Listopedia: London Shopping Guide
Of all the things to do, London is the Holy Grail for shopping (big call, I know) and with Fashion Week kicking off, there’s never been a better time to start your shopping list! Here’s why I think London is the best spot to shop, and a few of my favourite places to shop, stop and blog.
Everyone is there
Not only can you find every designer you’ve ever heard of, London is also home to tonnes of local and European designers you haven’t heard of. If you like fast fashion, it’s everywhere and it’s huge. If you love vintage stores, there’s an abundance. There’s something for everyone.
Everything is current: it’s truly ‘fashion forward’
I live in Sydney and while I love it for so many reasons, we always get fashion late. It’s not a big market, so it’s not at the top of the hit list for designers. In the fast world of fashion where designers show collections two seasons ahead, I can’t help but feel that we’re always a season behind. This is why it’s so awesome shopping in London, because when you bring your items back home, no-one will have what you’re wearing.
Long opening hours
Most stores stays open until 8pm and many remain open later to 9-10pm, especially on Thursdays.
If you’re an overseas shopper like me, make sure to take advantage of this! You can get up to a 10%-13% cash refund at the airport. It might not sound like much but if you’re thinking about purchasing luxury goods, this is where you want to spend your money.
The English are funny and friendly
I love shopping alone so no-one can hold me back! It’s important for me that I can make little temporary relationships throughout my day’s shopping. London is great for this!
Okay, now that you’re hopefully sold on making London a regular shopping base, here are my tips on where to shop when you’re in town:
Shopping in London can be overwhelming. Too many shops and way too little time. My method is to shop all of the big brand basics first and Oxford Street is always a good start. You’ll find massive flagship fast fashion stores like Zara, Topshop, Next and Primark centered around Oxford Circus, so get you staple items and drop your bags back to the hotel before you go hunting for more unique pieces.
Also on Oxford Street, but I think Selfridges deserves its own category. This is one of my favorite places to shop. Why? You’ll find the super famous designers alongside emerging brands. If you’re time poor and don’t want to brave the cold at this time of year, then this is where you want to shop. You have everything all under one roof!
Personally I love shopping in the Miss Selfridge section – we don’t have anything like this back home. Everything is fun, a little edgy and always on trend. They also have the most amazing shoe department; I could spend hours in this floor alone. After you get tired of shopping, make sure you stop at Aubaine for a glass of champagne. It’s right next to the shoe department and one of the cutest little cafés, and of course very Instagram worthy!
DryBy London Blow Dry Bar
Feel like a quick pamper between stores? Blow dry bars are a pretty hot thing in London right now, and DryBy London is one of the better ones. Just a few hundred metres from Miss Selfridge and Topshop, with great interiors and a buzzy vibe, it’s a great spot to grab a glass of bubbles and plan your next shopping move! And for the next stop on Bond Street, you’ll want to feel freshly blow-dried for a bit of haute couture!
New and Old Bond Streets
To say I spend quite a bit of time here is an understatement! I always lecture shoppers to enjoy the interiors and service of the high-end luxury brands, irrespective of whether you’re going to buy or not! Well, before I could afford a Chanel handbag, I was hanging out in all of these stores constantly. I would walk in with cheap threads and a cheap bag, but these stores are not at all like Pretty Woman – the sales girls don’t look down their noses at you, they’re usually just sweet people who want to connect – so make it your point to tease out a conversation with them.
London’s flagship boutiques for Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton – you get the idea – line these beautiful old streets which are worth the walk, even if it’s just for a spot of window shopping.
Set in the most beautiful Tudor-style building on Regent Street, just around the corner from Carnaby Street, Liberty London department store is a must-visit. Here you’ll find luxury goods, cosmetics, homeware and fabrics. Liberty is also known for its beautiful flower shop! Pop in to grab little gifts and personal items.
This cute little strip consists of lots of smaller independent boutiques set in charming alcoves and courtyards etc. On Carnaby Street, you can find yourself getting lost and uncovering beautiful, delicious brunch spots. Make sure you find a cute pub or a café to have lunch between your shopping! Or go for a little walk east down Oxford Street and check out my next tip, Hubbard & Bell!
Hubbard & Bell
This place is where you can sit and blog, Skype or browse the internet SHAMELESSLY! Super comfy lounge-style interiors and great coffee make this an excellent stop for you and your laptop.
Finish up at Covent Garden
There are loads of small Continental European brands inside Covent Garden, so it’s a great way to get a taste of the styles of the rest of Europe without leaving London. Head down Neal Street to Neal’s Yard – it’s a super colourful little courtyard and right around the corner from Monmouth Coffee, where you can get a great flat white, something that’s becoming so common in London thanks to a bit of Aussie influence!
Seven Dials is also a great spot for photos, as is Somerset House, which was just around the corner from where I was staying at One Aldwych Hotel.
I’ve barely scratched the surface but this list should help you tick a few things off your London shopping bucket list.
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