Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet is an ideal venue for shopping. Firstly because it’s an outlet you know there will be bargains to be had. Secondly, there are good playgrounds dotted around the site which allows for interim pit stops for the kids. It breaks up the shopping perfectly! Thirdly, it has a good mix of restaurants and coffee shops which allows choice on cuisine and price. Finally there is both outdoor and multi-storey parking which means that there is a good range of parking. It’s got a hotel, bowling, cinema and aquarium all close by so you can make a weekend of it just by staying within a very close proximity.
The unusual layout of Cheshire Oaks means that there is a reasonable amount of walking to do and some of it is completely uncovered so if it’s bad weather then you might get wet! But on a good day you can enjoy the sunshine as you potter which is a definite bonus. With big name stores from Ralph Lauren to Burberry you can snap up a designer bargain but with High Street brands from Clarks to Gap you know that you can also get great every day bargain too. That for me provides something for everyone!
Parts of the site have recently been repainted which gives it a fresh bright look and the whole outdoor experience seems very continental. There are some nice outdoor seating areas and restaurants with outdoor seating to dine alfresco too.
We got some good bargains on our visit but the highlight was probably this Karen Millen dress for me to wear to an upcoming wedding, a steal at just £45. The hubby got a Hugo Boss shirt, LissyLou a coat from Joules for starting school nursery in September and Charles two footballs. We haven’t shopped so well in ages and we could easily have spent a lot more money but we were quite restrained. We were impressed by the range of shops stocking kids clothes and shoes but really I was most impressed by the selection of shops selling beautiful handbags. I love handbags and was sorely tempted by Michael Kors and Mulberry but felt I should wait until at least my birthday to treat myself that much!
Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet has a number of great playgrounds, which are safely fenced in to allow you peace of mind when the kids are playing and the springy flooring that helps protect a bit when kids fall. My two love the break from looking in ‘mummy and daddy’ shops. Over the summer they have great activities on offer like a sand pit, games, rides and trampolines that you can pay to enjoy. Sadly on the day we visited it was pouring down and this meant we couldn’t give them a go but I can see them proving very popular when the sun is out! The activities ranges from £1.50 to £4 so you can let the kids enjoy an activity without breaking the bank, the goodwill on your part might make the kids more tolerant while you shop too.
Facilities for families:
They have a range of special facilities for families that are helpful:
- a small amount of parent and child parking spaces
- baby changing rooms with space for baby feeding too
- restaurants offering high chairs and baby food heating
- Kiddy cabs – a great way to keep small children under control without them feeling like babies in a pram. They cost £5 for the whole day and you leave a £10 deposit.
With everything from Cafe Rouge to Costa Coffee and lots in between you can sit down for a proper meal or grab a quick sandwich with no fuss, It also has a number of quick vending carts around the shopping areas that allow you to grab a quick drink or snack as you browse which is convenient and easy. We had breakfast at Ed’s Diner which is 50′s themed and offered standard American breakfast in the form of pancakes and various different which the boys both enjoyed.
Cheshire Oaks is bustling, bordering on overcrowded at certain points of the complex but that is testament to the quality of the stores and dining and the 100% letting of shops means that there aren’t any empty units looking shabby or going to waste which when you look at the current state of our high streets is a real credit to Cheshire Oaks, they have the formula just right on that one. With around 7.5million visitors a year they have to keep getting it right don’t they?
The main downside we experienced at Cheshire Oaks this time was exiting the car parks. The sheer volume of traffic leaving was too much for the area we were in, so be prepared for a possible delay in getting on your journey home. People were starting to abandon their cars anywhere rather than in spaces and it was a bit chaotic. You can avoid parking issues by arriving early and leaving early. We arrived at about 9.30am and found the car parks quiet, but when we finally left at around 3.30pm the exits were busy, if we’d left half an hour earlier it would probably have been quieter. They do have 3200 parking spaces but in peak summer holiday preparation madness it just wasn’t quite enough – that or people are just lazy and can’t be bothered to search for a space, I’m inclined to think it’s definitely a bit of both!
“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I received a voucher for use during our visit which went towards the items we bought. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity”.