The McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York is celebrating is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a weekend of activities this Saturday and Sunday.

The celebrations come as the shopping centre is working on long-awaited expansion plans.

Visitors this weekend can look forward to being entertained with extra discounts, gifts with purchases, complimentary drinks, and a number of Centre wide and in-store activities to mark the anniversary.

For example, from 12pm there will be a special scratch card giveaway, offering guests a chance to win a Centre giftcard. Top prizes include a £250 card on both Saturday and Sunday. 

The York Designer Outlet opened its doors on November 12 1998, but its history goes even further back.


The Centre’s predecessor was Naburn Maternity Hospital, where an estimated 70,000 babies were born at the hospital during its lifetime, including some of the staff who now work at York Designer Outlet.

The land's historical roots can also be traced to the early 1900s when the site housed the York City Asylum.  The mental institution was built in 1906 to house the overflow of patients in the York area and from institutions across the country, with the original plans of the building similar to the layout of today’s outlet.

Research discovered at the Borthwick Institute of Archives, based at the University of York, revealed that during World War II, the location served as a Prisoner of War camp.

York Press: The Winter Wonderland

In terms of retail success, the Centre reports 80 million visitors and total sales topping £2.5 billion.

M&S, is one of the Centres longest standing and most popular brands, with over 6.6 million items sold and more than 17.7 million customers walking through its door since 2008. Starbucks has brewed over 6 million cups of coffee during this time. 

McArthurGlen says other popular brands over the years have been Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Paul Smith, Ted Baker and BOSS. Recent additions in the past 18 months include French Connection, Clarins, Carvela, Sweaty Betty, Hugo, Slim Chickens and YO! Sushi.

Looking back over the years, the Outlet in York has hosted sports stars including skating legends Torville and Dean, opening the Winter Wonderland in November 2011.

York Press: The interior of the designer outlet

In 2012, it hosted an event for Yorkshire Olympians who returned after success in the London Olympics while 2014 saw the Centre transform into a spectator hub for the Tour de France.

Other impact include the Centre creating thousands of new jobs and supporting countless charities and community groups. In 2022, the York community donated over 10,000 toys as part of the Centre’s Toy Appeal. 

Paul Tyler, Centre Manager at York Designer Outlet, said: “Over the years we have strived to keep our Centre current, with the continued evolution of our brand mix through ongoing new store openings, such as French Connection, Slim Chickens, Clarins and Yo! Sushi which have all opened within the last 6 months.”

York Press: The recent opening of Caravela

He added: “It is also a perfect time to look towards the future.  Our desire is to continue to invest in York Designer Outlet and I’m delighted to confirm that we are currently working through a new planning application to improve the parking, enhance the park and ride and expand our retail and hospitality offer even further.  More to follow on this in the coming weeks.” 

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