Cheshire Oaks was the first and remains the UK’s largest Designer Outlet, and as such, is one of the best places to get all of your Chtistmas shopping done all in one place. Opened in 1995, the shopping village offers over 400,000 square feet of retail space, comprising more than 150 boutiques, restaurants and cafés, making it a one-stop shop for everything you need.
And with less than 40 days until December 25, there’s never been a better time to head up to Ellesmere Port to snap up huge deals and discounts in the run up to the big day.
There are so many reasons I love making at least an annual trip to the open-air outlet, from the free parking to the massive savings to be had. Shoppers can enjoy lower prices on athletic labels, including Nike and Adidas, high-street favourites, such as Marks & Spencer and Next, to a selection of iconic fashion brands, including Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss, plus beautiful accessory brands like Mulberry, Coach and Kate Spade.
And this Christmas season, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cheshire Oaks is welcoming guests back to the centre with a whole host of exciting activities, including meeting Santa himself. The village decorations are already up to get you in the festive spirit – including their 100ft Christmas tree – spreading seasonal cheer while you shop.
Kenny Murray, General Manager at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Cheshire Oaks, said: “We are excited to announce Christmas is officially at the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet! From our iconic Winter Village to the never-before-seen Santa in the Sky experience, we have made sure our guests will have an unforgettable experience visiting our centre this festive season.
“We are confident our unbeatable prices across a selection of much-loved premium brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, Carvela, Pinko or Michael Kors will allow our guests to shop for the best festive gifts whilst also enjoying the holiday cheer through the many activities scheduled this winter at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.”
So, here are 12 reasons why you should head to Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet to do your Christmas shopping this year.
Ride the Ferris Wheel
Brand-new for 2022 is the McArthurGlen Ferris Wheel, which opened to the public on November 9. The wheel is located next to the centre’s Christmas tree, and will be nearly as tall as the pine, offering guests breath-taking views of the Cheshire skyline.
Each flight takes 10 minutes and tickets can be purchased on the day of your visit, so you can simply sit back, relax and enjoy watching the festivities unfold below you.
Visit the Winter Village
The Centre’s Winter Village has undergone a makeover, now offering even more indoor seating options in addition to the well-loved bookable Christmas huts for guests to snuggle up in whilst enjoying a festive drink. Enjoy traditional German bratwurst from the swing grill, warm up with mulled wine at the bar and relax and marvel at the UK’s tallest Christmas tree in Northern England. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and soak up the Christmas spirit with loved ones after a day of gift shopping.
Each hut accommodates up to six people and can be pre-booked three days in advance for one hour for a £10 deposit. There is £25 minimum spend per group, but deposits will be deducted from the total.
Santa in the Sky
From December, guests will also be able to take flight with Santa as part of the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet’s first-ever Santa in the Sky event. Families wishing to meet Santa will be able to ride the big wheel with the man of the season and his right-hand elf in a VIP, never-before-seen experience.
After taking flight with Santa and his elf, guests will be able to also enjoy a festive treat and a drink at the Winter Village as part of the £40 ticket price, which covers four people. Those wishing to experience the brand-new Santa in the Sky activity are encouraged to book their slot as soon as possible, as tickets are limited.
Listen to live music
Further enhancing the Christmas spirit around the centre will be festive live performances from local acts – including gospel choirs, brass bands and other festive singers. From November 25, Fridays, to Sunday will see a number of live performances entertain the centre, as well as the week of Christmas for those last minute shoppers.
For those wishing for a bit of help from Santa’s elves when it comes to securing the best gifts this festive season, personalised Christmas gifting is available at selected retailers in the centre. Last year, my dad got my mum a beautiful embossed purse from Fossil, personalised with her initials. Earnest Jones, Thomas Sabo and Fossil all offer engraving services, while The Sunglasses Hut allow you to customise your Ray-Ban temple tips with names and initials. And don’t forget to visit the Custom Gift Studio for some stunning wood engraved gifts, too.
At Cheshire Oaks, shoppers can get up to 60 per cent off at dozens of retailers, and pick up some serious bargains. At my most recent visit, I spotted deals on the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser and Le Cruset pots, as well as ‘buy one get one for £1’ at Jeff Banks. Joules had some amazing offers on wellies and waterproofs, while Mint Velvet had a sale rale offering an additional 20 per cent off the outlet price.
The Beauty Outlet currently have a three for £20 deal on Becca, Stila and KVD, while Whittard of Chelsea sees multibuy offers where you can save on hot chocolates and instant teas – including a delicious mulled wine flavour. Superdry are offering two for £55 on sweats, while you can also get massive savings at Levi’s when you buy more than one pair of jeans. Don’t forget to ask retailers about student discount, if you have it, too – because many places offer extra money off on UniDays or Student Beans.
Take a break in the food quarter
Being the North West’s number one shopping destination, Cheshire Oaks is not short of delicious eateries either. Dig in to Lebanese delights at Comptoir Libanais, ‘healthy’ street food at Leon, or peruse your way through Asian dishes at Yo! Sushi and Wagamama. A personal favourite of mine is Tortilla, but I’m desperate to try Mowgli – maybe next time!
Extended opening hours
Customers can shop for longer this Christmas with their extended opening hours, particularly on Black Friday, November 25, when they’re open from 8am to 10pm. Here are the important opening times for the festive season so you can plan your visit.
- Black Friday 25th November: 8am – 10pm
- Saturday 26th November: 8am – 9pm
- Christmas Eve: 9am – 5pm
- Christmas Day: Closed
New Year Week
- Boxing Day: 9am – 9pm
- 27th – 30th December 9am – 9pm
- 31st December New Year’s Eve: 9am – 6pm
- 1st January New Year’s Day: 10am – 6pm (larger stores 11am – 5pm)
Parking charges can add an obscene amount of money to you end-of-day shopping total – you only have to park somewhere like Mancheter city centre for a couple of hours for it to cost upwards of £20. Thankfully, Cheshire Oaks offers free parking meaning you can shop all day long without worrying about getting back to the car, or spending more money. There are four car parks to choose from – most of which are in close proximity to the shops – we usually opt for the multi-storey.
Everything in one place
As I mentioned earlier, there are more than 150 boutiques, restaurants and cafés, at Cheshire Oaks, and everything is all in one easy-to-navigate, accessible loop. You can get everything you need for Christmas in one fell swoop, including gifts, new outfits and even a new dinner service. You won’t even need to think twice about Christmas shopping if you get it all done in a day.
Variety to suit all ages
With so many brands to choose from, there’s something for everyone, including Hamley’s and Haribo for the kids. There’s also a brand new play area, designed and installed by Carve, winners of the “City Play” International City Scape Award 2021. The play area has been customised to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for our younger visitors, featuring in-ground trampolines, slides, climbing towers and more.
Cheshire Oaks is actually a dog friendly venue, with all well-behaved dogs and responsible owners welcome. A number of the stores are dog friendly – just look out for the paw print in the store windows to find out which stores are happy to welcome dogs, or check out the list online.
Dotted around the centre you’ll spot a couple of ornate water fountains located on either side of the malls for your dog to get a quick drink, the site just asks that you keep them on a lead, and clean up after them.