London has been one of the worlds most important fashion cities for hundreds of years. London is a home to countless designer outlets as well as places where you pick up a great bargain. London is full of department stores like Harrods, markets like Borough Market as well as world famous shopping streets like Oxford street.
This mixture is what makes London one of the best shopping cities and the perfect place to shop till you drop. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for high end designer chic, souvenirs or arts and crafts you will find it in London.
#1 Carnaby Street, Soho
Location: Carnaby Street, Soho, London
Nearby Hotel: Z Hotel, Soho
Carnaby Street, Soho is one of my favorite shopping streets in London and a great place to wander for hours. Carnaby street is best known for its bold fashion stores and the street still embodies the rebellious attitude of the teenagers in the Beatles era of the swinging 60’s.
You can find intriguing vintage outfits here as well as expensive designer wear. In particular, be sure to visit Kingly Court for an interesting shopping and dining experience. There is also some amazing restaurants and take away food available and in summer the street comes alive with street food.
The actual street runs parallel to Regent street between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Tube stations, however the surrounding area is also a great place to grab some amazing fashion.
This area is also a perfect place to stay in London and is central to most attractions, some amazing Airbnb apartments are available.
#2 Borough Market
Borough Market is ones of London’s most icon markets offering a range of British and International produce. Located next to London Bridge this market has over 100 stalls offering delicious foods, cheeses and patisseries. Borough Market has existed for around 1000 years and is defined by its position at one end of London Bridge.
This area is a fantastic place to explore the sights, smells and sounds while sampling some of the amazing street food. The market is open from Monday to Saturday however some of the stalls only open between Wednesday to Saturday.
#3 Bond Street
Bond Street is the ultimate definition of sophistication. The shopping street is dotted with myriad fashion stores including some of the worlds biggest designer names, such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. Bond Street also boasts of designer jewelers such as Tiffany & Co. as well as Cartier. You can also find rare antiques and unique artwork in the street.
One of the oldest auctioneer centers, Sotheby’s, is also found in the area and you might also find some rare collectibles here. Bond Street is actually known as New Bond Street and Old Bond Street however most people would refer to the entire street. Bond Street links Piccadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north.
You can use the Bond Street, Oxford Circus or Green Park tube stations and walk up the whole street which is about 1km in length.
#4 Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market is a covered market in the center of the City of London, located on Gracechurch Street. The market is one of the oldest in London and dates back to the 14th Century. Fans of Harry Potter will instantly recognise the elegant Victorian roof which was used to represent Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Bull’s Head Passage which is a little lane-way near the market was also used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. The market has a number of stalls selling cheese, meat, flowers as well as fresh food. The market also has other shops selling clothing as well as pubs, bars and restaurants. Leadenhall Market is a great place to explore while visiting London.
The underground is the best way to get to the market and it is an easy walk from Aldgate, Bank or Monument stations.
#5 Covent Garden, West End
Location: West End, London
Recommended Hotel: Z Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a massively popular part of London dating back to the early 17th century. The most popular attraction is the famous Covent Garden Market.
This area is always busy with tourists and locals however it is definitely worth a visit. Covent Garden is centrally located within easy walk to Soho, The West End and Leicester Square. It is also well connected to the London underground with its own tube station and is part of zone 1.
Covent Garden is a perfect place to spend the whole afternoon browsing the many shops, eating at one of the fantastic restaurants or just people watching while having a few beers in a local pub. While the market piazza is the main drawcard, we recommend heading outside to the Seven Dials area for some even better shopping. This area gets its name from the seven interconnecting streets, and contains over 96 fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores and over 90 independent restaurants, cafés and bars.
Getting lost in the lane ways dating back to the 1600’s is one of the pleasures of London. The area is also home to some of the many London theatres and a lot of restaurants will offer discounts if you have theatre tickets. The nearest station is Covent Garden, which is seconds away from the main market building. Other underground stations which are close by include Leicester Square and Charing Cross.
#6 Harrods Department Store, Knightsbridge
Location: Harrods, Knightsbridge
Nearby Hotel: Bulgari Hotel
Harrods is a world famous department store that is located on Brompton Road in the posh London suburb of Knightsbridge. The store itself is massive and covers almost 20000 m2 with 330 different departments. and 38 restaurants. Since its opening in 1849 the store has built a history of serving some of London’s elite including Oscar Wilde and Charlie Chaplin. The store also has royal warrants from the Queen, Prince Charles and The Duke of Edinburgh meaning that they can advertise the fact that they have supplied goods and services to these royal customers.
