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Swindon Designer Outlet (Great Western Outlet Mall)

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15 Reviews

Junction 16 M4, Kemble Drive, Churchward Village, Swindon, Tel 01793 507 600.

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    15 Reviews
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      13.05.2013 12:37
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      I would recommend anyone to go to swindon designer outlet.

      ***Basic Information*** Swindon Designer Outlet (also known as the McArthurGlen outlet) is based in Swindon and relatively easy to find provided you have a basic sense of direction. As I don't have a basic sense of direction and instead use a satnav here's the directions from the website about getting there by car. 'Exit M4 at junction 16 and follow brown signs for Outlet Centre or M5 junction 11a - join the A417 for Cirencester and follow signs to Swindon and M4. Join the M4 for Bristol and exit at junction 16.' The car park is fairly big however finding a parking space is always easy as it is rarely full. There are also plenty of disabled parking spaces and a car wash/valet service there, (I am not sure if they are there every day or just happen to be there when I go lol). The parking costs £1 for up to 5 hours or £12 all day which I think is a bit confusing however 5 hours is usually plenty of time to shop so I normally don't have any problems with the price of parking. If you spend £100 in the outlet you get your car parking free which I think is a great deal, especially as it is easy to spend £100 without realising in there. The car park is a 2-3 minute walk from the entrance which if it's cold can be a bit of a pain but it isn't horrific. It isn't usually really busy, even on a Saturday, but I tend to avoid it at Christmas (just like I avoid all shops 6 weeks before Christmas day). The outlet centre is open 10am - 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am - 7pm on Saturdays and 10am - 5pm on a Sunday however it does say that some of the larger stores open at 11am. The centre stays open on bank holidays from 10am - 6pm. You can hire those cars that children sit in and get pushed and I think you can hire wheelchairs however I have never had to use either if these services so I can't really comment on them. ***The Food Court*** The food court is so easy to find. As soon as you walk through the main entrance it is on your left. The food court contains restaurants such as the Italian kitchen, Ed's, KFC and Costa as well as others to suit everyones taste and budgets. There is plenty of seating. ***The Shops*** There is a huge range of shops from the top end of the high street to big brand designers with up to 70% off. The shops include Bench, Cadbury, The body shop, super dry, L.K.Bennet and my favourite shop - Footlocker, however with over 90 shops this is only a small handful of the brands available. The outlet store is so easy to navigate around as it basically goes in one big circle but if you are looking for a particular store there are plenty of maps dotted around. ***My Opinion*** I absolutely love the Swindon designer outlet and I wish I lived a little closer so I could go more often. The range of shops and restaurants are fantastic and there are so many bargains to be had I would recommend this outlet to anyone living or visiting Swindon or the surrounding areas. The outlet is always clean and tidy and the staff are friendly and polite. I am giving this 5 stars as I can't find anything wrong with the Swindon designer outlet.

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      06.12.2010 10:09
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      Nice place to visit

