Travel plans taking you to London? Well, you’re in for a real treat when it comes to London shopping. It’s not only a top city for visiting but a top one for shopping with its numerous retail districts, shopping streets, specialty stores and clothing styles.
For first-time London visitors, these eight shopping areas are some of the best you’ll find, with each bringing something unique to the fashion table. Be sure to bring an extra suitcase and book a London hotel room big enough to hold all the shopping bags full of clothes you’ll bring back after a shopping spree through this stylish city.
1. Oxford Street
One of the busiest streets in London, if not the busiest, is Oxford, and it’s all because of the variety of shopping this street offers. Oxford Street is considered the heart of the city’s shopping, boasting more than 300 shops, outlets and stores and an assortment of choices from British and international designers. A Londoners favorite is Selfridges (pictured above), where fashion, furniture and food are available for purchase. Its constantly changing, controversial and even a little bizarre at times window displays are one of the biggest draws into this department store.
Shopping tip: Weekends are crazy busy so to keep your sanity and better enjoy shopping here, come during the week, preferably during the morning.
Knightsbridge is another well-known retail district and one of the more unchanged, appealing parts of central London. Some say it comes second to only Oxford Street. A local shop that tourists love is Harrods (pictured above). This famous British store has a range of luxury and everyday products throughout its seven floors spread out over 4.5 acres. It’s highly likely whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it and more here. Since Harrods attracts millions of tourists every year, locals prefer to shop at Harvey Nichols, a more chic, classy retail store offering all your favorite designer labels.
Shopping tip: Go to Sloan Street in this area for all the designer shops, like Gucci, Armani and Christian Dior, as well as some specialty lingerie shops.
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3. Bond Street
A concentrated area of sophistication and designer shops, Bond Street is where the rich and famous flock to. It’s a hot spot for international designers and for those with expensive and extravagant tastes. But it’s not just apparel shops. Exclusive jewelers like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier are also found on this elite street. Bond Street formed from New Bond Street and Old Bond Street.
Shopping tip: Antiques and art are also sold in this area. Sotheby’s is the world’s oldest auction house and it’s found on this street.
4. King’s Road
This area came to life during the 60s and 70s and is now the place to find trendy boutiques, high-street regulars, designer shops and interior design inspiration. Clothing shops on King’s Road are for the customer with a lot of cash or high-limit credit cards, so be prepared to find higher prices on the cute dress and pair of heels you find. Hit the right stores and you’ll find vintage gear you might like or might just give you a good laugh.
Shopping tip: Famous faces are known to frequent this road so look your best and have your camera ready in case a photo opportunity comes your way.
5. Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street was the talk of the area during the Swinging Sixties. It’s the birthplace of the “mod” movement, a modernist movement of British teens who wanted to break away from their parents and tradition, so they wore bolder styles and listened to edgier rock music. Today it still has cutting-edge clothing styles. Numerous shops, bars and restaurants cover this area, so buy some urban wear or a vintage mod outfit and then relax with dinner and a drink.
Shopping tip: Kingly Court is a courtyard behind Carnaby Street that’s a must-stop shopping and dining area.
6. Covent Garden
Want variety? You’ll find it at Covent Garden. Shop for menswear, women’s fashion, kid’s clothing and sweet treats here. Stop and rest your feet with a cup of coffee and a snack in between stores at one of its many cafes, delis or restaurants. Covent Garden also features three markets. Jubilee Market changes up throughout the week so depending on the day you can find antiques, clothing, household goods, and arts and crafts. East Colonnade Market sells a variety of items, including some hand-made and hand-knitted ones, seven days a week. Apple Market focuses on artwork, antiques, accessories, fashion and home wares.
Shopping tip: Walking is the best way to get to and see the surrounding areas of Covent Garden, while driving is the worst because parking is extremely restricted.
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7. Westfield London
Westfield London is an American-style shopping mall, so expect stores, food and a theater under one big roof. During an unexpected rainy day, Westfield is the shopping center that lets you stay dry while still getting your fashion fix. More than 300 luxury and high-street retailers reside in this shopping mall, as well as The Village, an area all its own compared to the rest of the mall with its designer fashion and champagne bar.
Shopping tip: Westfield’s sister mall is Westfield Stratford City, which you can find in the east part of London.
8. Jermyn Street
For men’s clothing, walk down Jermyn Street. Located in the very historic and fashionable London district of St. James’s, these men’s shops include tailors, shirt makers and suppliers of the finest leather goods. Find the perfect gift for you man or treat yourself to a good-looking shirt made by Budd Shirtmakers.
Shopping tip: Just a bit northwest of Jermyn Street is Savile Row, which is the place to go for the finest British tailor-made suits.
A stroll through these stylish streets or into one of these exclusive neighborhoods gives you a taste of some of the finest London styles and international fashion any true shopper can appreciate and show off back home.