Oxford Street is one of Europe’s most popular shopping streets with more than 500,000 visitors daily. Here, Selfridges, John Lewis and Debenhams rub shoulders with smaller chain stores and cheap souvenir shops. But if a miniature London bus or a Union Jack T-shirt aren’t on your shopping list here are a few other suggestions for a bit of London retail therapy.
1. Regent Street
This elegantly curved street is where you’ll find more upmarket fare than nearby Oxford Street. Hamleys toy store is huge fun, and be sure to check out the mock-Tudor delight of Liberty, just a stone’s throw away in Great Marlborough Street.
One of the best-known department stores in the world, Harrods sits on a corner in posh Knightsbridge surrounded by other prestigious shops such as Harvey Nichols. Wonderfully over the top and worth a visit for the Food Hall alone.
Small but perfectly formed, Boxpark is essentially a series of shipping containers park next to and on top of each other in the heart of East London’s ultra-trendy Shoreditch and filled with independent fashion brands, cafés and pop-up restaurants.
4. Camden Passage
Get a yearning for antiques, vintage clothes and other eclectic paraphernalia? Then this sweet cobblestoned lane in Islington is the place to go. Also home to some of the world’s best waistcoats at the terrific African Waistcoat Company.
5. Camden Market
Hugely popular weekend market clustered around a picturesque canal and lock in north London where you can buy pretty much anything and everything. Popular spot for weird and wonderful T-shirts and those rainbow coloured Doc Martens you’ve always wanted.
6. Bond Street/Mayfair
You might have to take out a new mortgage to shop here but at least you’ll be engaging in some serious retail therapy at Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Maybe just window shop until your boat comes in.
7. Notting Hill
This is where the world famous Portobello Road Market lives – a whole mile (1.6km) of quirky shops and stalls selling, well, you name it but mostly famous for antiques and collectibles. Said to be the world’s largest antiques market. Gets very busy on weekends.
8. Spitalfields/Brick Lane
The streets once prowled by Jack the Ripper are now home to stalls selling everything from secondhand clothes and beaten-up bicycles to beard oil and Jamaican jerk chicken. Uber-busy on Sundays. Make time for a side trip to nearby Columbia Road flower market.
9. Covent Garden
Packed with trendy shops, arts and crafts vendors and a covered market of stalls flogging souvenir T-shirts, this is a popular tourist destination. The street performers here are excellent. Nearby Seven Dials and Neal's Yard are worth a look, too.
10. Burlington Arcade
For sheer beauty nothing beats this 180-metre long glazed-roofed pedestrian shopping arcade behind Bond Street. Opened in 1819 it hasn’t changed much since and is still patrolled by top-hatted ‘beadles’ in frockcoats. Famous for fine jewellery and antique silverware. Oh, and an outlet of the wonderful Church’s English shoes.