There are few better places for luxury shopping than London, but sometimes when you just can’t face the crows on Oxford Street or the masses of people in Harrods, it’s nice to head out of the city for some clean, fresh air. With my eye on the Burberry outlet and some new dresses, mum and I headed to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire for some luxury outlet shopping.
Just an hour outside London, Bicester Village is an ideal place for a day trip with your girlfriends (if you don’t want to spend time together in the city) or for a serious shopping expedition. With shops including Burberry, Coach, Salvatore Ferragamo and Dior, as well as Reiss, LK Bennett and The White Company, there is bound to be something that catches your eye.
Somehow, even the red phone boxes are more appealing than they are in London..
After a morning of shopping, we had worked up quite a thirst for a glass of wine and a light lunch. We spotted Farmshop as soon as we entered the village, and I had eyed it up on Instagram before our trip, too. The restaurant, run by Soho House, had decor and vibes that made me feel as though I was in the Hamptons in New York.
The soft furnishings and rustic interiors were beautiful, and had the perfect relaxed feel that we were after for our mummy-daughter day. Having read Angie’s post about Soho Farmhouse (which I’ve fallen in love with) I could definitely see that the hotel and restaurant had been designed by the same brand.
We nipped in for lunch just at the right time as the heavens opened just as soon as we sat down! We ordered some warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar as well as olives to nibble on as we decided what to eat.
Farmshop, and the other Soho House restaurants, organise their wines into “House”, “Decent” and “Good”, all at very reasonable prices. Summer always means rosé for us, whether it’s raining or not! A carafe of the good rosé went down a treat with our meal.
The menu at Farmshop at Bicester Village is designed around local food and a sustainable ethos, meaning that all the food is just as fresh as it can be.
As always mum and I couldn’t choose what to have so picked some dishes which we could easily share.
The first to arrive was the dorset crab, avocado and chilli bruschetta. I couldn’t recommend this dish enough; the delicious crab, served on top of perfectly ripe avocado was perfect. But what I really loved was the chilli, making this dish something entirely different from a simple bruschetta.
We were trying to be good(ish) but our waiter insisted that we couldn’t visit Farmshop without ordering the chorizo and smoked mozzarella croquettes. And I have to say that I entirely agree. Hot, melted mozzarella and the perfectly salted chorizo made a magical combination, and one that we couldn’t get enough of.
When it came to main courses we were a bit more set in what we wanted, and mum chose the sea bass with samphire and heritage tomatoes.
A very generous portion of perfectly seasoned sea bass was exactly what mum wanted for a cool summer day, and she loved the fresh, flavoursome tomatoes, too.
A side of spinach and lentils to make us feel a little healthier after those croquettes! The portion was huge and I’d recommend sharing this side with at least one other person.
I’m ever so slightly addicted to burrata, which you might have noticed after my visits to Pulia and even in Paris! So it might not be a surprise that when I saw the burrata, butterbean and mint salad that I couldn’t resist it – especially when I added a side of avocado.
The fresh mint really complimented the soft burrata and butterbeans and the croutons were a delicious texture change from the melt-in-your-mouth burrata.
The menu is composed of simple dishes, but dishes that are done very, very well. The other mains that I saw come out the kitchen included mac n cheese and a beautiful looking salt baked salmon.
We could have hidden away from the rain all afternoon in this beautiful, homely restaurant…
Our waiter’s final recommendation was that the apple pie was a real must have… Being good(ish!) we caved and ordered a portion to share.
There are few desserts better than a really good homemade apple pie, and this reminded me why I think that! Served hot from the oven and cut at your table, the apple pie, served with vanilla ice cream, was heavenly.
We found one portion to be just what we wanted after our other two courses, but had I been with Andy I’m fairly sure it would have been a slice each as we wouldn’t want to share!
Served with an iced latte, it was a slice of perfection.
If apple pie isn’t your style, Farmshop has its own ice cream counter which looked fabulous – for big kids and little kids alike!
Feeling a little full after our lunch we headed back to the shops to make a few more purchases. I picked up a great Reiss suit for work, as well as a gorgeous LK Bennett dress and matching heels. To say nothing of the gorgeous bed linen I found at The White Company…
Instead we nipped inside for a crisp glass of rosé to pretend we were in sunnier climates and discuss all our exciting purchases. It’s a bit of a tradition for us to sit down with a glass of wine after shopping and talk about our day. In fact, it’s always one of my favourite moments with mum.
Soon it was getting late into the afternoon and so we hopped back on the train to London and back to the big smoke for a cosy night in, thankful for some country air, good food and great shopping!
50 Pingle Drive
I was a guest of Bicester Village and Farmshop, but all opinions are my own.