Last weekend we were invited to spend the afternoon at East Midlands Designer Outlet to kick-start our Christmas shopping. With only five weekends left to squeeze in all the shopping, we were looking forward to ticking a few gifts off our list as there’s a brilliant range of shops at the outlet for the whole family.
East Midlands Designer Outlet is located in Alfreton in the East Midlands, just off the M1. It’s really easy to get to and with lots of free parking, it’s the ideal location for an afternoon of Christmas shopping. There’s more than 65 stores, cafes and restaurants at the centre with huge brand names such as Ernest Jones, Clarks, Home & Cook, M&S and Radley to name just a few. The best thing is that most stores have price reductions of up to 60% in store so you can save a pretty penny on the usual retail price. Definitely the place to go if you want to snap up a bargain!
Our afternoon at the outlet started at Build-a-Bear Workshop where Olly was a very lucky boy indeed and was given the chance to build his own soft toy to take home. Of course, he was very excited and loved his personal shopping experience with Abbie who showed him around the store and helped him put together his very own soft toy. There was so much choice, Olly was spoilt for choice. He decided to put together a dog soft toy with long floppy ears but there were festive reindeers in store available at reduced prices which would be perfect as Christmas gifts.
We spent a good half an hour in the workshop as Olly worked his way around choosing outfits, scents, making wishes and of course stuffing his very own doggy which he decided to call Brownie. He loved the whole experience and hasn’t yet parted with Brownie the Dog since he came home with us on Sunday.
We headed to Pizza Express for lunch as it’s a firm family favourite and we all wolfed down our meals whilst we planned our next phase of our shopping trip. My husband wanted to look at the sports and outdoor clothing brands such as Adidas, Nike, Lacoste, Tog 24 and Mountain Warehouse. I was keen to look in Home and Cook, Fiorelli, Radley and Yankee Candle and we were all bursting to look at the treats on offer in Cadbury, Thorntons and the Lindt shop too!
Ticking off the Christmas shopping list
We managed to pick up some fantastic deals on some Christmas gifts which I can’t really disclose on here as their recipients may be reading, however we did pick up a new winter coat for Shilts which he had been eyeing up as well as a Nespresso coffee machine for myself which was an absolute bargain from Home and Cook. They had some brilliant Black Friday deals on too which I took advantage of and I’m so pleased as I’m now the very proud owner of a posh frothy coffee machine. We picked up some gifts from The Works, The Body Shop, The Cosmetics Company Store and Hallmark before stopping for an afternoon tea break at Starbucks.
Christmas comes to East Midlands Designer Outlet
To round off our visit to the centre, we had promised Olly the chance to play in the snowball pit where he could play with other children enjoying the fake snow. As part of the centre’s Christmas activities this year, shoppers can enjoy ten minutes warming up in one of the cosy outdoor winter snugs and from 1st to 24th December, the Winter Wonderland welcomes a Santa’s Grotto too!
We had a wonderful afternoon of shopping at East Midlands Designer Outlet with many of our Christmas gifts purchased ready to be wrapped. If you’re looking for a place to head to where you can enjoy a friendly festive atmosphere teamed with a fantastic range of discounted designer shops and somewhere to enjoy a bite to eat and a hot cup of coffee, this is it!
You can find out Christmas opening times, the huge range of stores and what’s on this Christmas at East Midlands Designer Outlet here.
Disclosure: With thanks to East Midlands Designer Outlet for their afternoon of hospitality. We were gifted a goody bag full of treats, lunch at Pizza Express and a gift card in exchange for our time. All words and images are my own.