If you have enjoyed the majestic Monument in the City of London, you may want to spend your afternoon indulging in a spot of shopping. Well, you’re in luck as there are tonnes of opportunities in the region, whether it is high-street name malls, bustling markets or quirky boutiques. Here are our top shopping hotspots in the mighty City.
Bow Lane and Cheapside
Perfect for: high-street names
You can understand why this area is so popular with workers from the City all week round. With its high-street stores, banks and eateries, you have everything here for your day-to-day essentials. Bow Lane is a nice pedestrianised street that takes you southwards, as you enjoy all the usual big brands and names. History buffs will also appreciate that Cheapside is one of the oldest shopping areas in London, having stood as a processional route in the city since the Medieval age.
Perfect for: Victorian markets
Situated near Fenchurch Street Station, making it the perfect stop-off point before you head out of the City, this spectacular Victorian covered market houses everything from clothes, fruit and vegetables to arts, cheeses, meats and antique furniture. There are also pubs and restaurants here if you start feeing a tad peckish, while Harry Potter fans will immediately realise that Diagon Alley scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were actually filmed here. Having stood here since 1411, this place is about more than just grabbing a bargain – you’ll be doing it in stunning surroundings.
Perfect for: cheap bargains
Talking of great markets, Spitalfields truly is a unique shopping experience. Having formerly stood as the place for the City’s fruit, vegetables and flower market, which is now located in Leyton, it now has daily markets, with each day specialising in a specific type of goods. The site was built in 1876, even though a market has operated on this site since the 17th century, and located as it is between Bishopsgate and Brick Lane, you cannot really miss it. Be sure to check online to see what may be on here during your visit.
One New Change
Perfect for: the indoor shopping experience
This is the newest and largest retail centre in the area. Constructed in 2010 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, you can enjoy over 60 stores here, while several restaurants serve dishes from a wealth of cuisines. Spanning three floors, this centre can easily be spent a day in, and the roof terrace offers breathtaking views of the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral – what more could you really ask for? Office space? The site has that too!
Perfect for: jewellery and designer brands
Other than actually being one of the most famous historical buildings in the UK, the Royal Exchange is also home to all the designer and luxury brands you could ask for. For all those labels and bespoke jewellers, this is your best bet, while the restaurant and bar in the centre offers lip-smacking food and tasty cocktails. Even if you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet, a stroll through here is a must.
Petticoat Lane Market
Perfect for: clothes on a budget
On the other end of the spectrum, Petticoat Lane Market is perfect for clothes with low price tags. Located on the edges of the City towards Tower Hamlets, this place is huge, with over 1,000 stalls selling their wares on a Sunday. But do not take the asking price for certain – haggling is definitely a prerequisite here.
Perfect for: gourmet food
Foodies will want to cross London Bridge after the Monument and check out this fantastic hotspot on the other side of the Thames. Comprising around 70 stalls and stands, this market attracts producers from all over the country, while some stalls even offer goods that you cannot find anywhere else in the UK. Whether it is fish, vegetables, cheeses, breads, meats, cider, coffees or cakes, there will be something here to suit all, ahem, tastes – it is open Wednesdays to Saturdays.
New Street Square
Perfect for: gift shops
Situated to the west of the City, this public space was built to serve the various offices that are dotted around it, but it is still nonetheless a great place to go for gift shops and daily essentials. Strangely, but not surprisingly, there is a high number of suit retailers here, so if you are looking for the latest smart fashion, you’ll find it at new Street Square. Note that the shops are only open from Monday to Friday.
Perfect for: last-minute purchases
If you are waiting for your train, remember that Fenchurch Station itself has a wealth of shops. Grab some toiletries at Boots. Buy a good book to read on the train at WHSmiths. Or even buy a new coat at Marks & Spencers. Around the station site, you will also find some of your usual high-street names, such as TK Maxx, Gap and Ernest Jones.
If you decide to splash your cash on buying goods for your loved ones or yourself, then you are going to want to cut your budget slightly on other aspects of your trip to London. One of these may be accommodation, but this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality for it – the Montcalm hotels offer luxurious, spacious and comfortable rooms at an affordable price tag!