You may have heard dreadful traffic reports emanating from your radio for the area around Bicester Village? If you haven’t you might be interested in the reasons and if you heard you’ll have a reasonable handle on what was happening.
Bicester has a population of around 27,000 so it definitely isn’t a village but it does have Bicester Village on its outskirts. To get to Bicester Village you have to travel along the A41 and the traffic was so bad this week people had actually parked, yes you read that right, parked on the sides of the dual carriageway, hence the Police closing the road. Things got so bad that the Bicester Village management people suggested later on the 26th December that no one should attempt to visit until Wednesday 28th December after 5:00 PM.
Bicester Village is an out of town shopping centre, which is in effect outlet shops for the biggest, and most prestigious brands you might consider buying. Most days you’ll find real bargains there and at sale times there are even better savings.
There are large car parks all around it and you don’t have to walk very far at all to get into the mall. You can go by train and they have special buses, which run from central London on an hourly basis. Lot’s of coach trips go there because the tourists want to go there. More nationalities, than you could shake a very big stick indeed at, go there in droves and spend their holiday money on big brand named goods.
For example you could buy a Mulberry bag which originally cost £695 for £345 or a Paul Smith suit for £250, or two pairs of Levis for £70 or a Links of London friendship bracelet for £50 or less. It’s actually a nice experience just visiting as your fellow shoppers are interesting in themselves. It can get a bit hot in summer but of course there’s a Pret (can’t we have a lot more of these in Edinburgh please), and an ice-cream place and some other eateries. You could also pop into Smythsons for a handy wee notebook and say hello to Samcam. Okay it’s pretty unlikely she’ll be in since she provides marketing advice to them at their Head Office no doubt) but she doesn’t live that far away when she isn’t in Downing Street.
So, loads and loads of people plan to be there for the sales starting on 26th December. Those who know what to expect leave early and queue for less time and those who don’t plan get there and spend a lot of time looking at the inside of their cars. Once there are enough cars there’s gridlock. So people pull over and park where they happen to be, namely the A41.
If you are of the persuasion, which considers quality brands as being de rigueur, plan ahead and go visit. You can fly to London on an early flight, grab the bus out to Bicester buy your stuff and get back to the airport for an evening flight. Or make it a two day trip and do Chelsea, Covent Gardens, Libertys and lunch at either Bibendum or The Gallery Restaurant at Fortnum & Masons.
What you save at Bicester Village will go a long way to covering your costs in London. Maybe. Maybe not.
If you are not of the persuasion which considers quality brands as being de rigueur then give it a miss and save yourself a lot of money, stay home and do the stuff that is important to you.