Bicester Village becomes one of the most popular tourist attractions in London
You may be convinced you know London as a tourist. You have seen Big Ben, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths and Pump Room. You have been to Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s cathedral and even Windsor Castle. You know the British Museum inside out. Surprisingly, there is a place of interest much more popular than Stonehenge or Edinburgh Castle, you’ve probably never heard about.
Having received 6.4 million visitors last year it is still quite unfamiliar to western tourists.
And it is Bicester Village, one of 11 worldwide discount shopping malls owned by Value Retail, only about 45 minutes outside of London.
From end to end, the high street of Bicester Village has the 1.2 length in miles, the same as Oxford Street and the Champs Elysees.
Bicester Village doesn’t look or feel like an outlet shopping center, but a separate shopping village with its walkable streets. There are benches with blankets at every step as well as sculptures and play areas everywhere. Many of the shrubberies host signs bearing quotations from literature and philosophy. And such an atmosphere doesn’t boost prices. Quite the contrary, all the products start between 20 and 40 per cent off and discounts can go further. The village claims that it offers up to 60 percent off normal retail price every day.
At the same time, adds and signage seem to be discreet and let visitors contemplate the beauty of this scandy-like shopping village.
However, Bicester Village shops don’t forget about offering a five-star service customers could never experience in shopping molls. Displays are thoughtful, changing rooms are spacious and well-designed, and of course the staff is smiling and very experienced.
There are 160 different shops in the village, including Prada, Gucci, Armani, Versace and Valentino, alongside Barbour, Clarks and Lululemon. This week it opened a new extension, adding some 30 more boutiques to its 130 existing. Fashion operators Roksanda and Christopher Kane, Orlebar Brown and Valentino join the big names of Prada, Orlebar Brown and Lola's Baker, Gucci, Armani and Versace. Those 30 new shops opened that give a new focus to British designers
New outlets also include luxury shoe shop Charlotte Olympia; giftware store The British Collective; Ortigia, which sells Italian perfume, soaps and scents; Devialet, which sells high-end speakers and audio systems, and high-end homeware specialist Villeroy & Boch.
The expansion has also brought about 450 new jobs, bringing the total number of people employed at Bicester Village to about 4,000.