The Best Places for Shopping in London
The Best Places for Shopping in London
London has been one of the worlds most important fashion cities for hundreds of years. London is a home to countless designer outlets as well as places where you pick up a great bargain. London is full of department stores like Harrods, markets like Borough Market as well as world famous shopping streets like Oxford street.
This mixture is what makes London one of the best shopping cities and the perfect place to shop till you drop. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for high end designer chic, souvenirs or arts and crafts you will find it in London.
London Shopping Highlights
- Book a London Shopping Tour
- Visit the world famous Harrods department store – Don’t forget your credit card.
- Wander down Oxford Street exploring over 300 shops.
- Taste the delicious foods, cheeses and patisseries in Borough Market. Yummy!!!
- Explore Diagon alley from Harry Potter when visiting Leadenhall Market.
The Best London Shopping Streets
London has some of the most famous shopping streets in the world. It is free to browse and explore some of the brand name clothing on offer.
Oxford Street: Oxford Street is probably the most famous shopping street’s in the heart of London and up there with some of the world’s best. Oxford Street has over 300 shops where you will find virtually all kinds of high-street fashion items as well as most of the big designer outlets and department stores like Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis. Oxford Street is loved by both locals and tourists alike. It is therefore no surprising to learn that the street is usually very crowded, especially on weekends. If you don’t particularly like shoving and pushing through crowds, you would certainly be better of shopping elsewhere. Alternatively, you can opt to shop on weekdays when the crowds are not that big. Our suggestion is to start at Marble Arch tube station near speakers corner and then make your way east towards Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.
Carnaby Street: Carnaby Street, Soho is one of my favorite shopping streets in London and a great place to wander for hours. Carnaby street is best known for its bold fashion stores and the street still embodies the rebellious attitude of the teenagers in the Beatles era of the swinging 60’s. You can find intriguing vintage outfits here as well as expensive designer wear. In particular, be sure to visit Kingly Court for an interesting shopping and dining experience. There is also some amazing restaurants and take away food available and in summer the street comes alive with street food. The actual street runs parallel to Regent street between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Tube stations, however the surrounding area is also a great place to grab some amazing fashion. This area is also a perfect place to stay in London and is central to most attractions, some amazing Airbnb apartments are available.
Bond Street: Bond Street is the ultimate definition of sophistication. The shopping street is dotted with myriad fashion stores including some of the worlds biggest designer names, such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. Bond Street also boasts of designer jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. as well as Cartier. You can also find rare antiques and unique artwork in the street. One of the oldest auctioneer centers, Sotheby’s, is also found in the area and you might also find some rare collectibles here. Bond Street is actually known as New Bond Street and Old Bond Street however most people would refer to the entire street. Bond Street links Piccadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north. You can use the Bond Street, Oxford Circus or Green Park tube stations and walk up the whole street which is about 1km in length.
Jermyn Street: Jermyn Street, located in Mayfair, has long been one of the most fashionable menswear shopping areas in London. It is well known for selling quality menswear, ranging from shirts to trousers and even tailored suits. This street retains an air of elegance for which is has been well know for over 300 years. The tailored suits and shirts are rather expensive but the quality means they are worth every cent. Jermyn Street is a quiet street that is one street back from Piccadilly running between St James and Haymarket. You can use the Green Park or Piccadilly Circus tube stations.
Knightsbridge: Tourists flock to Knightsbridge shopping area by the thousands every day. It is immensely popular because of the variety of goods sold here, ranging from clothing to household goods to even artistic collections. One of the most popular stores for tourists in this area is the Harrods department store. The store sits on a solid 4.5 acres of land and has seven floors. In here, you can literally shop till you drop. Knightsbridge is famous not only for the fashion items, many of which are designer items, but also for furniture, jewellery and even food. After hours of shopping, what would be better than propping yourself up on a seat at the restaurant enjoying your favorite meal? Even though those who are new to the city generally flock to Harrods, locals prefer the quieter, classier Harvey Nichol’s store. Here, you will still find exquisitely designed clothes by world- famous designers without all the fuss that goes on at Harrods.