There is also a memorial inside to the late Diana Prince of Wales and Dodi Fahed, who’s father Mohamed famously owned the store at the time of their death in 1997. The store is very opulent and is a magnificent old Victorian building from the outside.
You will find the area packed with tourists and it is a stop on the hop on hop off buses. Getting to Harrods is very easy and it is located near the Knightsbridge tube station and just south of Hyde Park.
#7 Oxford Street London
Nearby Hotel: The Marylebone Hotel
Oxford Street is probably the most famous shopping street’s in the heart of London and up there with some of the world’s best. Oxford Street has over 300 shops where you will find virtually all kinds of high-street fashion items as well as most of the big designer outlets and department stores like Selfridges, Debenhams and John Lewis.
Oxford Street is loved by both locals and tourists alike. It is therefore no surprising to learn that the street is usually very crowded, especially on weekends. If you don’t particularly like shoving and pushing through crowds, you would certainly be better of shopping elsewhere. Alternatively, you can opt to shop on weekdays when the crowds are not that big.
Our suggestion is to start at Marble Arch tube station near speakers corner and then make your way east towards Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.
#8 Kings Road London
King’s Road is a celebrity-ridden shopping area in London. This is because it is home to countless designer stores. You would be hard pressed to find a designer who doesn’t display their goods on this street. Besides fashion items, you can also find superior quality interior décor items in this area. Vintage clothes can also be found here which is no surprise given that the shopping area came to life in the 60’s.
Even though the items found in the area are exquisite, they also come at a hefty price. Shopping here can be quite costly, which perhaps explains why celebrities favor the area. If you have a taste for the finer things in life, there is no better place to shop than King’s Road. And who knows, you might just stumble into your favorite celebrity and even get an autograph or a priceless photo.
Kings Road runs from the posh Sloane Square through Chelsea and Fulham and has the strip contains some of London’s best boutiques. To get to Kings Road it is best to use the tube and get off at Sloane Square station.
#9 Selfridges Department Store
This department store was opened in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge. The flagship store is located on Oxford Street and takes up a whole city block making it the 2nd largest shop in the UK after Harrods. The roof of the department store has amazing views across London and has been used over the last 100 years for popup bars and cafes. Destroyed in the German bombing ‘Blitz’ of World War 2 the roof was reopened in 2009.
#10 Greenwich Market
Greenwich has been home to a bustling market since the 1300s. However, the one we have today began its journey in 1700. The modern-day Greenwich Market began its journey when Lord Romney assigned a 1000-year contract to the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital for running two markets every week, once on Wednesday and once on Saturday. However, nowadays, the market remains open on all days of the week, from 10 am to 5.30 pm. What makes the market even more special is that it stays open even on Bank Holidays.
When it comes to versatility, this market would offer stiff competition to any other top market of the world. It has several permanent shops (more than 120 of them) and some temporary stalls selling quirky goods. If you visit the market on Tuesday or Thursday, you will get to shop from some additional antique shops offering truly exciting collections. The recent years have also seen people setting up food stalls selling mouthwatering delicacies of various kinds (there are more than 40 food stalls in the market right now).
The place is particularly tempting for bargain hunters; they would find some great deals on vintage clothes, antique jewelry, contemporary artwork, fine embroideries, and classic books during their visit to Greenwich Market. Why not check out one of the awesome food tours of Greenwich including the market.
#11 Portobello Road Market
If you are a shopaholic, make sure to plan a visit to the Portobello Road Market during your trip to London. Out of the entire area occupied by the market, the region between the Elgin Crescent and Chepstow Villas enjoys maximum popularity. The said region is filled with stalls selling books, antique items, vintage household goods, and collectibles of several other kinds. Here, it must be noted that what you will get at the market’s open-air shops depends mainly on the day of the week you are visiting the market.
#12 Shoreditch and Spitalfields Markets
Shoreditch and Spitalfields are a series of markets stalls, lane-way’s and shops that is a great shopping area is to be found in the East End neighbourhood and full of upcoming designers showcasing their amazing talents. It is a great place to find unique and authentic designs in this area.
The Victorian Spitalfields Market sells fashion and arts and crafts with some amazing restaurants, don’t miss Brick Lane Market with all the Bangladeshi curry houses. The surrounding area is full of street art, trendy bars and quirky shops. It is a great place to browse and shop for hours. Shoreditch is also home to a Boxpark which is a shopping mall made from shipping containers where you can find plenty of unique items.
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