Christmas is just around the corner. But when do wrapping stations turn to panic stations? How late is too late to start shopping for presents? And where in Santa’s name can you expect to find every single jingling gift you’ve left to the last minute?
Our recommendation? Bicester Village. The Oxfordshire shopping destination offers up Christmas cheer and big brands in equal, tinsel-trimmed measure — and makes for the perfect pre-Christmas day out. The festive food offerings should be enough to tempt you alone; whether you’re tucking into a ‘Bailey’s Fondant’ at Café Wolseley, a seasonal cinnamon roll at Oliphant & Pomeroy or the Crêperie Angélie Christmas crêpe.
But the real allure comes in the form of over 160 sparkling boutiques, stocked and stacked high with the most luxurious fashions, homewares and accessories — at just a fraction of their original prices.
And, with government guidelines requiring shoppers to wear face masks inside boutiques, and Bicester Village recommending they are worn at all times, the shopping destination is one of the safest places to cross those last names off your Christmas list. And, for a final festive miracle? The boutiques are even open until 5pm on December 24th. Here’s what you should be buying…
If you’re shopping for style aficionados…
Let’s start with the tricky ones; the fashionistas. Discerning of taste and demanding of labels, these giftees are perhaps the most difficult to please at Christmas. Thankfully, from Aquazzura to Zadig&Voltaire, Bicester Village is bursting with the best, most luxurious clothing and footwear brands the world has to offer.
Brands such as Sunspel, where you can pick up this crew neck jumper — complete with clean hems and raglan sleeves. Or Eleventy, an Italian fashion brand offering up these striking, suede-trimmed sneakers inspired by retro designs. Alternatively, to combine fashion and function, head to Paul Smith and pick up this bold blue-hued mac, that’ll help friends or family members tackle the wintry weather.
Sunspel Cotton Rib Crew Neck Jumper (RRP £195)
Eleventy Smoke Melange Grey Sneakers (RRP £352)
Paul Smith Men’s Navy Mac (£275)
If you’re shopping for food & drink fanatics…
Next up; the gourmets and gastronomers. These are the apron-tied, oven-gloved guests who’ll want to oversee every element of the turkey cooking — and who you’ll need to find a decent distraction for come Christmas Day. Thankfully, Bicester Village’s homeware offerings are more than up to the task.
If one of your nearest or dearest is something of a sommelier, the Zwilling boutique has a fantastic four-piece set including a foil cutter, pouring spout and high-quality corkscrew. Similarly, Lalique is the place to pick up quality crystal glassware. Of, for more of a morning cup, the Le Creuset boutique offers plunging discounts on its classic ‘Volcanic’ cafetières.
Zwilling Sommelier Collection (RRP £124)
Le Creuset Volcanic Coffee Pot (RRP £59)
Lalique Crystal Glasses (£120)
If you’re shopping for outdoorsmen…
You know the sort we mean; the tough, rough and ready men who’d rather be sitting under a towering pine than a trimmed tree on Christmas morning — and can’t wait for a post-dinner wander across the countryside. These outdoorsmen can be as tricky to buy for as the food fanatics above, but Bicester Village has you covered…
In fact, the luxury shopping destination has its fair share of luxury outerwear boutiques. There’s the windproof, weatherproof one-two punch of Barbour and Belstaff, where you can pick up wax jackets, water-resistant mid-layers and gilets. Or, for footwear, try the Hunter boutique — where the British brand’s Chelsea boots have a third off their original price.
Barbour Classic Beaufort Wax Jacket (£259)
Hunter Men’s Original Chelsea Boots (RRP £95)
Belstaff Circuit Jacket (RRP £325)
If you’re shopping for gadget enthusiasts…
If they’d likely turn up their noses at the latest smartphone, or not even bother getting a high-flying drone out of its high-end box, why not look to gift any gadget enthusiasts in your life something a little different this Christmas? Like Bang & Olufsen’s compact Beoplay E8 wireless earphones — slick, sleek and compact enough for even the busiest commute.
Or Zwilling’s ‘Thermo’ Tea & Fruit Infuser Bottle? An ideal option for those who love both gourmet flavours and gadgets, it is crafted from stainless steel, and benefits from both double-walled insulation and an anti-slip base. Alternatively, for those more into wearables, the Montblanc ‘TimeWalker 41’ is a sophisticated, Swiss-made gift — with a black bezel, striking red seconds hand and strong motor racing heritage.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 EarphonesBuy Now
Montblanc TimeWalker 41 Watch (RRP £2,870)
Zwilling Thermo Tea & Fruit Infuser Bottle (RRP £19.95)
If you’re shopping for interior design lovers…
Finally, if you’ve spent every day of December fretting over what to buy the interior design lovers in your life, Bicester Village is the perfect place to finally tick them off your list. With boutiques including Emma Bridgewater and The White Company, there’s something for even the most discerning homeowner to be found along the central street’s cobbles.
We’d start softly; with Bamford’s cosy wool blanket in a neutral, versatile grey colour. There are plenty of candles available at Bicester, in boutiques from Clarins to Penhaligon’s — but we’d opt for Molton Brown’s chic ‘Le Single Wick’ design. And, for a touch of Soho Home class, this ‘Cuvelier’ cushion is as cosy as it is abstract.
Bamford Wool Blanket (RRP £599)
Molton Brown Le Single Wick Candle (RRP £42)
Soho Home ‘Cuvelier’ Cushion in Mustard (RRP £100)