The year passes so quickly and before you know it – it’s Christmas. But no amount of Christmas lights, mince pies or Christmas markets take away the stress of finding presents for your loved ones. Luckily Christmas shopping in London doesn’t have to be painful because you have so many options; like buying a fun-packed adventure experience or even a luxury hotel stay with Christmas Afternoon Tea.
A proper London shopping day should involve a least one trip to Liberty, the timber-framed department store stocked basement-to-attic with the capital’s most covetable goods. Next on the list? Browse box-fresh streetwear at Dover Street Market, or do a gourmet gallop around Borough Market and its fiesta of food stalls. If you still have pounds in your pocket after a spree, we’ve lined up five ever-so-British gifts begging for a spot in your case. From Wonka-worthy truffles to the city’s best punch, these kitsch-free souvenirs are bound to raise a smile.
The capital’s best-loved artisan brolly-maker has been keeping Londoners dry since the 1830s. Ladies can choose from ‘pencil’, ‘birdcage’ or ‘walking length’ numbers; options for gents include a natty, hare-handled specimen. Just visiting the shop is a history lesson, since the premises is Grade-II listed; if you ask a cabbie driver to take you to ‘the Umbrella Shop’, they’ll know.
Get your cacao fix in style with help from award-winning chocolatiers Rococo. The flagship Belgravia boutique is an Aladdin’s Cave of edible treats: chocolate-dipped oranges, sea salt and mint wafer thins, rose and violet creams, caramels etc. Add a dash of Brit-pop swagger to your choc habit by investing in the Large Union Jack selection box, whose truffly lures include chilli and pink Marc de Champagne.
What could be more British than a tea-based gin? Sipsmith’s London Cup punch pairs its award-winning London Dry Gin and Earl Grey tea – to delicious effect. Added flavour notes come courtesy of borage, lemon verbena and a bunch of other botanicals. Londoners have a thing for gin – it’s worth the trip to the boutique distillery’s HQ in leafy Chiswick for a head-turning tasting.
Keep your lips shipshape by plumping your pout with organic shea butter, beeswax and sweet almond oil: components of this Hackney-made balm. Arthur’s 400-year-old emporium is, somewhat unexpectedly, a yacht-chandler on Shaftesbury Avenue. The plunder is eminently browsable: nautical flotsam and jetsam that includes Breton tops, storm-proof jumpers, brass bells and more.
Founded in 2011, Laboratory Perfumes took an oath to ‘do no harm’. These unisex scents are fuss-free and sustainable, inspired by the natural flowers, herbs and aromatic botanicals of Britain and beyond. We love the minimalist (and entirely recyclable) packaging, too. Choose from five fragrances: soul-warming, spicy Amber is top of our list. Get yours from Liberty, Lab’s London stockist.
Image credits: © James Smith and Sons; © James Smith and Sons; © James Smith & Sons; © Rococo; © Sipsmith; © Arthur Beale; © Laboratory Perfumes; © Eurostar; © Louis Little; © press