      We live about an hours drive away from Swindon and decided to give their outlet centre a visit yesterday. We come here quite often as it is within easy reach of where we live and there are a decent amount of shops here. We also like it because it is always quite quiet, even yesterday 3 weeks before Christmas it wasn't particularly busy. *How to get there* The outlet centre is located just off of the M4, at Junction 16. It is easily accessible by public transport as it is quite close to Swindons town centre. It is also easy to get to in the car, for those with Sat Nav, if you programme it to Kemble Drive then you will be able to find it. There are also plenty of brown signs for those of you without any sat nav. There is a large car park which I have never seen more than about a sixth full. There are plenty of disabled spaces and I have never seen these full. The car park costs £1 for 1-5 hours or £12 for all day which seems a bit odd! However, I imagine most people would struggle to spend more than 5 hours here. Parking is free if you spend more than £100 but I'm not sure if this applies to the £12 price as well as the £1. To get to the actual centre is really easy, you just walk through the car park (all full of zebra crossings) and then over the pedestrian crossing on the road. It is literally a two minute walk from the car park so even in the rain its not too bad. *Whats in the centre?* The centre is built in an old railway station or on a railway track and they have embraced this history putting a great deal of engines in the centre for you to look at. I think this is brilliant if you are taking kids along or bored husbands as it gives them a welcome break in between shops! There are lots of shops in here and recently I have found quite a few ones that I would consider better than the previous ones. Brands include: Antler Austin Reed Bench Billabong Calvin Klein Crew Clothing Cotton Traders Clarks Cadbury Claire's Donnay Foot Locker Gap Henri Lloyd HMV Jaeger Jeff Banks Levi's Lacoste Marks and Spencers Moss Next Nike Osprey Ralph Lauren Phase Eight Quiksilver Regatta Suits You Skechers Superdry Ted Baker Timberland Teafal Thorntons Whittards This is just a selection of the shops on offer at the outlet centre. There are many more and they are all on one level. The shops are spaced out really well and you are not at all crammed into the centre. The shops are usually well spaced out and of a really good size. The only shop which I find is a little cramped and always quite busy is the M&S Outlet but the majority of other stores are fine. *Are there bargains to be had?* Yes. You can't find everything here but what you do find is usually reduced. Here are a few examples of what we have bought in the last couple of months: Nike trainers - RRP £55 - Outlet Centre Price - £30 Man Utd flag - RRP £7.99 - Outlet Centre Price - £3.99 Man Utd mug - RRP £5.99 - Outlet Centre Price - £2.99 Cupcake mug - RRP £5 - Outlet Centre Price - £5 However, not everything is here. For example yesterday we went because I wanted to buy a Superdry coat, however when we got to the Superdry shop although there were lots of things, there were no coats similar to what I wanted so I had to go home and order it online. *Facilities* There are easily accessible toilets around the place and there is also an easy to find customer service desk. There are many places to eat in the huge food hall and prices are reasonable, restaurants include: KFC Harry Ramsdens Spud U Like Starbucks Costa *So is it worth a visit?* Yes. You are not going to find everything here so I would recommend looking at the website first to check there are a good amount of shops you will want to go in. However, there is quite a bit here and the atmosphere can't be beaten in my opinion as its almost always very peaceful and calm - therefore perfect for young families! Recommended.

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        07.04.2010 03:24
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        Worth a try for some bargains

        Last year I went on a short break in Oxfordshire and we were staying about an hours drive away from the Swindon Designer Outlet. We often visit the one in Ashford and are big fans, shopping there quite often. When we realised how close we would be to this one we decided to go there and make a day of it and perhaps pick up some early Christmas presents for the family. Swindon Designer Outlet is a part of the McArthur Glen designer outlet group. It is situated close to the town centre and is easily accessible from the motorway. There are plenty of parking spaces and parking for the disabled, although there is a short walk from the car park into the actual centre. It's not a long a way but may cause a slight problem for some, who like me can't walk long distances. Inside the outlet is nothing I have ever seen in a shopping centre before. The centre has been converted from the old Great Western railway Works and is a grade II listed building. It is lovely inside and so full of character. It has lot's of original features and you can see where all of the doors etc would have been. The only down side to this is that, as with a lot of old buildings, there isn't a lot of natural light and it does feel a bit like you're in a cave when you're not near to a door. There is lot's of artificial lighting though. The facilities are very good and well spread out. There are plenty of toilets and cafes and even a food court. There is an outside play area for children and personal shopper facilities on request. It is one of the largest indoors malls of this kind in Europe and is mainly on one level, although a couple of the stores had a mezzanine level with additional products. There is a large variety of very different shops including John Lewis Home, Cadbury's World, Thornton's, Mark's and Spencer, Claire's accessories, Tula, Lakeland leather and many, many more. There is a good variety of different types of shops, although I would say that the majority of shops are fashion. We went into one of the café's that is in the centre of the Mall and it was very nice. All of the shops gave us very good service and the staff were polite, pleasant and very helpful. My only problem with the outlet mall was that you have to go outside to get from one part to the next. If you walked around the whole place, you would probably have to go outside 2 or 3 times. This is no problem in the summer and is probably a nice change and a nice bit of fresh air. However, we were there in October and is was freezing cold distance and raining heavily. The distance you have to walk is not far at all, but it was such a pain putting our coats on and off to get to another part of the mall. The other thing I really didn't like was that the only cash points that I saw were outside on the way in from the car park. So they are not very secure if it's dark and you don't really want to go all the way back if you need more cash. Other than these few niggles, I really enjoyed going there and we had a great day, picking up quite a few bargains along the way. I would recommend the Swindon Designer Outlet to anyone who enjoys designer shopping and/or discount outlets. Although the amount of discount varies between and products, everything we saw when there had at least a 20% discount, with the average probably being between 30% and 40%.

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        16.06.2009 10:37
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        Not my cup of tea!!

