We had often seen the signs for the Bicester Shopping Village when travelling from Oxford towards Aylesbury, and also from the train between Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone. We arranged to pay the Village a visit on an afternoon last April.
**WHERE IS IT?**
The Bicester Village shopping complex is located off the A4421 and A41 in Bicester, and about three miles from Junction 9 of the M40 motorway. A new coach service from London, the 'Shopping Express' operates to the shopping village, arriving at 11:30am and departing 5:00pm. Trains from London Marylebone to Bicester North are virtually every 15 minutes, and a bus operates from the station. There is a large car park, and a considerable overflow on the other side of the road. It's quite a walk though, so it's possible worth dropping passengers off closer to the shops. When we visited in April, it was an afternoon in the school holidays, and so parking was not easy. We drove round the main car park three times before we found a space. On the plus side, by this time in the day, the main car park is beginning to empty.
The shopping village boasts 130 luxury outlet boutiques, including Armani, Bodum, Bosse, Clarks, Coast, Luella and Vivienne Westwood. The shops are all arranged along one long parade. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants along the way, including Starbucks, Carluccio's and Pret a Manger. There are, of course, plenty of toilet facilities, though even so, queues formed quite regularly. The current opening hours are...
Monday to Wednesday: 10am - 7pm
Thursday to Friday: 10am - 8pm
Saturday: 9am - 8pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm
...though, be warned that there is some variation for particular food outlets and cafés.
I didn't personally find the experience that great. It was very crowded, and in many cases, you simply couldn't get into some shops. No doubt, in term time, early morning, and late evening, this may be different. The shops at the village are primarily designer clothes shops, with only a handful of other gift-like shops thrown in alongside. I felt this was disappointing as all in all, it felt a bit of a wasted journey. As for prices, well, I wouldn't know what the designer things cost normally, but to me, the prices in the windows looked exorbitant...they are probably excellent value!
All in all, if you're a clothes shopper and have a day to spare, it's probably a good day out; otherwise, there isn't much there beyond that.
Bicester village is full of designer shops at discounted prices, but you must be prepared to look for your own personal bargain and in alot of cases your size if you are not the "average". It is well serviced by public transport, and coach services from London, and has ample parking. However parking can still be an issue depending on when you visit. It is very popular with foreign tourists, and is well marketed in that sense. There are currently plans to expand the village but at the moment there are perhaps a lack of eating and drinking places, that result in long waiting times or no seating. I can offer you a tip on that problem. If you come out of ralph lauren and you are standing with your back to the shop, walk forward out of the village car park, and look straight ahead. You will see footpath 51, that is marked town centre. Bicester high street is only a five minute walk. At 7 market square you will find bean around the world coffee and sandwich shop, which we found to be a great place, much better value for money, exceptional delta coffee, and a relief from crowding. saved time overall as once finished just walked back the five minutes fully refreshed. Of course there are other things of interest in the high street as well, for those not looking for spending all their time at the village, interesting architecture, other shops etc. Happy shopping.
Bicester Village Outlet Shopping is located in Oxfordshire not far from motorways and main roads, such as: M40 and A41.
The address is:
50 Pingle Drive
Bicester Village is an actual village and on arriving in the area, you need to look for the shopping Bicester Village signs, not the actual village signs. It is all clearly signed from both directions on the A41.
Bicester village is an outdoor shopping experience, I must admit I find Bicester very American in layout and style. You could easily be in America not England. It is very open and set in a little world of its own.
You drive in and find a space, the car park isn't overly huge but does have two areas, and there is the area directly outside the shops (more like behind the main promenade) and then a double storey block further on. A massive plus to shopping at Bicester is the parking is all free. Yes free.
After parking and walking across to the main entrance area, you walk through on to a paved, for pedestrians only street. The area is all very American with the way the buildings are styled; they are all low level with very distinctive American features.
The shops are all designer but outlets, this means they sell at reduced prices, usually because the stock is last seasons. There are over 126 brands available at Bicester. The street is one long drag with a few smaller alcoves off the sides, so keep your eyes open or you might miss out.
There aren't really any choice places to eat, you would think there'd be a few proper restaurants but you have a Prêt a Manger and Starbucks. I would like to get a nice meal here but there is limited choice, which is a shame. I like the fact this is just shopping, but food is important to me when shopping. I like the fact there is no cinema etc, like in the indoor shopping centres, this attracts children hanging about, and you don't get this at Bicester.
