Although chains and superstores predominate along the high streets you are never far from the strange, one-off establishments that make shopping an adventure.
There is something to suit even the most discerning of shoppers. Pick up the perfect gifts from luxury department stores like Harrods or Fortnum & Mason or spend an afternoon wandering down the markets of the East End or Portobello. Whatever you desire, you will find it in London.
Drawn up by John Nash in 1812 as both a luxury shopping street and a triumphal way between George 1V’s Carlton House and Regent’s Park, Regent Street shopping offers quality and style for British mid-range stores and international retailers including Hamley’s, the world’s largest toy shop and Liberty, the department store that popularised the Arts and Crafts designs at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Originally the old Roman road to Oxford, today it is one of Britain’s busiest high streets. Two miles long, it features over 300 top British chain stores and international retailers including Selfridges, a huge Edwardian building with the Queen of Time riding the ship of commerce and supporting an Art Deco clock above the main entrance.
London’s oldest planned square, laid out in the 1630’s by Inigo Jones. Today Covent Garden offers unusual shops and boutiques as well as the Piazza where buskers and street entertainers have helped it to become on of London’s major tourist attractions.
Bond Street and the neighbouring Conduit Street and South Molton Street is arguably London’s most prestigious shopping area dominated by names such as Versace, Gucci, Nicole Farhi and Saint-Laurent.
The centre of Swinging Sixties’ London and its street sign is London’s most popular postcard! Today it is a shopping oasis in the heart of Soho’s media land bringing to the shopper a lifestyle fusion of the best fashion, style and sport.
Like Carnaby Street, King’s Road became famous in the sixties and witnessed the birth of punk from a shop run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren called Sex. Today it is a blend of chain stores and interior design shops rather than avant-garde fashion including Peter Jones department store and the Saatchi Gallery.
One of London’s smartest shopping districts where London’s desirable designers and department stores can be found. Home to the world famous Harrods which started out in 1849 as a family-run grocery store with a staff of two, today it employs over 3,000 staff and even has a dress code for shoppers: no ripped jeans, no vest T-shirts and no backpacks!
Situated in Mayfair, Saville Row is still the place to go for made-to-measure suits for those with £2,000 to spare. Gieves & Hawkes at No. 1 were the first tailors to establish themselves here in 1785 with customers such as Nelson and Wellington and are still trading today. Other tailors on Saville Row include Hardy Amies, Ozwald Boateng and Anderson & Sheppard, along with modernists such as Richard James.
Famous for its annual Carnival, the world’s biggest street festival outside Rio, Notting Hill is also the shopping location to head to if you are in search of a vibrant, multi-cultural atmosphere. On Saturdays, big crowds of Londoners and tourists alike descend on the mile-long Portobello Road Market which is lined with stalls selling everything from antiques to cheap secondhand clothes and fruit and vegetables.
Tottenham Court Road
Heading north from the east end of Oxford Street, this is the place to go for electrical goods and furniture and design shops.
Here you will find music shops selling everything from instruments to sound equipment and sheet music.
Clothing store in London, England Iconic purveyor of high-end, Chanel-branded goods.
West London’s liveliest street starts off selling quality antiques, and continues through to bric-a-brac indoor galleries, plus food stalls, crafts, clothes and music.
Put an afternoon aside to visit this landmark most notable for its Art Nouveau tiled food hall. It also has a huge toy department. Don’t forget they operate a dress code so no tatty jeans or backpacks.
Shopping in Oxford Street Oxford Street is one of Europe’s much-loved High Street, featuring over 300 retailers from well-known retailers…
Famous for being “never knowingly undersold” this reliable institution can’t be beaten for basics from buttons in their haberdashery department to well-made clothes, furniture and household goods. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly too.
Boutique in London, England Retailer of designer apparel from the Italian fashion label. Some sell watches, jewellery & cosmetics.
Address: 188-196 Regent St, Soho, London, W1B 5BT
Phone: 0371 704 1977
Established in 1710 by William Fortnum, a footman to Queen Anne, today they have the reputation for selling the finest luxury goods and sparing no expense to provide quality items to those who can afford it.
Started as a tiny crafts market, it has expanded greatly attracting more than 100,000 shoppers each weekend – cheap leather goods, furniture, street fashion and jewellery. To avoid the crowds arrive by 10.00 am.
Department store in London, England High-end department store with women’s fashion and accessories, beauty products and gifts.
Selfridges department store is the biggest draw on Oxford Street, with a superb food hall, excellent clothes and first class restaurants.
Address: Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB
Most famous for its fabrics and accessories but also building a reputation for both mainstream and new fashion. Liberty has good perfume, cosmetics and household departments making it a favourite since 1875.
Leather goods store in London, England Luxury brand known for signature monogrammed handbags, luggage & more.
Fashion accessories store in London, England Retailer of the designer brand’s apparel, footwear & accessories, including handbags & jewellery.