        Living in Swindon you would think I would be glad of a place like this to do my shopping but to be honest I am not. I just don't know what it is about the outlet village but to me it just seems to me like a load of shops full of the clothes that nobody wants least of all me. The last time I went in there was a couple of months ago when I needed to hire a suite which I got from Moss Bros but I can really say the service I got was anywhere near good as I was made to wait when I went in there to be measured and then made to wait over 45 mins when I went to collect it as they had not unpacked there delivery. After hiring the suite I did decide to take a look around the rest of the shops but it was the same old story and I left without seeing any clothes I was nearly interested in buying. Although the cadburys shop is pretty good. On the plus side they do have some fairly good eating place in quite a nice setting but this is really of little compensation.

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        28.05.2009 10:36
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        A fun day out

        Swindon Outlet Mall is the only reason I was able to give my review of Swindon 1 star. If you're ever unfortunate enough to go to Swindon, it should be the only thing on your list of things to do! The outlet mall is quite exciting at first because there is a good choice of shops and you never know what you're going to find next (although there are a couple of maps around for those who don't like surprises). It's divided into 4 main buildings: North, South, East and West, all connected in a sheltered way and with glass doors. The food court has a range of options including KFC, Harry Ramsden's, and a few other places ranging from takeaway-style to slightly more meal-like. There is also a big TV screen on one side; however it generally shows Sky Sports. In the middle of the centre there is a Costa. This, as well as the food court, all serve full price food. Near the food court are a few more foodie type shops including Thorntons and the Cadbury Factory Shop (no cheaper than the supermarkets, though you can get a 750g bag of misfits for £2) and Whittard's. Whittard's isn't especially cheap but there do have a slightly better deal on their mixed teas than otherwise. There is also a good selection of designer shops. I believe Burberry has closed down now, but there is a great shop selling Radley stuff and a few other expensive places with good discounts, up to 70% off. Great for Christmas and birthday presents. Other shops I can remember are: the Paper Mill Shop, which sells craft stuff. This is smaller than the one in the Lowry Outlet Mall, Salford, but ok. The products are nice but a little expensive. There are a couple of hiking/sports related shops with good prices. There was a Claire's, but that's also a victim of the credit crunch. There's a great M&S with a good selection (plus if it's too busy, you can pay at the 'secret' till upstairs which people forget about). There's also a small Hamley's, often full of screaming children. The largest shop is probably John Lewis, which has a full range of furniture, glassware and cooking stuff. It'd a great place to get slightly damaged/display and even new furniture with a lot of money off. Other shops include Gap, Jaegar, Hobbs, Le Creuset and Next Clearance - there are lots more than that but I can't remember them all. So it takes a while just to walk round, even without buying anything. It's nice and airy, and a comfortable place to shop. There are heavyish glass doors into each section though, which might prove a bit of an issue for young families or older people. Just outside of the mall, on a Sunday, you will find a small farmers' market selling veg, fruit and homemade ice cream and doughnuts. It's a nice extra, and the people are very West Country, which adds to the authentic farmer feel! Also just outside are STEAM - the railway museum, and a National Trust Place. I've not been to either but they look nice enough. Overall, I would recommend the Outlet Centre as a good family day out or shopping trip.

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          07.01.2009 19:03
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          An easy to navigate shopping centre with charm

          There's no way to deny it. Swindon is not the most attractive of places and could certainly do with a face lift sooner rather than later. The outlet centre however is a slight step up from the centre, and although it has been well used over the past decade or so, it still serves its purpose. There are many bargains to be had in the large variety of shops, with my personal favourites being thorntons and cadburys! This time of year is especially great for getting bargain christmas presents for next year! One problem is that there is often very little stock in shops and you can spend a long time rummaging for what you need. There is a large variety of shops to suit everyone in the family which means it can really be a day out. The different food outlets available with plenty of seating mean that you can enjoy a snack or a full meal while you shop - perfect!! The price of the food varies though I would say some of it, for example the jacket potatoes, are a little overpriced. The problem with the outlet village is that finding a parking space can often be a bit of a chore, and the shops often have very few bargains left in them, so be sure to get there when new stock arrives!

