20 Dec 2016

Christmas shopping at London Designer Outlet

I love so many things about Christmas, but one particular highlight has to be that never ending excuse for festive shopping trips!  I recently did some Christmas shopping at London Designer Outlet in West London, and had a great time not only checking out the shops but also trying one of the lovely restaurants and even having a little spin on their ice rink!

If you've not been before, London Designer Outlet is in Wembley Park, and it's a shopping complex filled with outlet and discount stores.  It's the only outlet shopping centre in London, and you'll find shops like the Next and Marks and Spencer Outlet as well as discounted Body Shop, H&M and loads more.

We started our day off right with some Crepes from this cute little crepe outlet at the shopping centre.  We went for the warm, gooey Nutella filling of course, and munched away whilst checking out the shopping centre map and planning out what we wanted to do.  

Next it was some ice skating.... or perhaps I should say ice walking whilst clinging on to the edge!  It's been a very long time since I've ice skated and I'd definitely forgotten how to do it and lost my confidence. Skating costs £12.50 each for adults for 45 minutes on the ice, but two people can skate for free when you spend £50 in any of the outlet's shops, restaurants or cinema.

We booked in for an early slot as I was worried about it being busier later.  Despite ice skating being much harder than I remembered, we had a good laugh, and actually managed a little bit of skating without holding on by the end of our time.  The main achievement was that I managed not to fall over at all - winning!

After skating we warmed up with some festive hot chocolates in Cafe Nero before hitting the shops.  I was really keen to check out the Lindt store, and Dan wanted to get a present for his Mum from Sketchers.  We bought Christmas crackers, wrap and other bits and bobs from Marks and Spencer, and Dan shopped for some work clothes in Next.  The great thing I noticed about the outlet stores here is that they weren't selling 'last season' as in summer things - they had winter and Christmas stock, albeit probably from last year, but that didn't bother me at all and I was happy to get a few bargains and tick some things off my Christmas list.  

We checked out some more shops including Jack Wills, Gap, Joy and Super Dry and picked up a few more Christmas gifts.  My brother loves Super Dry, so finding him so presents at a discount was perfect.  Feeling proud of our haul we decided to reward ourselves with a tasty late lunch.  There are tonnes of restaurants at outlet including lots of my favourite chains like Wagamama, Ping Pong and Nando's, but we can go to those any time, so opted for something more unique and tried out the Lost Rivers bar and kitchen.  

This restaurant is really popular with people coming in for a drink and a quick meal before seeing a gig at Wembley, and they have a crazy selection of unusual beers.  I'm not a beer drinker myself, but burgers... now burgers I know about!  

It was a cold and grey day, so comfort food was the way forward.  We indulged in starters of mac and cheese and calamari with a tomato which were both lovely and full of flavour.  I love a mac and cheese when it's done properly, and this one did not skimp on the cheese!  We followed that with a big juicy burger each and a side of super chunky chips.  The burgers were cooked to perfection and were those gorgeous, homemade proper meaty burgers - I struggled to finish mine but it was just too tasty not too.  I wasn't so keen on the really chunky chips as I'm more of a skinny fries kind of person, but Dan was more than happy to help me out with those.  

We were too full to try out the dessert menu unfortunately, plus we knew we needed to save a little smidge of room for popcorn later, as there's also a Cineworld cinema at the outlet.  We made a final loop of the shops to make sure we'd not missed anything and picking up bits we'd been undecided on earlier, before catching a showing of Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.    We were both really impressed with the film - very different from Harry Potter, but still really magical and incredibly well made and put together.  I loved all the creatures!

If West London's not too far from you then I'd really recommend trying out the London Designer Outlet for your next shopping trip - it was a much more chilled experience than most shopping centres I've visited, and the discounts are a great bonus too!

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?


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