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Shopping in London

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A Guide to Shopping in London
London is well known for its upscale shopping destinations—Saville Row, anyone?—but this bustling metropolis offers something for everyone, from those with eclectic tastes to visitors who demand brand names.

Department stores are very popular in London, and two of the most famous are located in Knightsbridge. Harrod’s is a London landmark in itself, and its intoxicating blend of sumptuous décor and top-notch labels often lead to a distinctly lighter wallet after a visit. Harvey Nichols bring together leading retailers from around the world to create one-stop shopping for upscale clothing, food, cosmetics, and accessories. Debenhams, on Oxford Street, features affordable options from some of Britain’s most talented designers.

London is also a haven for vintage clothing lovers, and “used” doesn’t necessarily translate into inexpensive. Some of the best-loved vintage stores include Beyond Retro, featuring 10,000 items dating from the 1940s; Butler & Wilson, the Chelsea shop offering pristine-quality clothes; One of a Kind Too, a frequent haunt of celebrities where price tags can have plenty of zeroes; and Rellick, with one-of-a kind vintage couture.

London has distinct shopping districts, and the best way to determine where you’ll find your favourites is to get to know the areas.

Luxurious Destinations
The entire section of Knightsbridge is famous for its sophisticated hotels and restaurants, and its stores are no exception. Knightsbridge, along with Brompton Road, features celebrated shops and department stores that attract fashionistas and discerning travellers form all over the world. 

Many of the country’s top firms are located in Canary Wharf, so it’s not surprising that some great shopping can be found there as well. The shopping centre at Canada Square is an ode to everything glossy and modern—from the setting to the designer stores.

Westfield London, the largest shopping centre in Europe, boasts familiar anchor stores such as Marks & Spencer, while also housing hundreds of up-market shops from around the world.

For custom-tailored menswear, visit historic Jermyn Street, which is particularly famous for its shirtmakers.

Bond Street is synonymous with a high-profile clientele and celebrities determined to drop a huge amount of cash on a shopping spree. It’s one of the city’s most exclusive shopping districts and definitely a must-visit when you’re up for an expensive afternoon. 

King’s Road is a unique combination of low-key and high style, where visitors step into an inviting ambience of chic new shops, sophisticated cafés, and designer stores. It provides more than exclusive clothing labels, however; it’s a great place to get inspiration for your interior designs as well.

Notting Hill caters to crowds who want a little something different. Shoppers will find everything from vintage pieces to multi-cultural clothing and accessories to antiques in this diverse, friendly neighborhood.

Regent Street, whose main shopping area lies between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, offers a great selection of stores featuring mid-range prices. The shops themselves are among London’s most historic and famous.

You’ll have to fight the crowds on Oxford Street, perhaps the busiest shopping street in Europe, but it’s worth it to access the famous Selfridges and 300 additional stores. For the uninitiated, Selfridges is essentially a self-contained community with 11 restaurants and 10 acres of shopping space, including everything from fashion to high-tech gadgets.

Carnaby Street made headlines in the 1960s for its leading role in the clothing revolution, and today that spirit of innovation is alive and well. The area consists of stores that stock hip street gear and the trendiest fashions—perfect for those who prefer to wear of-the-moment garments.

Another hip locale is Covent Garden, where visitors can shop and dine within its eclectic, stylish atmosphere. Urban clothing and specialty food stores line the area, or you can get your arts and crafts fix at Covent Garden Market.

Unique Shops
To cope with London’s notoriously wet weather, a stop in James Smith & Sons on New Oxford Street is in order. For over 175 years, the family-owned company has specialized in custom-made, traditional umbrellas.

Visitors buzz about Hive Honey Shop, where all of the stock is dedicated to bees and their products. Family hives produce everything from jams to make-up.

Maiden Lane in Covent Garden features a taste of home for many visitors from the southern hemisphere. Duck into The Australia Shop, The South African Shop, and The New Zealand Shop for popular food, beverages, and clothing from those nations.


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