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Where to shop in London

From high-end department stores to trendy boutiques, London's shopping scene has it all.

A whistle-stop guide to the best shopping in London

Whether you're planning to shop 'til you drop or just pick up a few souvenirs, London's a great city for a bit of retail therapy.

From the flagship stores of Oxford Street to the market stalls of Borough and Portobello Road, via colourful Carnaby Street and a clutch of sustainable shops, we've picked out our favourite spots.

So pack your shopping bags and let's go.

Best places to shop in London

There's a reason people flock from every corner of the globe to go shopping in London: there's a store to suit every style, mood and budget.

But with so many shops on offer, spread right across the city, it pays to have a plan. So here's our handy guide to help you shape your London shopping spree.

Portobello Road for market browsing

Nearest stations: Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park

If your idea of a perfect Saturday is strolling through a colourful market, coffee in hand, chit-chatting with the stallholders, Portobello Road Market is the place for you.

From antique furniture and photography equipment, to vintage clothes, books and bric-a-brac, it's a treasure trove for savvy shoppers.

If you're just there to browse though, there's plenty to catch your eye and keep you entertained. And when hunger strikes, the Caribbean food stalls are outstanding.

Bond Street for big names

Nearest stations: Bond Street, Green Park

Home to the biggest names in global fashion, Bond Street is one of London's most exclusive (and expensive) shopping streets.

From Alexander McQueen through Boodles, Cartier and De Beers, to Tiffany, Valentino and Van Cleef & Arpels, it's a veritable alphabet of iconic names.

If your budget won't stretch to a designer souvenir, it's still well worth window-shopping. Particularly at Christmas, when the whole street is decked out in suitably chic festive style.

Carnaby Street for cutting-edge fashion

Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus

If you've seen snaps of London in the swinging 60s, chances are they're of Carnaby Street.

Tucked behind the more formal shops of Regent Street, this cluster of design-led stores has for decades been a hotspot for trend-setters – from mini-skirts to mods and punks.

For a timeless slice of London fashion, get yourself some Dr. Martens. Or explore the other end of the style scale in elegant Liberty.

Westfield London for wet weather

Nearest stations: Shepherd's Bush, Wood Lane, White City

When the weather doesn't play ball, your best bet is to dive inside and while away a day at Westfield.

With hundreds of shops and restaurants, it's a shopping-lover's dream. You'll find everything from high street fashion to designer labels, plus the likes of John Lewis, Apple and Hamleys.

To keep non-shoppers amused, there's a retro bowling alley, mini golf, a cinema and a skate rink, while kids can take make-believe to the next level at KidZania.

Covent Garden for cosmetics and skincare

Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square

It's fitting that the heart of London's theatreland is home to an impressive clutch of top cosmetics and skincare brands.

Drop in to freshen up your make-up bag, or book a personalised session to learn a new look, run through your skincare regime or seek out the perfect scent.

Big names all within a stone's throw of each other include Benefit, Chanel, Charlotte Tillbury, Dior, Mac, Nars, Tom Ford, Diptyque, Aesop and Aveda, to name just a few.

Shoreditch for independent stores

Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street, Old Street

The spiritual home of London's graphic designers, art students and general trendy types, Shoreditch is constantly creative and always evolving.

In 2011, BoxPark became the world's first pop-up shopping mall. Built from shipping containers, it's home to a clutch of quirky stores, plus a barber to perfect your hipster beard.

The area's also great for laidback independent shops and boutiques – be sure to check out Luna & Curious, Labour & Wait and Aida.

Oxford Street shops

Not for the faint-hearted, Oxford Street is legendary for its flagship stores and throngs of shoppers.

The main drag is less than a mile long, but between hopping in and out of shops and dodging dawdling tourists and sharp-elbowed office workers, you could easily lose a day here.

For a slow warm-up, start at Marble Arch, or jump in at the deep end and get off the Tube at Oxford Circus.

Department stores

An icon of the British shopping scene, Selfridges has been on Oxford Street since 1909 and it's still going strong. Step inside for premium beauty, designer brands and unbeatable people-watching.

A few doors down, you'll find John Lewis. Another British institution, it offers a more down-to-earth balance of designer and high-street names, with a reputation for quality and expertise.

High-street fashion

After a quick wardrobe refresh? Check out Superdry for iconic hoodies and cosy casualwear, or hit H&M or Zara for the latest wardrobe staples.

If you're watching the pennies, then Primark's for you, while TK Maxx is often home to hidden gems. Finally, add some extras at Accessorize.

Sports shops

Footballers, yogis and runners, rejoice. Oxford Street is a great spot to pick up some new sports kit.

Asics, Adidas and New Balance all have flagship stores on Oxford Street, while towering NikeTown has four floors covering every sport you can think of. And probably a few you've never heard of.

Gifts and souvenirs

Oxford Street is dotted with London gift shops. But if a Big Ben keychain isn't your bag, there are plenty of other options.