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          11.11.2008 13:31
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          A fun day out for the family

          What it is: The Swindon Designer Outlet is a shopping centre with a lot of different outlet shops. All of the shops are discount shops, with either end of the line items or items from the previous season. The outlet village (as it's known) is designed along a railway theme. I really liked this. I thought that it was good to stick with the towns history. The railway is a big part of Swindon's history and the outlet village is located close to the railway village so I thought that having the outlet village with a railway theme added character. The Shops: There are a huge range of shops in the outlet village and you will be able to find something for everyone. There are a number of toy shops, including a Hamley's outlet shop. There are of course loads of clothes shops including big highstreet names like Next and Marks and Spencer. You will be able to get designer clothes for both men and women and formal wear. There are jewellery shops, book shops, a Zavvi, perfume/makeup shops and chocolate shops (Cadbury and Thorntons have outlets there). There is a whole at home section that sells everything for your home, from furniture to decorations. The FoodCourt: The foodcourt has a wide range of food outlets. They have a KFC, Fat Jackets, pizza shop, sandwich shop, healthy food kiosk (they sell smoothies and salads etc.), coffee shop and burger bar located within the food court. There is a lot of seating but during busy times it can be difficult to find somewhere to sit. In addition to the foodcourt there are coffee shops located throughout the centre, including a Costa Coffee and a Starbucks. Other things to do: There are activities for children to do in the centre. They usually have a bouncy slide and a bouncy castle and during the holidays there are often visits from cartoon characters and facepainting. There is a children's outdoor play area and a creche. Starbucks opens out onto the play area which is really convenient if you're like me and want a coffee while the children play. Everything else: There is a lot of parking at the outlet village and it is reasonably priced. If you spend enough money then parking is free. Parking for disabled people and people who are in the military is free. If you have young children there are little cars available to push them around in. The entire centre is disabled accesible and is all on one floor. My Review: I think that the outlet village is a really good family day out. It does get very busy at the weekends and during the school holidays so if you're planning on just doing some shopping and not taking the family out then you should probably try to go during the week. I think that the range of shops is really great. There are so many to choose from and most of them offer really good discounts. I love doing my Christmas shopping there because you can get something for just about anyone and usually at a much cheaper price then you would in the regular shops. I think that the only thing really lacking is clothes shops for teenagers. It seems like they're missing out on a huge part of the market because they cater for young children really well and they cater for adults but I don't think there's so much to offer for teenagers. I think the food court is probably the best part of the whole shopping centre, but then I do like my food! Me and my family always want different things to eat and the great thing about the food court is that you can all have whatever you want to eat and then sit together. The only complaint I have is that you don't have to buy anything to sit in the foodcourt which can be frustrating when there's nowhere to sit and there are people sitting at tables without any food or intention to buy food. I like that there's so much for children to do because it means that you can have a nice day shopping and the children won't get bored. It's especially good during school holidays when they have events for the children. The staff in general are very friendly too which is always good! I would recommend the outlet village for family days out and for shopping.

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          21.09.2008 15:33

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          Excellent true fine burgers.

          i'd just like to say that me and my family went to fine burgers and we had an exceptional meal, my family have special dietry needs and the two blonde girls working there were helpful to cater for them and were also very polite. The food its self was outstanding quality and it made a change to have a real burger with real salad and good quality 100% beef, also to have proper chips instead of them silly skinny fries. Ive never heard of fine burger before and i was a bit concerned with the prices but it was definatly worth it, the kitchen was clean and the staff were clean and tidy, Its nice to be able to go shopping and be able to have a meal as nice as that, this is the best burger i ever had and would definatly recomend it to everybody i know. thankyou fine burger, your burgers really are fine!

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          11.09.2008 20:41
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          Great range of shops to suit everyone, good food court

          I`m a regular visitor to the outlet village in Swindon. There is plenty of parking and its cost £1 for upto 5 hours! If you happen to be there on a Sunday check out the local farmers market. The food court is big and plentiful- among the options are KFC, Harry Ramsdens, Fine Burger Company, and Villa Pizza. Coffee shops include Starbucks, Costa, Massarella's coffee bar etc. There is a massive range of shops- menswear, childrens and ladies. Shops range from Marks and Spencers, Ted Baker, Ralph Lauren, Nike to Timberland, Burberrys, Hugo Boss, Clarks, Thorntons and Denby. I recommend checking out the website- www.swindondesigneroutlet.com for full listing of shops and facilities. Everything is under roof so you can shop in all weathers. The layout of the outlet village is good, and so that even when it is crowded you don`t get that feeling. I`ve had so many bargains from the outlet village. I would recommend a trip to Swindon Outlet Village.

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          19.06.2008 21:37

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          Being a regular visitor to the outlet centre at Swindon till a while ago, today I was able to make a visit back. How dissapointed I was in the At Home area to see all the nice little browse around shops gone to make way for John Lewis. They have really let the Centre down as well as John Lewis them selves with shoddy secondhand looking furniture and white goods. Come on Mcarthur Glen lets have the Centre back to how it used to be. It will be along time before I bother about coming back, as I am sure alot more people will feel the same.