I find the clothes and fashions are very up to date, even if they are last year's trend, most of us, buy clothes and wear them for years to come, not just one season. You can get a lot of American brands here like; DKNY, Ralph Lauren and more.
Many of the people who shop here are said to be snobby, and I must admit I did find a few people with their noses stuck in the air but my view is, you aren't that snobby, you're at an outlet, not a boutique.
The overall atmosphere at Bicester is nice and very relaxing, the only complaint I have is, it's all outside and if it rains, which it often does in the English countryside, you will get wet.
The Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday - 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday - 10 am to 6 pm
If you're mad about designer items, but can't realistically afford them then Bicester Village would be perfect for you. It's a shopping village (outside- so remember your umbrella) that's full of discounted designer outfits. Essentially it's a year round January sale (without the mess)!
I have been to Bicester Village twice now and have found some nice bargains. On both occasions my boyfriend has bought twice as much as me. I don't know if this is because the village caters for men better or if I'm just very picky with clothes (probably the latter?).
A problem with Bicester Village is that since the clothes are discounted, they are a season or more behind. This means that you will never really get clothes that are bang on trend here. That being said, Bicester Village is perfect for clothes that never really go in or out of fashion like polo shirts and flip flops.
A small example of the shops at Bicester Village (there are over 100):
All Saints, Armani, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, Dior, DKNY, Fred Perry, French Connection, G-star Raw, Gucci, Guess, Helly Hansen, Hugo Boss, Jack Wills, Jimmy Choo, Karen Millen, Levi's, Miss Sixty, Paul Smith, Radley, Ralph Lauren, Reiss, Ted Baker, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent.
There are also a number of places to eat and drink, including; Prêt a Manger, Starbucks, Villandry Bistrot and Carluccio's. There is also a pub (sorry I can't remember the name) that is on the corner, opposite Tesco's, that is visible when entering Bicester village (by car). The food is similar to a Wetherspoons, so the food is cheap and fairly reasonable.
Below are the opening hours (which I have taken from Bicester Village's website -http://www.bicestervillage.com):
Open 7 days a week, all year round
Mon - Weds & Sun 10am - 6pm
Thurs - Sat 10am - 7pm
EASTER OPENING HOURS (2010)
Good Friday & Sat 3rd 10am - 8pm
Easter Sun 10am - 6pm*
Easter Mon 10am - 8pm
*Burberry, Clarks, Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren & Versace will be closed on Easter Sunday.
When I have visited Bicester Village it has been on a bank holiday and the village has been extremely busy! That said, the shops are not as busy as a large town centre on a weekend (such as Leicester town centre).
I have had no problems with parking (which by the way is free) - there are three car parks in all. That said, we did not visit during the busiest times of the day and I can imagine that parking could be difficult.
So if Bicester Village sounds like your kind of shopping outlet, then below are the directions to Bicester Village (which again have been taken from their website):
"Take the M40 motorway to exit 9. Follow the A41 for 2 miles towards Bicester and then the signs to "Village Retail Park" and "Bicester Village Outlet Centre".....If you are using a satellite navigation system to find us, please note that our postcode is OX26 6WD."
WHAT IS IT?
Bicester Village is a designer retail outlet that can only be described as a piece of shopping heaven based in North Oxfordshire. If you like your designer brands then this is the place to go, with up to 60% slashed off the recommended retail price. The village is made up of over 120 boutique stores ranging from Burberry to Versace. Ralph Lauren is located in the heart of the village and has the biggest store with two floors of Polo designer wear.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bicester Village is located just 5 minutes away from junction 9 of the M40 and is easily accessible from both London and Birmingham - if you are using Sat Nav, the postcode to use is OX26 6WD. There is plenty of free parking on-site, however it is best to arrive early as the surrounding roads do become very congested on weekends around mid morning. If you travel by train using Chiltern Railways, make sure you purchase a "Bicester Village" ticket as this includes a free return taxi bus to the Village.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are a number of food retailers on-site including both Starbucks and Pret A Manger. If you fancy something a little more substantial then a visit to Carluccio's is a must. If you have read my review of Jamie's Italy, you will know that I love Italian food, and Carluccio's has an excellent menu for all tastes. There is also a deli area at the front of the shop where you can purchase a variety of freshly prepared antipasti foods to take away.
ANNUAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
There are a number of special events held at the Village during the year of which the annual Jazz Festival held in August is the jewel in the crown. The festival provides such a relaxing atmosphere over a summer's weekend and helps to make your shopping experience even more enjoyable. The Jazz Festival usually coincides with the Bicester Beer Festival, so there is plenty to do even for those non-shopaholics!
