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Shopping in London is a must during your stay in our fabulous serviced apartments. Even window shopping, stopping to marvel at London’s famous department stores’ displays offers a magical experience. Christmas is one of the best times to shop in London, because of the festive lights display on major streets and the city’s winter charm. However, summer offers sales extravaganza and the buzzing high from massive savings and discounts on designer and high-street (outdoor shopping streets) fashion. Whether you are shopping at the famous British chain, Topshop, or luxurious department store Harrods, you will enjoy the sights and sounds of this fashionable city.
If you want something special to bring back home, you should browse the famous antique markets at Notting Hill all the way to Camden Market. You can find some gems in many second-hand and charity shops scattered around London.
Don't try to do London's shopping districts in one day. You will spend the majority of the day on the Underground. Focus on one area and shop smart during your stay at our London lets.
Amongst the art galleries and the British Museum, you'll find a nice mix of small bookshops around Judd Street. Larger chain stores and cafes can be found in nearby Brunswick Centre.
Soho offers jewelers and specialty fabric shops; be careful when shopping in Soho as a lot of the shops are wholesale only. Some shops will let you buy regardless. There are a few fancy dress shops and some newsagents that are very well stocked with magazines.
Head for the charming Marylebone High Street and you will find boutiques and specialty shops stocking everything from home ware, ribbons and buttons to children’s gifts.
Full of on-trend vintage shops like Beyond Retro around Brick Lane and Commercial Street, you will find plenty of treasures, but expect to pay for the privilege. There's also famous music and record shops like Rough Trade East on Dray Walk. Walk south to Whitechapel for saris and colourful fashion.
A Guide to Oxford Street
This might be your first port of call during your stay at our London lets, but we advise avoiding London's most famous shopping street at all costs from Friday afternoon to the end of Saturday. Weekday mornings are fairly peaceful in comparison.
Stick to Bond Street; the further East you go on Tottenham Court Road, the more fast food and cheap tourist traps you’ll encounter.
During December Oxford Street is partially closed to traffic on the weekend to make way for the influx of Christmas shoppers. Christmas lights around Oxford Street offer festive cheer. Nearby Regent Street and Carnaby Street are always worth a visit.
Selfridges, voted the best department store in the world. Famous for ‘The Shoe Galleries’ and ‘A Project Ocean’ campaign in the food hall to save fish being thrown back into the sea. The mini spa boutique ‘The Powder Room’ offers makeovers.
Primark, situated near Marble Arch tube station, on the western stretch of Oxford Street, it's the UK's biggest budget department store. The queues (lines) are terrible, as is the quality. You really do get what you pay for here. But if you need basics for less than the price of your lunch, Primark fits the bill.
1. Westfield Shepherds Bush, Ariel Way, White City
With over 300 stores, including famous department stores and big names like Apple and Gucci , this shopping centre has it all. It also offers a cinema and ‘The Village’ designer stories. For dinner al fresco, head to Southern Terrace.
2. Westfield Stratford City, Newham, E15 1AZ
In preparation for the 2012 Olympics, the shopping centre only recently opened its doors to East London. Here you'll find over 50 restaurants and stores like Nike, Waitrose and Topshop.
More info: http://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity
3. One New Change, St Pauls EC4M 9AF
At just over a year old, One New Change (next to St Paul’s Cathedral) is deathly quiet on the weekends. You will benefit from having some of the smaller shops all to yourself. Set in a modern building with a striking courtyard style open air roof in the middle.
More info: http://www.onenewchange.com/
4. London Trocadero, Shaftesbury Avenue
This entertainment and shopping centre offers a HMV music store, British gifts at Crest of London and fashion at Accessorize. It's in the middle of Leicester Square too for easy access to nearby Covent Garden and Oxford Street shopping.
More info: http://www.londontrocadero.com/
Where else can I shop?