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          09.09.2007 12:38
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          Go if you like trains, you can always shop in the town centre afterwards!

          My first ever visit to Swindon was this week, for a training course which finished several hours earlier than scheduled. Afterwards, I stood outside the building on the edge of a busy road, with my mobile pressed to my ear. As I listened to The Boyfriend’s phone ringing and rummaged through my oversize bag for my return ticket, I had a bright idea. Why not take a look at Swindon now that I was here? With absolutely no idea where I was going, I followed a concrete subway marked The Parade and discovered a fantastic array of shops, shopping malls and block paved pedestrianised streets. On this sunny weekday lunchtime, there were crowds of people streaming through the streets. The benches under the shady trees were occupied, the pigeons were fighting over sandwich crusts and most importantly, there was every high street shop you could wish for. (Remember that last point as you read on.) I was overwhelmed by the choice and had barely begun window-shopping when my mobile chimed. It was The Boyfriend, he’d cashed in some time off he was owed and was on the way to meet me. I already had my debit card clenched in my sticky little fist, a shopping head on and payday looming. I wanted a replacement jumper for The Boyfriend’s torn Timberland favourite, we should go to The Great Western Outlet Mall! Previously called McArthur Glen, Swindon Outlet and probably something else, this place was the stuff of legend to me. I love Bicester Village (Bicester), I love clothes, the act of shopping and bargains. True, Best Mate had said it was only any good for handbags. Little Brother had been and said it was a disappointment. But I had high hopes and for some reason thought it would have the cheerful atmosphere of Festival Place (Basingstoke) crossed with the architecture and variety of Bluewater (Kent). An added incentive was the location of the Mall in the Grade II listed buildings that once formed the Railway Works, next to the Heritage Site and ‘Steam’, the museum of the Great Western Railway. (http://www.steam-museum.org.uk/). Swindon has been a railway town since Isambard Kingdom Brunel ran the Great Western through to Bristol 150 years ago and this site forms a (for me, interesting) part of history. I imagine most people would drive to Swindon Designer Outlet, with the plentiful gravel parking within the courtyard of the Railway works, it’s a pleasant and secure looking little sun-trap. Conveniently for us, the Outlet was only ten minutes walk and clearly signposted from the station. It’s also possible to get a bus or cheap taxi if the weather doesn’t hold out. Rather than being ‘out of town’, the Outlet nestles on the other side of an underpass among bath stone buildings and wide gauge track. Location & Access: 9/10. Underneath a banner declaring ‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ the entrance leads into a series of impressively light and airy buildings, the shiny floors and glass shop fronts somehow pairing well with the exposed brick and the enormous steam train which remains sited in the middle of the food court. As well as this obvious memorabilia, there are small pieces dotted around; a left luggage sign hanging over your head, a water pump in the middle of the Homewares surrounded by discount bedding. If you have a toddler or an elderly man, you might well find it that bit easier to get your shopping done in comparative peace. The shops are divided between buildings, with covered walkways for rainy days and open areas with benches for sunny ones. Although on the day we went it was quiet, this wouldn’t be too claustrophobic on a busy Saturday. However, the corridors between the shops bent at sharp angles, meaning that the sense of flowing between shops was lost, and the North Mall (one building) is strangely dim. Design & Décor: 8/10 _____________________________________________________________________________ So, to the shops. A full list of these appears on the website, (http://www.swindondesigneroutlet.com/consumer.asp) which also promises “All the labels you love, reduced by up to 50%”. The most hyped stores are the Nike Factory Outlet and the Clarks Factory outlet, but there is a decent variety of choice including high end names like Levi’s and Polo Ralph Lauren. ‘Fashion’ We started off at Evisu, keen to look at their jeans. With this kind of place, price is instrumental; after all, if you weren’t getting a discount you could shop anywhere. Looking at the price tags, most of the jeans seemed to have at least £30 off or in some cases, a 50% reduction. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any staff in the dimly lit store and I was left to guess with regard to style. Having tried on several pairs, it swiftly became apparent that there was a reason for the discount, with the only styles available being the unfashionable ones. The Levi’s store was similarly disappointing with a very limited range of styles. We looked at regular 501’s for The Boyfriend but we also looked at the labels. “Seventy five pounds for a pair of Levis?!” queried The Boyfriend, aghast. We often go in the Regent Street flagship store and they barely cost that in there. Also, we saw them for £40 in Costco (which is a bit of a rip-off anyway) and since coming home I found them for £25 on a website. Including delivery. At one point, remember, Tesco were knocking them out for £15. Even more laughably, they were marked as discounted * to* £75 with an even higher price crossed out. Next we tried Timberland. Here, there was a reasonable discount but we came up against a couple of new problems. There were only extra large sizes and it was all summer stock. It being the start of September, with a nip in the air, and the two of us being extra small, we had to give it a miss. To give you an idea of pricing, T-shirts started from around £12, when they normally cost about £22. It must be said that this is no more of a discount than you might normally get on the Timberland sale rails. Eventually I bought The Boyfriend a Tommy Hilfiger jumper for work in the Hilfiger shop. Here, there were staff on hand to help and the store was well lit and located in the main area. The jumper was not exactly what you’d call a bargain at nearly £50, but he’ll probably get a lot of wear out of it. Suits You also tempted us, with a nice range of shirts, unfortunately, these were only large sizes again. To sum up, clothing here is a real disappointment, with poor selection, limited discount if at all, and very few shops with any