An unplanned trip north

I am cautious by nature so during the great northern dash when traffic jams snaked around the Mourne Mountains and across the border, I couldn't understand why so many people were drawn to the shopping centres of Newry and Bangor.

Now I'm doing it. Going north I mean.

I blame Wales.  A lot of time was spent in supermarkets oohing and aahing over the prices and the products that you can't get in Dublin.  Now we're missing them, and since there will be no more visits to Wales for a while, a quick trip across the border seemed like a good idea, especially as I now have a van that does 50 mpg...

And yesterday was the ideal day.  Angel wanted to come with me and it was the perfect way to thank her for babysitting on Saturday, while aspie boy would be home an hour later than usual.  Of course the day arrived sooner than I expected and I quickly googled Tesco and anything else I could think of but google wouldn't give me the results I wanted - the new algorithm perhaps?  Eventually I found a Tesco store in Banbridge, about 10 miles from the border, printed off the map and away we went.  First stop was the service station, and a spot of refueling:
One and a half uneventful hours later and we arrived.  The massive car park promised much, but the store wasn't actually that large.  There was nothing to keep us there, so we got the shopping and left.  But what to do with the rest of our free time?  I drove into the town centre, even though it didn't look very promising, and we pottered around the quiet streets for an hour or so.  It was like stepping back in time...
But it was good to spend time together and chat without the constant interruptions and demands from the smaller children.  Even the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for a few minutes.
By 12.30 it was time to leave.  Just in case.  Perhaps Northern shoppers would be heading South?  There might be jams.  So we headed out of Banbridge.  And on the last roundabout we came across this sign:

The Outlet.

Ooops, looks like my research did not go so well.  Thank Google.  Not.

So please tell me: is the Outlet worth going to?  And where else would you recommend north of the border, for food, shopping or simply visiting?  Because we might be going back...


  1. Sounds like a win-win situation. Quality time with your Angel and not too much money spent. Plus the excuse to go back. Good day eh?

  2. I agree with Midlife Singlemum! :)
    LOVE Costa Coffee!

  3. @Midlife Singlemum - It was lovely to spend a whole half day with Angel :)

    @Di - Yes it's one of my vices lol

  4. Oh no Blue Sky..... if I'd known you were going I'd have told you ALL about Banbridge!! We were there last may or June... I blogged about it! I got quite a bit of stuff there, including T-shirts etc for WiiBoy. There's a great M & S outlet store there too. I found it better than the shoping centre we went to in Newry.

    Glad you got quality time with Angel too ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  5. @Jazzygal - I remember it now, will go and find it :) thanks for the advice for the next trip xx

  6. We spend summers in Donegal (or did before H started performing) and used to do all the shopping in the north, it's way cheaper, especially the alcohol! X

    1. Of course I'm far too sensible to fill the car up with alcohol these days...