The London Design Guide


The London Design Guide

Although I’ve lived in Sydney for seven years, I always enjoy a trip home to the UK and can’t resist the magic and inspiration of shopping in London. Expedia’s Aussie travellers love spending a few days in the city too – 3 days is plenty of time to explore and check out London’s attractions. Few cities have more design and interiors hotspots – I’ve picked five of my favourites to share with you.

West Elm

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
West Elm, on the historic Tottenham Court Road, is more than just a furniture and homewares store, it’s a lovely experience AND they have coffee. Another reason to visit is that the American brand’s store is a stone’s throw from British competitors Heal’s and Habitat so you can make an afternoon of your browsing. It’s the favourite West Elm space I’ve ever visited (sorry Sydney, Melbourne and New York stores) and is set over two floors and 12,000 square feet (yes feet, it’s in England!). The staff are great, as is the coffee, and there’s a Design Lab where you can get in-store advice from stylists. In true West Elm style, a corner of the shop features artwork by locals and there’s a seriously impressive green living wall too. Well worth an extended browse. 209 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PN.

Atelier Abigail Ahern

Nearest tube: Angel or Highbury & Islington
Now to something totally independent, unique and very British in its quirkiness. This shop is run by interiors queen Abigail Ahern, who is known for breaking all the decorating rules and a love of dark-coloured walls. She’s also surprisingly popular with Aussies. A couple of years ago, there was talk of her opening a shop in Sydney and I wonder whether it might just happen one day. Shop here at this teeny store for striking one-offs or just brave décor inspiration. 137 Upper Street, London N1 1QP

The Design Museum

Nearest tube: Tower Hill or London Bridge
This is a seriously cool little (it is small!) museum on all things design; including fashion, architecture, furniture, graphics, products, transport and digital. They have some great temporary exhibitions (a fantastic Paul Smith one when I was there last year). You can visit the nice cafe and fab shop (with proceeds going towards the museum) without paying to go into the actual museum. Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD.

The Boundary

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street or Old Street
Feeling peckish? Head to one of Sir Terence Conran’s three restaurants in The Boundary in hip Shoreditch. This Victorian warehouse was converted over three years and opened in 2008, containing a boutique hotel and an impressive rooftop garden. The entire project was overseen by Conran himself. And it shows. 2-4 Boundary Street (entrance in Redchurch Street), London E2 7DD.

Liberty London

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Picadilly Circus
Yes another shop but seriously, the famous “Liberty’s” is so much more than that. Justifiably known the world over, it’s instantly recognisable by its black and white facade. Described as “one of the last great emporiums for innovative and eclectic design,” it has been in the heart of the capital since 1875. Perhaps best known for its textiles and Liberty Print, you’ll also find homewares, gifts, handbags, designer clothes and stationery. Interiors lovers should head straight to the top floor for wonderful furniture, rugs and lighting. The famous shoe designer Manolo Blahnik said: “I have known about Liberty since I was a young boy. My mother used to order Tana Lawn fabric and make us outfits. The store is so beautiful and 
its history is so rich.” Regent Street, London, W1B 5AH (main entrance in Great Marlborough Street).

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Jen Bishop

About the Author Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop is the full-time blogger behind Australia's leading interiors blog, Interiors Addict. A journalist since she left high school, she is originally from the UK but made Sydney home six years ago. This year, the newlywed is working on the road for 6 months as she explores the UK, Europe and America with her husband. She loves travel and discovering hotels around the globe with beautiful, cool, design-focused or unique interiors.

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