Famed around the globe as one of the essential destinations for serious retail therapy, London’s simply bursting with shopping potential – pretty much anywhere you find yourself within its borders will offer recognisable retail outlets. So how on earth do you choose where to head for some brilliant browsing, wonderful window shopping and unadulterated buying…?
Oxford Street/ Regent Street/ Bond Street/ Carnaby Street
The legendary hub of London shopping, the traditional streets that are collectively referred to in retail terms as ‘the West End’ may have been around since, well, the year dot, but should you be visiting the UK capital – let alone staying in the area itself at, say, accommodation like the BW Premier Shaftesbury London Piccadilly – it’s an absolute must to sample and savour. The main boulevard that’s Oxford Street is a one-and-half-a- mile-long thoroughfare of high-street store goodness (while at its western end you’ll find the supreme department stores that are John Lewis and Selfridges, of course). Meanwhile, Bond Street is renowned for its up-market fashion boutiques and Regent Street for its high-quality and luxury brand outlets (Burberry, Apple, Ted Baker, Russell & Bromley among them – and, of course, the iconic toyshop deluxe that’s Hamleys). Finally, who could overlook one of the centres of London’s Swinging Sixties scene, namely Carnaby Street? Nowadays it’s a haven for boho boutiques and cool, retro-influenced fashion stores – definitely one of the London best attractions.
(2-10 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY)
How do you feel about going about your shopping in a parade of refitted shipping containers? A bit weird, right? Well, so long as you approach Shoreditch’s Boxpark with an open mind, you’re bound to have exactly the dynamic, refreshing and positively eventful shopping experience intended at this place. Yes, it’s very Shoreditch (the unashamed centre of today’s London hipster); happily different, cutting-edge and urban. But its outlets vend cool labels such as Dockers and Nike and trendy Scandi interiors company Marimekko. You can’t say fairer than that, especially if you’re already making hay by saving money through Premier Rewards.
Duke of York Square
An open-air shopping centre with a difference – the difference being it’s located just off the hopelessly posh but delightfully elegant and serene King’s Road of Chelsea (the other centre of London’s legendary Swinging Sixties era) – Duke of York Square is all about chic shopping, for sure. Featuring high-street names like women’s fashion favourite Zara (one of Europe’s largest of its stores, in fact) and irresistible boutiques, it’s also blessed with a terrific Taschen art- and photography-bookshop and the oh-so cool Mary Quant cosmetics outlet. Most of all, though, it’s perfect for people-watching those Sloane Ranger types that, to most of us, seem to come from and belong on a different planet.
Westfield White City
(Ariel Way W12 7GF)
The Westfield group’s flagship shopping mall located in the heart of London – specifically the Shepherd’s Bush area – is simply ginormous; don’t doubt it. In fact, spread across 46 acres of real estate as it is, it occupies nine separate postcodes. Originally the site of the stadium that hosted the 1948 Olympic Games, today it’s home to 265 different shops, among them standalone stores for labels like Ugg and Hollister, luxury brands including Burberry and Louis Vuitton, boutiquey outlets such as Cos, Mylo and Tabio and the Croque Gascon restaurant that boasts a pair of Michelin-starred chefs. Mind you, other eateries are definitely available here – up to 50 of them, in fact!