London is a fantastic shopping destination (if you are anything like me, you are going to die and go to shopping heaven). The collection of a ton of interesting markets providing a rainbow of stuff is a definite highlight, but so is the boutique fashion found at several spots throughout the city. Whether you’re looking for designer labels or vintage collectables, there’s almost always a shopping spot for you somewhere in London. If you’re planning a shopping spree here, it’s important to plan meticulously as the markets are often best visited on weekends. While shopping streets can get so packed on Saturdays that you might get caught into a stampede if there happens to be a sale nearby! So you definitely should try to avoid the crowds by shopping on a weekday.
If you are planning on visiting London, like these shopping tips, here are a few things you need to know and here is another guide to the best instagrammable spots in the city for that perfect shot for your ‘gram. If you get bored of the city (you might after you exhaust all your options of sightseeing) I have you prepared for 5 best day trips you can take from London! Go on to read the 10 places you should go to shop in London if you are a crazed shopping obsessed person like me (just kidding, I am not as crazy as I sound, or maybe I am? You’ll know if you become a member to my super duper secret and totally incredible club, sign up at the end of the post!)
Good for: The widest range of high street fashion. Oxford Street is one of the busiest streets in the world. The bustling crowds are attracted by a huge range of shops and department stores that offer the best in high street fashion, sportswear, and Britain’s most famous brands. Selfridges department store is a particular highlight. Route: To see all that Oxford Street has to offer, take the Tube to Tottenham Court Road station and shop all the way down to Marble Arch, at the opposite end of the street. Use Oxford Circus station as your reference point, roughly halfway down. Around the festive season, Oxford Street is especially pretty, with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights and imaginative window displays.
Good For: High-end designer gear. Knightsbridge in London’s West End is the best place in the city for designer fashion. Straddling Kensington and Chelsea, the whole area has a genteel vibe, best felt in the 2 world-famous department stores, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Don’t miss Harvey Nichols, where you’ll find boutique designer fashion along with some of the finest service in London. For more boutiques, head down Sloane Street and you’ll find Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana, Moncler, and Louis Vuitton. Matching the price tag of many of these designer stores, the hotels located in the Kensington area are beautifully opulent.
Good for: Men’s tailors. If you are looking for a bespoke suit, Saville Row is the place to go. Located in Mayfair in central London, there have been tailors working here for hundreds of years. In fact, it’s claimed that the tuxedo was invented by tailors on this street. The process of a made-to-measure suit is a special experience, as you are served in attractive dressing rooms, often with drinks included. You should allow time for at least 3 fittings to get your suit exactly right. The most esteemed Saville Row tailors change thousands of pounds for a suit or tuxedo, but you will also find ready-to-wear items in many of the larger clothiers, such as Alexander McQueen and Gieves & Hawkes.
Good for: Up-and-coming designer fashion. Spitalfields Market is renowned for its cutting-edge fashion boutiques, vintage traders and generally cool atmosphere. It’s open every day, but on weekends you’ll find the best selection of handcrafted items from some of London’s finest independent designers. We’ve seen everything from women’s trench coats covered in Manga designs to African-inspired hats. Consider staying in a hotel near Liverpool Street station, it’s walking distance from there. As well as incredible shopping, you can buy some fresh food from the wet market or grab a bite from a variety of franchise restaurants. If you want to show off your cool new clothes, take a short walk to Brick Lane and trendy Shoreditch. Location: Brushfield Street, London, E1 6EW. Open: Daily from 11am to 7pm. Phone: +44 (0)20 7247 8556
Good For: Weird and wacky items. Ever-vibrant Camden Market is a centre of the counter-culture movement, so you’ll find many niche stalls selling anything from punk fashion to handmade silver jewellery, and plenty in between. Bargain hunters will love it at Camden as prices are noticeably lower than other London shopping hotpots. Route: Take the Northern line to Camden Town and walk up to Camden Lock. The market has some excellent food stalls selling a wide range of regional dishes. In case you want to stay on after shopping, you’ll find some cool pubs and live comedy venues along the canal. Location: Camden Lock Market, Camden Town, London NW1 7BX, United Kingdom. Open: Daily from 10am to 6pm. Phone: +44 (0)20 3763 9900
Westfield London Shopping Centre
Good For: All-weather shopping. The UK doesn’t do malls on the same scale as Asia or the US, but Westfield is one clear exception. This huge dome of retail has hundreds of brands, and although you can find most of the items in other spots around the city, Westfield London offers free parking and shelter from the weather. Around the festive season, this is probably Londoners go-to shopping spot for stocking up before Christmas. Westfield London is in the west of the city, close to Hammersmith. If you decide to book your accommodation in east London, then the sister mall called Westfield Stratford City will be closer. Location: Ariel Way, London W12 7GF, United Kingdom. Open: Monday – Saturday from 10am to 10pm (Sundays from 12pm to 6pm). Phone: +44 (0)20 3371 2300
Good for: Antiques. Portobello Road market is one of the world’s largest antiques markets, running through the whole of Notting Hill. It’s most famous for its main Saturday market, but you can actually shop here 6 days a week. Although it’s possible to find a bargain, the items are often high-end and unique – with prices to match. Portobello Road is the best shopping spot for antiques in London, but it’s also a great place to soak up the ambiance of this swanky neighbourhood. Route: Take the Tube to Ladbroke Grove and it is just a couple of minutes’ walk to the market. Or book yourself a room in a hotel located in Notting Hill itself, giving you more time to poke your head into the rows of antiques shops lining Portobello Road, selling everything from clocks to stamps to vintage designer clothes. Location: Portobello Road, London, W11, United Kingdom. Open: Monday – Wednesday from 9am to 6pm, Thursday from 9am to 1pm, Friday – Saturday from 9am to 7pm (closed on Sundays)
Good For: Fancy souvenirs. Harrods is a popular spot for tourists to London as it combines heritage with high-end shopping. The once famous dress code to enter the store no longer applies, although children under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult. This department store is huge, with sections covering fashion, jewellery, souvenirs, toys, and lots of fancy food. The afternoon tea at The Georgian restaurant is a popular rest stop, with or without champagne. Fancy items, diligent service, and a ‘ye olde’ ambiance has kept Harrods relevant since it opened in 1849. Location: 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom. Open: Monday – Saturday from 10am to 9pm (Sundays from 11.30am to 6pm). Phone: +44 (0)20 7730 1234
Good For: Luxury fashion. Chelsea High Street was once the King’s private road, but now has a debonair, community feel thanks to the luxury properties that line the streets on either side. Measuring little more than 1 mile yet packed with hundreds of boutique fashion stores, restaurants and art galleries, this is where the monied come to shop. Route: Take the Tube to Sloane Square and split up your shopping with regular stops for a drink and a bite to eat. Prominent brands along the King’s Road include Club Monaco, Kate Spade, and All Saints. Peter Jones department store is good for all-weather shopping.
Good for: Young fashion. For young fashion, you can’t miss a short walk south from Oxford Circus to the famed Carnaby Street. This short pedestrianised street became the centre of 1960s fashion culture in London and has been living off this reputation ever since. These days, the independent retailers have been replaced with brand names and some cheaper souvenir shops. Prominent brands include Diesel, Lazy Oaf, and Office footwear. There’s a good selection of pubs, too.
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