I told myself that I would be organised for our trip to Cyprus this month well ahead of time. We travelled to Gran Canaria in Spring, and I moaned endlessly about the lack of summer clothes available on the high street (quite rightly, it was April in the UK and had only just stopped snowing). For our holiday later this month, I thought it would be different. I envisioned fully packed suitcases a month before with the only last minute dash being for sunscreen. Low and behold, we fly on Wednesday, and our suitcases are still gathering dust in the attic. The high street has now replaced the summer collections with autumn/winter, and while I love a good chunky knit as much as the next person, it did leave me wondering whether I’d be spending next week on a sun lounger in my pants…
In the hope of managing to find some last minute summer items for all of us, we headed to Gretna Gateway Outlet Village this weekend and it did not disappoint. It is a shopping destination with the benefit of big names that you know and love, but with much more affordable prices and stock for every season (amen!). If you’ve never heard of Gretna Gateway, I’ve rounded up everything you need to know below.
Gretna Gateway Outlet Village is a shopping village based right on the border of Scotland and England, offering massive discounts on your favourite brands. Think Boxing Day sales price tags, without the hustle and bustle of having to fight through prams, grans and the over-eager fourteen year old style queens. Gretna Gateway boasts over fifty stores, a handful of cafes and restaurants, and a well hidden play-park for when the shopping gets too much for the little ones. It’s a one stop shop, and one that we seem to conveniently pass whenever we are travelling home from a staycation (when I say conveniently, I mean go out of my way to make sure the satnav somehow redirects us through the quaint town of Gretna). While we go for the designer discounts at Gretna Gateway, what keeps us there is the atmosphere. It’s all very open, with plenty of benches to sit and have a much needed break from bargain hunting, and a giant game of connect four to keep the kids entertained. There is also a play park, which we discovered for the first time on this visit by chance. It’s hidden out of sight, and if your not looking for it you probably wouldn’t find it, but I’m sure it will be a life saver when Harrison gets a little bit older.
Gretna covers all basis when it comes to the shopping experience. While we normally find ourselves here for a post-holiday mooch around, this time, we went with a mission in mind. We went did go in the hopes of finding good summer fashion staples for all of the family, and so veered away from the homeware, food and outdoors’y options, but I’ll definitely be returning to check out the discounted homeware (and the Cadbury Factory Store – yes, as in the chocolate!) in the next few months. Firm favourites of ours were Polo Ralph Lauren, GAP and the Next Outlet.
I don’t think I could go to Gretna Gateway and not venture into Polo Ralph Lauren. I’ve been going to the outlet village since I was a child, and without fail, every trip I’d always walk away with a classic polo-shirt with that iconic logo, and feel like the sassiest twelve year old to ever walk the earth. As a grown up, I don’t go quite as crazy for a polo shirt as I once did, but I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up matching ones for Jordan and Harrison. Both walked away with white linen shirts at a fraction of the RRP, and it took all of the power within me not to make it a full family affair and get one for myself (even I draw the line there!). To give you an idea of the price reductions, Harrisons’ shirt costs £55.00, and we paid £12.99 for it. Both boys also got shoes, and again the savings were massive. Jordans’ RRP at £139.00, and we grabbed them for £39.99, which goes to show exactly why Gretna Gateway is so popular. If your looking to see exactly what we picked up – I’ve gone through the pieces in a separate post. My inner twelve year old couldn’t have left RL without picking up something for herself, and I walked away with a new hat (as we can see from the pictures, my old one had seen better days!).
I’ve been reluctant to buy designer clothes to take on holiday, especially for Harrison. Suncream wreaks havoc on most, and more than likely he’ll have grown out of the pieces before we go on holiday again, so paying designer prices for one-time-wear pieces just doesn’t make sense. With the outlets, you get the best of both worlds. I would pay the same price on the high street for a white linen shirt as I did in the Polo outlet, but I can almost guarantee I wouldn’t have had nearly as nice a quality of shirt. If your willing to make the journey to Gretna and your lucky with the day you go, it can be well worth it. Which brings me to the point that new season stock is brought in every day to Gretna – it can be completely different from week to week what they have available, and it’s not simply a bargain bin of Autumn/Winter stock from 2013, which can sometimes be the case in designer outlet villages. A lot of the items that we spied in the likes of Next, or GAP, were from the ranges that were in over summer, and that I could really use for our holiday right now.
Although the outlets’ can offer up to 60% off, the stores don’t feel like your typical bargain-bin stores. You know the ones, where you spend more time digging for a size medium than you do actually buying clothes? Everything was easy to find and I didn’t have too much trouble with lack of sizes in the places we bought from (Next, GAP, Polo and BOSS). The store staff were all really welcoming, which may have had something to do with the fact that it had stopped raining and the sky had finally turned blue again, but regardless, it made for a great day out. We took a break from bargain hunting with a Pizza Express for lunch before having one last peruse, before finishing off our day with a well earned coffee. Harrison tried his first babycinno from Costa (why oh why had we not tried that before?!) and it was nice to be able to just sit down for a moment and do a bit of people watching. There are plenty of seating areas throughout the village, with larger ones at both entrances and then benches throughout if you needed a good old’ sit down at any point.
All in all, Gretna Gateway is a great experience, whether that be for that last minute holiday dash, or for an easy Sunday wander. The range of stores is amazing, the discounts even more so. It’s clear to see that Gretna have really taken into account what customers want from a shopping experience, and taken steps to really make it a family friendly day out. It’s safe to say we’ll be back soon, and I would recommend to everyone.
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Gretna Gateway.