This summer is the perfect time to indulge in a spot of retail therapy at one of the McArthur Glen Designer Outlets. With six in the UK: Ashford, Bridgend, Cheshire Oaks near Chester, East Midlands near Nottingham, Swindon and York, and a further fourteen outlets across Europe, they offer fantastic discounts on leading premium, designer, high street and lifestyle brands.
Throughout the summer, the UK outlets have extra activities on site to keep all the family happy. We were invited to visit our nearest McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, Cheshire Oaks to discover what it had to offer over the school holidays. With water walker balls, trampolines, fairground rides, giant sandpits and inflatables, the Activity Zones will make sure everyone is having fun. Parents can relax in the deckchairs, enjoying a drink from the Beach Bar, while little ones play in the sandpit. Older children will love the rides (extra charges through the purchase of tokens is required). The outlet also has two fabulous play areas where kids can run off steam. One of the areas is undercover so kids can play whatever the weather. There are also ten coin operated children's rides around the site, to give little ones a treat when they have been good!
Today, Cheshire Oaks were hosting an event in conjunction with Heart FM. A team from Heart were on hand in an al fresco area offering shoppers the chance to take part in a competition to win vouchers. Shoppers were also invited to chat to the team about their shopping experience with the possibility of their Vox Pop being featured in an ad on the radio! Myself and my 18 year old daughter Ella recorded one and had a chat with the lady from Heart.
On arrival at Cheshire Oaks we were met by the lovely Marketing Manager who showed us around the site. We learned that the whole outlet is in the process of a massive refurbishment with new flooring, fresh white paintwork and funky seating being introduced. Everything looked fresh, bright and clean. It was brilliant seeing all the shops so busy and bustling. There were even queues outside some shops, in particular the Ralph Lauren stores. Everybody loves a bargain and with discounts typically up to 70% off, there are lots of great money saving offers to be found.
Parking is free and there are over 3000 spaces available. There are 135 stores and 12 restaurants as well as numerous food kiosks dotted around the site. Cheshire Oaks is accessible from junction 10 of the M53 and is close to the city of Chester, Chester Zoo and the Blue Planet Aquarium, making it a great place for incorporating into a weekend away or a short break.
For the summer at Cheshire Oaks, there is a great free competition where shoppers can Unlock Their Style. There is a selection of locked perspex boxes with some great prizes inside. You have to choose a key and if your key fits one of the padlocks, you instantly win what is inside the box it opens. I had my eye on a £100 Yo Sushi voucher, but sadly our keys did not unlock any of the boxes. It is a really fun, instant win competition, and lucky shoppers are winning prizes everyday.
|Trying to unlock the padlock to win a prize!|
The range of shops available is brilliant. High end designer names such as Burberry, Radley, Ralph Lauren and Armani, sit alongside top high street brands such as M & S, Next and Nike. So whether you are looking for an expensive designer item with a great discount, or whether you want to pick up high street brands at outlet prices, you will find whatever you are looking for in a one stop shopping experience. And it's not just about fashion, there are lots of stores selling cookware such as Pro-Cook and Le Crueset. There are cosmetic shops like L'Occitane, W H Smiths and Paperchase for stationery and Cadbury, Thornton's and Lindt for buying chocolatey treats!
My girls loved the Claire's Accessories store which offered 30% off full prices as well as a load of sale items at 10 for £5! They bought loads of lovely bits and bobs including jewellery and hair accessories. The Next outlet was also a huge hit as the kids amassed a haul of clothes, shoes and make-up at low prices. Kizzy picked out a dress that she took a fancy to when she saw it at a Next event we attended earlier this year. Now at just £6, it is a great bargain for the summer. Freddy picked out some half price character tees and some jeans. Ella found two pairs of shoes and a top, all heavily discounted.
We also enjoyed visiting the Vans store where Kizzy bought a pair of hidden heel hi-tops for just £10!! A huge bargain! Nike, Adidas and Sports Direct also proved excellent sources for picking up bargains. Kizzy got some essential sports equipment she needs for her new school and Freddy bagged a football for just £4. The M&S outlet had some incredible clearance bargains including a three pack of pyjamas for Freddy, a school skirt and a summer playsuit for Kizzy all at just £3 each with an extra 20% off at the till! He also got a tuxedo jacket, shirt and bow tie set also for £2.40 which is a massive 90% discount on its original price. He will look like a mini James Bond and I'm sure there will be a special occasion for him to wear it. The Joules store and Gap have some great buys for children and the Superdry store is huge and is heaven for teenagers!
For lunch we were treated to a meal in Ed's Easy Diner, which is a funky restaurant steeped in Americana with juke boxes playing Elvis and a real 50's vibe throughout. We enjoyed veggie burgers and some of the most incredible milkshakes we had ever tasted which came in metal jugs. The girls had Oreo and peanut butter milkshakes while I had a skinny coffee milkshake. Delicious.
It is nice to see so many restaurants with so many options for vegetarians like us. With Yo Sushi, Cafe Rouge, Harry Ramsden's, Starbucks and McDonald's among the choices, there is something for everyone whatever your taste or your budget. You really can enjoy a full day out at Cheshire Oaks; shopping in the amazing shops; letting the kids enjoy the play areas and having a family meal together.
There are plenty of facilities for families with young children including baby changing stations, restaurants with baby food heating and high chairs and kiddy cabs for hire. There are ramps around the whole site making easy access for pushchairs when walking between the stores.
We had an excellent day enjoying all the facilities at Cheshire Oaks. Because of the play areas and Activity Zone, Freddy had a fun day too. Ian looked after him for a while in the undercover play area while the girls and I did some serious shopping! It worked really well and everyone was happy. It's a great day out. When we arrived home we checked all the bargains we had bought. We had masses of stuff for all three children for their summer holidays and for Kizzy's Back to School essentials. A very productive trip indeed.
Find out more about McArthur Glen Designer Outlets.
Check out a Heart FM or Capital Radio event near you at Bridgend on 2/8/14 or Ashford, York and East Midlands on 9/8/14.
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