Eat, Drink & Shop Till Drop!
As Malaysians, we love to shop when traveling abroad. There’s something about shopping overseas that seem to be our next favorite pastime besides eating! During my recent trip to London, we had some time in our schedule to do quite a fair bit of shopping. Though the high exchange currency did not help, it certainly also did not deter me from doing my share of shopping…
Bicester Village was on our schedule during our trip as organized by VisitBritain. The village style outlet shopping is simply a must when in London as one can shop for leading fashion brands at discounted prices. When I checked out Bicester Village over the web, I was thrilled to bits at the thoughts of having the chance to do some shopping while in London. Bicester Village, located at Oxfordshire, is one of the Collection of Chic Outlet Shopping Villages owned by Value Retail. It is also the biggest and oldest outlet shopping village in the Value Retail group with over 130 luxury brands congregated at one area, making perfect to shop till one drops.
While staying at Dorsett Shepherds Bush, I found out that hotel guests are entitled to enjoy an extra 10% VIP discount at Bicester Village. Music to my ears, this means more shopping with the savings! Make sure to visit the Hotel Concierge to get a VIP card for this extra discount and exchange it at the Bicester Village Visitor Centre to get the book for the extra 10% discount applicable to all brands except Prada.
Now as a tourist, one might wonder how to get to Bicester Village. Ever since the launch of the new Bicester Village Station, shoppers can now travel with ease and comfort to the outlet shopping by Chiltern Railways. There are two locations to travel in London to get to Bicester Village Station – London Marylebone or Oxford Parkway.
Since our nearest was Marylebone, we started out pretty early in the day and arrive at the Marylebone Station. Everyone was excited at the thought of shopping that we pretty much couldn’t wait to be there. However, we did stop to admire the Marylebone Station at all its bustling actions. Marylebone Station is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. Built in 1899, there are now six platforms at the station. This is the youngest and smallest of London’s main line terminal stations and the only one to host only diesel trains as it doesn’t have any electrified lines.
To get to Marylebone Station from Dorsett Shepherds Bush, simply use the Underground Tube Station which is only 3 minute walk away from the hotel. Take the Tube to the Marylebone Station to connect your trip to Bicester Village.
One can purchase your ticket at the Marylebone Station while you are there or one can also purchase them online prior to your travel. A round trip ticket from Marylebone Station to Bicester Village is priced at estimated 49 pounds and above, depending on your traveling time at peak and non-peak hours. It is a comfortable 46 minutes ride on the Chiltern Railways train. There are two trains running every hour daily from this station.
The train is very comfortable and clean. The interior is well-kept. Choose from the rows of seats or head to the carriage with seats and table where one can do some work while traveling. There is even a quiet zone area if you wish to not be disturb. There are power plugs for your electronic items as well as Free Wifi from Chiltern Railways.
Our 46 minutes flew by without us even realizing it and soon we arrived at Bicester Village Station right on the dot as per schedule. Right at the station, there is the Bicester Village Visitor Centre at your service. Simply head on over there for information and tips on shopping. Bicester Village also provides plenty of services to make your shopping easier such as Hands-free Shopping, Free Wifi, Tourist Information, Luggage Drop service, Tax Refund and Money Change, Children’s Play Area and more.
Now before you start your shopping, you would need to recharge up with some food. Because once you start, you may not want to stop... and that’s why I would like to share that there is this really awesome place to grab a bite at Bicester Village. There are quite a few places to eat there but I highly recommend The Farmshop Restaurant & Cafe.
The Farmshop Restaurant & Café is an all-day dining restaurant from Soho House & Co. It is a beautiful space that is casual and chic, comfortable and spacious. Seating 200 covers, the restaurant has cobblestone floors, barn doors and shabby chic décor. There is the main dining room as well as two private rooms and an outdoor terrace seating. Serving rustic British food, The Farmshop menu has lots of classics to hearty farmhouse dishes made from locally sourced produce.
Our lunch that day was one of my favorite meal in London!
The salads are simply amazing in flavours and textures. Using the freshest produce, each salad is also vibrant in natural colors. The sweet and fresh flavours are hearty and healthy as well. I would love to be able to replicate these salads at home.
Halloumi, Roast Vegetables, Basil
Mixed Grains, Feta, Cauliflower, Mint
Roast Squash, Puy Lentils, Basil
Red and Golden Beetroots, Endive, Goats Curd, Walnut
The main dishes we had were rustic and classics of British food. The roast chicken was moist and jam packed with flavours from the spice rub while the poached salmon was tasty and melt-in-the-mouth goodness. The food was cooked in a wood oven so there is a smoky and rustic flavours which makes the dishes extra delicious. Simple ingredients but cooked perfectly well…
Spitroast Chicken, Coleslaw, Aioli
Scottish Salmon, Butter Lettuce, Lemon Mayo
Dessert also ended on a high note. From refreshing tart lemon posset, which is a creamy and smooth chilled custard to hearty classics of Bramley apple pie with ice cream and a decadent flourless chococate cake, I had wished that I had more tummy space to enjoy all these amazing desserts. Never a fan of apple pie, I even enjoy their Bramley Apple Pie with its gorgeous short crust pastry blanketing a wonderful spice apple filling. The hot pie was contrasted with scoops of cold vanilla ice cream… heavenly!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Bramley Apple Pie with Ice Cream
After a wonderful meal, we were ready to shop. With over 130 luxury brands at the outlet village, one really needs a lot of time to browse through all of them. Bicester Village continues to grow and add more luxury brands over the time.
There are friendly assistants all over the village to assist at any time!
Other major brands include Michael Kors, Mont Blanc, Prada, BOSS, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, DKNY, Coach, Calvin Klein, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Longchamp, Ralph Lauren, Timberland and more. Visit their website for the full list of brands.
Don’t forget to ask for your Tax refund forms while buying as the outlets will individually print out tax refund forms for you for your claim at the ChangeGroup for instant refunds or at Heathrow airport.
It’s best to go early as there are plenty to see and buy. After our shopping trip, we took the Chiltern Railways train back to Marylebone Station and the Underground Tube back to Dorsett Shepherds Bush. Tired but utterly satisfying with lots of packages filled with happiness…
Contact: +44 (0)845 005 165
50 Pingle Drive
Bicester Visitor Centre Contact: 01869 366 266
Bicester Village Reception on +44 (0) 1869 323 200
Monday to Saturday 09:00 - 21:00
THE FARMSHOP RESTAURANT & CAFE
Unit 135, Bicester Village
50 Pingle Drive, Bicester
Contact: +44 (0)1865 686400
Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 10.00pm
Sunday 9.30am to 10.00pm
This trip was made possible by Malaysia Airlines, UK Visit Britain and Dorsett Shepherds Bush London. All stories and comments in my posts are purely derived from my own experiences through the trip.
*Look out for more posts on Shopping in London!
Fly Me To London Part 5 - Bicester Village Outlet Shopping by Chiltern Railways + Lunch at The Farmshop