staff. Fashion Stores: 3/10 – you’re better off in the high street sale for value and selection. ‘Accessories’ After finding that the Gap outlet only stocked clothes in a UK size 16 and had about as many staff as the Marie-Celeste, we wandered into Clarks to look for a new pair of work shoes for me. This was the only store with any staff or other customers and was well stocked, with shoes arranged neatly by size. If you have kids, they have those foot measuring 3D computerised foot scanners and a good selection of school shoes and seating. The Boyfriend launched into a perfect impersonation of his step-dad. Swinging the most revoltingly awful pair of shoes he could find (off-purple leather with tan trim and a little fan and pom-pom on the front) in my face, he sniggered his way through a lecture on how they were good quality. Apparently I could walk to the moon and back in them. They might look like sh*t, but I’d never need another pair…. In the meantime, some nicer shoes had caught my eye. They weren’t the fashionable boots I’d hoped for, but they would do. The availability of half sizes meant that I was able to find a pair that fitted and trot around the shop to the till with The Boyfriend trailing behind. “Why are you getting those? They make you look like you’re just starting term at Hogwarts.” Worryingly I heard myself reply “because they’re comfortable”. He then had to spend an hour promising me that they did in fact look sexy and that I was not getting old before my time. We saved about £10 on the shoes, but if I change my mind, we’ll have to return them to an outlet store only, which might be a bit of a pain. Claire’s Accessories, a typical shopping mall junk jewellery favourite, was deserted. Looking around it, we gathered that there was a discount system in place. A list on the top of the earring stands gave the high street price and the outlet price for comparison. Also available were mystery goody bags, 10 sale items for £10, but a poke about with them revealed that this was just crap stuff like badges or pens. Looking into the Jane Shilton store for a handbag, I was semi-tempted, but with no idea what the discount was and without seeing anything I loved, we left it. On another day, I might well have picked something up. Accessory Shopping: 7/10 ‘Beauty’ I do love to try new skin products and to pick up high end makeup at a discount, so I was looking forward to seeing what was on offer. There’s a solitary shop, the size of a cupboard, called The Luxury Beauty Store, with no range to speak of. They stock Lancome and two other brand names which I’d not heard of. To give you an idea of how this compares, Bicester Village stocks a huge range including discounted Clinique and Mac Makeup. Beauty Shopping: 1/10 ‘Homewares’ The one area that really came into its own was home furnishing. I have to skim this a little as I’m not allowed to bring any more junk into the house, but I saw the most gorgeous set of bedding for £45. That was high thread count cotton, pillowcases, duvet covers, valance (yuck), undersheet, and bedspread. Also, half price Royal Doulton china, a set of glasses for £1, kitchen scales, beanbags…. I wouldn’t mind another look. This seemed to be good value for money, Tesco prices, but M&S quality. Stores included something called Ponden Mill and Waterford Wedgewood. From what I saw: 9/10 _____________________________________________________________________________ So shopping over, where can you go to get something to eat and drink? There’s a large food court under the glass roof, with wood and steel chair and table sets lining the main walkway and giving the impression of a school canteen. Although grimly clinical from some angles, it boasts a central juice bar. If anyone watched last week’s Panorama (real apprentices), that kid is still working there! We walked up and down, staring at him for a bit. We grabbed a tea and a coffee in the overpriced and poky Italian Café Company and looked around at the gloomy restaurants on offer. Harry Ramsden’s, KFC and Starbucks – the choice was uninspiring and unappealing, there was nowhere we would want to eat and less choice than you might find in, for example, an airport terminal. The whole place had the transitional discomfort of motorway services, it was certainly not somewhere to linger and watch the world go by. The toilets were a bit far from the food court for my liking and the corridor too narrow to accommodate another lady’s double buggy. Aside from this, they were plentiful and clean, with decent sinks and mirrors. There were also disabled toilets and the whole centre seemed well geared up to accommodate wheelchair users. The shops are set on the single ground floor, meaning that lifts etc. can be taken out of the equation. The Children’s outdoor play area was the only crowded space and looked like fun. We also spotted a creche with the obligatory plastic balls, but as mentioned earlier, the train memorabilia might well keep kids quiet on a first visit. _____________________________________________________________________________ My Opinion: This is one of the emptiest shopping centres I’ve ever seen and with good reason. The selection doesn’t really compare to your average high street, the staff are bored and demotivated (probably due to a lack of customers) and the savings on clothes are nothing special, in some cases nothing at all. The thriving town centre would merit another visit, but I’ll probably give this outlet village a miss in future. With the other shopping outlet opportunities to be found in the South of England, perhaps I’m spoilt for choice. Then again, perhaps this outlet should try and live up to the hype on the website. Reasons to go: A colleague of mine described trains and shopping as an unholy marriage, but for me it could have been the perfect combination. If you do go, see the Steam Museum, the train in the centre of the food court and the original track. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the convenience from the Railway Station and town centre. The three stars have been awarded on this basis and the fact that there are a few possible bargains in the homeware sections which would be worth a look. Reasons not to go: The town centre offers far more variety and value. Other shopping opportunities like Bicester Outlet Village and the Oracle are only an hour away, if you choose Swindon outlet you probably won’t save any money on fashion brand names. Purchase of the Day: The Mis-Shapes in the otherwise poor Cadbury’s Outlet were good value. I picked a bag of Roses for Dad and Little Brother which cost only £2.99 for £10 worth of chocolate. These would make great birthday gifts or unusual stocking fillers for Christmas.

