food courtShopping with children can be a stressful business. Like many parents however, it is a necessary evil and armed with our shopping list we headed to McArthurGlen’s East Midlands outlet to pick up some essentials.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlets East Midlands shopping outlet is located just off junction 28 of the M1, well positioned between Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Here you will find free parking for 1400 cars (including 25 parent and child spaces), 70 designer, high street and specialist shops all full of quality and contemporary items massively discounted prices and a food court with secure children’s play area.

As it is the summer holidays, the team at McArthur Glen are running activities for children such as bumper boats, mini carousel, bungee trampoline and free Punch and Judy/magic shows every Tuesday. When we visited the boys were desperate for a go on the bungee trampolines so I promised them this at the end if I thought they had behaved well around the shops. The ambiance was very relaxed and it was a refreshing change to shop without the hustle and bustle of the city centre.


I was really impressed with the range of shops as well as the quality of goods and knowledge of the staff. The lovely lady in Body Shop gave me some great advice on cleansers and which was the best foundation coverage for my skin. As I was buying two products I also saved an extra 30% and she did a deal where I got three full sized Papaya showers gels (which smell divine!) for £1.20!

We also came away with some Adidas football goalie gloves for the boys – great quality with a massive saving, a pair of Kurk Geiger sandals for me (reduced from £65 to £29!) and a Rainbow Loom Monster Tail set from Claire’s, which Ethan has been looking for for ages. Noah was chuffed with a Fanta lipbalm he picked up for £2.50. It was a pretty successful trip!

If you visit the Customer Information Centre when you first arrive at the centre try to make sure you pick up a Privilege card which gives you an extra 10% off some stores (something I wasn’t aware of before!).

The Food Court is impressive selling  a choice of jacket potatoes, noodles, burgers or fish and chips as well as a children’s play area and there are various coffee shops throughout the centre for a much needed pit stop.

shopping with children

Tips for easing the pressure of shopping with children

  • Don’t forget to stop for drink and snack breaks regularly
  • Set expectations before hitting the shops for example agree what (if anything) you will buy them on the trip.
  • Check out any children’s treats such as fairground rides that can be used as a rewards for good behaviour at the end of the shopping trip.
  • Have a list so you don’t get deviated into browsing for youself (save that for a day when children are back at school or nursery!).
  • Try to plan your shopping trip for the morning when the shops are generally least busy.

Do you have any more great strategies for shopping with children that work for you? Would love to hear them!

We are looking forward to the Christmas Launch which starts on 20 November with Santa’s arrival as well as reindeers and farm animals and lots of other fun activities.

McArthur Glen East Midlands is open 7 days a week (except for Christmas day) with late night opening until 8pm on Thursdays.


I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.


Disclosure: We received a £100 gift card in return for visiting the outlet and writing this post but all views are our own and unbiased.



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16 Responses to Shopping with children at East Midlands Designer Outlet

  1. It is nice that so many outlets these days are design with family shopping in mind, but I personally prefer a solo shop in town 🙂

  2. Kara says:

    I just cannot shop with mine – as soon as they get inside a shop its like a red mist comes down! lol
    Looks like a fab shopping centre though

  3. I love a good shopping outlet! bargains a plenty! x

  4. Globalmouse says:

    Do you know I don’t ever think about going to outlets in the UK but this looks great!

  5. Sara says:

    Great tips on shopping with your kids, I’d have been having way too much fun in Kurt Geiger!

  6. Shell Louise says:

    I’ve never been but lots of my family love McArthurGlen. I like that they put activities on for the children. It makes a shopping trip fun rather than a nightmare!

  7. julie says:

    It’s so good that they put on activities for the kids, too many shopping centres and outlets don’t x

  8. So great to see that they are putting on activities over the summer for children, really makes shopping easier if they get to have some fun too

  9. Bumper boats? They are SO much fun! This place sounds like the next level in terms of shopping centres.

  10. Pinkoddy says:

    Sounds good and especially having things for the kids. I personally like the idea of getting the 10% off.

  11. We often visit the outlet at York. Espeically after all the sales in the shops have ended as they get the stock in

  12. This looks like a fab place and it is great that they had stuff for the kids to do. Beautiful boys x

  13. Lori says:

    I’ve never visited this outlet but my husband stops of here on the way to work. Looks like you got some bargains, I love Kurt Geiger too! X

  14. This sounds like a great shopping centre! My little boy can be a complete monkey when we head out shopping and now ive had baby no2 i havnt braved it on my own yet lol! x

  15. Granny says:

    Can grannies come the next time with you as you sound as if you had a great time! Xx

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