Kings Road: King’s Road is a celebrity-ridden shopping area in London. This is because it is home to countless designer stores. You would be hard pressed to find a designer who doesn’t display their goods on this street. Besides fashion items, you can also find superior quality interior décor items in this area. Vintage clothes can also be found here which is no surprise given that the shopping area came to life in the 60’s. Even though the items found in the area are exquisite, they also come at a hefty price. Shopping here can be quite costly, which perhaps explains why celebrities favor the area. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, there is no better place to shop than King’s Road. And who knows, you might just stumble into your favorite celebrity and even get an autograph or a priceless photo. Kings Road runs from the posh Sloane Square through Chelsea and Fulham and has the strip contains some of London’s best boutiques. To get to Kings Road it is best to use the tube and get off at Sloane Square station.
Seven Dials: While the market piazza is the main drawcard of Covent Garden , we recommend heading outside to the Seven Dials area for some even better shopping. This area gets its name from the seven interconnecting streets, and contains over 96 fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores and over 90 independent restaurants, cafés and bars. Getting lost in the lane ways dating back to the 1600’s is one of the pleasures of London.back to menu ↑
The Best London Markets
Markets have been a part of London’s day to day life for centuries. There are so many markets in the London area it is hard to narrow down the list. Options include farmers markets, fashion markets, street food and antique markets. London’s markets are free to get in making them a great way to spend the afternoon when visiting.
Brick Lane Market: Brick Lane Market is a market that is located in the East End of London on the northern end of Brick Lane. This area has long been home to immigrants including the Jewish and more recently the Bangladeshi’s. This cultural mixture means it is as easy to get a bagel on Brick Lane as it is to get a delicious curry. The market is held on a Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and is a traditional flea-market with everything from clothes, music, furniture on sale in the various stores. The market is quite popular and this part of London has become quite trendy in recent years. You can get almost everything at the market and we recommend combining it with near by Spitalfields. Brick Lane market is located north east of London and is easily reached using the London Underground, nearby tube stations include Liverpool Street and Westminster.
Camden Market: Camden Market is located in Camden Town not far from London Zoo. This crazy market has over 1000 shops and stalls that sell everything from the latest in fashion, music to some great art and beautiful food. This is the place to pick up cheap souvenirs though that it can get extremely busy on market days. The Camden Market itself is made up of a series of different markets including the famous Camden Lock market. The quality of goods in the area varies, but you can still find good quality items among the tacky souvenirs. Visiting the markets is easy using the nearby Camden Town or Chalk Farm Road underground tube stations.
Borough Market: Borough Market is ones of London’s most icon markets offering a range of British and International produce. Located next to London Bridge this market has over 100 stalls offering delicious foods, cheeses and patisseries. Borough Market has existed for around 1000 years and is defined by its position at one end of London Bridge. This area is a fantastic place to explore the sights, smells and sounds while sampling some of the amazing street food. The market is open from Monday to Saturday however some of the stalls only open between Wednesday to Saturday.
Covent Garden Market: Located in the West End of London, the Covent Garden area is full of shopping, restaurants, bars and markets perfect for the whole family. Home to high end fashion stores like Apple and Tom Ford as well as a wide range of smaller boutique shops it is a great place for Aussies to get lost and shop till you drop. Covent Garden is still home to an fruit and vegetable market as well as wide range of arts and crafts. You can also get some handmade clothing and jewellery. You may also consider visiting Jubilee Market, where different items are sold on different days of the week. On certain days, you may find art, and on others, household goods or even clothing. The East Colonnade Market is well known for selling hand- knitted items. Or why not wander the little lane-ways like Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials that are home to a wide range of shops selling food, crafts, cakes and clothing. There is a Covent Garden underground tube station that is on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Holborn. It is also easy to walk from Trafalgar square and other nearby areas of London.