50 Pingle Drive
Tel: 01869 323 200
CORE OPENING TIMES*:
Mon: 10.00 - 18:00
Tue: 10:00 - 18:00
Wed: 10:00 - 18:00
Thur: 10:00 - 19:00
Fri: 10:00 - 19:00
Sat: 10:00 - 19:00
Sun: 10:00 - 18:00
*Opening times may differ during school holidays and the Christmas period.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review, I hope you enjoy your visit.
Designer Shopping all in one village?
Bicester Village is a collection of designer shopping outlets located in the town of Bicester in Oxfordshire. I have been here several times and enjoy looking around. It's very easy to reach by car and there are lots of free car parking spaces outside the shiops when you arrive. You can also get here by train. For more detailed information I would recommend visiting their website at http://www.bicestervillage.com
The opening hours are as follows:
Mon - Sat 10am to 7pm
Sun 10am to 6pm
... although again I recommend checking on the specific day you ant to attend as if it is nearer Christmas or a school holiday the times may change.
They describe themselves are such, "Just one hour from London, we have over 120 international fashion and lifestyle brands offering luxury at desirable prices. You'll find it hard to resist temptation. Sample a piece of heaven."
The outlets are all individual shops which are side by side but it is in an outdoor setting.
The outside décor of the shops is actually rather quaint and reminds me of a village setting in the Eastern United States. The shops are not that big inside and some of them are actually rather small which makes them hard to navigate and probably why they can pack 120 shops into a relatively small floor plan. I would say that if you were just browsing for the day you could probably cover all the shops in just a morning or afternoon but if you were actually going to purchase things it might take a bit longer.
Some of the good designer shops in my opinion are the Ralph Lauren stores for both adults and kids, Mulberry, DKNY, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Gucci. The stores mostly consist of clothing stores but they do have some nice discount home-ware stores such as Villeroy and Boch, Bodum and Wedgwood.
You have to remember though that even though they are giving you 60% off a lot of their stock this still makes the prices very high as the original prices were very high to begin with. Also sometimes I think it is just tempting you to buy something you wouldn't already buy just because you are tricked into thinking you are getting a bargain by having 60% off. If however you are looking to buy a designer piece and are not bothered by what you have then this could really be the place for you.
I would say though that this is a place to go to when you are not looking for anything in particular. The designer shops for example in my opinion really only sell off what probably did not sell in their full price shops so if you are looking for a brand new, in fashion Mulberry bag for example you will not find it here. The last visit I went on I did not find anything that really shone out for me. In fact, I thought a lot of some of the higher end products looked decidedly worn and dated as if a lot of the products were seconds and I think if I was going to spend that amount of money I would probably just go to the proper shop and buy a pristine piece in the first place.
You may find a bargain now and again and you really have to buy something when you see it as it's likely it will not be there next time you go, even if it is the next day.
You can also find several places to eat here which are nice. If you are looking for just a sandwich then Pret A Manger or Starbucks is your best bet but for a nice sit down meal there is also Carluccio's and Villandry.
Often you can find additional discounts for the shops located in Bicester Village in say the Sunday Times magazine or on line so keep an eye out for those. By joining their mailing list and registering with them you can also receive special offers from time to time.
A good days shopping!!
Bicester Village is a designer outlet centre located in North Oxfordshire. It's easy accessible by car being only 10 minutes away from junction 9 of the M40 & there is ample car parking on site, but on busy periods like Saturday afternoons this can fill up quickly. It's also a short taxi ride away from both Bicester North & Bicester Town railway stations.
It contains a over 120 designer outlets with an extension to the centre recently being completed. Outlets include Calvin Klein, Ted Baker, Diesel & Tommy Hilfiger just to name but a few. The selection of products available range from clothes, shoes & accessories to homeware items. As this centre aims to offer you designer products at more affordable prices, does it furfil this promise?
Well the products are noticeably cheaper than what you'd pay down in Bond Street for instance however I still wouldn't call them affordable, still being far pricer than you're average high street store. Also a large majority of times, the selection of sizes for clothes/shoes tend to be limited as it may be stock that wasn't shifted in the main stores. Although not such a big deal but something you should aware of is that the products tend to be last season's stock.
The place also seems to attract alot of tourists hence tends to get extremely busy at the weekends. I would recommend visiting during the week with it being until 7pm on Monday-Fridays.
