London is truly a shopper’s paradise with its West End area having some of the most famous shopping areas including Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Bond Street and Piccadilly.
There are endless shopping options in the West End and shopaholics will definitely be spoilt for choice when they find expensive shopping around Bond Street in Mayfair; masculine, ultra-British accessories in traditional shops in St James’s; mid-range products in Regent Street; chic-funky items in Carnaby Street and the common man’s plethora of items at Oxford Street that goes crazy with crowds during the January sales period.
Below are a few of the shopping highlights that you should look out for while on a London shopping spree.
Bond Street and Areas Around it
Stella McCartney at Bruton Street offers classy, casual separates, knitwear, swimwear and affordable lingerie that her fans love. This is one of her two stores and several concessions.
Dover Street Market at Dover Street offers collections by designers from Jil Sander to Christopher Kane that are so white and absolutely perfect but outrageously expensive. If all that you have done is some window shopping, you can still enjoy the rooftop views and some great food at the Rose Bakery.
Victoria Beckham, for if you like immaculately tailored, sharp-edged classics, you should visit this spectacular space with a soaring atrium and clothes on racks around the edges at this sleek, slightly chilly fashion emporium on Dover Street, opened by Victoria Beckham.
Fenwick at New Bond Street is a discreet small and calm 120-year old department store that has five compact floors and offers select goods and brands. It also offers a beauty department and some delectable eating options. The tea (£18.50) at Bond & Brock is excellent.
Regent Street, Piccadilly and Soho
Liberty on Great Marlborough Street is a luxury store where you can spend a fortune as it offers opulent items such as fabrics and objects d’art from the Far East, and a famous range of exquisite Liberty prints. It also has a beautiful flower shop.
Goat on Conduit Street started as Cashmere that was expertly curated into a collection of elegantly pared down separates and dresses. It now offers its products throughout the year that still have their cashmere bias but now feature lovely lace and embroidery. They look expensive and are truly so.
Carnaby Street was only revived around the Millennium after its miserable period, although in 1960s it was home to kopper ties, looms and Paisley pattern shirts. It now has gleaming boutiques and shops of famous chains. It is a great place for young people as it has plenty of shops from Camper to Muji, and some good bars and restaurants.
Lillywhites at Regent Street offers unbelievable prices such as tennis rackets for a fiver and five sets of socks for a pound. It is an eight-floor emporium known as the ‘Harrods of Sport’ and was opened in 1925 having specialist departments for real tennis and croquet. It is now owned by Sports Direct International.
Waterstones at Piccadilly offers a haven of West End peace, having five floors of books, helpful assistants and a Cafe W on top that is ideal for browsing through your newly-bought books, meeting people and attending talks. It’s open until 10pm midweek and Saturdays and until 6pm on Sundays.
Burlington & Piccadilly Arcades located at Piccadilly, offers classic English goods at the Burlington Arcade in its various small shops that have everything from hand-made slippers to jewellery. The Piccadilly Arcade is over the road and it offers masculine gifts, from model soldiers to coloured blazers and socks in New & Lingwood.
Selfridges & Co is a massive store with a famous clock, giant façade and it offers high fashion and a shoe gallery of 55,000 pairs of shoes in stock and 4,000 on display, arranged in six different galleries and 11 boutiques. It also has an enfilade of footwear leading to the Nirvana of Feet, the Designer Rooms.
Primark is the common man’s shopping paradise in direct contrast to Selfridges and located just across the street. This is where most people coming to London for the first time head to, as the prices are unbelievably low and when it is sale time, shoppers are in a state of ‘Primania’. Another Primark store is located at the Tottenham Court end.
Topshop is another affordable shop on Great Castle Street but not as much as Primark, Topshop is where millions of women have had their fashion instincts satisfied cheaply.
Browns, this fashion store started as a single boutique in 1970 and now has several shops on South Molton Street. It gives a sense of the current fashion trend by providing space for new designers and even current creations of old designers. The masterpieces of designers such as Comme des Garcons, Armani, Missoni and Donna Karan have adorned the stores“shops-in-shop”.
Folk is located at Great Windmill Street, Folk originally was a menswear store but is now also into women’s clothes. It also offers some positively perky accessories.
Stanford’s, located at Long Acre, it is an ideal shop for maps and the only place where Ordnance maps could be procured. Some of the most famous British explorers have used the shop. It is an ideal place to get travel books and odd gifts.
Cath Kidston, located at Shelton Street, this shop has floras everywhere. This is a newcomer in Covent Garden and offers flower-based stuff with fresh, pretty and retro designs in various items.
The other shops in Covent Garden include Stephen Jones and Blackout II Vintage. In Marylebone area, you can find Margaret Howell. The Cabbages & Frocks Saturday Market is at St Marylebone Churchyard and Daunt Books is at Marylebone High Street.