London Shopping Guide

Oxford Street & Regent Street Junction, Central London
Oxford Street & Regent Street Junction, London - © Lewis Clarke

The London shopping guide provides travellers with useful information and tips on shopping facilities in London. Shopping in London has long attracted visitors from all over the world keen to see the famous shopping streets and renowned stores for which the UK is well known. London has plenty of shopping High Streets among the best known as Oxford & Regent Street in central London.

There are a range of internationally renowned markets for shoppers to visit, these include Portobello Road, Camden & Spitalfields Markets. With the sheer range of shops and range of goods to suit a range of budgets and shopping experiences on offer, London is a shopper’s paradise. The guide introduces travellers to the many types of shopping facilities and experiences on offer in London.


High Street Shopping


Oxford Street in London is among the most famous and well known shopping streets in the world. There are several hundred shops including a wide array of large department stores and international chains.

Among the well known stores is the Marble Arch branch of Marks & Spencer, upmarket Selfridges as well as the largest branch of Topshop spread over 4 floors. Oxford Street shopping has long been a favourite of both UK shoppers and international visitors attracted by the large variety of shops, the central location also makes it assessable by public transport.

Using public transport is the preferred way most people get to Oxford Street, with Underground (Tube) stations at Marble Arch and Oxford Circus shoppers can travel right in to the heart of Oxford Street.

Car drivers should be aware cars are not allowed on parts of Oxford Street that are reserved for Buses & taxis. Car drivers should also be aware of the strict parking rules and enforcements operating in the area. There are metered parking bays available however the cost of approx £4 per hour is steep there may be restrictions on the number of hours you can park. If in doubt it is better not to park in a bay/space you are not sure of.


Regent Street in London along with Oxford Street is among the best known shopping streets in the world. Regent Street is known for its character, historical buildings and range of shops. The street maintains the historical buildings that now house a range of traditional, boutique and modern shops and stores.

Among the famous stores located here are Hamleys toy store, Liberty, Aquascutum, Austin Reed and newer arrivals such as the Apple store. Regent Street along with Oxford Street light up during Christmas & New Year with the Christmas Lights each year giving a distinctly festive feel. Both Regent Street and Oxford Street are at the centre of the Christmas & New Year sales in December and January each year when shoppers are out in force looking for bargains.

Public transport is also the preferred way most shoppers use to get to Regent Street, the Underground (Tube) stations at Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus are the closest stations and are within a short walk of Regent Street.

Car drivers should also be aware of the strict parking rules and enforcements operating in the area. There are metered parking bays available however the cost of approx £4 per hour is steep there may be restrictions on the number of hours you can park. If in doubt it is better not to park in a bay/space you are not sure of. There are also car parks close by however be aware both Oxford Street & Regent Street are within the London Congestion Charge zone thus car drivers need to factor this in to the cost. If in doubt it is better not to park in a bay/space you are not sure of.


New Bond Street in central London is a short walk from Oxford Street and is a firm favourite for fashionistas and those wanting designer labelled clothing and accessories. There are a range of upmarket shops and boutiques from well known luxury brands from around the world. Those on a smaller budget can enjoy some window shopping seeing some of the most exclusive offerings from designers from around the world.

New Bond Street is served by Bond Street Underground (Tube) station making it quick and convenient for shoppers to get to and from the area. There are car parks for car drivers and parking bays however beware of the strict rules and regulations that are enforced and the cost approx £4 per hour.

Carnaby Street is located close to Regent Street in central London. The iconic symbol of the swing 60s consists of a number of pedestrianised streets that host a range of shops that include, retail, fashion and lifestyle stores, independent boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants. The area become internationally recognised during the mid 1960s when it become synonymous with the fast moving fashion & social scene in London. The closest Underground (Tube) stations are Oxford Circus & Piccadilly Circus that are within a short walk of Carnaby Street.


Kensington High Street in West London is among the most popular high Streets in London. There are a range of shops to choose from and shoppers can benefit from there being fewer crowds compared to Oxford & Regent Streets. The fashionable Biba store was once part of the Kensington High Street landscape, today there are a range of stores located here. Kensington also has Kensington Palace and Kensington Roof Gardens featuring a restaurant, fountains and many varieties of plants. For travellers the location means you can combine a visit to these attractions along with a shopping trip.

King's Road is located in the up market area of Chelsea in West London. There are a number of designer shops for the fashion conscious and a range of smaller independent boutiques and antique shops. The King's Road is among the most fashionable shopping roads in London and is a place where you may see the rich and famous. The area is served by the Underground (Tube) stations at Sloane Square & Fulham Broadway.

Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill London is located a short distance from the iconic Portobello Road. Located in an affluent area here you will find a range of designer shops and boutiques selling a range of goods. In addition there are florists, interior designers, jewellers and art galleries to appeal to visitors that enjoy the arts. For those after upmarket goods, this a good place to see. The area is served by the Underground (Tube) stations at Westbourne Park, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway & Bayswater all of which are walking distance to Westbourne Grove.


Department Stores


London is home to some of the best known department stores in the world. One of the best known is the luxury department store Harrods. Not for the faint hearted, the store serves the finest in luxury on a whole range of items from food, to furniture to perfumes to clothing and much more. The luxury does come at a price, the ultra luxury store is known for its ultra luxury prices. If you cannot afford something you like you can wait for the famous January sale and hope what you are after is reduced then!


