What happened to family shopping? #Funforallthefamily
Parents let’s face it, shopping with your children, especially during the festive season can feel like a scene from a zombie movie. Your firstborn will wander off, only to be found if they deem it necessary. The shops are hectic, the kids get cold and tired and the gift you desperately wanted for auntie Susie has run out of stock.
Why not avoid the high street and visit a retail park or outlet for not just a shopping experience, but a day out?
Redefining the ‘go to’ shops of Devon.
The nearest place to shop to our family home is Exeter city centre a twenty-minute drive away. It offers a colourful mile filled with the individual retailers and popular household names but a nightmare in terms of traffic, parking and cost. Lugging more shopping than can be physically carried, all the way back to the sixth floor of a car park thirty minutes away? Not my idea of festive enjoyment. It is this type of practicality that has given rise to the popularity of retail outlets. Nestled in the suburbs they are home to a wide range of different retailers, and often provide the convenience element of an on-site supermarket. A friendly place to relax, shop and find something that little bit different.
The Affinity Devon experience.
A long-established centre conveniently located just off the A39 on the edge of the coastal town of Bideford (EX39 3DU Sat Nav) there is something here for everyone. Open 7 days a week, Affinity Devon has late night shopping every Thursday until 8pm. Perfect for a rainy weekend’s afternoon shopping, admire the twinkling lights and a Cinnamon spiced latte to warm your hands. Explore over 25 well known stores offering up to 60% off RRP daily! Each festive display window is filled with signs sharing low price deals, so bag yourself a bargain! Browse for gift inspiration in the huge range of men’s, women’s and children’s fashions and footwear plus beauty, homeware and accessories.
Let’s get practical.
Visited by tourists, locals and keen shoppers alike the outlet offers fantastic facilities. You won’t need to worry about parking, with a dedicated free car park on-site. There is ample space both in a short stay car park by Asda, busy with grocery shoppers and long stay car park only a two-minute walk away. Here, I found that the spaces also had wider gaps for ease of getting children in and out of the car. Disabled parking is located near entrance. Additionally, local bus services serve the centre. The covered outlet is clean, well presented, has wide paths and offers a relaxed shopping experience. Did I mention the free WIFI? The large toilet block is located just outside shopping mall with electric assist door, huge baby change and wheelchair friendly facilities. Wheelchairs can also be hired for free at the Centre Management Office.
A closer look at the stores.
Small but perfectly thought out, Affinity Devon is busy without queues, sharp elbows, harassed faces and fights over pillows. The store is nice and cool. It is a pet hate of mine when shops blast out heat and you want to nap instead of spend. You will be surprised at the variety and diversity of shops, discovering favourite brands and those not so commonly seen on the high street. Popular choices like Poundland, The Works (with 3 for £5 on paperbacks), Peacocks and many more big brands including Boutico jewellery, Nike, GAP and M&S.
Grab a pair of comfortable slippers from Cotton Traders (RRP £30 now £15), or why not buy one get one HALF PRICE on everything from Holland and Barrett. We splashed out on Brazil nuts for stocking fillers! Claire’s Accessories had a doubly fantastic deal of 30% off and 3 for 2! Excitingly, the Saltrock store has just opened on December 3rd showing how the team are constantly improving the centre. Affinity Devon always displays a list of their stores on the website with a handy site guide. The staff are friendly and make you feel like a valued customer.
I smell coffee!
If you are feeling peckish there is also a tasty selection on the food court piazza. Plenty of seating in Costa and a festive menu at The Cornish Bakery. Cranberry & brie toasties, spiced scones, gluten free mince pies and the most amazing mini croissants filled with mincemeat and marzipan. Larger eateries are just a stone’s throw from Affinity; including Dominoes, McDonalds and Brewers Fayre.
Want to peek at the Affinity inspired presents we bought? #giftguide
Gorgeous knitwear from the Edinburgh Wooden Mill.
Wrap him up in luxury. This P.G Field soft woven, zip neck jumper was just £20! I had to check the price tag twice. Perfect for him it looks great whether worn with trousers or jeans and makes a smart way to add a layer of warmth.
Tasty treats from The Cadburys Store.
My first ever experience of chocolate heaven. You don’t even have to waste time wrapping with these gift bags, perfect for children, or mum, or the teacher…you get the idea! Or why not stock up on liquorice all sorts for Granddad! There is SO much choice.
Fill-up her stocking from the Beauty Outlet.
To me, it is worth the hour drive to do all my makeup and skincare shopping here. An Aladdin’s cave of sparkling lipstick, colourful nail varnish and luxury hair products all at discounted prices. Stocking a wide variety of brands from W7, Rimmel London, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Revlon, CK, Smooch, plus many more. Why would you ever shop in Boots again?
Pick Julian Charles for a bit of luxury.
Candles, it must be said are one of the best all rounder gifts. There are so many choices on offer in this scented shop. I bought a Yankee selection box for £9! There were also beautifully soft festive throws and cushions with character!
Something for the home from Pro Cook.
If you need anything for your kitchen then this is the place to visit. From premium cookware to everyday kitchen accessories. We picked up these perfect grey tone plates for £4 each to serve up a stylish Christmas lunch!
Then, since you are feeling festive why not grab some wrapping paper in The Card Factory, tree decorations and trinkets from The Gift Company and that perfect glitzy dress from Klass or suited and booted from Suit Direct! Everything Christmas in one place!
Affinity Devon delivers an array of festive fun.
What I love about this centre is its consideration for little shoppers. Excitingly, when we visited, Santa greeted eager children whilst his smiling elf juggled and handed out sweets. Father Christmas was happy to pose for photos and it is not often activities like this are free. It takes a special somewhere to offer an array of live performances, fantastic Christmas characters and activities for all the family planned through December, FOR NOTHING. If ‘Santa Saturday’ was not enough reason to jump in the car, then how about ‘Snow Globe Sunday’ and enjoy your own winter wonderland! Or come and shop to the sound of sweet carols. Visit the website for more information about events that won’t disappoint!
We recommend visiting on one of the dates below!
- ‘Santa Saturdays’ – 15th December 11am – 2pm.
- ‘Snow Sundays’ – 9th, 15th & 23rd December, 10am – 4pm.
- School Choirs 6th & 13th December, 6pm.
- Pop up Christmas Craft Market 8th & 9th,15th & 16th December
- Facepainting and Glitter Tattoos 8th & 22nd December, 24th December, 11am – 2pm.
We had a wonderful day at Affinity an hour quickly turned into six and somehow all of the Christmas shopping got finished. Now the only downside is figuring out who is going to wrap all these fantastic buys!
Have you visited Affinity Devon? What do you look for in a shopping day out? Would you take your children?
Note: I was gifted with a shopping voucher for my visit to the centre, all words and opinions are my own.