For serious fashionistas, Bond Street is the place to be seen in and to shop. Bond Street - formed of New and Old Bond Street - boasts one of the biggest and best concentrations of designer shops in the world, including Donna Karan, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nicole Fahri, Armani, Versace and Ralph Lauren. Quintessentially English style can be found at Mulberry and Burberry's flagship stores. Bond Street also plays host to Sotheby's auction house and a number of antique stores and markets have popped up in the area. If you or your other half has a thing for diamonds, you should know that Cartier, Tiffany and Asprey are among the many very exclusive (ie expensive) jewellers on this exclusive, expensive street. New Bond Street is a few minutes walk from Bond Street Station and is linked up by the pedestrian-only South Molton Street. Old Bond Street is the short section at the southern end which joins Piccadilly.
Essential London Shopping Guide
One of the best concentrations of designer shops in the world.
Oxford Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 2YF
Tube: Oxford Circus Station
One of the most stylish streets in London.
Carnaby Street, Soho, London, W1F 7DN
Tube: Oxford Circus Station
The name Carnaby Street is synonymous with 1960s "Swinging London" - a phrase coined by Time magazine. Nowadays the area has gone through something of a revival and is once again boasting cutting edge designer talents and trendy street ware. With over 140 shops, bars and restaurants to choose from in the area, it's definitely worth a visit. Shoppers will find rich pickings at urban streetwear shops like Replay, Diesel, Howies, American Apparel and Puma. There are also a number of streets in the immediate area around Carnaby Street - notably Newburgh Street which runs parallel, Foubert's Place, and Kingly Court which has three floors of one-off 'concept' shops, cafes and restaurants set around an open courtyard. Carnaby Street is a fantastic place to buy sports, urban and footwear, but there's also a number of fine cosmetics shops - seek out the Cowshed and MAC Cosmetics - as well as a few boutiques selling vintage mod clothing. Altogether very stylish.
Famous faces are regularly seen along this fashionable road.
The King's Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0DJ
Tube: Fulham Broadway Station
King's Road takes its name from the seventeenth-century when it was King Charles II's private thoroughfare between Whitehall and Hampton Court Palace. The area was made famous by a lively local scene during the 'swinging '60s' and punk fuelled seventies. The doyenne of punk fashion, Vivienne Westwood, still runs her first ever store at the so-called 'World's End' end of the King's Road. Although the area has none of the character of that time, it is still full of famous faces and one of the best and most varied places to shop and eat in London. For fashion, the King's Road offers High Street regulars such as Jigsaw, French Connection and Benetton. Plus, American Classics still sell vintage Levis and tuxedos while Johnsons stocks 50s and 60s inspired velvet suits and bowling shirts. A number of one-off boutiques and designer stores exude sartorial elegance, such as Ben de Lisi's store in Sloane Square which offers the ultimate evening wear in simple, but luxurious fabrics and his near neighbour Philip Treacy - who's millinery work has adorned the heads of the rich and famous for over a decade. Lulu Guinness's highly collectible and novel handbags can be purchased on Ellis Street, Emma Hope designs exquisite women's footwear and for those in the know, there's Jo Malone (Sloane Street), where you can splash out on chic skincare and scents.
Home to many high street stores, a market and an impressive Apple store.
Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RF
A visit to Covent Garden is a must, whether you intend to shop, sightsee or soak in the carnival atmosphere. The focal point of Covent Garden, the market, has dominated the area ever since the Middle Ages when monks tended their market garden here. Since the 19th century the market has expanded. Watch out for mime artists - harmless but irritating. The Garden is a mecca for shop-hoppers because of the variety available here. High Street outlets include Oasis, French Connection, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Hobbs, Marks & Spencer and Mango. Menswear is available at Diesel, Replay, Ted Baker and for the smarter guy, Paul Smith. There are a huge number of women's fashion stores and Neal Street, which runs out of the Piazza, is probably the best shoe shopping street in the capital, with numerous trendy outlets including Office, Foot Locker and Size. Further options include Neal's Yard, a quaint and colourful courtyard that's worth a stroll through and Seven Dials, which is home to yet more high street stores. If (perish the thought!) you tire of clothes shopping there are scores of excellent spots for a coffee. If you're still keen to shop remember to pay a visit to the beautiful Apple Store which, located in a carefully restored 1876 building, is spread across numerous floors and makes shopping a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
This attractive area of London boasts plenty of shopping opportunities.
Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1ED
Tube: Knightsbridge Station
Knightsbrige is one of the most unchanged, attractive areas of central London, with little in the way of offices nearby but plenty of shops and restaurants to serve the needs of local residents. There are plenty of ways to spend money in this beguiling corner of the capital. Harrods is the most famous of the local shops, a huge tourist attraction employing over 3000 staff in more than 300 departments. However, locals turn their nose up at this garish overcrowded place and much prefer Harvey Nichols, a chic alternative with three floors of designer wear, a huge beauty department and delectable delicacies on the fifth floor, all at extremely high prices. If you have the money to spend and want some designer clothes, look no further than Sloane Street. Christian Dior, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Alberta Ferretti, Nicole Fahri and Katharine Hamnett are just some of the designers with shops on Sloane Street, all within a stiletto heeled walk of each other. There are also a number of exquisite specialist lingerie stores including Rigby & Peller on Hans Road and La Perla on Sloane Street itself.
