If you don’t know much about Bicester Village, it is an outdoor outlet shopping mall. The reason it is referred to as a village is because, in a nutshell, it looks exactly like one. It has a very quaint feel to it, the exact opposite to the usual hustle and bustle associated with outlet shopping. Located outside of Oxford, it is nestled in the sleepy countryside. Thankfully it has amazingly good transport links. There is Bicester station where complimentary buses will ferry you to and from the village, a sleek coach service, called Shopping Express, which departs from various central London locations or if wish to drive there is ample free parking.
1) Avoid going on the weekend – you will queue longer to get into the Prada outlet than you do Space Mountain during the Summer holidays. Even if you have to take a days holiday or pull a sicky(!) from work, trust me, it is worth it!
2) Sign up to the boutique’s mailing lists. I know it is annoying getting harassed by hundreds of emails, however, if it’s a brand you love it can seriously be worth it. I often get invited to the special events and get special VIP days with additional discount, complimentary food and even gifts. Anya Hindmarch and La Perla tend to offer the bests days out. I once got the most amazing free gift with purchase from Anya Hindmarch worth over £100.
3) There is a something called a “VIP card” which gives you access to an additional 10% off most items throughout the Village. One way of getting these is by taking the Shopping Express coach I mentioned earlier, as included in the ticket price is a VIP card.
Alternatively, try and get friendly with the VIP client liaison manager. One way of doing this is purchasing the “Hands-Free Shopping” and asking to have all your bags sent the VIP Lounge. This is where the manager’s office is. If she sees you’re a bit of a spender she’ll definitely make the effort to get to know you and if you know her expect lots of additional freebies, such as the 10% discount card, valet parking, hands-free shopping, lunches, tea, coffee, etc.
4) If you don’t have a VIP card and you’re feeling brave it is worth asking the boutiques if they are prepared to do something on the price, more often than not they’d rather make the sale so they’re happy to sweeten the deal! I was umm’ing and err’ing about those lace booties for ages and I almost walked away from them. The sales assistant could see the sale slipping away so offered to ask her manager if they could do something about the price and they ended up knocking off a hefty £150!
5) Don’t forget it is open till 8pm (10pm in the summer months) every evening. It is always quieter in the latter part of the day. Don’t be afraid to get there at 3pm. It still gives you plenty of time to shop but without the hustle and bustle.