The best time to go shopping in London is by far during the holiday season when the streets are illuminated by thousands of Christmas lights. Especially Mayfair and Soho are a spectacle of lights. It is a stunning sight! The window shops of department stores like Harrods and Selfridges are true attractions, and Hyde Park turns into a winter wonderland when lit up by the Christmas market and fair attractions. Due to my many travels, I got a little bored with seeing the same chain stores in every European city. But there are still a few stores in London’s high street that I don’t want to miss.
Start your late night shopping spree around 4.30 p.m. when it turns dark. Take a walk down Oxford street to admire the lights…
A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to department store Selfridges. Hasten yourself past the spritzer girls and head straight to the magical Christmas world where you’ll find exquisite ornaments and luxurious wrapping paper.
Another must-go on my shopping list is Liberty London. This is the place to be for high end quality products and beautiful gifts.
Take the back door of Liberty and you’ll end up in Carnaby street. I love this street because it’s packed with small shops selling unique and clever stuff.
I love to browse at Japanese concept store Muji on Carnaby street (also on Oxford street) where less is more and simplicity and functionality are the rule. I have my eye on a desk organizer in the shape of a city sky line to de-clutter my office space. The perfect accessory for a wanderlust person like myself.
After walking down Carnaby street, try to find a small sidestreet that will lead you to Kingly Court where you can have a cup of tea or a quick bite. Kingly Court has around 30 small concept stores, a tearoom and cafes. I wrote a blogpost about it for my blogfriend Anne on iannsterdam.com which you can read here.
After that well deserved cup of tea and resting your feet go to Regent street to visit Anthropologie. This is my new favourite shop. Anthropologie is a concept store selling homeware, kitchenware, and apparel. For Christmas they have a special nook with beautiful wrapping paper and unique gift labels.
Other shops that I never miss are: Penhaligon on Brook street to get my favourite lavender hand cream and hand wash, Arabian Oud on Oxford street for its perfumes and incense, Molton Brown on Regent street for its bath and body products and LK Bennett on Brook street for a new pair of shoes.
After Brook street take a right to head towards Victorias Secret. For Americans Victorias Secret is nothing special, but in Europe we have been waiting for ages to get one. The fairly new three storey high store on the corner of New Bond Street is 40.000 sq feet and boasting lavishly pinks and black. Photos and outfits of the angels are on display throughout the shop. The decor is reminiscent of a boudoir with flashing video screens from ceiling to floor in the stairway. It’s every girl’s dream, and possibly men’s too.
With a bag full of undies and sexy lingerie, take the underground to Knightsbridge to experience the awe-inspiring shop windows of Harrods. This year they have storybook tales as a theme. Snow white, Cinderella, Pocahontas, the little mermaid, little red riding hood, just to name a few are translated into fashion statements. I even spotted the Louboutin Cinderella shoe I wrote about. (read here) Only downturn is that they clean the windows too well which makes it hard to take good photographs, even by daylight. Their Christmas department is magical but who doesn’t know that, right?
Last stop is Hyde Park’s Winter wonderland to get into the Christmas spirit. Have an apple cider or eggnog and devour a hearty soup and minced pie or a hot waffle while browsing the Christmas ornaments and toys in the wooden vendour stalls. If you’re a dare devil you can try one of the many fair attractions. A perfect end to a perfect day!
- London shopping guide: Bloomsbury
- London cheat sheet: Restaurant Sketch