We all love a bit of shopping, especially at this time of year and in a city like London we are truly spoilt for choice. Whether you are trying to find something wonderfully unique, want to bag a bargain, or want to simply spoil yourself on something luxurious, the UK capital can offer you a whole range of incredible shopping experiences. This means that whether you are buying for yourself, friends, relatives, children or that special someone in your life, you are sure to find exactly what you need.
London has a variety of shopping districts spread all over the city. You can head to the wealthier areas of Mayfair or Chelsea to splash your cash like there is no tomorrow. If you are looking for one off pieces that are interesting and unique, the quaint boutique shops in Covent Garden are your best bet. Of course then there are the high street shops and huge shopping centers where you can find all the main shops packed under one roof. Shopping centers such as Westfield shopping centre in W12 will cater to all your needs, and of course we can’t forget London’s most famous shopping street of all, Oxford Street.
So let us start there, Oxford Street is a shopper’s paradise. Jam packed with over 300 shops all within strolling distance of one another, Oxford Street is the place to come to whether you are looking for a new outfit, a special gift, toiletries, jewelry, and so much more. It boasts upmarket designer outlets, and all of the main high street shops.
Oxford Street is also home to several huge department stores. It is here that you can find John Lewis, Debenhams and Selfridges. Classic sports shops such as Nike and adidas are within walking distance from each other too.
Bustling, vibrant Oxford Street is a great place to come for a ‘shop until you drop’ mission, and makes for a great day out. If the crowds become a bit too much then there are plenty of great cafe’s, restaurants and bars in the surrounding area where you can take a load off, or simply avoid the crowds by slipping down St Christopher’s Place or Berwick Street where you can find some hidden gems along the way.
Another fantastic district to explore is the area around Regent Street and Jermyn Street. Simply hop on the tube to Picadilly Circus and enjoy an afternoon browsing the upmarket shops in this pretty street. If you want a bit of history this is where to head as it is here you will find some of the oldest shops in London such as Hamleys, the oldest toy and game store in the world, and Liberty’s where bespoke gifts and accessories can be found in abundance.
Nearby Jemryn Street offers classic architecture and an elegant ambiance. This historic street is centuries old and has a rich culture and history. Those who love a true gentleman’s look will do well here, as shops such as Benson & Clegg and John Lobb offer the best in stylish gents’ designer fashion. Buy a bespoke shirt just for you, and find the perfect pair of shoes to match and you are sure to come away feeling like you have spent your money wisely!
As previously mentioned, London boasts a few shopping centres, and the most famous of all is probably the Westfield which has not one, but two enormous shopping malls which you can find at White City or Stratford.
Shopping centres are fantastic for the lazy shopper who just wants to be able to find everything in one place! Here you will find all the main high street shops such as Topshop, H & M and Zara, as well as larger department stores where you can buy clothes and home furnishings such as Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Debenhams. If you fancy treating yourself to some designer clobber you can also find the incredible Jimmy Choo here as well as affordable designer brands such as Ted Baker and All Saints.
Unbelievably the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford is home to an incredible 250 shops so you are sure to find everything that you need. And when you are spent (both literally and physically!) there are 70 restaurants, cafes and bars to choose from where you can sit down and refuel to get back out there and do it all again!
If you are feeling flush then why not head to fashionable Bond Street where you can truly indulge, pamper and have the ultimate shopping experience? Treat yourself like a celebrity for the day and get some true retail therapy by heading to all the classic designer shops such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry. After splashing your cash on the perfect designer outfit, next take a stroll down to the stunning Tiffany & Co where you can swathe yourself in sparkling diamonds and feel like a true star! Keep an eye out for the trendy celebrity crowd who make Bond Street and Mayfair their favorite shopping haunt, you never know; you might bump into someone famous!
Covent Garden is a truly special place to shop. For those of you who love getting your hands on something one of a kind, handmade and truly unique, this is definitely the place to come. Hip and happening, Covent Garden is a popular area for the fashionable crowd as well as a thriving tourist spot. If you are looking for great gifts of the crafty variety, you best bet is to head along to Covent Garden Market where you can find a fabulous range of handmade gifts that are sure to delight your friends and relatives. Trendy Neal Street is the spot to head to for cool designer gear where unique clothes and unusual shoes can be discovered. If you are not in a hurry we would suggest simply wandering around and seeing where you end up! There are loads of great winding streets, quaint and quirky shops, and lovely cafes where you can have a well deserved rest at the end of it all!
