London is one of the most favourite tourist destinations in the world. It is not only the historic landmarks, attractive tourist places, Royal Palaces, Royal Parks, technological wonders, business opportunities, Michelin-starred restaurants, the pub culture, museums, art galleries, theatres and other places of interest, that attract tourists but also its immense shopping destinations. These destinations not only include upscale, exclusive and trendy shops, but also unusual markets and antique options that lure people from all over the world. The following are the top shopping destinations of London.
The very mention of London conjures images of Oxford Street which is one of London’s must-visit places for shopping. It is a one and a half-mile long street located in the City of Westminster in the West End of London. With 300 shops lining both sides of the street, it is Europe’s busiest shopping street. Roughly halfway along Oxford Street is Oxford Circus, a busy junction with Regent Street. The street has shops of every possible size, category and shape from large department stores to fashion outlets to shops selling clothes, shoes and anything and everything under the sun. The famous Selfridges department store is located on this street along with Debenhams, Topman, The Gap, sportsdirect.com and many more. Marble Arch is on its west end and on its east end is Tottenham Court Road which is full of electronic stores.
Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street located in the Soho District of the City of Westminster, near Oxford Street and Regents Street. Numerous fashion and lifestyle retailers can be found on this street including a large number of fashion boutiques. The nearest London Underground station is Oxford Circus tube station on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines. It is very much a part of Oxford Street shopping district and the streets crossing or meeting it are, from south to north, Beak Street, Broadwick Street, Kingly Court, Ganton Street, Marlborough Court, Lowndes Court, Fouberts Place, Little Marlborough Street and Great Marlborough Street.
Regent Street is also very much a part of the Oxford Street Shopping district as it is close by. It is considered by many to offer the best shopping experience in the West End area. It also has many art galleries and is home to many international brands such as The Apple Store, Anthropologie and Hamley’s to name a few. Piccadilly Circus lies at the end of this long, curving street.
Also a part of Oxford Street shopping district, Bond Street is an exclusive shopping street where you can find many celebrities shopping at some of the best high-end shops. These include Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Tiffany & Co. It is the only street that runs between Oxford Street and Piccadilly in the West End of London. It has two sections with the southern section being known as Old Bond Street and the longer northern section being known as New Bond Street. Bond Street is one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world and, in 2010 it was Europe’s most expensive retail location.
Although Queensway is not considered by many as one of London’s top shopping destinations, it is still an important shopping area being located in the Bayswater area of London and being home to Whiteleys which is London’s first department store. There are many shops in Queensway that sell all sorts of items from electronics shops to American fast food, clothing stores, souvenir shops, cafes, newsstands, and a beautiful pub on the Porchester end, or north-most section of Queensway called “The Redan”.
Being home to Harrods and Harvey Nichols is the biggest asset of Knightsbridge which is always there on the travel plans of travellers from all over the world. Knightsbridge is the place to shop if you are looking for the latest trends of the world’s fashion elite. It is an exclusive residential and retail district, south of Hyde Park in London.
Famous for the Notting Hill Carnival that takes place every August and for being the setting for the well-known movie, “Notting Hill”, this area cannot strictly be called a shopping district with many exclusive shops and boutiques. However, it is home to many antique shops and record stores where you can find some of the oldest used LP’s in their original jackets. It is also home to Portobello Road Market that comes alive on Saturdays when traders display and sell antiques and unusual trinkets.
Covent Garden in London
Located on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martins Lane and Drury Lane, Covent Garden is associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square, which is now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House which is known as “Covent Garden”. It offers a fantastic shopping experience as travellers can buy some of the trendiest of clothes, arts & crafts, jewellery, antiques, handmade soap, handbags, a magician’s booth, candy, hand-knitted children’s clothing, artwork and household goods.
It is reputed to be the largest urban shopping centre in Europe being home to more than 275 luxury, premium and high-street retailers as well as a gym, cinema, several pubs and restaurants that are all located under the same roof. It is located in London’s Shepherd’s Bush area and although it is not part of central London attractions but the London Underground makes it easily reachable.