Luxury Shopping Made Easy With The Bicester Collection

Throughout eleven villages in Europe and China, it’s possible to shop top luxury brands at a fraction of the cost, versus going to luxury brand stores, and all in a quaint village setting with local and cultural dining

Europe and China have long enjoyed The Bicester Collection, which operates as an outlet, but in a village setting with some of Europe’s, Britain, and American luxury fashion brands as a fraction of the cost. There are eleven villages located just outside of capital cities in London, Dublin, Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, Milan, and Barcelona. Each village has been able to create its own sense of community around it, which includes its own cultural flair. The U.S. won’t have to wait long for its first shopping village. The first is coming to the NYC area in the second half of 2024.

According to The Bicester Collection, Americans are no stranger to the villages. “The U.S. retains rank at number 1 across our destinations, i.e. propelled by the strongest exchange rate ever against the euro. Visitors from the U.S. are our top visitors and spenders across The Bicester Collection and across Europe,” shares The Bicester Collection with Forbes.

US visitors are also the top nationality driving tax free spending across the Collection, first with La Vallee Village in Paris, second with Fidenza Village in Milan, and thirdly with La Roca Village in Barcelona and Las Rozas Village in Madrid equally. “U.S. Tax Free spend has surpassed 2019 levels with a 161% recovery of pre-pandemic levels,” says the Bicester Collection. So which American demographic is shopping at the villages? Most U.S. shoppers across the Bicester Collection are Gen X (40-54 years old, followed by Gen Z’s/ Millennials at 38%, and Silvers at 22% (55 years and older).

In addition to this, all villages have VIP services like Personal Shopping Suites, member events, and The Apartment- an invite-only private space in every village that offers guests services like hands free shopping. Drinks and small treats are giving to guests before they start shopping, and it’s a place they can go to rest in between shopping. The Collection also has partnerships with airlines from British Airways, Flying Blue Partner, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Lufthansa. When you shop you receive 1 mile for every Euro or Pound spent at the villages.

Bicester Village, London

This is the UK flagship, the first village in the collection, and it’s exuberant with bustle, as it’s the second most visited destination in the country after Buckingham Palace. According to the Bicester Collection, “Bicester Village is the UK’s most successful shopping destination in terms of sales per square meter.” On any given weekday Bicester Village is crawling with people. Here you find British brands, European brands, and American brands. The best thing about this village is that there’s something for everyone, and it’s very culturally inclusive.

The Apartment is large and cozy with light colors and sections of sofas. It’s also in The Apartment that you can have a personal shopping experience and meet with style experts on which styles may be best for you.

How to get there-

Of course getting to the village by chauffeur is possible, or driving, but the fun way to go is by train. From Marylebone Train station in central London, you’ll find a Bicester Village large kiosk near the ticket machines. Someone there wearing a red cape can help you purchase a ticket at the machine. The train ride is 46 minutes and it’s enjoyable as you pass through English towns and the countryside.

Where to dine-

There are six dining options- all Halal- like the Farmshop Restaurant and Café offers rustic British food with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Shan Shui will satiate your Asian hankering- and Mrs. Chew’s is a Chinese menu. And La Tua Pasta is handmade fresh pasta that will satisfy your Italian palate, with Halal chicken options. And if you’re only in the mood for coffee and tea, and a desert then London Grade Coffee is the place to fuel up before returning to London by train.

Kildare Village, Dublin

This village is special because of the warm Irish hospitality that guests receive. With over 100 fashion and lifestyle brands that offer a 60% discount on the retail price, and set in Irish horse country, you can’t go wrong.

In March the village added three new Personal Shopping Suites in their own space, and designed by interior designer David Thomas, who worked for 9 years at Ralph Lauren. The design was intended to elevate a person’s shopping experience and is overseen by Clara Halpin, the Deputy Director of Personal Shopping, and personal stylists skilled in specific areas like Jess Colivet, Sinéad Kelly, and Cathy O’Connor. The services that come with the suites and the experience is ‘Perfect Palette’ that provides a 40-minute color consultation; and ‘Style Saturday,’ which is a pre-booked masterclass.

How to get there-

Getting there by car you can reach Kildare Village in under an hour from central Dublin. And routes from Cork, Limerick, and Galway make it easy to reach the village as well.

Where to dine-

There’s something for everyone but one place you can’t afford to miss is Butlers Chocolates, where you can cozy up at their 1950s style camper parked in the village. Hot and cold drinks are made to perfection, along with baked goods and chocolates. There’s also a Starbucks, Murphy’s Ice Cream, and The Rolling Donut if you’re wanting more sweet options.