I quite enjoy having a browse around the centre but am curcious before buying. Although I have quite often found some good bargains, alot of the stuff is still overpriced.
parking here is a real issue - at weekends the only parking is miles away from the shops - very strict assisted parking into extremely small spaces next to others also trying to open doors and struggle out through the small gap between cars. I felt very bullied into squeezing my car into a gap far too small, even though I explained I would have trouble getting out, the parking attendants were unhelpful and I decided not to stay (too far to walk to the shops from the car space anyway). I have been here during the week when it is less busy and have been able to park, but not to find many bargains. I always have far more success at Swindon's outlet centre which is all undercover, and far more shops, and places to eat. I find the site at Bicester village very exposed and would only go there on a nice warm, rain-free day if i really had nothing better to do - why I occassionally go back - I don't know - perhaps I forget each time what a terrible shopping experience it is - in the hope that I will score an unbelievable bargain - but it never happens - just a waste of time and petrol!
We went to Bicester Village with the aim of getting bridesmaids dresses, subsequently I had two worries, parking and getting the same dress in three different sizes.
Transports; I heard that parking could be a nightmare so we got there early on the day we'd picked (Saturday of the bank holiday weekend) at 10.30 the car park out the front was 95% full but we still found a space easily. There is another car park a bit further away but we didn't look there. My friend joined us via the train and Bicester Village Taxi Bus (£2) from Bicester North station (50 mins from London Marylebone, but ticket cost her £17 with a rail card) she found it really easy to use.
Shops; a few high street stores, coast, monsoon, French connection with very good discounts on prices (we got the dresses for £48 each from monsoon down from £120, and I got another top from French connection £18 instead of £40) otherwise lots of very expensive places, but still with very good discounts (I just can't pay £500 for a dress even if it is half price!). This place is great for when you need a posh outfit for an event, or for Christmas presents but not for casual browsing!
Food wise; there are 2 coffee shops, prêt a manger and starbucks, both were very busy but had lots of seating inside and out. I saw 2 other restaurants Carluccio's and Villandry both had very long ques outside them and the menu looked a bit pricy.
Stuff you'll want to know....
Mon to Sat 10am - 7pm Sun 10am - 6pm
I`ve visited Bicester outlet a few times- mainly for the North Face shop and Ralph Lauren shops. I`ve been to many Outlet villages around the UK and i would say that Bicester is a more up-market outlet village. I say that because the majority of shops are high end designer brands. The prices are discounted, but it is still expensive. There aren`t many eating options at all which was disappointing, however there is an Italian restaurant- Carluccios which serves good food. The range of shops is ok- Molton Brown, Ralph Lauren, The North Face to name a few, but again it depends how big your credit card is. Parking is good, free and hassle free- however i can imagine it must get packed at bank holidays and christmas.
In my opinion Swindon Outlet Village is much better for bargains, and a great range of shops but i will return to Bicester.
Bicester Village is a fantastic shopping centre in the Oxfordshire countryside. It's only one hour from London and contains approximately 100 shops with a wide variety of products; the best UK high street brands to global designer. There are even a small number of restaurants and cafes. Even though items aren't cheap, they are much cheaper than in equivalent shops. Bicester village has items reduced up to 60%, I'd say the average was between 30 and 50%. It has a unique village atmosphere and the shops reminded me of a skiing village as they are built in a similar style. I went there with the family on a Saturday afternoon and it was generally quiet and uncrowded which made a nice change. I bought a shirt from ted baker, a t-shirt from bench and a jacket from rockport and all for under £200; it really is a good place to pick up some bargains. I'm definitely going to go back there and will probably do all my Christmas shopping there for next year. Parking was free and there was loads of space.
50 Pingle Drive, Bicester, Oxfordshire, OX26 6WD.
Telephone: 01869 323 200
It is off of the M40 motorway at junction 9. Take the A41 towards Bicester and follow signs.
Mon - Wed 10am - 6pm
Thurs and Fri open late
Sun - 10am 6pm.
Thanks for reading. (this review is also posted on my Ciao page under the same name)
Most odd that Bicester village has been given a mere three star rating. It's a first class designer outlet experience. The individual shops in a village style is aesthetically pleasing and beats shopping centres any day. Have been to many outlet centres around Britain, none of which can compete with the atmosphere nor the level of top quality goods which last and last and last, so, well worth that little bit extra for something different, well cut and chic. True not a lot of places to eat but Carluccio's sells excellent food, standard very high, and not pricy for what you get. I live in Ireland and visit Bicester every three/four months, especially coming up to sale time January/July when you get a bargain on top of a bargain!!! Bicester is a one off and deserves to be well supported. It's worth the journey and I only wish we had one of its kind in Ireland.
