Retail therapy: London’s best locations for shopping

Retail therapy London’s best locations for shopping

Let’s face it, people flock to the UK capital for a variety of different reasons. But, without doubt, one of the primary drivers for a city-break spent in old London Town is invariably a bit of retail therapy. Because you just can’t beat shopping in this city.

You see, there are simply so many retail destinations to select from for a shopping-focused day out, topped off by a slap-up meal at The Montcalm Restaurant. We’re talking here department stores, designer shops, luxury boutiques and exclusive jewellery and watch outlets.

In which case, here’s our take on the unmissable shopping stops in the metropolis that very well could have invented the term ‘retail therapy’…

Oxford Street

Oxford Street

Approximate opening times: 9.30am-9pm (Monday-Saturday)/ 11.30am-6pm (Sunday)

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus, Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road

The most famous shopping destination in all of London, Oxford Street is home to more than 300 landmark outlets, including flagship high-street shops, boutiques and department stores. Of note along the western stretch (beyond the Oxford Circus road junction) is the globally-renowned John Lewis, as well as the similar Selfridges and Debenhams department stores. Indeed, Selfridges offers six storeys of designer brands, a beauty hall and a manicure station.

Shoppers after bargain deals during their stay in London may want to make a beeline for the flagship Primark store (located at Oxford Circus), where racks are packed with budget clobber – always popular with those staying at hotels in Central London. Meanwhile, don’t overlook the trendy looks in Urban Outfitters and Zara, either.

Westfield London (Shepherd’s Bush)

Approximate opening hours: 10am-10pm (daily)

Nearest Tube: White City and Shepherd’s Bush

West London’s premier retail destination, Westfield London is much-adored by shoppers throughout the capital and far beyond, being a haven for (of course) fashion and high-street flagship stores but, most pertinently, for its fantastic collection of 40+ luxury brand outlets.

Here’s where to head, then (not least if you’re booked in nearby at 5 star hotels in London West End), for the most exclusive brands around, such as Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as terrific timepiece and jewellery names like Breitling, Omega and Tiffany & Co.

Moreover, this Westfield site – the first of two to be found in the city (see below) – hosts its fair share of non-shopping events. We’re talking the likes of master classes in cooking and yoga, as well as more traditional, family-themed parties and get-togethers.

Westfield Stratford City (Olympic Park) 

Approximate opening hours: 10am-9pm

Nearest Tube: Stratford

The other Westfield location in the city is the East London destination that’s Westfield Stratford City. Where is it, exactly? Well, it’s actually to be found next to the London Stadium (now home to West Ham United football club), being that its site was, a decade ago, the London Olympic Park.

Indeed, it may come as no surprise to learn, then, this Westfield shopping centre’s actually bigger than its illustrious Shepherd’s Bush sibling (it happens to be the largest shopping centre in Europe), with 250+ shops and 70 dining outlets, bars, bowling lanes, a casino and a cinema.

Yes, it’s much more than just a shopping centre, then. In fact, if the weather’s not playing ball and you’re staying nearby (at, say, hotels near Chiswell Street London), this place could be where to head for a fully-indoors day out of fun.



Nearest Tube: Knightsbridge

Approximate opening hours: 10am-9pm

Best known for being home to one of the most iconic shops on the planet, Knightsbridge is the refined neighbourhood where you’ll find Harrods. The district is home to further famous department stores as well, including the perennially trendy Harvey Nichols.

Harrods is king in this part of town, though, really. Famously owned, back in the day, by Egyptian multi-millionaire Mohammed Al Fayed (notorious for giving it a makeover complete with an ostentatious ‘Egyptian’ escalator), the elegant but enormous store also has seven floors, 330+ separate departments, restaurants and a world-renowned food hall.

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus

Always thought of in the same breath as the legendary Swinging Sixties, Carnaby Street is located between the famed Oxford Street and the almost equally as famous Bond Street. Today, this short but chic shopping must-visit remains hugely popular with visitors because it’s packed full of retro-esque, vivid and vibrant, indie fashion boutiques and lifestyle brand outlets.

Additionally, just off Carnaby Street is the tucked-away Kingly Court, a tiny arcade that’s perfect for sating your appetite come lunchtime or dinner-time, given it offers up excellent city pubs, bars and restaurants.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Nearest Tube: Covent Garden and Leicester Square

Finally, of course, there’s the perennially popular tourist-trap that’s Covent Garden. This elegant piazza that dates back to the 18th– and 19th-Century Georgian era was originally the site of a famous flower market and the Royal Opera House (anyone seen My Fair Lady?).

Today, the opera house still adorns a corner, but it’s now a vivid, vibrant square full of fun family activity – thanks to its energetic, free-to-watch street entertainers (although they welcome a few coins when they finish) – and fine dining, courtesy of its city pubs and sophisticated bars and restaurants.

That said, the piazza’s also a true treasure-trove for souvenir shoppers, especially at the beguiling Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop. And worthy of mention, too, of course, are the very nearby Apple, Armani and Chanel brand stores.

Moreover, it’ll be well worth your time to check out some of the streets lying off the piazza itself, such as Neal’s Yard, Floral Street and St Martin’s Courtyard. Here, then, are located designer boutiques and colourful stores, selling exciting items of all kinds.