Selfridges on Oxford Street is a luxury department store selling a wide range of goods from clothing to perfumery to furniture and food. Set over a number of floors, the store attracts many visitors from the UK and overseas alike.


Harvey Nichols is located close to Harrods store in Knightsbridge, London. There are other branches in cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. The flagship Knightsbridge store boasts eight floors with a range of goods on offer ranging from beauty & fashion, clothing, homeware and food. The fifth floor is dedicated to food and contains a restaurant, a cafe and a bar.


Debenhams is located Oxford Street, and has stores across the UK & beyond. The Oxford Street store has five floors of clothing, beauty & cosmetics, perfumery, accessories and homeware. A number of British designers such as Betty Jackson, Julien Macdonald & John Rocha have lines at Debenhams. Whilst stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols are primarily luxury stores, such as Debenhams along with Marks & Spencer & John Lewis offer a range of goods in the upper mid market/price segment appealing to a wider range of shoppers.


Marks & Spencer is an established name on UK High Streets, indeed the brand and the stores are internationally renowned for being the quintessentially British retailer. There are a range of goods on offer including the famous clothing lines for men & women, homewares, furniture, gifts, food & wine, technology products and more. The flagship Marble Arch branch located in Oxford Street offers shoppers with the full M & S shopping experience with more goods on offer with more ranges than is the case for its smaller branches. The popular food range offers shoppers with a great place to relax and enjoy a snack or meal before getting back to shopping.


John Lewis is another iconic British retailer, the John Lewis stores have long been synonymous with the High Street and all things British. The store in Oxford Street has seven floors offering a wide choice for shoppers including clothing, fashion, beauty & cosmetics, perfumery, homeware & garden and electronic goods. There is also a food hall from John Lewis's grocery arm Waitrose.


BHS is a long established name on the UK high Street, first set up back in 1849. There are branches across the UK. The London store located on Oxford Street offers a range of goods ranging from clothing to accessories, gifts, furniture, beauty and homeware. House of Fraser aims to cater for the upper mid market segment appealing to a wide range of shoppers.


London Markets


London has a number of famous markets Portobello Road Market is among the best known. The market is a haven for antiques and vintage goods. There are stalls selling a range of goods.

Camden Market is located on the Regents Canal and has become a popular tourist attraction. The laid back atmosphere and alternative and hip vibe mean it is a mecca for the young, the alternative and those looking for something a bit different. The market has a mix of clothing, music, art and food stalls serving food from around the world.

Spitalfields Market is located in the East End of London, the market contains of shops and stalls ranging from antiques, fashion, boutiques and health & beauty. The market also boasts an International Food Village, where dishes are available from a range of cuisines.


Maps


Use the Shopping Search map to find London's famous shopping high streets offering shoppers with a range of shops and shopping facilities and amenities. The blue markers on the map show the high streets mentioned above. You can also use the local search for restaurants, Bars, Hotels, Coffee Shops, Tourist Attractions and more. There is also a place finder and phonebook to help your search. To view click on the London Shopping search link below and ensure your browser is pop up enabled: London Shopping Search Map


Journey Planner


Use the Journey Planner from the Transport for London below to help you plan your journey for shopping in London . The planner will help you plan your route, indicating which public transport services to take & the approximate time for the journey for public transport services.




Tips & Other Considerations


Whilst shopping in London can be enjoyable and fun, be aware of the crowds especially when purchasing goods and carrying them. When paying it is wise to take sensible precautions such as ensuring no one can see your credit card pin by covering your hand and ensuring on one is standing too close to you. If paying by cash be careful, take your time and ensure you give the right amount & get the correct change if applicable.

Always be aware of your belongings especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are not in public view.

When you have bags with your purchases, do not leave them unattended at any time, not only do you risk them being stolen, it may also cause a security alert.

Whilst it can be temping to buy clothes without trying them on, it is useful to try on clothes before you buy to ensure the size is correct, the fit is as you want it and that it looks as you would like it to. It can help avoid extra journeys & time taken to bring clothes back/exchange them.

Try to compare prices of different retailers before buying, some may have special offers, discounts and promotions.

During the sales most famously during the Christmas & January sales & at Easter, carefully consider if the products you are intending to purchase are discounted in the way you believe them to be. Some sales & discounts can be complicated and have more to them than meets the eye, beware of not getting the best deal for your requirements. Carefully read through the sales & discount rules and conditions.

When buying goods in the sale consider what the return/refund/exchange policy is in case you do not like (or the intended recipient) the items or are faulty. It is wise to check with the retailer to avoid confusion and possible disappointment later on.

If you see a better deal on the internet, you can go to the retailer and see the goods first to get a proper idea of the colour, size, features etc. before you purchase online. This can be useful to get a better idea of the product whilst still getting the online price.

Do not drive in bus lanes during the operational hours of the bus lanes. There are plenty of cameras to catch offenders out, the rules along with fines are enforced.

If you are coming by car, factor in the cost of London Congestion Charge if travelling on weekdays when the congestion charge is in operation.

If you are coming by car it is advisable to do some research and know where the closest car parks are and parking bays. There are plenty of no entry and one way streets in central London and it can be both confusing and time consuming looking for parking in an area you are not familiar with.

For those coming by car, coming to places like Oxford Street on a Sunday can mean lower parking charges than is the case for the rest of the week. Also arriving early can help secure a parking bay or place in a car park.





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