Best Shopping Areas in London
London is a shoppers’ paradise. It is packed with thousands of shops made up of both high street chains, quirky independent shops, and of course the world famous Harrods. There are a number of shopping areas in central London and of course there are the famous London markets that must be checked out. The best shopping, as far as well-known brands goes, is in central London, where these brands have their flagship, and thus biggest stores.
Regent Street is one of London’s major shopping streets. The street is lined with shops from end to end between Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Street. It is one of the best lit up streets during the Christmas period and home to the world famous toy store Hamleys. All the buildings on this street are protected as listed buildings. It is home to the second largest Apple store in the world, whilst the largest one, also in London, is in Covent Garden. The famous Liberty department store is located in a beautiful building just off the Oxford Street end of Regent Street. Prices here vary greatly from the budget conscious H&M to more expensive stores like J.Crew. And don’t miss out on straying a street over onto Piccadilly and get lost in Europe’s biggest bookshop and Waterstone’s flagship store with its six floors filled with books.
Oxford Street is London’s most famous shopping street and the busiest shopping district in Europe. At Christmas time the street is nearly impossible to navigate with the amount of people, but the lights are always amazing. The street has around 300 shops and is 1.5 miles long. The flagship stores of some of the UK’s biggest names are located on Oxford Street, including Top Shop, John Lewis, and Debenhams. But by far the most famous store you’ll find here is Selfridges, which is located near the Bond Street tube station. Selfridges is similar to Harrods and its Christmas windows are magical. Oxford Street has something to fit every budget. Selfridges is the place to find high end items, with a stroll through the Christian Louboutin nook being a must, even if you’re afraid to look at the price.
Bond Street is the Rodeo Drive of London, but much more classy. Here you’ll find the biggest names in high fashion, such as Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, and of course jewellery giants like Cartier. Don’t be surprised to see some high priced cars dropping their well to do passengers off along this street. The most reasonably priced store here is the recently opened and huge Victoria’s Secret with its four floors, one dedicated entirely to its Pink brand.
Covent Garden was once a food market, but today it is a popular shopping district. It is a mixture of high street chains and smaller, more quirky independent retailers. The Covent Garden Market central hall is full of stalls selling jewellery, antiques, and more unique items.
Portobello Road in Notting Hill is where you’ll find London’s best and most famous street market, Portobello Market. The main market is held every Saturday when hundreds of antiques and bric-a-brac dealers descend upon the street. The fashion market takes place on Friday and Saturday, and the fruit and veggies market is Monday to Wednesday. Trading starts each day at 9 am, but sometimes traders start a little earlier on Saturdays.
Camden is a famous market and shopping area just north of central London. While Camden is still a bit rough around the edges and does sell plenty of touristy tat, it is nevertheless full of great small sellers. There’s a little bit of everything, including the eclectic mix of people you’ll see walking its streets. Here you can discover up and coming artists and fashion designers. It’s great fun spending a day here getting lost amongst the cramped stalls in search of unique items. There are two distinct areas to visit, Camden Lock, a series of indoor permanent stall holders and the outdoor Camden Market, just off Camden High Street. Prices can range greatly here from cheap to expensive.
Borough Market is a must visit for foodies. The market is located on Borough High Street in south central London and specialises in fresh produce. Traders here sell fish, meat, cakes, wines, cheese, and many more speciality foods. The full market runs from Wednesday to Saturday.
Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Market is one of the best markets for those in search of a bargain, or something unusual. It is essentially a large flea market that sells pretty much anything. The market is open daily, but the best day to go is Sunday. On Sundays, the streets fill up with people selling second hand goods and there are always street performers to entertain you. Besides weird, old items, you’ll find retro furniture, vintage jewellery, and new fashion designers.