Try Chiswick, Richmond, Hampstead and Sloane Square as well as King's Road in Chelsea. If you only have a few days in the capital, the main shopping areas of Oxford Street, Soho, Bloomsbury, Shoreditch and Marylebone should satisfy all your shopping needs.
Whatever your taste- London truly has it all. Here’s a brief guide to buying everything from gifts to antiques during your stay at our London lets.
For gifts, Covent Garden and Seven Dials should be your first stop. The enclosed market sells scarves, paintings and souvenirs. You can find smaller brands and retro boutiques like Pop for the hard to please members of your group.
Fopp on Cambridge Circus has a good selection of music, DVDs and books. You'll have to visit HMV on Oxford Street for a larger selection. Rough Trade East on Dray Walk in Brick Lane is worth the journey for independent record labels, vinyl and getting to know the British music scene.
And if you find yourself westwards, peek into Honest Jon's on Portobello Road for reggae and jazz records. Camden has a few independent records shops scattered near the underground station.
If you're a technology fan, you should visit the Apple Store at 1 The Piazza, Covent Garden, which is housed in a beautifully restored building dating back to 1876. Check out the latest MacBook Air and iPhone 4GS on old English Oak tables. This is something you won't find in Silicon Valley. There's another impressive Apple Store on Regent Street, centrally located to all of our London luxury apartments.
Tottenham Court Road is famous for electronics shops which offer excellent bargains, if you know the market.
Jessops round the corner on New Oxford Street gives good advice, if you are looking to buy a camera.
See our shopping links for more shopping ideas during your stay at our serviced apartments London locations.
You can still find a few Waterstones (Britain's biggest bookstore) in Piccadilly, on Oxford Street and on the Strand by Trafalgar Square, despite Amazon’s takeover. For academic titles, head to the Malet Street branch near the UCL university campus.
Charing Cross Road has excellent art bookshops and second hand booksellers who know their stock inside out. Foyles is the biggest book seller with a jazz cafe and concessions.
Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street is another must see. The impressive Edwardian building offers beautiful surrounding. Best of all, you can leave with your own Daunt books bag. In recent years, Daunt has branched out into literature and biography.
Art and Antiques
Jump on the bus or tube to Shoreditch and get lost in cobbled streets. Great Eastern Street, Rivington Street and Leonard Street offer private galleries, like Vegas or Victoria Miro. Although they are free to enter, the assistants expect you to buy a piece of original art or photography. Some galleries are by private appointment only. Check websites like timeout.com/london for up-to-date listings, openings and contact details.
Christie's or Sotheby's are the best auction houses in London. Founded in 1766, Christie's is located near Green Park tube in Mayfair. Sotheby's has a very wide range of art and antiques and is just down the road in New Bond Street. You will find Bonhams nearby, the world’s oldest British owned auctioneers, where you can get anything from ancient relics to vintage cars.
Smaller auction houses such as Chiswick Auctions in South West London are easier to access. We recommend you plan your visit well in advanced. Please visit the websites directly for more information.
If you are looking to blow your budget during your stay out our London lets, Harrods and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge will be your first port of call. With their almost identical outlandish window displays, famous food halls and VIP shopping experiences, these famous department stores offer true luxury. Nearby Burberry Flagship store offers British heritage fashion; best for trench coats or quilted jackets.
Bond Street and Mayfair offer pristine shop fronts with glorious scents coming out of them. You’ll find made-up ladies clip clopping down the streets. Dress up smartly if you want to browse through Fortnam and Masons, at 181 Piccadilly. It is famous for its hampers and fine selection of chocolates. You can book afternoon tea for a truly British experience.
For a bargain, try a market or two. Areas like Bermondsey, Brixton and Whitechapel in South and East London will be cheaper for everything, including food. You won’t find branded stores, but you can sample an array of exotic dishes.
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"What I like about London is its vibrant multiculturalism, the chance of discovering different places every day. And I love the weekend markets!" Read more from the team