Got a taste for tea? Head to Whittard and take some home, along with pretty teapots, mugs and biscuits. For something longer-lasting, pick up a Pandora charm to remind you of your trip. And for the kids, the Disney Store is hard to beat.

Sustainable shopping

A classic vintage London boutique might be wonderful to rummage through, but these days, sustainable shoppers have more to choose from than just old treasures.

From vegan skincare and ethical trainers to stylish suits made with surplus fabric, check out a few of the eco-friendly and fairtrade shops London is famous for.

Sir Plus

306A Portobello Road, W10 5TA

Quintessentially British menswear store Sir Plus built its success on ‘cabbage’. Not the vegetable (although the shop started out as a Portobello Market stall), but a term for surplus fabrics from mills.

These are used to make the brand’s signature tailored Nehru jackets, waistcoats and boxers. It’s a waste-not-want-not approach for ethical dressers on the hunt for a unique piece to take home.

Website

Weigh and Pay

Unit 33, Brixton Village, SW9 8PS

Brixton's first zero-waste shop is a treasure trove of tasty wholefoods, along with vegan hair and skincare, natural cleaning products and handy, planet-friendly homewares.

Drop in to top up your muesli jar and pick up gifts to take back home. There's everything from soy candles and scrumptious-smelling shampoo bars to soothing face balms and serums by Suneeta London.

Website

The Third Estate

27 Brecknock Road, N7 0BT

Animal-free and fairtrade, this Camden stand-out draws in vegans and carnivores alike. Clothing here uses natural dyes and funds social projects in India, and the shop’s range of vegan shoes is equally impressive.

Take your pick from soul-saving trainers, brogues and heels, all made using synthetic micro-fibres and natural rubber. Ethical bakery and natural food shop Bumblebee lies a few steps away, too.

Website

Vintage shops in London

On a budget? No problem. London's awash with vintage stores, market stalls and top-notch charity shops. For more wallet-friendly ideas, check out London for less.

Beyond Retro

19-21 Argyll Street, W1F 7TR

With shops and pop-ups across London, Beyond Retro is one of the locals’ favourite affordable vintage stores. Rifle through eclectic racks of clothing to get your hands on extraordinary pieces you’ll want to show off back home.

Website

Boutique by Shelter

Unit EV8, 1st Floor, Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4AB

Why not combine your love of vintage clothes with a chance to make a change? Housing and homelessness charity Shelter now has a string of upmarket stores selling carefully chosen pre-loved designer and high-street pieces at a fraction of their original cost.

Website

Camden Market

Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF

While you can pick up pretty much anything you like at Camden Market (circus props, anyone?), it's known for its vintage clothing shops and stalls. Go for the fashion, stay for the delicious street food and the buzzing atmosphere.

Website

Borough Market

With more than 100 market stalls, restaurants, bars and shops, Borough Market is heaven for foodies and hungry folk.

From cheese and charcuterie, chocolate truffles and cakes to herbs, spices, chutneys and jams, it's packed to the rafters with tasty treats from across the globe. So be sure to bring an appetite.

To get to Borough Market, London Bridge station is your best bet.

Tuck in now…

Along with tempting little tasters at stalls selling relishes, oils and vinegars, you'll find everything from smoked salmon bagels and pork pies to hot, cheesy tartiflette, fresh empanadas and even oysters and champagne.

And that's before you spot the insanely overstuffed doughnuts, brionuts and crownies.

Put together a picnic, then grab a spot on a shared table or bench to unwrap and devour your haul.

…take home for later

Once you've had your fill, it's time to pick up some treats for the road. Grab cheese, charcuterie and a bottle of wine for a riverside sundowner, or a fresh loaf of bread for tomorrow's breakfast.

For foodie souvenirs, you'll find myriad jars and bottles packed with flavours from every corner of the globe.

Think Grenadian guava jam, Croatian honey, Turkish olives, Thai curry paste and Punjabi pickles and chutneys. Just make sure delicate containers are well-wrapped and packed in your luggage, to avoid a culinary catastrophe.

Frequently asked questions about shopping in London

Oxford Street is probably London's most famous shopping street, and boasts local and global brands.

Nearby Covent Garden is a mecca for make-up-lovers, while indoor Westfield is a winner on wet days.

If you're in the market for antiques, head to Portobello Road for a rummage through the city's best stalls.

If you're looking for big brands and love the buzz of a busy high street, make a beeline for Oxford Street.

In fact, the whole area is packed with top-notch shops. Be sure to check out Regent Street, Carnaby Street and Bond Street too.

For lunch, the restaurants around St Christopher's Place offer some respite from the retail-mania.

For international and London clothing brands (both high street and designer), head to Oxford Street and Regent Street.

Portobello Road is home to one of London's top antiques markets, and Borough Market is unbeatable if you're after foodie treats.

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