Paid collaboration with McArthurGlen designer shopping outlet
We are huge fans of McArthurGlen Designer Outlet. The Bridgend shopping centre offers amazing discounts on branded and designer goods with up to 70% off high street prices. We always head there to buy new school shoes for my children from the Clarks outlet store as well as winter coats and outdoor gear from Trespass, not to mention the great bargains on children’s clothes we always find in Next and Gap. I’ve also made a few clothing and home-related purchases myself – shopping always feels so much more exciting when you know you’ve got a bargain!
You can imagine how excited I was when McArthurGlen invited me along to the centre to see if I could get my Christmas shopping all wrapped up with them.
With three of our own children to buy for as well as several nieces and nephews, plus my daughter and four of those nieces and nephews having December birthdays, it’s an expensive time of year for us. This means the savings to be found at McArthurGlen make the 20-mile trip to Junction 36 off the M4 more than worthwhile. With free on-site parking, everything under one roof, and all the shops on one level, it’s also a convenient and easy place to visit. My children love the play area as a way to break up a shopping trip, and the Little Tykes McArthur Cars (available to hire for a small hourly rate) are a great way to make it more fun for younger children.
The centre has good baby changing facilities plus will soon be opening a new changing facility for disabled people. And if you have dogs there’s a special area for them complete with water fountain, with dogs welcome at many of the stores (see the website for full details).
There are plenty of dining options on site including Wagamama, Frankie and Bennie’s, Spudulike, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s plus a Costa coffee shop as well as several pop-up food stands.
The centre was looking very festive when I arrived on Monday morning, straight from dropping my children at school, for a day of child-free Christmas shopping. A huge tree adorned with red baubles and life-size Nutcracker soldiers greeted me as I parked at the Next side of the car park.
There’s also a huge festive wreath, which was proving a very popular photo point during my visit. Every Saturday during December, Father Christmas will be in this very spot meeting and greeting children. There’s no charge and parents are welcome to take as many photos as they like.
You can probably see from the shopping bags in these photos that I had a good visit. We’re very keen in our house not to buy unnecessary toys and gifts – my aim was to get a few good-quality presents for my family which would be treasured and last a long time. Here’s how I got on.
The Works is such a great shop. They offer books, stationery, arts and crafts, games and jigsaws at great value. My children always get books for Christmas and I had no trouble finding them each an age-appropriate box set. I chose The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis for my nine-year-old daughter – I can’t wait for her to discover some of my childhood favourites and it only cost £10. I found a Horrible Histories box set of 20 books for my history-loving seven-year-old son priced £20; and a set of Lego Star Wars Books for my four-year-old.
I also got him a wooden marble run set where you can design your own routes for the balls to travel along for £25. I love that it is wooden and therefore a lot more durable than plastic ones we’ve previously had.
I always manage to find such beautiful clothes here for my daughter, all significantly lower than prices in the high street stores. The blue floral coat you may well have seen her wearing on my Instagram account and here on the blog is from this very shop as is one of her favourite dresses. When I saw this floral dress (£15.95) I knew it was perfect for her.
I find Next clothing such fantastic quality but the prices on the high street can be a little more than I want to spend. Over the years we have found some real bargains in this outlet store. Last time we visited was just before the start of the new school term and my son got some beautiful knitted jumpers for £7 each (they would have been around £20 on the high street) and my daughter got a denim skirt a triple pack of long-sleeved tops and a floral dress for less than £20 for it all. Today I chose a lovely soft dark blue dressing gown for my youngest complete with dragon spikes on the head (£9.50) and a pair of checked pyjama bottoms with grey top (£12). He’s had a growth spurt and desperately needs some new bed-wear.
My children absolutely love Build-a-Bear so I thought I’d buy their much-loved teddies some new clothes for Christmas. Many of the outfits had 30% off and some were reduced by up to 70%. I found a Welsh football kit for £7; a Batman outfit for £7 and a sparkly top and denim hot pants reduced to £3.50 each. I thought these would make great stocking fillers. You can build your own soft toys here in the same way as the Cardiff store by choosing a skin and filling it with stuffing. They also do children’s birthday parties. The bears are often last season’s designs although I don’t think many children would realise that – and the parents will appreciate the cheaper prices.
Marks and Spencer
I know it’s a complete cliché to buy socks at Christmas – but my husband desperately needs some new ones. I picked up a pack of seven black socks, with different coloured heels and toes to make paring them up easier, for £9 – they would have been £12 on the high street. I also found him a knitted jumper similar to one I accidentally shrunk in the wash at a reasonable £29. I was tempted by a sparkly dress in the window… but needed to focus on gifts for everyone else and not me!
How I love Molton Brown’s luxurious hand and body washes and creams! This is one of the newest stores to arrive at McArthurGlen and they have some brilliant bargains. On the day I visited all their hand lotions were on offer for £6.60. At that price it would be rude not to so I picked up a few bottles for the females in my life.
Don’t tell anyone but I made a sneaky little purchase for me in here! My favourite Christmas Eve scented candles were available for £15.35. I have had one of the larger sized ones for a few years now but it’s been used so much its days are numbered so I was pleased to find one on offer. This is such a great shop for gifts not just at Christmas but all year round.
I window shopped in here for ages imagining all the lovely things I would like for myself if someone wanted to treat me (hint hint). There were some beautiful Cath Kidston watches priced mostly between £40 and £55 plus some Hot Diamond necklaces and other jewellery at up to 50% off. Cardiff Daddy needs a new watch and while I wasn’t brave enough to choose one for him the great prices mean I might make a return trip so he can pick one himself.
I picked up a few hair bobbles and clips as stocking fillers for my daughter from here, all cheaper than the high street store. Plus they have loads of those big-eyed Ty Beanie Boo cuddly toys that she and all her friends seem to be obsessed with.
White Stuff had some lovely children’s slippers, pyjamas and dressing gowns and lovely sparkly tops in its womenswear section. Samsonite – one of the newest stores to open – has some fun Disney suitcases. There are chocolate gifts galore at the Cadbury and Lindt shops (my children love the Lindt Lindor pick’n’mix of all the different flavours); plus great deals on active wear in the Adidas, Reebok and SportsDirect stores. I need some new running and yoga gear so am thinking of a return trip in the new year to kit me out for all the races I have planned in 2019. On a similar note my husband has a thing for New Balance trainers – and they have a whole shop of the footwear at McArthurGlen. Again I didn’t want to choose without him there as he’s very particular but it’s given me some ideas for his birthday in March. The Le Creuset shop is one of my favourites, offering huge discounts on their distinctive colourful kitchen and ovenware. I also enjoyed browsing the Portmeirion, Procook and Tefal stores – I usually visit McArthurGlen with my children so it was lovely to spend time looking around these stores without worrying about my children breaking anything!
There are 78 stores at McArthurGlen so it’s difficult for me to mention them all here – but you can see the full list on their website here.
Have you visited McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Bridgend recently? Let me know your favourite stores and any bargains you’ve found in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy