be overwhelming at the best of times so it’s always worth having a plan before you go. Here are some tips to help you tackle Bicester like a pro!

1. Look at the Bicester website in advance and make a note of the stores you want to visit. Better still, make a list of the things you might want to buy. This will help focus your time when you’re there and will help prevent the risk of overspending or impulse-buying!

2. Have a look at the map/layout of Bicester Village in advance. This will help when deciding where to start and what shops to go to first. I say this because shops like Gucci and Prada get extremely busy so, if you plan to go there, you should go there first-thing rather than leaving it towards the end.

3. Following on from the above, arrive early! Bicester gets very busy throughout the day and stock sells out so if you want to make the most of your time, go on a weekday (if possible) and as early as you can.

4. Bicester Village provides a number of ‘VIP’ services. If you’re willing to spend, check out their valet service which you can book in advance for £35. It will save you time trying to find parking and allow you to start off your shopping experience in style!

You can also opt for the ‘Hands free shopping’ service where you can purchase something but it is then packed by the sales assistants and ready for collection 15 minutes before you leave (at a charge). This saves you the hassle of carrying around your shopping all day, especially if you’re buying large, bulky items. You can book this at the Visitor Centre or Information Hub on arrival.

5. Sign up to Bicester privilege rewards. You can get discounts at certain stores and can collect points as you shop. You can sometimes also get small treats like a complimentary coffee! I’ve never tried this but heard that you can pick VIP cards from the Visitor Centre before you start shopping. These can sometimes provide further discounts of up to 10%!

6. Lastly, be realistic about what you will find. It is unlikely you’ll find those really popular nude Valentino rock studd shoes or the Givenchy Antigona in black (you might but the chances are small!). This is because classic colours and styles are unlikely to make it to the outlet and/or go on sale. Instead, you might find something similar but, for example, in a bolder colour. Try not to be too focused on the brand but instead, decide what you need e.g. a pair of boots or a wool scarf. You’re a lot likely to find something with an open-minded, flexible attitude!img_5603img_5606img_5615img_5637How to get there

Bicester Village is located in Oxfordshire, accessible by both car and train. You can get a train from London Marylebone directly to Bicester Village – this takes approximately 46 minutes, with frequent services throughout the day.

There is also a shopping express coach (£28, Adult return) which takes visitors from different locations in London directly to Bicester Village and back on the same day (click here for more info).

For those driving, parking is free!

Where to eat

Cafe Wolseley and FarmShop are great options for breakfast or lunch.

There is also a Pret and an Itsu if you want a quick snack. I have tried Simply Noodles which was ok but a bit too much gravy!img_5636img_5633For a sweet treat, check out Stecco Natura for some delicious, gluten free ice-cream. There is also a Snowflake (for gelato) and a Laduree if you’re craving French desserts!img_5644img_5629Have you been to Bicester Village? Let me know what bargains you’ve found!

(Ps: this post is not sponsored, I’m just a fan!)

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