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            31.12.2001 04:12
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            As I got some money for Christmas I decided I needed some new clothes. I did get some new clothes for Christmas as well but when I have money burning a whole in my pocket it has to be spent doesn?t it. We decided instead of just going into a town centre to travel to an outlet centre we had been told about off Junction 16 of the M4 near Swindon. We where only going to go there for an hour to see what it was like but after two hours we were hooked. My fiancé wanted some trainers and found a pair of Nike Classics in the Nike shop for just £24. That is less than half the price they are currently been sold elsewhere. The minute I noticed there was a gap outlet there I made a rush for the door. I found a jumper, which only cost £9.99 that originally cost £38.00. I would have purchased a lot more if they had more sizes available. All the best bargains seemed to be extra small sizes. I was tempted to loose weight but with all the roses and quality streets at home I decided against it. If you are after a suit you are best to go here. They have several shops selling suits, many designer labels at just a marginal cost of the normal price. My fiancé and his mother found bargains in Clarks. Simon managed to get two pairs of really good quality work shoes for just £40. They also have a Next to Nothing that is full of Next clothes. At this time of year it is just as hectic as any Next around the country so I stayed away. I would like to have a look later on in the year to see what bargains I can pick up from there. There is quite a large food court, which has a range of different restaurants and cafes to choose from such as Bakers Oven, Harry Ramsdens and McDonalds. It is set out like an old railway station and has an old steam engine on display. There is a play area in the middle of the centre for under 10?s so you can compromise with your children. There is a really big shop that sells glass and china wear. If you want some crystal glasses and a nice expensive looking dinner set you can pick up some great bargains from here. There are many more shops to choose from including Prices candles, Thorntons, Adidas, Timberland, CAT, Cotton Traders, and Reebok. This time of year parking is free and there are so many spaces it hardly ever gets so full you cannot find a space. I could have spent hours in there but we had to drag ourselves away. Needless to say we will definitely be returning soon. I just wished I had more money to spend as I was in my element. I better start writing opinions again to fund my trip. Thanks for reading, Grimsbygal

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              20.07.2000 21:25
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              This outlet is a great place for shoes and bits to have around the house, but as far as outfits go you would be better off at Bicester. Certainly go to the outlet village at Swindon but don't be fooled by their adverts telling you of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren bargains, these may be available but only through other stores, for instance Fosters. Timberland and Nike are the best stores here for picking up end of season bargains, and the CAT store has good prices for old stock. However don't expect to walk out with bags and bags of cut price clothes from the big designers, if that is what you want, get to Bicester.

