London Shopping - A Beginners Guide

Lets face it, forget about the history, culture and arts. Most people visit London for the Shopping. There are a number of shopping areas, the best known of which is the West End, usually referred to as the area west of Charing Cross including Westminster, Soho and Mayfair . The main streets of Oxford street are well known for its famous Selfridges, John Lewis and flagship Marks and Spencers stores. Oxford Street is not just about the large chain shops and the adjoining streets Of St Christopher's Place and South Molton Street (which leads to New Bond Street) have some select more exclusive fashion shops such as Browns which started as one single small shop.

Tottenham Court Road is famous for its electrical goods such as hifis, computers etc, but at the north of it, there is a large Heals funiture and household store that is well worth a look.

Regent Street has the historic Liberty's department shop and Hamleys , once the largest toy shop in the world and certainly one of the favourites and Burberry. Just off Regent Street is Carnaby Street, best known from the Swinging 60s era and although today it does not have quite the same atmosphere, there are the boutiques to get the London Look. Saville Row on the west side of Regent street was the quiet home of the exclusive tailor made gentleman's suit trade until the recent arrival of the american firm Abercrombie & Fitch has brought crowds to it. Also Bond Street and Mayfair have a good selection of high end shops.

Tea at the Ritz

In Piccadilly is Fortnum and Masons, the famous food shop with Royal patronage. Fortnums is also know for its illustrious afternoon tea or you could also go to the Ritz Hotel which is very close to it, but check the price before going and early booking is advised.

Piccadilly joins onto Knightsbridge ( a very long walk, preferably bus, taxi or tube) where we have the Harvey Nichols and further along is Harrods. While you are in Harrods, have a look at the fish display in the food hall, as it is usually a work of art.

Another mile to the west of Knightsbridge is Sloane Square and the Kings Road with a mixture of fashion shops worthy of their exclusive Chelsea residents. Also nearby in Fulham is the Conran shop which is worth visiting for the building alone. Other shopping areas include Kensington High Street, Covent Garden and on an alternative tip Camden Market. Other markets include Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane, Portobello (originally antiques but now a variety) Columbia Road (plants) and Borough Market (food).

Without doubt, there are many shops that we have missed, but this is a good starting point for your shopping trip to London.