Don’t let the pound get you down, get your shop on while you’re in London. Pick up an outfit that will make you feel like a local Londoner (get inspiration from my What to Wear in London post), go designer with some classic British labels, or head east and grab some hipster threads. Here are five areas in London to do some serious shopping in.
1. Oxford Circus
Home to Oxford Street, Regent Street, and more, this is THE place that most visitors go to when they go shopping in London (which is why it’s always crazy busy!) Many of England’s high street shops (what the Brits call affordable retail stores) have their flagship stores in this area, and they’re MASSIVE!
For the odd and eclectic, head to East London. You’ll find interesting shops filled with knick knacks and hipsters, markets filled with caps and beard combs, and plenty of other things. Box Park, created from old shipping containers, is lined with pop-ups clothing shops rented by small designers as well as a variety of food spots. I also love Old Spitalfields Market, a covered market that’s home to vendors that sell jewelry (both vintage and new), clothing, artwork, and more. Spend some time wandering and you’ll find plenty of places that will catch your curiosity.
3. Carnaby Street
For a bit of a calmer shopping experience that makes you feel a bit like you’re in a small village and not near the busiest shopping area of London, visit Carnaby Street. This is the place to go if you want to be within the heart of British fashion, with Ben Sherman, Paul Smith Soho, Barbour Heritage, Jack Wills and other British fashion labels lining the streets. You’ll also find some global brands, small shops, and plenty of food options too.
4. Covent Garden
In Covent Garden Square you’ll find cute little shops to pick up souvenirs and other treats in, like the Whittard Tea Shop (a great place for Christmas gifts!) Explore just outside of the square and you’ll find plenty of luxe stores. If you’re looking for beautiful cosmetics and skin care shops like L’Occitane and Aesop, this is a good area to start. Grab a bite at Wahaca (one of my 7 favourite London food spots) or Shake Shack once you’re done shopping.
5. Notting Hill
Go for vintage or new in Notting Hill. Portobello Road is famous for its Saturday market (which gets rammed with tourists so try to visit when the market isn’t on) but also has tons of shops with all of the smelly antiques that anyone who appreciates the old could ever ask for. Have a wander around the area and you’ll find boutique shops, both cheap and cheerful and high-end. This is a great area to check out the charity shops, where the rich drop off their best stuff to go to the needy (aka .. US) If you’re looking for luxe on a budget alongside some possible celeb-spotting then stop by The Merchant for second-hand designer goods.