With an abundance of unique, quirky, luxurious and world-class stores, there’s nowhere quite like London to flex your credit card and enjoy a large dose of retail therapy. Whatever you’re looking to buy, there’s little doubt you can find it in this amazing shoppers’ paradise.
Shopping on an Olympian scale
When the eyes of the world were on London for the 2012 Olympic Games, many people will have also spotted the enormous Westfield Stratford shopping mall next to the Olympic Park. In fact, it’s so enormous it lays claim to the title of the biggest urban shopping centre in Europe, with impressive statistics to match. Its largest tenant is John Lewis, a branch of the famous department store that covers a huge 22,000 square metres. John Lewis is far from alone, as the rest of the shopping complex houses around 300 other stores and 70 restaurants – perfect for those who like a spot of lunch mid-shop.
Remember, you’re on holiday – indulge yourself! Indulgence costs less than you think, too, as any purchase made on the VisitBritain Shop comes with a free VIP pass for either Westfield Stratford or its sister centre Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush, giving pass holders amazing special offers and up to 20% off at more than 80 stores and restaurants.
Designer labels at outlet prices
If you’re serious about your shopping, why not make a day of it? The Bicester Village Shopping Express™ is a day trip from London to Bicester Village, a popular and stylish designer outlet centre just 1 hour 30 minutes from central London on board a luxurious, air-conditioned coach. The outlet centre features boutiques showcasing the very best of the fashion world, including American fashion royalty Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, legendary Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Versace, alongside French fashion heavyweights Dior, YSL and Céline. There’s plenty besides haute couture too, with stores for fans of street fashion, homewares, gadgets and accessories. Get on board the Bicester Village Shopping Express™ and enjoy big city shopping without the big city crowds.
If you like your luxury a little more traditional, look no further than Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade. Often described as a predecessor of the modern-day shopping centres, the 19th century arcade is the longest covered shopping street in Britain and oozes exclusivity. Famous for its high-end watches and jewellery, visitors to the arcade can also pick up shoes, boots and accessories from the coveted Jimmy Choo.
Some post-shopping refreshment
If you start at the Bond Street end of the Burlington Arcade and finish at the Piccadilly end you’ll be in a perfect position to satisfy your post-shopping hunger with a sumptuously British afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, a favourite department store of the Royal Family. With a selection of the finest teas, delicate sandwiches with delectable fillings, buttery pastries and indulgent scones with clotted cream, it’s a post-shopping pit stop fit for a king or queen!
The best of the British High Street
Once you’ve enjoyed the longest covered shopping street in Britain, why not follow it up with Britain’s busiest outdoor shopping street? Few visitors to London go home without visiting the famous Oxford Street and sampling the best of the British high street. Served by many Tube stations including Marble Arch, Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, your London Visitor Oyster Card will certainly come in handy here. There’ll be plenty of temptation for even the most ardent shopper, in particular the four gigantic and unmissable department stores – House of Fraser, John Lewis, Selfridges and Marks & Spencer.
A Mecca for the fashion-conscious
Intersecting with Oxford Street at Oxford Circus is the beautiful Regent Street, a wonderful shopping destination in its own right. There’s something for everyone here but certainly lots to interest younger, fashion-conscious and tech-savvy shoppers – Regent Street is home to trendy fashion labels Superdry, Hollister, Desigual, All Saints and Topshop, as well as Niketown and the second largest Apple store in London. No visit to Regent Street would be complete without stopping at the world’s largest toy store, Hamleys, which showcases seven floors and 5,000 square metres of toys – a shopping experience real kids and big kids will treasure!
The world’s most famous department store
Last but certainly not least, London is of course home to the iconic Harrods department store in Knightsbridge. With 330 departments, a shopping trip to Harrods could easily be a day trip in itself. Alongside the clothing departments, visitors will also fine furniture, luxury food and drink, stationery, a range of toys that could almost rival Hamleys and even a pet department. Popular with Londoners and visitors alike, make sure you include the legendary Harrods on your London itinerary.
Wherever you like to shop and whatever you’d like to buy, welcome to London.