About Time: You Discovered Bicester VillageBy Alicia Grimshaw
If there’s one thing us Brits like, it’s a bit of retail therapy. Whether it’s a quick online purchase or a leisurely day on the high street on a pay day weekend, there’s honestly nothing like it. Sometimes however you want to push the boat out a bit, step out of your H&Ms and Zaras into something a bit more… luxurious. This is where Bicester Village comes in. Arguably the UK’s most iconic shopping destination after Oxford Street, Bicester Village is constantly finding new ways to revolutionise the shopping experience, which is why a visit for the first time since the pandemic was much needed.
Bicester Village: The Lowdown
Just a 1 hour direct train from Paddington, Bicester is super easy to get to, yet feels like a world away from the capital. Full of cobbled streets and stunningly beautiful shop fronts, this is anything but your classic high street (or even outlet) experience. Expect the country’s favourite luxury and premium brands at competitive prices, all brought together into a village environment.
The levelling up opportunities at Bicester are also remarkable, with ‘The Apartment’ offering an incredible experience for shoppers. Kicking things off with reserved parking – which was a godsend on a busy Sunday – you are then taken into one of the Village’s luxury private buildings complete with concierge, luxury seating and a fully stocked complimentary bar. The interior design sits in a glorious middle ground between old money and Soho House, and is the perfect starting point for a day of hitting the shops. One huge benefit of The Apartment package is the hands-free shopping experience, which saves you from having to haul bags around all day, instead, they’re delivered within an hour ready and waiting for you back at HQ.
Bicester Village: Shops
Undoubtedly the main event of BV – the shopping experience is unrivalled in the UK and for good reason, with an ambitious list 0f vendors for seemingly every occasion. Whether you’re on the hunt for that perfect mates wedding outfit, looking to do some high-end flexing, or simply want to pick up a new pair of gym trainers, you’re covered at Bicester.
Luxury brands are seemingly the most popular when we visit, with the likes of Balenciaga, Off White, Alexandra Mcqueen, Stella McCartney, Axel Arigato and hundreds of other boujee boutiques packed to the rafters. If you’re on the hunt for daily wear however, there’s fantastic deals to be had in the likes of Levis, The North Face, Polo Ralph Lauren and New Balance. For the gym goers, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty and Under Armour are must-visits, with unbelievable deals on new styles to look hot to trot on the treadmill.
The beauty and cosmetics selection is also vast, with the likes of Elemis, Rituals, Benefit, Cowshed, Molton Brown, L’Occitane and Penhaligons all putting in a good showing, while The White Company and Le Creuset have you covered on the homeware (try leaving without a whole new kitchen set if you dare).
It’s the variety that makes Bicester such a nuanced day out, finding itself perfectly placed if you’re running in for one thing, or want to spend a whole day (hell, even a weekend) mooching around and taking it all in.
Bicester Village: Where to Eat
Alongside your high street mainstays (Pret and Itsu), Bicester Village is home to fine-dining restaurants, street food trucks and alfresco coffee shops.
Now, if you’re after something more substantial than a jambon beurre, we recommend making a beeline for Cecconi’s (an all-day Italian restaurant by Soho House). The restaurant offers a hybrid northern Italian menu including handmade artisanal pizzas, seasonal dishes, pastas including their signature Spaghetti Lobster as well as cicchetti alongside a luxury dining experience, all overseen by Head Chef Lee Ward.
The restaurant operates a walk-in only policy – prepare to wait or come before or after the lunchtime rush. Service is warm and efficient, and the kitchen bang out dishes in an expressively speedy fashion.
Feasts on the likes of truffle arancini – tasty, golden brown morsels spiked with fontina, and burrata (a sexy ball of mozzarella with cream) topped with broad beans and peas. Now, if it’s pasta you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the rigatoni and beef bolognese. It’s hearty. It’s comforting. It’s the real deal.
With Bicester Village just a one-hour train from London, come for the shopping, but stay for Cecconi’s cacio e pepe.
For more information on Bicester Village, see here.
50 Pingle Dr, Bicester OX26 6WD