Portobello Road Market: If you are a shopaholic, make sure to plan a visit to the Portobello Road Market during your trip to London. Out of the entire area occupied by the market, the region between the Elgin Crescent and Chepstow Villas enjoys maximum popularity. The said region is filled with stalls selling books, antique items, vintage household goods, and collectibles of several other kinds. Here, it must be noted that what you will get at the market’s open-air shops depends mainly on the day of the week you are visiting the market.
Leadenhall Market: Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the center of the City of London, located on Gracechurch Street. The market is one of the oldest in London and dates back to the 14th Century. Fans of Harry Potter will instantly recognise the elegant Victorian roof which was used to represent Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bull’s Head Passage which is a little lane-way near the market was also used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. The market has a number of stalls selling cheese, meat, flowers as well as fresh food. The market also has other shops selling clothing as well as pubs, bars and restaurants. Leadenhall Market is a great place to explore while visiting London. The underground is the best way to get to the market and it is an easy walk from Aldgate, Bank or Monument stations.
Greenwich Market: Greenwich has been home to a bustling market since the 1300s. However, the one we have today began its journey in 1700. The modern-day Greenwich Market began its journey when Lord Romney assigned a 1000-year contract to the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital for running two markets every week, once on Wednesday and once on Saturday. However, nowadays, the market remains open on all days of the week, from 10 am to 5.30 pm. What makes the market even more special is that it stays open even on Bank Holidays.
When it comes to versatility, this market would offer stiff competition to any other top market of the world. It has several permanent shops (more than 120 of them) and some temporary stalls selling quirky goods. If you visit the market on Tuesday or Thursday, you will get to shop from some additional antique shops offering truly exciting collections. The recent years have also seen people setting up food stalls selling mouthwatering delicacies of various kinds (there are more than 40 food stalls in the market right now). The place is particularly tempting for bargain hunters; they would find some great deals on vintage clothes, antique jewelry, contemporary artwork, fine embroideries, and classic books during their visit to Greenwich Market. Why not check out one of the awesome food tours of Greenwich including the market.
Shoreditch and Spitalfields: Shoreditch and Spitalfields are a series of markets stalls, lane-way’s and shops that is a great shopping area is to be found in the East End neighbourhood and full of upcoming designers showcasing their amazing talents. It is a great place to find unique and authentic designs in this area. The Victorian Spitalfields Market sells fashion and arts and crafts with some amazing restaurants, don’t miss Brick Lane Market with all the Bangladeshi curry houses. The surrounding area is full of street art, trendy bars and quirky shops. It is a great place to browse and shop for hours. Shoreditch is also home to a Boxpark which is a shopping mall made from shipping containers where you can find plenty of unique items.back to menu ↑
The Best London Department Stores
London is home to some of the most famous and most iconic department stores in the world. The world’s first department store Harding, Howell & Co was opened in Pall Mall, London in 1796.
Harrods: Harrods is a world famous department store that is located on Brompton Road in the posh London suburb of Knightsbridge. The store itself is massive and covers almost 20000 m2 with 330 different departments. and 38 restaurants. Since its opening in 1849 the store has built a history of serving some of London’s elite including Oscar Wilde and Charlie Chaplin. The store also has royal warrants from the Queen, Prince Charles and The Duke of Edinburgh meaning that they can advertise the fact that they have supplied goods and services to these royal customers.
