After last night’s takeaway, we kept the Chinese theme going by heading off first thing to Bicester, with David and Valerie - apparently, Bicester is the third most visited UK location by Chinese tourists, after Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. I’m not sure if I believe this factoid, but looking at the gazillions of people already at Bicester Shopping Village today, it sure felt like it!
Bicester Shopping Village
The mission today was to split-up, with David and Valerie, going their own way in search of bargains, whilst for us, it was about seeking-out the remaining final three Christmas presents. WARNING: A ‘Victor Meldrew’ moment approaching!!!!
Things didn’t start well. Although the first few shops still had ‘Black Friday’ deals, they were still frighteningly expensive, even after the discount - dresses for £1000, handbags for £900 and a Tag Heuer watch, a snip at just over £35000!!!
After a pitstop at the heaving Pret, things improved dramatically, and Ann managed to sniff out some good-value pressies, that didn’t break the bank (but nearly broke my arm carrying them all!!!). With a now-familiar smug look on our face, by 11.21 it was all over, with every gift now secured.
That’s a personal best, even for us!!
But what an experience! We were shocked at how much Bicester Shopping Village had changed since we were last there. Gone was the quaint outlet, full of high-street names and a guaranteed bargain - replaced with a hyper-busy, crowded shopping experience, where the majority of the shops have been replaced with upmarket brands (and that was reflected in the the prices). Add to that, ‘valet parking’ for the very rich, (is this REALLY necessary?) and scores of coaches arriving, full of tourists, eager to spend their wonga.
The prize for the most ‘OTT shop’ easily goes to UGG - with scores of people queuing outside, and a security guard on duty to control the prospective riot…
Purleazzze, was all this necessary!? This is Bicester not ASDA!!!!
Then it was back to David’s car and onwards to the highlight of the day - lunch at The Nut Tree in Murcott.
Victor Meldrew mode OFF!
And, what a lunch it was! Great service, great food with an imaginative menu including a miniature birthday cake for Val - inside an egg, (yes, you read that correctly!!!) and Prune and Armagnac Soufflé on the dessert menu. Now you don’t get offered those every day!
Predictably, we left the Pub, suitably stuffed and all of us ready for doing nothing, for the rest of the day.
For us, it’s been a very productive day, but we didn’t enjoy the shopping experience at Bicester Shopping Village - we DID enjoy the Pub though!!!