For the savory tooth, Dunne & Crescenzi’s has the absolute best Italian cuisine. Started by a husband and wife- one is Irish and the other Italian. A multi-culti staff, everyone is friendly. The Bruschetta al Pomodoro is made with vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil, and a hint of garlic and comes with avocado and a ball of mozzarella cheese. Pasta dishes range from Tagliatelle, Dunne & Crescenzi pasta all’amatriciana squista, and Spaghetti Bolognese. There’s also Sprout & Co whey they cook seasonally and healthily from salads and farm plates made from fresh Irish produce. And, Saba will fulfil your Thai and Vietnamese gastronomic hankering.

Las Rozas Village, Madrid

The village is set beside the Sierra Norte Mountains, offering quaint tranquility, and its buildings have a colorful Spanish architectural touch to them. Guests are met with quintessential Spanish hospitality, making for a fun shopping environment. The VIP services that the village proves are personal styling, private appointments at the boutiques, The Apartment access, Concierge Services, and private transport to guests’ hotels.

Each village has its own charm and the feel, and at Las Rozas Village the feel at this village is that you don’t have to be in a rush to shop. A personal shopper can be arranged by a fashion stylist expert that is experienced in what colors, cuts, and styles will look good on your body. The Apartment has works of art by Argentine painter Braceras, and includes the Gaudí Room of original works and paintings by Argentine artist Simona Ertan. Here the village puts on events and workshops on interior topics like learning to set a table, making flower arrangements, and as talks by writers and artists.

How to get there-

Just 25 minutes from the center of Madrid. The A-6 superhighway to the M-50 service road will get you to the village swiftly.

Where to dine-

There are two Spanish restaurants that you must try. If you arrive in the morning go to Cristina Oria, which offers Halal options. Started by the namesake founder, here you can have breakfast, coffee, and browse the giftshop area where you find kitchen trinkets for hosting. Mentidero Sal y Brasas is a Spanish restaurant started by a husband and wife duo. Start with fried calamari and bread and tomato dip. The menu includes meat options, seafood options, and ‘ceviche y tarter’- dishes the Spanish are known for. The poke bowls are delectable, like the Salmó bowl that comes with tartar dae salmon, wakame, edamame, sushi rice, and ponzu salsa.

La Roca Village, Barcelona

La Roca Village is quite charming and is quintessentially Barcelona. Second in age after Bicester Village, it feels like you’re truly in Spain, and on holiday due to the ambience and architecture. Here you’ll find older Spanish architecture that’s found in small Spanish villages. But, there’s something Mexican-esque about the style of buildings, a reminder that Mexico and the American southwest takes its influence from Spain. The professionalism of the staff in the personal style suite, the Apartment, the boutiques, as well as the restaurants are top notch.

Here you’ll find Spanish brands from Aldofo Dominguez, Barça Store, Bimba & Lola, and Uno de 50.

The Apartment is one of the most beautifully designed apartments in the Bicester Village Collection. With a Mediterranean feel you have high ceilings and colourfully decorated rooms. There are three sitting/living rooms where workshops and events occur, and one of the living rooms receive guests from around the world. The bar creates virgin cocktails like no other. And the personal shopping suite is also beautifully decorated in its own standalone building with individual dressing rooms.

How to get there-

Located 40 minutes from the heart of Barcelona, you can reach by car, Uber, or chauffer.

Where to dine-

There are four restaurants: Pasarela, Andreu, Corso Iluzione, and Mordisco- as well as two sweet treat options: Farggi 1957 and Dino- a pop up. Mordisco, which means to nibble in Spanish, offers indoor and outdoor dining. Known in Barcelona, it opened in 1957. If you’re looking for authentic Spanish and Catalan food this is your place. Start with calamari and Pan con Tomato. The latter is a renowned breakfast dish where you rub a tomato on toast and drizzle olive oil. You can’t eat at Mordisco without having paella. And if you have room for dessert, there’s fruits tartar, which is the closest thing you’ll find to what a Spaniard will eat for dessert. And, there’s also brownie with ice cream, cheesecake, tiramisu, and an ice cream ball.

Wertheim Village, Frankfurt

This is a quaint and cozy village with narrower shopping streets than other villages. The Franconian style of buildings makes Wertheim cute and idyllic, and highlights the building style of the region. Take note of the street art campaign launched in conjunction with Bicester Village Collection. With artwork by Australian artist Karan Singh scattered throughout the village, on boutiques, on walls, on installations, you will be taken by the color in his work.

Opened since 2003 the village has 110 boutiques with a sizeable offering of German brands like: Adidas, Aigner, alfi, Babor, Bogner, Birkenstock, Bogner, BOSS, Brax, Braun Büffel, CHRIST, Dorothee Schumacher, Estella, Falke, Geox, JOOP! Jeans, Liebeskind Berlin, Marc O’Polo, Möve, Pandora, Philipp Plein (he is German), Peter Kaiser, Puma, Roeckl, Seidensticker, Steiff, Thomas Sabo, Tom Tailor, WMF, and Zwilling.

