From age-old department stores that have lasted the test of time, to young boutiques stocking the local scene’s latest, shopping in London is very much part of the city’s experience. If shopping is on your London agenda, you’ll find all of the high street stores on Oxford Circus, including Zara, H&M and Topshop’s flagship store. This is where you’ll also find a never ending stream of crowds, so be prepared.
If you’d rather get away from the masses, behind Oxford Circus tube station lies Soho and the iconic Carnaby Street which still offers a quintessentially British shopping experience with local labels including Paul Smith, Ben Sherman and Lyle & Scott.
Luxury labels are also no stranger to London, with Alexander McQueen, Burberry and Victoria Beckham claiming flagship stores near Bond Street and Regent Street. Also within this luxury pocket of London, Saville Row still maintains its prestigious reputation for tailored menswear while the museum-like Dover Street Market is regarded as one of the world’s leading designer retailers.
Our top picks
Dating all the way back to 1875, Liberty is an iconic department store so beloved by Londoners it even has its own reality TV show. Located in an incredible tudor-style building on Regent Street (just behind Oxford Circus station), the store still holds onto much of its incredible heritage while also welcoming the latest and greatest in wares. If you’re looking for a souvenir, Liberty is particularly famed for its collection of scarves and Queen-approved chocolates.
87-135 Brompton Road
London’s other famed department store, Harrods is the country’s - or even Europe’s - mecca for luxury wares. Located in Knightsbridge, the iconic store spans 330 departments and is a rabbit warren for all things luxury, from designer fashion to designer dog accessories. While some of its price tags may be out of reach for the average person, it is still well worth visiting, especially for the toy section and famed food hall.
Borough Market may be London’s most famous food market, but it’s not the only one. In fact, many locals have claimed the market too touristy and expensive, now preferring the nearby Maltby Street Market where stalls selling salted caramel brownies and Mexican tamales, sit alongside specialist gin bars and antique stalls.
For a taste of eclectic London style away from the high street, head to Shoreditch on a Sunday to browse the wares at Old Spitalfields Market. It is here you can find a range of up and coming fashion labels as well as vintage accessories and handmade jewellery. Nearby you’ll also find a huge range of vintage stores as well, so you’re bound to walk away with something.
While it may have become much more touristy since its heydey, Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill is still worth a visit, especially on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. While the market sells everything from fruit and vegetables, new items to second-hand goods, it is most famous for its antiques.