Shopping is one of the main reasons people flock to London in their hoards all year round. With over 40,000 shops from huge department stores to fabulous fashion shops, London is the heart for fashion, style and music. A wide variety of shops are all over London, from high priced exclusive clothing and goods, (some severely over priced I might add) to some amazing deals. For lovers of clothes and shoe shopping and more shoe shopping ladies, London has all the designs and the wackiest looks. But before you start, ring your bank, up your credit card limit, its time to start spending!
Camden Market is the place to go if you want cheaper stuff, it’s located next to the Camden Locks; this is London’s most popular market. It gets extremely busy here at weekends with thousands of traders, but watch out for the “buggy brigade” (parents with pushchairs!) your feet will be swollen, but not from the incessant shopping… from having them continuously rolled over and stamped on! Even so, you are sure to find the perfect pair of shoes to match that expensive designer outfit you just spent your whole months wages on. On the other hand, if you are looking for something a little different then Kensington Market might be a good choice, it’s located on Kensington High Street, this market caters for the underground fashions. You can also find an extensive range of outrageous hair colours, punk and gothic clothing and accessories, record stores, the latest in techno, platform shoes, leather goods and jewellery.
Portobello Road Market features antique goods, as well as clothing and music, hundreds of stalls on weekends, and cafes and bars. It is also a “celeb hotspot” with many famous people living and shopping in the area.
Oxford Street & Regent Street are the main areas in which to find many High Street stores. All the main ones are here from Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, John Lewis, Boots, W.H. Smith, Bhs, C&A and of course Hamley’s Toy Shop, which I must add is absolutely breath taking, especially at Christmas, every child and “older child’s” dream come true. You may not find many low priced goods here, but it really is worth a look. So credit cards at the ready!
You will also find Harrods; most people make a visit to this shop just to look at the costly price tags, as well as the wide variety of food on offer. But be sure to dress respectively, no light coloured clothing caked in the muddy tyre marks from the “buggy brigade” in the markets!! There is a dress code to shop here!
And then there is Soho. Soho is the place to go for a variety of boutiques; Janet Fitch for designer jewellery, Metalmorphis for body piercings, and Ann Summers for kinky lingerie. Ambient Soho and Black Market Records stock the best of techno, jungle and dance music. Try the Vintage Magazine Shop for excellent movie & TV memorabilia and posters. Soho is the ideal place if you are looking for something to do “After Dark”; it offers a wide range of erotic videos, sex toys, good cafes and restaurants and strip clubs. Soho is an interesting place to wander around, especially for the men who like to “window shop”!!
Shopping in London can be an exciting experience, whether you want to spend or just browse. It’s a vibrant city – buying something often involves discovering interesting surroundings and exploring new ones. At the seasonal times of year it is probably best to start early, London streets begin to look like an anthill around lunchtime! I myself am a true Londoner… born and bred, everyday there is something new to be found.
Top 5 ‘Must Buy Something In’ Shops In London – (just for the feel good factor, oh, and the carrier bag!)
Hamleys Toy Shop
Wow! That is the only word that came out of our mouths when we walked through the doors of Hamley’s, I lost my two kids and my husband immediately! Unfortunately, they found me again when they wanted money! But if you are looking for a reminder of your childhood or looking for something special for your own kids then this is the shop, and it really isn’t that expensive either, you can pick up a gift for as little as a fiver. It really is magical, 7 floors of it, a definite must. Nearest tubes: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus. Official website: http://www.hamleys.com
If you are on a visit to London then try to visit the very trendy Covent Garden, with all the up-to-date designer shops like French Connection, H&M, Calvin Klein and Gap to name but a few. If you are shopaholic like myself then you will love Covent Garden, a fair few celebrities also shop and eat here. The Ivy restaurant is a well-known celebrity hotspot, if you can’t get in to enjoy the tasty food on offer then take a stroll past… 2 or 3 times… spot the celebrity! Nearest tube: Covent Garden
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to world-famous Harrods. Some just want to check out the expensive price tags, others buy stuff just for the carrier bag. Even so, you will find everything you need here, mind you, the store is huge and it is easy to get lost. And remember; if you need the loo… take some money with you! Nearest tube: Knightsbridge. Official website: http://www.harrods.com
Carnaby Street has loads on offer for yourself and a guilt gift for him (well, we have to buy him something don’t we? After all, it’s his credit card!). For him, there are sports shops like Puma, Ben Sherman, G-room and if he’s a budding DJ then there’s Kingly Court, this a great place to buy great vinyls. Oh, and not forgetting a place where he can re-fuel… there’s a few pubs too! And for the ladies, there is a number of fine cosmetics shops, a few boutiques selling vintage mod clothing, designer shoe shops and Liberty’s is just round the corner in Fouberts Place. There are places where we can re-fuel too… coffee shops and sandwich bars. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus
New Bond Street and Old Bond Street
Just off of Oxford Street, is the less crowded but far more expensive New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, for all those that have an endless flow of cash then this is the place to spend all of it! Most of the shops here have “greeters” who will smile, open doors for you, and wish you a nice day! Oh, and keep your eyes open for the odd celebrity here too, London’s Bond streets are well known for bringing out the odd one or two. Nearest tube: Bond Street