Bicester Village is probably one of those places you'll never hear of if you don't live close to, or have never been to Bicester. I only found out about it by chance when I was at University and a friend took me there... The name gives no real clues as to just what Bicester Village is, but basically it's a shopping outlet centre, though rather than being all under one roof (such as Meadowhall), or a number of shops scattered around a retail park, Bicester Village looks posh! The Concept ********************* Bicester Village is just one of about seven similar villages around Europe, which, according to their website serve the markets of "London, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Brussels/Dusseldorf, Milan/Bologna and Frankfurt... There is one more Village under construction that will serve the market of Munich." (Looks like Bicester must be the one serving London). The villages offer over 300 stores and 150 brands. All the villages are managed by Value Retail, who claim to be Europe's leading outlet village operator. The idea of these villages, in Value Retail's words is to "give in-the-know customers the chance to buy previous seasons' collections direct from the world?s leading fashion brands at affordable prices". They do not sell factory seconds - "At a Value Retail Village, this stock is always of the highest quality". The Layout ********************* Bicester Village is set out as one long street, with all the buildings, from the outside at least, looking identical bar their window displays and signage. The majority of neighbouring buildings are terraced, and all are well kept, creating the look of a very well kept 'village'. The street itself is plenty wide to accomodate the number of shoppers that the Village attracts, and there are benches and flower beds in the centre of the street. There are a couple of branches off the main street, but the
se are short and only contain one or two outlets down each branch. The layout means that it is easy to get around and ensure you don't miss anything! The Outlets ********************* On the whole, Bicester Village comprises of mainly designer labelled clothes shops, though there are a few exceptions. Within the village you'll find such shops as: - Burberry - Versace - Aquascutum - cK - Diesel - French Connection - Quiksilver - Jaeger - Karen Millen - LaCoste - Reebok - Polo Ralph Lauren - Tommy Hilfiger - Elle - DKNY ... I'm sure you're getting the picture now... This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are plenty more. The outlets all tend to sell their stock at a reduced price to what you'd expect in a High Street shop of the same name. The majority of stock is either last season, or factory surplus, hence the reduction in price. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll get an absolute bargain though - for designer labels you'll still have to splash out! For example, although that gorgeous Burberry skirt you've spotted might very well have over 50% off it will still probably cost you £80+. There are some bargains however. On my last visit French Connection had plenty of great buys (e.g. trousers for £10), but on the whole you can't expect to go here and pick up a £500 outfit for £25. Facilities ********************* As well as the shops you'll find a few places to eat... and it really is just a few: - Carluccio's - Italian style cafe - Starbucks Coffee - you must know what this is! - Pret a Manger - sandwiches and snacks There are toilet facilities too, which are clean and tidy and even had flowers in on my last visit! Parking is free, and there's a decent sized carpark with an overflow for the busier periods. When Is It Open? ********************* <
br>The village is open 7 days a week (except for Christmas Day) with opening hours of 10.00 ? 18.00 from Sunday to Friday, and on Saturday's and Bank Holiday's it's open that little bit longer from 9.30 ? 19.00. For a quieter shopping experience it's better to go later in the day / early evening. The Verdict ********************* Bicester Village can often get very busy, in particular those times when you'd expect any shopping centre to be busy (at the weekends, holidays etc.), and the multi-cultural surroundings mean you'll probably encounter a variety of shoppers speaking all sorts of languages while you walk through the village! Without wanting to sound at all rude or offensive I did find it annoying trying to walk around very large families not speaking English with screaming kids who just seemed to plant themselves in the middle of the street. Young children did tend to spoil the shopping experience a bit - this is not a place for kids. There is little to entertain them and they'll get bored... and when kids are bored they either seem to scream and cry, or else run around trying to cause mischief! As the shops are not all that huge inside, people with prams or pushchairs tended to cause a big obstruction within the shops. I've been to the village on a couple of occasions now - once when I was at University a few years back, and the last visit was just a few weeks ago when going to Silverstone. I certainly wouldn't recommend on taking a trip out of your way to go to the village if you live some distance from Bicester (I live 3 hours away), especially if you're a shopper without a huge bank balance. There are bargains to be found, and the idea of all these designer shopping outlets at reduced prices sounds great, but to be honest, for me personally many of the prices are still too high to have a really good shop! If you love your designer labels and are prepared to spend in ord
