Shop Until You Drop in London

If there’s one thing any tourist visiting London needs to know it’s where to shop. The city is an amazing place for shopping and whether you want cheap and cheerful or designer label the choices are endless.

Whether you can afford to buy or will be merely restricted to looking but not touching, Knightsbridge is a must. As well as long rows of designer and upmarket boutiques, this is where you will find the world famous Harrods and Harvey Nicholls. Harrods remains the top shop for top people but browsers are equally welcome. There’s bound to be something you can afford so you can go home with that all important named carrier bag. Pop just over the way to Harvey Nicks and view floors full of fabulous home wares and fashions then up to the 4th floor for a cappuccino and cake.

If it’s department stores that you enjoy, head to Oxford Street. Here you’ll find Selfridges, one of the city’s oldest and largest stores as well as House of Fraser stores. Oxford Street is also the UK’s premier “high street”. Every household name in British retailing from Top Shop to Boots, from Marks and Spencer to HMV are along this long stretch of retail heaven punctuated by every kind of eatery imaginable.

If you want to shop how the other half shop, make sure you end up in Bond Street. This is the home of all the very best in designer labels in fashion and luxury goods.

London shopping isn’t all about brick and mortar stores. The markets are great places for bargains and also a different view of the London culture. Whilst it may seem odd to point you in the direction of the meat market at Smithfield, if you’re any early riser you can enjoy the spectacle of the butchers and traders do their business for the morning and then share a breakfast pint of ale with them. Beware – it’s quite an experience to wash down your full English fry up with a pint of bitter at 6am. If you’re a foodie, the Borough Market is the haunt of chefs, gastronomes and anyone with a slight interest in food.

Another of London’s famous markets is Portobello Road. Antiques, bric-a-brac, curiosities, objets d’art and knick-knacks are in a massive abundance here. If it’s an individual statement piece for your home, you’ll find it in Portobello Road. For terrific bargains and a real slice of London life in the raw, it’s hard to beat Camden Market. Based around and on Camden Lock, this is so much more than a market – it’s a community. There’s the occasional whiff of “new age” but as a spectacle for tourists it’s not to be missed. Another market worth a visit is in Leadenhall Street. This beautiful covered walkway still retains all its original Victorian features and is right in the heart of the city.

Shopping in London is serious stuff. Every borough has its own shopping centre/mall or main shopping street – notable ones include Kensington High Street, Whiteleys at Bayswater, Hampstead High Street, Fulham Road and Brent Cross Shopping Centre