Speaking of trendy, if you have a love for all things hipster and cool then you may want to head east to Shoreditch which is home to the world’s very first pop up mall, Boxpark. Boxpark was the brainchild of CEO Roger Wade and first opened back in 2011. Packed with cool fashion outlets, interspersed with art galleries and cafe’s it is well worth a visit, even simply for the strange structure of the mall itself which is made from old shipping containers. However you need to get there quick as the mall will close its doors for the final time in 2015!
Why not step back in time and take a stroll down London’s famous and historic Carnaby Street? If you fancy a more chilled out shopping experience this is the place to go. Still tinged with influences from the swinging 60s, Carnaby Street boasts a great variety of independent stores and boutiques as well as some of the most popular up and coming designer names. If supporting local businesses is your thing then this is the place to come as there are a great many independent local pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars where you can take a load off and refuel while you admire your unique and interesting purchases!
Another well known shopping area, famous for its chic designer stores is the Knightsbridge and Brompton Road areas of the city. Take the tube to Knightsbridge and be simply transformed to a world where designer clobber is all the rage. Here you can find the world famous Harrods as well as Harvey Nichols. Sloane by name, Sloane by nature! -this is also where you can find all the big designers such as Bottega Venetta and Brown on the aptly named Sloane Street. Be prepared to return home with your wallet feeling a lot lighter though!
The Kings Road is a shopper’s heaven and you can easily spend the best part of a day here leisurely perusing the fantastic shops on offer. With designer shops, exciting independent labels, and intriguing boutique shops this is a road that will cater to everyone’s tastes, no matter what their style is. The legendary Vivienne Westwood’s store is located on the Kings Road where you can discover the true birthplace of punk. Lovers of decorating won’t be disappointed either as Cath Kidson and Peter Jones on trend interior design stores can also be found here. To top it all off the Kings Road is home to the eclectic Chelsea Antiques market which is an Aladdin’s Cave of wonderful antiques which would look fantastic in any home.
Fancy some classic British tailoring? Then get down to Savile Row pronto, darling. Here you will find gorgeous stores such as Huntmas & Sons, Ozwald Boateng, and Gieves and Hawkes where you can be styled within an inch of your life and get the perfect suit or tuxedo just for you. But let’s not forget of course, the oldest and perhaps most famous of them all, Henry poole & Co which is actually most famous for being the inventor of the tuxedo itself! For a slightly less expensive shop you will also find the cool American brand Abercrombie and Fitch, just around the corner.
Notting Hill is a great place to shop, as well as a popular tourist destination (thanks to the film Notting hill!) If you are looking to buy something unusual then Notting Hill is a great bet. There are loads of independent stores around the area, with quaint bookshops, unusual vintage clothes, old antique and thrift stores and lots of health shops selling organic food products. Of course a trip to Notting Hill just wouldn’t be right without a visit to the world famous mile long Portobello market which you can find bric a brac, clothes, collectibles, furniture and ornaments and so much more.
Another world famous stop off on your tour of the best shopping districts in London should be the classy Canary Wharf area which is situated in London’s Docklands. Canary Wharf is best known for harboring many of London’s biggest businesses, particularly in the financial sector, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked as a fine destination if you've got some money to spare and fancy a bit of a shopping spree.
Canada Square is Canary Wharf’s shopping centre. Its modern architecture alone is enough to impress and inside it is home to over 200 shops. You can find many of the classic high street shops packed into this sleek shopping centre such as Oasis, Zara and Topshop. If you are looking to pamper yourself then make a beeline for the incredible Jo Malone store where you will find incredible one of a kind fragrances, candles and body lotions for you to enjoy. Canada square is unusually a great place to come on a weekend if you wish to stay out of the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets, because Canary Wharf is a business hub and tends to be busier on weekdays. So, if you fancy a leisurely relaxing weekend shopping trip, this might well be the spot for you.
So there you have it, some of the biggest and best shopping experiences to be enjoyed in the English capital. Of course it is impossible to mention every shop, every area where you can buy great clothes, furniture, jewelry, bath products and more, but this should give you a good idea of where to head to depending on what you have in mind. Whether you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift, simply fancy treating yourself to a brand new wardrobe, or are looking to re vamp your home, London provides some of the best, most unique and top quality stores in the world. Happy shopping everyone!