WHILE theme parks and attractions are some of the popular places tourists visit in the UK, there is an under-the-radar shopping centre that also makes the list.
The London Designer Outlet (LDO) has a whopping seven million people visiting every year – so I went to test it out.
As someone who grew up in the Cotswolds, I spent many weekends at the well-loved Bicester Village, one of the most popular outlet shopping centres in the UK.
But the LDO is just as popular, with tourists coming from China, Malaysia, India and the Middle East to hit the discounted versions of high street stores.
It may be smaller – it has 50 stores compared to Bicester’s 160 – but it has bigger discounts – up to 70 per cent off (or 80 per cent during sales) compared to Bicester’s 60 per cent.
It’s also easy to get to – it’s right next to Wembley Stadium, a short walk from Wembley Park station which is 12 minutes from central London.
So how does it compare?
Well, my first impression is how open it is. I was there on a Bank Holiday weekend and I never felt cramped, something I often felt stressed with at other outlets.
It also has some of the trendier stores to choose from, rather than high-end designer, so it is much more suited for younger, more trend-savvy shoppers.
The Nike Unite is actually the biggest in the UK, spread out over two floors, while the Tommy Hilfiger is the largest outlet in Europe.
I tested out the prices at New Balance and Levi, as well as Sunglasses Hut and Sony, although there are lots of other shops including Kurt Geiger, Dune and Denby.
The Levi store had pairs of jeans down from £95 to £77, including their Original 501s.
A quick online search found the £95 price to be accurate and not just that, but I got a second pair for half price – so two pairs of jeans for just over £100. They even offer to alter them in just a few hours, if you can’t find the right leg or waist size.
- Saved – £75
I also managed to get a pair of white New Balance trainers at £44, down from £100.
The price online did say they had been reduced to £50, but there were barely any sizes left (including my size), unlike the shop that had a whole range so it was a good saving.
- Saved – £56
I also stocked up on some M&S t-shirts and knitwear, all of which were about £3-£5 cheaper than the retail price, but the store had both menswear and womenswear, along with home goods like towels.
- Saved – £25
Savings so far were already at £156, for stuff that didn’t feel like it was old season, which can often be the problem with designer outlets selling end-of-line items.
Not everything is a bargain though – I was tempted by some Sony headphones but the price was the same online for many of them.
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And I nearly invested in a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses – but not only were they £10 cheaper online, I could also get my prescription in them online too.
When I needed a break from shopping, there are also lots of hotels a stone’s throw away.
I opted for the Hilton, which has a Sky Bar 9 with views over Wembley and managed to catch their Happy Hour, saving £7 on two glasses of wine.
One of the biggest perks was LDO’s free DropIt service – you don’t have to carry all your purchases home, as they’ll ship it all to whatever address you choose and can track the journey via an app.
Other free perks include WiFi, wheelchairs and motorised scooters at their Shopmobility services.
If you have any energy left over, there are a number of other attractions nearby including axe-throwing, crazy golf and live shows at Wembley Arena as well as football matches at Wembley Stadium.
So is the London Designer Outlet worth it? Definitely, although make sure you decide in advance what you’re looking for and always check the price online.
London Designer Outlet in Wembley Park is a must-visit shopping destination, offering savings of up to 70% off RRP every day from leading high street names, aspirational labels, and lifestyle brands .
It also features more than 20 restaurants and refreshment outlets and a 9-screen Cineworld cinema. Visit www.LondonDesignerOutlet.com