Bicester Village

30 Dec

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.


Posted by on December 30, 2011 in General


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3 responses to “Bicester Village

  1. Delphius

    January 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Ah yes, BIcester Village. I used to live in Bicester and it was the bane of most resident’s lives, clogging up the roads every bank holiday and most weekends. Not only does it cause traffic problems, but its location next door to the town’s only large supermarket means misery for those people whose work forces them to shop at the weekend. Either that or a 20-mile hike to Banbury or Oxford instead.

    Luckily those that live there know all the back routes into and out of town, but these are getting a nightmare now the new development between Bicester and Chesterton is going ahead.

    Bicester Village started out as a cut-price retail outlet and we enjoyed going, but within a couple of years rebranded itself as a cut-price posh designer outlet, far exceeding our meagre earnings and probably most of Bicester’s residents.

    I wouldn’t mind if it added to the economy of the area, but its location cuts it off entirely from the rest of the town.

    I’m sure its great for those that can afford to shop there, but it causes bloody misery for the townsfolk. Actually I’m glad that those shopping there that had to suffer being gridlocked in their cars suffered too: nice to see a bit of payback.

    • Tedious Tantrums

      January 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Hey Delphius,
      We enjoyed a couple of trips there when we spent a week just outside Chipping Norton. We actually got a few really good deals. We went mid-week in July before the schools were out.

      It’s a great area. Pity it’s become a blot on the landscape. Thanks for your comment I’ll head over to your blog in a moment.

      • Delphius

        January 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

        It was good when it started for us normal folk, but as its popularity increased (along with the number and size of car parks) it really became too big for its location as well as being too expensive. I think the only shop I got good deals in before I left was the Helly Hansen one.

        No doubt the BV owners are rolling in it, but the residents of Bicester would have much preferred a cinema to be built on the site. As well as at some point a second supermarket to add some competition, seeing as the all-mighty Tesco owns the small town-centre supermarket, the big one next to Bicester Village and several small Tesco Expresses in the individual housing estates round town. Its criminal that town planners have allowed Tesco to dominate in such a way.

        Its interesting to note that thanks to the lack of competition in Bicester prices are quite a few pence higher than say Banbury, where there are several competing supermarkets.

        That area is tricky for shopping: Bicester is dominated by Tescos and Oxford abhors car drivers, so generally shopping was a hike to Banbury or Milton Keynes. Not easy with ever increasing fuel prices!


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