er to get them then Bicester Village is great. If you're in the area and you fancy a shopping trip a bit different to your usual High Street then Bicester Village is pretty good. If you want to get loads of cheap bargains, you're in the wrong place. (Scores: 7 out of 10, therefore I'll go for 3 stars) More info can be obtained from: www.bicester-village.co.uk
Everyone deserves to indulge in some retail therapy now and then. However to avoid that guilt that you get after spending too much visit Bicester Outlet Shopping Village. Jampacked with hundreds of bargains this is a haven for the mad shopper! There are many other similar shopping outlet centres but this is the biggest and best one in Britain. Another good one includes 'McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cheshire Oaks'. Bicester has the largest selection of shops- both high street and international. Shops include Hobbs, Jigsaw, French Connection, Whistles as well as designer names like Christian Lacroix, Versace, Donna Karan and more. There's a Polo Ralph Lauren store which sells boys and men's clothes at up to 60% off. Things worth looking at here include sports jackets, ties and fragrances. Pepe Jeans has last seasons styles reduced by about 20 to 30%. Some items are reduced up to 70%. There are certain things you should know about these shopping villages (and some tips I've learn't): * Prices should be at least a quarter less than high street prices. Seconds are marked as such. * Make sure of opening hours and stock levels before travelling. Bicester's number is 01869 323 200. * Visiting in the week means you can avoid the crowds. * Bargains are made on more expensive products. Clothes, sofas, beds and carpets are best bought from here. * Remember you still have the same rights as you would in any high street shop. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Last but not least enjoy yourself! There's no way that you won't find a bargain somewhere. If you see something you like buy it. You will never find it again. Happy shopping!
Ever had a bad day? Driven all the way down the M40 to have a disasterous meeting and wound up getting your butt kicked? Ever had a great day? Sailed down the M40, had a fantastic meeting, won shedloads of new business and been hailed a hero? Ever had a dull day? Schlepped down the M40 in the rain, had a so-so meeting, brought back a lot of extra work for yourself and the thin prospect of a future sale? I have a solution for all three! If your day sucked you need cheering up, if you are fantastic then you deserve a treat, and if your day was dull there's no point in rushing back to the office for more tedium. What you need is retail therapy, and Bicester is just the place for high quality treatment. Bicester town is a suitably twee Oxfordshire commuter home, but you don't want to go there. You want to go to Bicester Village. The village is a totally fake street surrounded by plenty of parking. The street is jam packed with designer discount outlets. There are high street names like Principles and Monsoon knocking out sale gear. There are manufacturers like Reebok, Vans and Samsonite selling their less popular and discontinued ranges at up to 75% off, along with current stock at less dramatic discounts. The biggest savings, and the biggest spending opportunities are to be found at the big name stores. Polo Ralph Lauren has the biggest shop, with two floors offering mens, womens, childrens and home wear at varying discounts. Cerruti 1881, Jaeger, Paul Smith, Valentino and Hilfiger all add to the consumerist frenzy. On practical points it does get very busy on weekends, when the car park fills up fast with cars and coach parties, drawn by the all too easy access of J9 of the M40. The loos are clean and comfortable. Food is available from donut and coffee carts as well as a Pret a Manger and Starbucks who sadly have not joined in with the spirit of discounting. Just ou
tside the 'village' you'll find a Burger King, Little Chef, Tesco's and a family friendly pub. The whole shopping area feels safe and secure, but there is nothing for children to do except shop. I'd advise leaving the kids behind if you really want to go wild in the aisles. However, as they creep into their teens my borrowed family of girls love to look at the price tickets and be astounded, although I don't think comparing DKNY directly with Top Shop is entirely fair on Donna. If they are very good, a favourite treat is to go to Versace and laugh at the designs. I know it's harsh, but there's some folk out there with more money than is entirely nice. Being an outlet this Versace does tend to carry some of the more outlandish out of season designs that the younger girls would like in their dressing up box if only a 50% off dress didn't cost more than the monthly mortgage payments (gosh I'm getting old). You do need to be prepared to rummage a little to get the best bargains, and some stores carry a 10% midweek extra saving that is a nice surprise. Most stores carry more clothes for stick insects than normal sized folks, and you can get great deals on suits if your bottom is a different size to your top. I have not yet worked out a pattern for when new goods arrive, but again, midweek seems to offer the largest selection. For an enjoyable couple of hours therapy I'd thoroughly recommend Bicester Village, but don't view it as a family Saturday out as that would be hell! Opening hours: 10am - 6pm, every day including Sundays and Bank Holidays Store listing available at: www.bicestervillage.com Shuttle bus available from Bicester North railway station.