At the end of last year, without much fanfare, The Icon Outlet opened inside London’s O2 Arena. I caught a sneak peek of it before a concert, but I wanted to go back and find out more. One Sunday in September, Charlotte (of LottyEarns fame) and I went for a visit.
A couple of years ago we went to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire to check out the outlet shops there. I wrote a review of Bicester’s Cosmetic Company outlet that seemed to go down well. The Icon Outlet is easily and cheaply accessible by tube, and it’s much larger with more shops, including a choice of makeup and skincare outlets.
How to get there
The Icon Outlet is inside the O2 Arena – if you’ve ever been there before, the left hand side of the front entrance used to be blocked off, but now you can access the outlet that way. You can actually walk all the way around the perimeter of the arena itself, now.
By tube, you can take the Jubilee line to North Greenwich station. The station itself and the journey into The Icon Outlet is wheelchair accessible too. Check the TfL site for more information about tube and bus times, as if you’re based in south east London it could be cheaper and quicker to take a bus.
If you’d like to drive, I’m warning you ahead of time that parking is very expensive. If you want to visit the O2 Icon Outlet, I’d recommend choosing a day when there isn’t an event taking place at The O2. We went on a Sunday and it wasn’t busy at all, however, it can take hours to leave the area if there’s a concert or comedy gig happening at the same time.
Good for a day out?
The O2 Arena has a cinema and loads of restaurants in addition to the new outlet. I definitely think you could comfortably spend an afternoon strolling around. They even have bubble tea now!
Reviews of the shops
There are three main beauty and skincare shops in The Icon Outlet, but there’s tonnes of fashion, sportswear, stationery and other shops, so there’s something for everyone if you’re going with friends or family.
The Body Shop
The general deal across the store is 30% off. It’s okay, but you can often find voucher codes for better offers online. We did find that there were items on sale at a better discount than 30% off.
There were half price or better deals on last year’s Christmas makeup lines that looked pretty good.
Gift sets from The Body Shop were also quite heavily discounted.
The Cosmetics Company store
The Cosmetics Company sells products from many Estee Lauder brands. It isn’t just EL itself, but also MAC, Bumble & Bumble, Origins, Smashbox, Clinique and loads more.
This shop was much better stocked, and a lot less busy than the one in Bicester, or the only other CC shop I’ve visited in Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. The staff are extremely OTT with following you around the shop acting like you’re planning on stealing, just for fair warning.
The shop had both original Estee Lauder Double Wear, and Double Wear Nude for £23 a bottle. The RRP listed in store is £34, but it’s on offer most places at the moment for £29. £11 off full price is nothing to be sniffed at. They had a huge range of colours available, I’ve seen Double Wear on offer in outlets before, but you often only have one or two shades to choose from.
There were lots of MAC products on display – including lipsticks for £12.25 instead of £17.50.
Most of the MAC stuff on display at a 30% discount were limited edition collections from last year: Including those from Patrick Star and Jeremy Scott.
They had one of my favourite products on offer, Clinique’s Take the Day Off balm. It was £18.75, usually £25 at full price. There were lots of sets that included this product at big discounts too. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but the staff were breathing down my neck the entire time.
There were lots of deals on Smashbox. The Christmas collection from last year even had an extra 20% off on top of the outlet price.
Origins Skincare was also available at around a 30% discount. If you can’t live without your Gin-Zing mask, it’s definitely worth a visit.
The Beauty Outlet
This is one of the newest stores at The O2’s Icon Outlet. I’ve never been inside one of these before, so I thought it was worth checking out. It’s downstairs, sort of hidden away in case you’re trying to find it.
They had a massive array of Essie polishes. £3.99 is a fab price, they are £2.99 at Fragrance Direct – BUT you don’t have to pay (and wait) for shipping if you get them here. They had absolutely loads of colours, and even an impressive selection of their Gel Couture line, which are usually £9.99. FD only has three colours of this type of polish at time of writing.
More of an OPI fan? They had bottles for £6.99 each, or two for £10. As you can see there is a huge amount of choice at Beauty Outlet – Fragrance Direct sell bottles for only £3.50, but there aren’t many shades on offer.
They had some deep discounts on high street brands like NYX, Revlon and Rimmel. Take a look at the photos for the sort of deals available.
I didn’t expect there to be high end brands available, but we spotted Cover FX, Stila and Elizabeth Arden for a steal!
Want offers on skincare and hair products? Check out these bargains from Sanctuary, Toni & Guy and L’Oreal.
So what do you think? Worth a visit? I’m so glad an outlet like this has opened up in Central London – it’s going to be fantastic for Christmas presents!