London shopping guide – the Christmas arcade at Somerset House

Ever since I was little my parents took my siblings and me to London to do our Christmas shopping. The Saturday before Christmas we would fly in on the earliest flight, and take the latest flight back to Amsterdam. That may sound decadent, especially in the early eighties, but to us it was pretty normal. As a kid we were so excited to go to Hamleys, the biggest toy store, and the Disney store. So whenever I go back to London, I remember those fun moments and I feel as having my parents with me again. London is therefore my favourite Christmas shopping destination.

London Earls court tube London typical London

This week I would like to share my best Christmas shopping addresses I know so far. Of course there are plenty more. From high street, to market, and from department store to pop up store. London has it all! Today I’m featuring the special Christmas pop ups at Somerset House. Pop ups are stores (often web stores) that set up shop in a certain location for a limited time. Find out more about London pop-ups here.

Somerset House

To mark the Christmas season The Christmas Arcade at Somerset House showcases the best of British designers and brands. Over 50 brands dispersed over different rooms with Christmas gifts and accessories, to textiles, decorations and toys, through to the best of British made foods, spirits and sweets. Most of the products are hand made and of high quality. And once you finished shopping you can have a go at your ice skating moves on the ice rink, or visit one of the many interesting exhibitions.

skate rink at somerset house SOmerset house

I was especially smitten by the shop Theo who carries brands like Donna Wilson, Ed Carpenter, Michael Angove, Alexander Taylor, and Attu Aparicio.

theo pop up store

Another shop that will surely catch your eye is the Hoxton Street Monster supplies where gourmet items are bottled and labeled as if conjured by Frankenstein or a vampire with gruesome names like ‘night terrors’ for sweets, and banshee balls for a soar throat. Sneezing salt, and a bottle of sorrow salt will flavour your food. Great and monsterous gifts for humans with a sense of humour 🙂

monsterous gifts

At the Christmas wrap up shop they sell sweets and lovely crafts work from the brand Scandi Chic. Felt birds, mistletoe and wreaths adore this friendly little shop. Although for kids, the felt mistletoe tickled my fancy and I could imagine it hanging above my doorway.


My personal favourite pop up shop in the Somerset House arcade is Handmade in Britain. The shop showcases British craft and design talents. I didn’t know where to look first, it was all so beautiful. I especially liked the designs by Melody Rose, Parasite Ceramics, Fenella Smith, Lucentia design, Penkridge, Janet Stahelin Edmondson, and Simon Wilks. I had to restrain myself from buying the recycled plastic placemats with strips of lace and fabric by Lucentia Design. Instead I opted for a porcelain vase with lace embossing by Janet Stahelin. I also heart the ceramic pears by Penkridge.

Handmade in Britain


You might also like my guest blog post about Christmas shopping in London on

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