London's busiest street is home to many flagship stores.
Oxford Street, Marylebone, London, W1C 1JN
Tube: Bond Street Station
With over 200 million visitors a year, more than 300 shops and 5 million square feet of retail space, Oxford Street lays claim to being London's busiest street. The opening of Debenhams and Selfridges in 1909 marked the beginning of the street's dominance as a shopping centre. Amongst the chaos and bustle, retail therapists will find an oasis of calm in the area's unrivalled collection of department stores. Debenhams has a great line in designer garments at more affordable prices. Look for Jasper Conran and Lulu Guinness. Who doesn't love John Lewis? From fabric to feather boas, children's toys to cutlery this store stocks the lot. They have a 'lowest price' guarantee so you can buy with confidence and the simple lay out means you won't spend hours searching for it either! Less intimidating than Harvey Nicks and more down to earth than Harrods, Selfridges is the department store of Londoners. There's an incredible selection of British and International designers available and plenty of great restaurants and cafes to chill out in if you get a bit tired. Oxford Street also offers some of the best choice in terms of High Street fashion, if you can fight your way through the crowds. Among the best shops are inexpensive but stylish Spanish favourites Zara and Mango, up to the minute trends at Topshop's flagship store and its male counterpart Topman, Benetton and French Connection or cheap and chic Swedish store Hennes (H & M). Hot on their heels is Niketown - several floors dedicated to sports wear in every conceivable guise and colour. The street is also bookended by two Primark stores - one at Marble Arch and the other Tottenham Court Road - so shoppers have two opportunities to pick up some serious bargains, providing you're willing to fight amongst the crowds and embark on the challenge of finding your size. Oxford Street is one and a half miles end to end. Most shops open from 10am to 6 or 7pm. Many also open on Sundays from 11am or 12 noon to 6pm with late nights on Thursdays.
This elegant street features a number of large outlets.
Regent Street, Soho, London, W1B 5SJ
Tube: Oxford Circus Station
Don't be put off by the fact that Nash's sweeping design for Regent Street was inspired as a means of separating the riff-raff (Soho) from the well to do (Mayfair) back in the 1800s. Home to a number of large outlets offering everything from toys and trench coats to fabrics and food, Regent Street is a great place to window shop if nothing else. Strict building regulations mean that all the shops must blend in with the elegant architecture of the street. Perhaps the street's most famous resident is Liberty. Founded in 1875 the owner was so inspired by the musical The Mikado that he sought to bring Oriental goods to the capital. Beyond the store's mock Tudor façade, this influence can still be felt. Nearby is The Apple Store and flagship clothing stores including Banana Republic, Ted Baker and (further down) Aquascutum. Many of the shops along Regent Street (and especially Saville Row running parallel) are extremely expensive and suitable only for a very special occasion. However, if you have children, the world's best toy shop should give them something to remember! Hamleys (on Regent Street) is a London institution, a huge, well-run emporium stacked from floor to ceiling with excellent toys. It is a wonderful place to take a child, and fun for adults as well.
The main shopping section of the street lies between Oxford Circus to the north, and Piccadilly Circus to the south - a distance of about 3/4 of a mile.
Find vintage clothes, tempting street food and unique antiques at London's bustling markets.
Aside from the major department stores and high street giants, London is renowned for its diverse range of street markets. Ideal for thrifty shoppers, these markets are not only great for picking up a bargain but also sourcing stylish vintage items that will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Fashion lovers should head to Camden where several markets are wrapped into one canalside shopping experience and offers both vintage and new clothes, quirky jewellery, and a range of crafts and accessories. World-famous Sunday market Petticoat Lane is a further option with its designer goods that are left over from the high street. London's markets are also a mecca for high quality street food, organic produce and locally sourced meat with the likes of Borough Market, Leadenhall Market, Berwick Street and Brick Lane among the many options. In fact, some of the food is so popular that it has become quite the norm for stalls to expand into fully functioning restaurants - Pitt Cu Co. and Meatliquor are prime examples of this success. Shoppers can also find fresh flowers, rare antiques, unique gifts and plenty more besides as London's bustling market scene.
These two monster malls house hundreds of high street shops and designer boutiques.
Ariel Way, Shepherd's Bush, London, W12 7DS
In order to find a vast range of high street shops and a number of designer boutiques all under one roof, there are two London options: The Westfield Shopping Centres. The original Westfield, located in White City, houses 265 high end shops and 50 restaurants, supplemented by a luxury spa and 14-screen cinema. The huge space includes a 18,580 square metre Marks & Spencer (bigger than its Marble Arch store) and a 6,500 square metre House of Fraser store split over three levels above a Waitrose. There's also The Balcony, home to 13 fully licensed culinary counters; The Loft, where a number of family friendly eateries can be found; and The Village, the luxury quarter with 40 high fashion labels such as Louis Vitton, Tiffany and Mulberry. The second monster mall opened in Stratford in late 2011 and was considered a significant part of the East London development during the lead up to the Olympics. This mall also houses hundreds of shops and a 14-screen cinema, plus the UK's largest casino, a bowling alley, offices, residential apartments and three hotels.
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The King's Road
Westfield Shopping Centres
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