There are some excellent buys out there and, if you don't mind buying things that are six months to a year behind the leading edge fashions, you can do very well.
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Discount outlet malls have anywhere from 30 to more than 100 stores, usually a mix of men's, women's and children's fashions, shoes, accessories and jewelry, luggage and handbags, sporting goods, toys, electrical goods, housewares and linens and, occasionally sweets, dried fruits and nuts. They usually have inexpensive restaurants and coffee shops. A few have extra destination features like landscaped gardens or proximity to local attractions.
Let the Buyer BewareObviously, the same sale shopping precautions apply in UK discount outlets as they do anywhere else:
- Don't get carried away by the sale atmosphere. If you've ever opened your closet, looked at your bargain booty and wondered, What was I thinking!, you know who you are.
- Remember that promises of 50 to 70% off are usually off recommended retail prices [rrp] and in a lot of cases the rrp is wishful thinking on the part of the manufacturer rather than what you might pay in normal stores.
- Examine items very carefully. Seconds should be so marked, but they aren't always. Make sure that the condition of what you buy is acceptable to you because most UK discount and designer outlets have a no return policy.
Some are outlet branches of popular high street brands and some malls, like Bicester Village, feature an impressive range of genuine luxury brands. But be aware that a range of brands has developed that only seem to crop up in the world of UK discount outlets. There's nothing really wrong with that. It's just something you should know when you are considering the "bargains" on offer.
With that in mind, here, by UK region, are the most popular discount and designer outlets. Most are open seven days a week, every day of the year except Christmas, but check their websites for hours, store lists and directions.
UK Discount Outlets in the South
- The Galleria Outlet Centre in Hatfield, Hertfordshire
- Bicester Village near Oxford
- Gunwharf Quays in the middle of buzzy Portsmouth Harbour.
UK Discount Outlets in the Southwest
- Swindon Designer Outlet in Wiltshire
- Clarks Village in Somerset
- Wilton Shopping Village in Salisbury, Wiltshire
- Kilver Court Designer Village in Shepton Mallet, Somerset (near Bath and Bristol)
UK Discount Outlets in the Southeast
- Ashford Designer Outlet in Kent
- Freeport Braintree in Essex
- Clacton Common Factory Shopping Village Clacton on Sea in Essex
- De Bradelei Wharf in Dover
UK Discount Outlets in the Midlands
- East Midlands Designer Outlet in South Normanton, Derbyshire
- Freeport Talke near Stoke on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border.
- Springfields Spaulding Outlet Shopping near Springfields Festival Gardens in Spaulding, Lincolnshire
- De Bradelei Mill Shops in Belper, Derbyshire
- Courtaulds Factory Shop in Nottingham
- Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet near the Gloucester Historic Docks on the Gloucester Ship Canal.
UK Discount Outlets in the North
- York Designer Outlet Village close to the city of York
- Lakeside Village Outlet Centre in Doncaster
- The Mill at Bately in Yorkshire
- Lowry Outlet Mall Salford Quays, Manchester
- Junction 32 in Castleford, West Yorkshire
UK Discount Outlets in the Northwest
- Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet Ellesmere Port, South Wirral - The UK's largest designer mall with 145 stores.
- Freeport Fleetwood on the Fylde Coast near Blackpool. One of the UK's oldest trams runs along the coast from Blackpool to Fleetwood.
- K Village Kendal in the Lake District
UK Discount Outlests in the Northeast
UK Discount Outlets in Scotland
- Livingston Designer Outlet in West Lothian, between Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Sterling Mills Outlet Shopping Village in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland - the smallest county in Britain
- Gretna Gateway Outlet Village on the Glasgow Road, in Gretna, near the famous Old Blacksmith Shop, where elopers used to marry.
UK Discount Outlets in Wales
- Bridgend Designer Outlet in South Wales
- Festival Park Branded Outlet Shopping Village in Ebbw Vale, Gwent
Other Outlet OpportunitiesUK retail giant Marks & Spencer has opened a string of M&S Outlet stores all over the country selling their off season and surplus goods at sale prices. Some are in the outlet malls detailed above while others are free standing. To find one near you in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, visit their Outlet Store Finder.
Take the Shoppers PollDo you shop on vacation or holiday. What kind of shopping do you enjoy most when away from home?
Vote for your leisure shopping favorite
- I don't shop on vacation unless I really have to
- Craft shops, galleries and boutiques
- Fashion and designer bargains
- Souvenirs and gifts for friends
- Gourmet goodies and cookware
- Duty free