Renowned as one of Europe’s best shopping cities, London is a fantastic destination for a shopping trip. From thrift stores to luxury department stores, London really has it all when it comes to shopping. In this article we will mention some of our favorite places to shop in London.
We’ve arranged them so that you can easily find the type of store you are looking for. Enjoy your shopping!
London’s famous shopping streets
London has many famous shopping streets that have almost acquired the status of monuments in the United Kingdom. The best known of them is certainly Oxford Street in London’s West End.
Oxford Street starts at the Marble Arch at the north-east corner of Hyde Park and goes east to the St Giles Circus at the corner of Tottenham Court Road. It is the busiest shopping street in Europe. It has over 300 shops. There are a good number of department stores on Oxford Street and some of them are even flagship stores for their chains. It will take you more than a day to explore Oxford Street, so we advise you to choose which shops you really want to visit before you go so you are not overwhelmed by their diversity. You can find the addresses of the shops via online websites like www.the-shops.co.uk/ for instance. Here is a list of our favourites:
- The flagship store of the British brand Topshop, located at the corner of Oxford Street and Regent Street, is touted as the world’s largest clothing store.
- The headquarters of Selfridge & Co galleries at the corner of Oxford Street and Duke Street. Selfridge was voted ‘World’s Best Shopping Mall’ in 2012.
- The Primark Store between Oxford Street and Park Street. This Irish ready-to-wear brand specialises in fashion at very reasonable prices.
- Marks & Spencer’s flagship store which is located just east of Oxford Street at the Marble Arch. This British store offers everything from ready-to-wear to high-end food.
Apart from Oxford Street, there are a few other shopping streets in London that are well worth a visit such as Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Kings Road, Knightsbridge and Jermyn Street. Oxford Street and the West End are an excellent starting point for a shopping trip in London. To get a glimpse of Oxford Street and the West End, check out our West End video tour.
Famous London Markets
London is famous for its open-air markets that can be found all over the city. Camden Market is one of the best known. Located in the northwest of London in the district of Camden Town, Camden Market has become one of the most visited tourist sites in the city. This market has many small stalls and “fixed” shops specialising in clothing, handicrafts, vintage items and food. The colourful shops along the Regent’s Canal make Camden Market a unique shopping destination. During the week, most of the small stalls are closed, so try to go for a weekend to get the most out of the experience. Watch out for the crowds though – if you’re going on a Sunday, you’d better take the London Underground to Chalk Farm or Mornington Crescent stations, then walk to Camden Market, as Camden Town station is often half closed due to crowds.
There are several other nice markets that you might want to visit in London:
- The Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is also a jewel for tourists. The antique market turns Portobello Road, usually quiet with its colourful houses, into a lively market place every Saturday.
- Borough Market is a good farmer’s market with lots of fresh produce. It is held under the arches of London Bridge Station from Thursday to Saturday.
- Covent Garden Market in Covent Garden is a good choice on a rainy day as it is fully covered. This indoor food market is also easily accessible. Indeed, it is located in the very heart of downtown London.
The best shopping centres in London
The other clever idea on a rainy day is to visit one of London’s many shopping centres. At the moment, the one you prefer is Westfield Stratford City, which is located in Stratford, in East London next to Olympic Park. This modern shopping centre opened its doors in 2011 and is considered one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe. Among its attractions are a huge John Lewis store, a Marks & Spencer, a large Waitrose supermarket and a large Vue cinema. Before or after one of your shopping sprees, don’t hesitate to visit the park where the 2012 Summer Olympics were held: Olympia Park.
There are several other pleasant shopping malls to visit. Westfield London, which is renowned for its size, is just west of Notting Hill; Brent Cross shopping centre is on the north-western edge of London; and Whiteleys, which is just north of Kensington Gardens, has many shops including H&M, Toys R Us, Victory Vintage, HMV and an Odeon cinema.
London department stores
We have already mentioned some of the best shopping galleries in London, however we have not yet talked about the store that is probably the best known: Harrods. The famous building of this high-end gallery is located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, south of Hyde Park. With a sales area of over 90,000m², Harrods is the largest shopping mall in Europe. Products such as clothing, accessories, jewellery, cosmetics, souvenirs, household appliances, decorative items, furniture, drinks, food and more are sold here.
The Harrods Food Hall is a legend, and if you don’t want to spend too much, take a look at the different teas they offer there, it will make a good gift at a reasonable price. If you are in London during the month of December, don’t hesitate to visit Harrods to see its beautiful decorations and Christmas department.
Apart from the department stores we have already mentioned, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason are also galleries worth seeing!
And if you still want to discover more of London’s superb shopping galleries, small original shops and shopping streets, why not extend your stay a little? We have many holiday rentals available in various parts of London so you can feel what it’s like to stay and shop in the city like a real Londoner!
London’s ephemeral shops and markets
The last type of “shopping” phenomenon we want to talk about are pop-up shops. These so-called ephemeral shops follow the trend of opening stores only for a very short period of time. The term “ephemeral” has gradually become fashionable in London, and has also extended to ephemeral bars, galleries and restaurants.
In 2011, the first ephemeral shopping centre opened in London: Shoreditch. The Boxpark Shoreditch consists of approximately 60 containers that have been assembled to create shops. Each container has a restaurant or ephemeral shop, and these containers offer everything from well-known brands to young companies or unknown associations. To learn more about this ephemeral shopping centre, go to Boxpark Shoreditch.
We hope you enjoyed this article about the many places to shop in London. Of course, there are plenty of other fantastic places to shop that we haven’t mentioned.
So , what is your favourite place to shop in London?