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              17.07.2000 00:49
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              This place is amazing! If you like the big names but don't want to pay big prices, then this is the place for you! Situated (and signposted) off J16 of the M4 near Swindon, the Great Western Outlet Mall is well worth a day out. We are huge fans of the Clark Factory Outlet store and have had 3 pairs of school shoes, 2 pairs of trainers and some sandals from there for under £90 before! The huge choice of shoes and trainers also makes this a wonderful place to visit if you or your kids have particularly wide or narrow feet......I've found *so* many shoes and sandals here when there was nothing to be had locally to fit me at all! GAP also has a factory store here which has a £1.99 sale rail! I spent about £70 here, mostly on £1.99 clothes, and must have had well over £1000 of clothes costed at original price......Having been there a couple of times since then though, it *does* seem to be a question of being there at the right time as to what you get, as with most outlets. Other outlet stores include Timberland and MEXX. I'm a huge fan of MEXX clothes but have only ever bought them at factory shop prices. I'm still undecided about this particular factory store as there used to be an amazing one in Slough where I would buy £2000 of clothes for about £199. As far as i can see, that kind of silly price has now stopped since their move to Swindon. I finally got to explore the place without kids last week and spent the best part of 2 days there! Other factory Outlet stores include Boots,Alexon,Windsmoor/Planet, Pilot, Prices Candles, Claires, Nike, Puma, Whittards, Thorntons and many many more.......There is also a big homewares area. Between a couple of the malls (they can be a bit confusing, and the maps take a lot of puzzling to figure out!) there's a playground for under 10's.....looks new, nice, bright and safe. There are places to buy food in the Food Hall, but mostly these are of the fast-and-not-very-nice variety. There is a Harry Ramsden's Restaurant, but my recommendation, particularly if you're there without kids, would be to hunt out Starbucks which is tucked away from the main Food Hall (thank goodness!)and go have a really good coffee and one of their home made leek and parmesan scones, or even their extremely wicked chocolate cheesecake! Expensive, but if you're saving money on all those clothes and homeware, then you can afford it, right?! Parking is free if you spend over £10....get your ticket validated in one of the stores....somehow spending £10 there doesn't seem too difficult! Despite living an hour away from here, I'm definitely going to make visits a regular thing from now on!

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              07.07.2000 17:43
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              Designer Villages are outlets where retailers sell off older stock, ends of line and slightly substandard items etc., at bargain prices. It is in effect a permanent sale and with discounts ranging from 30% to up to 95% of original prices it is impossible not to find a bargain. I have been to Clarkes Shopping Village in Street, Bicester Village near Oxford and The Great Western at Swindon. I think The Great Western is probably the largest outlet but it is difficult to be certain because the website has not been updated. I think there are over a hundred retailers there including many high street shops: Next, Benetton,Gap, Nike, French Connection, Olsen, Long Tall Sally, Ecco, Faith, Mexx, Laura Ashley, etc. Bicester Village tends to have more upmarket names such as Versace etc., but even when heavily discounted these still leave a huge hole in the bank balance and on the whole the fashions there are more suitable for the young and beautiful, although they do have a wide range of outdoor type shops too like Helly Hansen. But Swindon has something for everyone both young and old. The bargains in Gap are amazing with racks and racks of items for £5. And one of my favourites is Olsen where I regularly save a fortune (£75 sweaters for £15 and £120 coat for £20). I also like Liz Claiborne and Precis. On a recent visit I discovered another huge section had been added where they have grouped the household retailers together. I think Sia has the best bargains - I bought some beautiful glass dishes reduced from £10 to 50p and a gothic tablecloth for a fiver (it was originally £50). The Great Western Designer Outlet Village is housed in the Grade II listed old railway works. This not only adds to the attraction making it an interesting place to be but the old steam engines and other bits of railway nostalgia are an enticement to reluctant husbands to go shopping. Children are also well catered for with indoor and outdoor play areas and a creche. It is all under cover and smoking is not permitted except in designated areas. There is a large food area with a good choice of snacks or meals including the usual McDonalds, Harry Ramsdens, Singapore Sam and Pizzas and Jackets etc. There is plenty of car parking and shuttles buses also run from the town centre. Parking is charged but usually there is a scheme whereby if you purchase something for at least £10 (not very difficult) you do not have to pay. For further information on opening times and location etc., see the slightly out of date website: http://www.shoppingvillages.co.uk/mcarthurglenswindonframe.htm

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