Quite simply you cannot visit London without dedicated some of your time to shopping here. Home to some of the world’s most consumer defining shopping experiences, London’s shopping history can be traced through its historic and world famous departments stores. In one of her easiest challenges ever, Marie Teather hits the stores.
Perhaps one of the most aesthetically pleasing department stores to be found in the whole of London. With small, intimate staircases, intricately designed elevators, wooden balconies and glass atriums the store has retained the original quirkiness that it exhibited when it first opened in 1975. The owner’s fascination with Japan is still apparent in the store through Eastern influences while arts and craft are displayed alongside new fashion collections. The store houses well-established and upcoming designers—all cutting edge and ultra fashionable. A must see if you are new to shopping in London.
Regent Street, London, W1B 5AH
2 Fortnum and Mason
Still the purveyor of food and wine to the Royal Family, Fortnum's was opened by Messrs Fortnum and Mason in 1707. Despite stocking a solid range of accessories, perfumes, furniture and home ware, the shop is, understandably, famed for its fantastic, up market food hall piled high with gastronomic delights and adorned with chandeliers and marble pillars. The food hall is like walking back in time and even if you’re not into the food the décor alone is worth checking out. Also home to The Shoe Galleries – the largest shoe department in the world.
181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER
The best place to head for ultra fashionable and high fashion. Collections from Stella McCartney, D&G, Reiss and Alice by Temperley are snapped off the shelves on the second and third floors, while the lower floors of gadgets, books, cosmetics and the food hall still emphasis the founder’s, US entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, ethos that "shopping should be fun." If working your way through the crowds feels a bit too much you can still admire the world-renowned window displays from outside Oxford Street.
400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB
Possibly the most famous department store in the world. Tourists and Knightsbridge locals flock to the vast store that owners once claimed could get anything a customer wanted—one customer took up this offer to order baby elephants. The store does indeed sell a huge amount of good from luxury goods, to household appliances, pianos, pets, and perfumery. The top floor sells antiques with price tags that extend well into the millions.
5 Harvey Nichols
The younger more fashionable cousin of Harrods, ‘Harvey Nics’ is a much sleeker and more modern affair. Collections from ultra-fashionable fashion designers can be found alongside stylish bars and cafes as well as the Fifth Floor café that offers fantastic views across the city. A great place to spend a sophisticated day of shopping.