When my good friend Debbie and I were invited to visit Rushden Lakes for the day I jumped at the chance. What could be better than a road trip and shopping with good company, all child free and under the guise of ‘research’? Especially as I had a trip to Paris the following week which I still needed a killer outfit for.
As soon as we arrived at Rushden Lakes, I was immediately impressed by the layout. Each store is big, bright and easily accessible, great for wheelchair users and shopping bag laden buggies alike. Parking was easy, so it didn’t take us a long to hit our first store.
We decided we needed some shopping fuel before we got started, and I’d heard that there was a great organic café located in one of the more specialist stores on site – Magazine Heaven, and it literally was! Magazines from all over the world and covering every subject imaginable. It really was a little treasure trove and refreshing to see in this digital era – especially as we picked up a copy of the last ever Look magazine, which Debbie was featured in!
After a coffee and a pastry, we wandered over to House of Fraser, firstly having a mooch around the ground floor make up counters, with the usual plethora of top end cosmetics brands you’d expect from House of Fraser – Mac, Chanel, Dior etc.
We then headed up to the first floor to really get our shop on. Here you’ll find designers such as Biba, French Connection, Whistles, Mint Velvet and Issa (there’s also a great selection of children’s brands including Ralph Lauren & Barbour but I wasn’t about to waste a child free shopping day shopping for the kids!)
Biba was a personal favourite, with its floaty 70’s vibe, and I picked up a beautiful cape style dress/jacket, perfect for a summer wedding or the races, neither of which I have on the agenda at the moment, but it’s always good to be prepared!
As we all know, shopping can be thirsty work. Fortunately, House of Fraser have a beautiful restaurant and champagne bar overlooking the lake – did I mention Rushden Lakes is situated at a nature reserve with its very own Wildlife Trust and lake activities? They also serve a great selection of food, including afternoon tea, and I can confirm that the cocktail list is pretty good too!
After a bite to eat, and a bellini, ok 2 bellini’s, Debbie suggested we take a closer look at the lake, little did I realise how close she actually meant… yes, we ended up on a boat!! But I have to say, what a great way to take the edge off a family shopping trip. There’s also a great selection of family favourite restaurants such as Wagamama’s and Pizza Express, that have outside seating areas overlooking the lake, so the perfect place to leave the husband and kids while you hit the shops in peace.
Now with our feet firmly back on dry land, it was time to continue our shopping spree, and next up was Jigsaw. It’s always a great place to shop for quality staples and I saw a beautiful silk midi-skirt that would be amazing dressed up with heels but looked equally as good with a sweatshirt or t-shirt and some sandals or sneakers.
Next door to Jigsaw we found a great independent department store, stocking some other high end high street brands, such as Ted Baker, French Connection and Boss. The layout was gorgeous, all pink sofas and chandeliers, the perfect place to head to if you’re shopping for something special.
What I particularly liked about Rushden Lakes is that these higher end retailers sit side by side along with the likes of H&M, River Island and even Primark! This suits my way of shopping down to the ground as I like to mix good quality investment pieces with a few bargains.
Of course, Debbie and I had to pop in to our favourite high street store – H&M, where I picked a great little red knit jumper, and next door in River Island, I grabbed an amazing pair of statement white sunglasses. Both of which made it with me on my trip to Paris.
So, all in all a very successful trip. Rushden Lakes, we’ll be back