How to get there-

Off the A3 Autobahn it’s possible to reach Wertheim Village with exit 66. But there is also a shuttle provided by the village that goes between Frankfurt and the Village, as well as a shuttle bus that connects the region’s popular Romantic Road- a key tourist site in Europe that’s open between May and October. And Frankfurt International Airport and Nuremberg airports are a one-hour car ride away.

Where to dine-

There are six dining options but only two with hearty meal options. If you’re wanting pizza, La Piazza has the best pizza you’ll find, as well as pasta and salad options. Bon Amour Bio Crêpes offers sweet and savory options.

Ingolstadt Village, Munich

Located close to Munich, Ingolstadt Village has a regional quintessential style of buildings that are native to Bavaria. Here you find German brands from: Aigner, Babor, Birkenstock, Bogner, BOSS, Brax, Christ, Douglas, Dr. Hauschka, Falke, Geox, Halhuber, Jacques Britt, JOOP!, Luisa Cerano, Marc Cain, Marco Polo, MCM, Mey, Pandora, Philipp Plein, Porsche Design, Puma, Seidensticker, Tom Tailor, WMF, and Zwilling.

Walking from one end to the other you feel the personality of Ingolstadt. It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of its sibling villages but this allows for a relaxing time. The Apartment is located on the second floor and decorated in a rich color palette of grey. With sofa seating around the space with coffee tables and cushion stools, guests feel at home. On the same floor is an area for personal styling where stylists are brought on to help guests with their shopping needs. Also, in Ingolstadt are art pieces by Karan Singh, displayed on buildings and on the walking path throughout the village.

How to get there-

Getting there by car is possible, as the village is forty minutes by car from the center of Munich.

Where to dine-

With six dining options from a sushi pop up bar in the center of the village, to Italian cuisine at Piccola Cucina, and Coffee Fellows, which is like Germany’s go-to coffee shop. Indochine is Asian offerings, specifically Vietnamese with starters like spring rolls, tofu summer rolls, Hoành Thánh Chiên- crispy bites with shrimp and chicken. There are pho, vegetarian, chicken, duck, and beef options, as well as dumplings.

Fidenza Village, Milan

This village close to the Parmesan countryside meets you with pure Italian hospitality. Set between Milan and Bologna, the village sits on the A1 Autostrada, a key highway that goes to the south of the country. As you snake through the village you’re met with Italian brands like Loro Piana, Versace, and Jimmy Choo- as well as European brands, and American brands. Opened in 2003 the village takes inspiration from Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi, and throughout you see theatrical stages from his operas in the boutique architecture.

The Apartment is decorated in rich colors with rich fabrics of velvet and leopard print rugs. Designed with a woman’s vision and taste, who was born in Fidenza, she was able to capture the Italian city in the Apartment under David Thomas Design. The village has taken the Fidenza Village StreetArt Festival, guests find extremely colorful pieces bringing even more life to the village, where you can find murals by artists like Camille Walala and Seth (aka Julien Malland).

But the fascinating thing about Fidenza Village, and the other villages in the collection is that they’re more than shopping, they’re experiences through food, art, fashion, and excursions. At the village, it’s possible to book packages where you can experience the nature and visit surrounding villages like staying at night at The Antico Borgo di Tabiano Castello is a Relais de Charme, a castle that dates back to over two thousand years. Or a visit to have a parmigiano-reggiano experience to see how the cheese is made, or the women’s castles around Reggio Emilia.

How to get there-

Off the A1 superhighway, it’s easy to access as you move from the north of the country to the south and vice versa.

Where to dine-

With four Italian dining options, and one Japanese and the Lindt Swiss chocolatier there is something for everyone. Without a doubt a visit to Signorvino must be had. With quintessentially Italian dishes like Traditional Lasagna, Mezze Maniche Alla Carbonara, or Vellutata Di Zucca. Desserts range from tiramisu, U’Cannolu (Sicilian cannolis), and sorbets with lemon and rosemary flavors. And Verolatte has impeccable gelato with traditional and unique flavors like tortellini, which initially doesn’t taste like the pasta but when it goes down the flavor comes.

Now that travelling has eased in many countries, the Bicester Village Collection has welcomed a surge of travelers from the U.S., who have visited the European villages this summer. Due to this the Collection has expanded and elevated its hospitality offerings like invite only access to the VIP Apartments, hands free shopping, and valet parking.

Every village is different with its own personality but you have to go to experience it for yourself so why not visit a village near you before the year ends.

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