Bicester Village VAT refund and shopping guide
If you are looking for a great shopping day outside of London, Bicester Village is definitely the place. Also if you are visiting from outside the UK, you may be able to benefit from tax-free shopping at the village.
List of shops and brands
Bicester Village is one of the best discount outlets in the UK, filled with over 160 designer labels and famous brands all found within this picturesque village. Some of the well known boutique names include Coach, Burberry, Dior, D&G, Boss, Gucci, Moncler, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker, Michael Kors. The main shopping avenue stretches for more than a mile and you can find the full list of shops here.
The village has a relaxed feel to it with lots of flowers and greenery. Shops and streets are styled to reflect New England housing, with wood cladded buildings and stone paved streets, making the village welcoming and pleasant to wander around. There are plenty of seated areas around so you can sit and watch the world go by if you want a break from the shopping. Perfect on a warm summer’s day!
Tip: you might find it difficult to visit the entire site in one day, so before you go have in mind what you are looking for and the stores that you must visit.
Prices and discounts
Most of the luxury stores in the village will feature products from the previous season but discounts are exceptional. You can typically expect to make savings of around 30% to 40%. Tourists may also be able to benefit from tax-free shopping, which would result in a further 20% VAT refund from the price paid in store.
The best deals and massive discounts of as much as 60% can be found on Black Friday at the end of November, on Boxing Day at the end of December, and the summer sales period during July. However, be warned that these times prove popular so it can get very crowded with long queues stretching out of the boutiques.
VIP card and lounge
If you are preparing for extensive spending or planning multiple trips, it might be worth getting a VIP card. This would give you an additional discount of 10% on all your shopping plus access to the VIP lounge with complimentary food. Hands-free shopping service is also part of the deal allowing you to browse shops more easily while your purchases are being carried for you.
International visitors to the UK may be able to enjoy further discounts by claiming a 20% VAT refund. The customs rules for tax-free shopping have changed from 1 January 2021. Tourists will not be able to get a VAT refund in cash at the tax desk managed by Changegroup or the airport customs before departure when presenting their VAT407 tax refund form.
Instead some retailers may choose to offer VAT-free shopping, which offers a similar benefit to VAT refunds but the goods will be delivered to your overseas address. This VAT refund benefit will now be accessible to all international visitors to the UK, including travellers from the EU. However, you would need to carefully consider all shipping and export charges to ensure if it is a viable option for you, learn more about VAT-free shopping costs here.
You can easily spend an entire day shopping at Bicester Village. Whether you are looking for an afternoon tea, refreshment or meal, there are plenty of places to eat. There is something to suit all tastes and budgets from bubble tea and noodle stands to cafes offering formal afternoon tea and restaurants serving traditional British food.
The Farm shop is well worth a visit, with a rustic barn setting that serves a selection of British food as well as the Wolseley café-restaurant inspired by the famous flagship restaurant, The Wolseley, which is one of London’s traditional restaurants in the upmarket district of Mayfair.
If you are planning to combine your shopping trip with a chance to experience the English countryside, we recommend staying in the surrounding area of natural beauty, the Cotswolds. You can choose from a number of boutique hotels, such as Thyme, Minster Mill, Hartwell House, Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and Danesfield House.
Make sure to travel directly to Bicester Village station, which is located right next to the boutiques, to avoid having to take a separate bus shuttle. The station is also tastefully designed in keeping with the style of the village immediately putting you in a mood to enjoy your shopping experience.
There typically two trains per hour from London Marylebone station directly to Bicester Village taking approximately 46 minutes. Alternatively if you wish to combine your shopping trip with a visit to the historic town of Oxford or a UNESCO site of Blenheim Palace, there is a frequent 14 minute direct connection to the village. See train schedule here for more information.
Normal opening hours are 9am to 9pm, Monday to Wednesday, 9am to 10pm Thursday to Saturday and 10am to 7pm on Sundays.
Visiting Bicester Village is a great shopping experience and provides a good excuse to explore tourist places outside of London. Enjoy our handy tips to plan your visit and take advantage of all the discounts and VAT refund options.