Domestic goddess and backyard explorer with a passion for freelance writing!
Published January 16th 2015
Affordable luxury in style
London fashion is a unique breed of style in itself and coming from Australia, the relatively small town shopping culture is a stark contrast to the variety, boutique designer outlets and sheer size of the shopping industry here. It's no comparison; however along with the wide array of styles, brands, and ploughing through discounts and sales, it can be hard for customers to know where to go for best deals reliably.
During the first couple of weeks I was here in London, my husband took me to the designer village in Bicester and for me, it was love at first sight and not just because there are always discounted prices here. Situated on the outskirts of Bicester, this is an outlet mall, accessible by car (about an hour and fifteen minutes from London), or train (to Bicester north station). Opening times are from 10am to 7pm on all days except Saturday, which is 9am till 8pm.
There is a large parking lot in front of the village with plenty of space, yet most of the time it will be packed. It's no surprise as to why that is really, with this cute village set up, an open arrangement courtyard style of all your favourite brand names from Hugo Boss, Armani, Dunhill, Burberry, Bally, CK, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach and Dior to Furla, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Micheal Kors, Mulberry, Prada, Ugg and Versace. You will hardly need to look elsewhere for your designer shopping needs, especially with in house restaurants and cafes including Carluccios and Pret, where you can grab a snack or lunch or just stop for a break. There are also in house prayer rooms.
You can also find brands for household or gift items such as Molten Brown, Le Creuset and Swarovski for some sparkly crystal love - there is something here for everyone.
Perfect to spoil yourself or a loved one!
For those of you who can't travel that far, you don't need to look much beyond Oxford and Regent streets, here in London itself! Step outside Oxford circus tube and your eyes will be in awe of the never ending list of well known brands and stores right here. But give yourself plenty of time for this, especially around Christmas time, for in no time will you become enveloped in the swarm of shopping fanatics running around grabbing last minute presents and bargains heavy bags in hand, and the lines to even pay for your items at this time as very long in many stores.
The first time I went to shop in Oxford street, I didn't get past H&M, House of Fraser and John Lewis. This was about 1 block total. In my defence, it takes ages (particularly when window shopping) just looking! The second time was Christmas, and I covered a lot more ground even with the hoards of individuals walking around the sparkly night decorated beautifully (a sight in itself). From Debenhams, Esprit, Forever 21, Gap, Mango, Marks and Spencer, Monsoon, Primark, to Zara, you will find most common brands here, which is great for when you have no idea what you want.
Lastly, for those who hate crowds, going into the city by tube, don't care for certain brands as much, and don't want to travel outside London, check out the nearest shopping centre near you! For example, St. Anne's shopping centre in Harrow, Stratford shopping centre and London Westfield- great way to beat the crowds however in terms of discounts, you'd have to do your own research or if you can't be bothered, Boxing day onwards is a good time!