Like all the world's greatest capitals, shopping in London is something special. The city contains some of the biggest national branches of the brands we love.2019 June 12
Like all the world's greatest capitals, shopping in London is something special. The city contains some of the biggest national branches of the brands we love, places like M&S, Topshop and Adidas, classics of the Oxford Street Shopping scene. It is also stacked with brilliant independent shops selling the most weird, strange and wonderful things, everything from hand made hats to some of the world's finest diamond jewellery, dazzling toy stores and tiny outlets selling hand-crafted wonders. All this is joined by excellent international shopping, and together they make London one of the world's best shopping destinations. If retail therapy is what you are after, walk this way...
Oxford Street shopping offers fabulous variety, everything from cheap shopping in tourist kiosks and high street shops to exclusive, smart, internationally-recognised brands. It's over a mile long, lined with endless shops, and loads of places to eat and drink in between. You won’t be disappointed if you are looking for great a retail and fashion experience. Some even say there's an entire, perfectly preserved Victorian street running underneath Oxford Street, but that could just be a rumour!
For some of the finest shopping in London head to the world-class London department store, the mighty Selfridges. Having been voted the best department store in the world, Selfridges is home to the very latest catwalk and designer clothing and accessories, plus desirable gifts for lovers of luxury of every age. A high end treat for every discerning shopper, Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908, and the famous store on Oxford Street remains the second largest shop in Britain.
In a world where department stores all over the nation are closing, Harrods department store is thriving. It is one of the capital's most famous and expensive stores offering a huge range of products. Harrods is located in Knightsbridge, where you'll explore a huge retail outlet dedicated to everything that's good quality, From stunning jewellery to pet supplies, a massive Food Hall to make-up and clothing to books, you’ll find it all here. It's all beautifully presented into an unmistakably posh red sandstone Victorian building.
Treat yourself to a two-in-one adventure on Carnaby Street and in Liberty's, a day packed with contrasts. Carnaby Street's funky alternative fashions and quirky vintage stores sit comfortably next to the wonder that is Liberty, a fantasy of a department store full of international wonders. Massive amber necklaces from Morocco and precious stones from Russia, ancient antique furniture, designer jewels and glasses, designer housewares, unique one-offs, fabulous fashion, awesome accessories and a host of uniquely unusual gifts and treats await you.
If you are looking for new, trendy high street shops and the big brands we're familiar with, the Westfield Shopping Centre is your prime destination. Westfield Shepherd’s Bush opened in late 2008 and soon became the capital's biggest covered shopping development. It grew more, and by March 2018 it was Europe's biggest shopping centre. The retail floor alone measures over 1.6 million square feet and contains popular outlets like John Lewis, Topshop, Zara, Next and Primark. If you prefer your shopping expeditions expensive and exclusive, head for the high-end retail area called The Village, home to luxury brands like Burberry, De Beers, Georg Jensen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, Mulberry, Myla, Tiffany & Co and Versace.
Toy shopping in London is legendary thanks to Hamleys, created by the Cornish entrepreneur William Hamley, who always dreamed about opening the world's best toy shop. He did it, and in 1760 Hamleys opened, a gigantic Noah's Ark of a place crammed with every kind of toy. In 1881 Hamley created a new branch in Regent Street to handle the enormous demand he was enjoying, and added five more floors of toys. Hamleys remains the world's most famous, best-loved toy store, a massive treat for the kids.
Another of the most famous department stores in London, Fortnum & Mason was established way back in 1707 by the entrepreneurs William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. It's still one of the capital's finest upmarket department stores, with the main store in Piccadilly and two more at St Pancras railway station and Heathrow Airport in London. Fortnum & Mason apparently invented the Scotch egg here in 1738, a fun claim to fame, but these days the shop focuses on luxury goods, well known and loved for their excellent hampers, tea, coffee and the ultimate in luxury goods.
Good old Harvey Nicks, the darling of Absolutely Fabulous and another of London's best department stores. They've recently set their fashion credentials in stone once again by replacing their furniture department with an extra floor of designer clothes, accessories and shoes. The restaurant on the fifth floor is a haven for weary shoppers, wonderfully comfortable and smart. Plus there's beauty, food, wine, skincare and a host of seriously luxurious things on sale.
Portobello Road is in Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea, home to a huge Saturday market. Portobello Road Market is one of London's best-loved street markets, famous for vintage and second-hand furniture, clothes, accessories and jewellery. Visit in August and there's also the Portobello Film Festival to enjoy. The main market day for antiques is Saturday, when the entire market is open for business. But some of the clothing, antiques, bric-a-brac, fruit and vegetable stalls are also open during the week, located close to the Westway Flyover.
Bond Street itself is world famous for elegant shops, exclusive brands, designer fashion, luxury goods, fine jewellery, art and antiques, set like a jewel right in the middle of lovely Mayfair. This is the home of luxury brands like Asprey, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Cartier, Dolce Gabbana, Hermès, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton, plus wonders like the Mulberry shop, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co. And wider Mayfair is an extension of all that luxury, a gorgeous place that's well worth a wander around just to soak up the smell of money... lots of it.
Street shopping in London doesn't get much better than Carnaby Street, darling of the 1960s and once one of the most fashionable hang-outs in the capital. These days Carnaby Street is both alternative and unusual, a stretch of shops selling weird shoes, clothing for goths and rebels, alternative fashion, beauty products and accessories. In fact the entire 'Carnaby' area is great for shopping with a difference, in total consisting of 14 different streets to explore. Carnaby Street itself is home to more than 100 fantastic shops, and the wider area is home to many more.
You can eat there, see the opera there, watch the world go by, enjoy buskers and street performances, drink and be merry. Oh, and you can also shop yourself to an enjoyable frenzy in Covent Garden, both in the original piazza and in the streets surrounding it. Expect lots of cool independent shops selling interesting, unusual stuff of all kinds plus a lovely market in the middle selling hand-crafted goodies.
If you're after cheap shopping in London, Camden is a great deal of fun. The markets themselves are brilliant, a network of tiny alleyways and covered streets lined with independent clothing, vintage, jewellery, second hand, record, book and sweet shops, all jostling for space. The streets surrounding the old stables and horse hospital are also vibrant with life and entertainment, a personality-packed experience without a designer label or luxury brand in sight.
Coal Drops Yard is an exciting retail development and part of the innovative King's Cross Central scheme, designed to bring the area up in the world and transforming it into a popular London shopping destination. Visit the Yard for a large collection of exciting, unusual and well-respected brands, many of them British. You can eat and drink here, as well as shop yourself silly, and the sheer variety of unusual, quirky, smart, posh and trendy outlets makes it particularly exciting.
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