Shopping in London
There are a bewildering variety of shops all over London, ranging from some of the world's most exclusive and expensive boutique stores, to lively street markets, often offering up some amazing deals. No visit to London would be complete without a visit to the exclusive stores of Knightsbridge and the world famous Harrods.
If this is out of your price range, you can shop till you drop on Oxford Street and Regent Street, or head to the markets at Covent Garden for some souvenirs and watch the buskers. London is also famous for its Markets, from the curios of Portobello Market to the lively street life of Bow Market or Camden Market, as well as numerous other street markets throughout the city.
Covent Garden and Neal Street
Covent Garden used to be the flower market for London. Now it's full of market stalls, and small shops and is a lovely place to wander around for an hour or three. At weekends and on summer days there are often street entertainers all around the place and you can watch anything from unicycling to fire eating as you relax.
Neal street is just around the corner from Covent Garden and here you can find everything from the latest surfing styles, to a wide range of homeopathic and herbal remedies. It's a real mixed bag, but is a good place to get some serious shopping done.
Oxford and Regent Streets
This is the main area in which to find High Street stores. All the main ones are here from Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, John Lewis, Hamley's Toy Shop, Boots, W.H. Smith, and many more specialty shops. For many this is considered the centre of London. At any time of the day or night this area is always thronging with people. Oxford Street, running West to East is the main shopping thoroughfare with all of the big name flagship department stores on this street. Regent Street, running North to South bisects Oxford Street, and the crossroads where these streets meet, Oxford Circus is commercial 'ground zero' in the city, with the most people and the highest rents to boot.
The section of Oxford Street that runs between Marble Arch and Oxford Circus contains most of the department stores, and is the place where most shopping occurs. Here you will find John Lewis, Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, BHS, Zara, H&M, Gap, Urban Outfitters, New Look and many other flagship fashion stores besides. The jewel of this stretch of Oxford Street however is the behemoth and world famous department store, Selfridges. Second only to Harrods in London (and generally cheaper), Selfridges is spread over 5 levels and contains outlets of most fashion designers and stores. It has a particularly good contemporary fashion floor and an excellent foodstore as well. If you like your shopping you could easily spend a whole day in here and only see half of it.
Biblion is no ordinary bookshop, but a hub for all antiquarian book lovers. Strolling through the shop one can only admire the quantity of books containing the vast knowledge of previous generations, as well as the fine array of modern first editions that any avid collector would love to own. Biblion is in a fantastic location tucked behind Bond street tube station. This is a great place to leave the hustle and bustle of Oxford street behind and while away a few hours. The staff are polite and hepful. All book lovers should know about this shop!
Camden's group of markets is now the fourth most-visited tourist attraction in London. It is the largest street market in the UK, and attracts around 100,000 visitors every weekend. There are various markets located in Camden Town which are collectively known as Camden Market; these are Camden Lock Market, Camden Stables Market, Camden Canal Market, Inverness Street Market, and Camden (Buck Street) Market. The area around Camden Lock was first developed in 1791 by the Earl of Camden, with the famous Regents Canal opening in 1820. The first market to appear in Camden was Camden Lock Market, which opened in 1972.
Today, there are hundreds of designer workshops, studios, stalls, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars selling an individual and extensive array of high quality goods from designer, alternative & vintage clothing and accessories to one-off pieces of art, furnishings, antiques, jewellery, records & CDs, collectables, arts & crafts and international food. EVENING STANDARD: "It's official; Camden Market is the new Portobello... it doesn't have one look, it has hundreds. Galliano loves Camden, popping through whenever he can. So does John Paul Gaultier. Dolce and Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo have also been seen rifling through rails at the Stables this summer. Camden Market's new fashionable status has been on the up for months.