There is also a memorial inside to the late Diana Prince of Wales and Dodi Fahed, who’s father Mohamed famously owned the store at the time of their death in 1997. The store is very opulent and is a magnificent old Victorian building from the outside. You will find the area packed with tourists and it is a stop on the hop on hop off buses. Getting to Harrods is very easy and it is located near the Knightsbridge tube station and just south of Hyde Park. www.harrods.com
Selfridges: This department store was opened in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store is located on Oxford Street and takes up a whole city block making it the 2nd largest shop in the UK after Harrods. The roof of the department store has amazing views across London and has been used over the last 100 years for popup bars and cafes. Destroyed in the German bombing ‘Blitz’ of World War 2 the roof was reopened in 2009. www.selfridges.com
Fenwick: A large department store that is actually based in the Newcastle in the north of England. The London Bond Street store dates back to 1891 and sells a wide range of clothing, beauty products and accessories. www.fenwick.co.uk
Fortnum & Mason: Dating back to 1707, Fortnum and Mason was founded as a grocery store and now sells luxury items like chocolate, teas, biscuits and wine & spirits. They are well known for their quality hampers that contain a wide mixture of their quality products. The department store has locations including Piccadilly, St Pancras, The Royal Exchange and Heathrow Terminal 5. www.fortnumandmason.com
Liberty of London – Liberty of London opened in 1875 on the corner of Marlbourough and Carnaby streets in Soho and now sells a wide range of men’s and women’s clothing, perfume,skin-care, jewellery and accessories. Liberty is also famous for its fabric. www.libertylondon.comback to menu ↑
The Best London Shopping Centres and Malls
Westfield London: Westfield London is a shopping centre located in White City not far from Shepherds Bush. Owned by an Australian company the centre is familiar to anyone who has been to a similar shopping centre around the world. The mall is the best place to find everything you need under one roof, from fashion stores to household goods retailers to theatres to restaurants, the mall really has it all. Westfield boasts of some of the most luxurious designer stores in London. Exclusive stores like The Village are to be found in the mall. The Village is known for selling fashion items from the most popular designers across the world. There is even a champagne bar nearby that sells the best of the sparkling wine.
Westfield London has 260 stores and some of the flagship stores include John Lewis, Versace, Apple Store, Debenhams and Marks and Spencers. Getting There: There are 4 underground stations that provide easy access to the shopping centre and these are only a few minutes walk away. Shepherd’s Bush and White City are on the Central Line and Wood Lane, Shepherd’s Bush Market are on the Hammersmith and City Line. uk.westfield.com/london
Bicester Village: A collection of outlets, Bicester Village is a popular shopping destination about 1-2 hours from London in the Oxfordshire countryside. You can explore more than 130 local and international fashion brands including Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, Kate Spade and Diane von Furstenberg. The best way to get to Bicester village is to book the Shopping Express® luxury coach service from central London to Bicester Village. You can also catch the train from London Marylebone directly to Bicester Village Station.back to menu ↑
The Best London Shopping Tours
Shopping tours are a great way to see the best of London shopping experience, Let a guide take you to the best shops for a VIP shopping experience. Most of these tours will pick you up from your hotel and create an itinerary packing in as much shopping as possible. Visit luxury boutiques, designer brands, vintage fashion. (I still think the Drink London! Historical Pub Walking Tour sounds like a better way to spend the afternoon)
London Shopping Tour: This 3 hour walking tour starts from your hotel or designated area. The tour is customized based on your shopping preferences, budgets and desires. The tour includes a local fashion expert as a personal guide before ending up back at your hotel.
“The Classic” London Shopping Tour: This Classic Tour covers the heart of London as you explore some of the cities most exclusive shopping streets around Oxford Street. You receive a guide, and a map of the area with a list of shops and restaurants. This tour allows you to discover high street brands, smaller shops and major department stores.
Girls’ Day Out: This tour offers a look at some of London’s best fashion and shopping districts including some of the oldest shops in the world. The 4 hour tour starts at Mayfair where you can discover brands chosen by royalty like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. Visit the area around St.James Palace to discover one-of-a-kind shops before heading to Carnaby Street in Soho and the amazing shopping around Covent Garden.
Bicester Village Shopping Trip by Train: Explore the 150 outlets with this train tour from London to Bicester Village. The tour include return train from central London and a 10% VIP discount card.