London is a city that is famous for its many shopping opportunities. Thanks to the city’s ideal location on the banks of the Thames, London has been synonymous with trade ever since the Romans founded it two millennia ago. Though it may have changed drastically over the years, guests of luxury hotels in London will find that thanks to its years of art, fashion and culture, London has become a hotspot for shopping trips of all types.
The city’s distinct districts make London a perfect place for any type of shopper. Whether second hand vintage or high fashion couture, there’s a district for you, and guests of Montcalm club packages in Central London are ideally placed to explore the majority of them.
The heart of what was once the “swinging sixties” Carnaby Street can be found just off of Oxford Street and was often frequented by the mods and the hippies of the time. Nowadays, the area has developed into an accessible yet still incredibly stylish collection of independent fashion boutiques and homeware shops. During the Christmas period, this 200 metre road is beautifully lit up with festive lights, which can be enjoyed over pastries and coffees from the alluring selection of artisan cafes on the street.
Purported to be the busiest shopping street in Europe, this 2 kilometre long stretch of department stores, novelty shops, high street brand flagship stores and restaurants is a vibrant bustling cacophony – both at day and night. Thanks to its proximity to Soho and Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street is a London shoppers’ haven and offers a little of everything. Be careful though, at busy commuter hours, Oxford Street can be very tricky to navigate so agoraphobes should time their visits accordingly.
Department Stores Of Oxford And Regent Street
Oxford Street is well known for its many department stores. Easy to reach for guests of hotels in Cumberland Place, Oxford Street and Regent Street, the other shopping strip it crosses through, are famous for their department stores.
Probably the largest of all the department stores on Oxford Street, Selfridges stretches 50,000 square metres and sells everything from fashion brands to electronics. The columned facade of this historic building was designed in the Beaux Arts style and the building itself, opened in 1909, changed the face of English shopping forever. Selfridges is the second largest department store in the UK and is not only a great place for gift buying and browsing, but an historical record of London’s 20th century growth, a proud consumerist gem in the heart of the city.
Another British classic, John Lewis is a department store that is held close to the heart of British culture. With 35 different shops across the country, John Lewis’s Oxford Street flagship is notable for having a royal warrant for the Queen, supplying her household with haberdashery and household products. So, if you want to shop like a royal, then John Lewis and the many brands it holds within its expansive store is the spot for you.
From the high end to market bric a brac, London is home to many world famous more down to earth shopping districts that have an historic resonance for many tourists and locals. These include the vibrant Camden Market, an area of North London that is synonymous with noughties music stars such as Amy Winehouse. Amidst its collection of world-class music venues and canalside trails lies the famous Camden Market, a labyrinth of shopping opportunities that take you from rare record collections to Chinese food buffets. Alongside its food courts one will find a flood of vintage clothes stalls that attract many London subcultures to their smoky fronts. For a down to earth and inebriating shopping experience, nothing is more thrilling than Camden.
Nestled in the heart of London’s West End is Covent Garden, a mix of high end fashion and market stalls amidst the West End theatres and art schools. This gifts Covent Garden with a mixture of local and tourist vibrancy, so whether you’re visiting the Nike Store outlet, Fred Perry or the many stalls of the sheltered Covent Garden Market, you’ll always be amongst different types of people. The sheltered market often hosts brass bands and choirs too, giving an extra dose of atmosphere to stores like the Moomin Shop and Lush.
An equally diverse experience to Camden Market, but one with a little more subtlety, Portobello Market in West London’s Notting Hill area is a weekly market that morphs from antique furniture and jewellery to vintage clothes throughout the week. The antiques and bric a brac shop fronts are only open on Saturdays between 9 am and 7 pm, whilst weekdays sees food stalls and homeware sold. Friday to Sunday sees the opening of vintage clothes markets in the area as well.
For guests of the Montcalm Hotel Shoreditch, Brick Lane is a no-brainer, being situated just a few minutes walk from the boutique hotel. This collection of fashion and record stores, food and art markets makes this curry house and beigel shop clad East End hub a must for tourists looking for a taste of the East End. There’s a lot to see here, and it can get rather busy, so make sure to head down early on the weekends, and stay till sunsets to enjoy the pubs and bars scattered across these labyrinthine lanes.
Home to the world famous Harrods – the largest department store in England, Knightsbridge is a gorgeous area of Chelsea that boasts a wealth of high end designer fashion outlets and cute eateries. With the Saatchi Gallery not far away, nightsbridge attracts the wealthy and the cultured, making it a vital area that establishes London as a cultured and refined city that exudes extravagance.
With an outlet situated in Shepherd’s Bush and another in Stratford, the twin stores of Westfields are more like a Dubai shopping destination than they are a London. The modernity of these glass buildings offers a wealth of high street brands as well as cinemas and amusement arcades, beating America at its own shopping mall game!