There are many cities around the world which are well-known for their fabulous shopping opportunities – New York, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong and, of course, London. What makes the shopping scene in London really special is its amazing variety. Whether you are into vintage fashion, high street brands, bespoke furniture or luxury jewellery, you can be sure that you will not go home empty-handed. In fact, you may even need to buy a new suitcase for all of your purchases! But with so many different areas in London, it can be a challenge to know exactly where to head to find the best deals. To help you satisfy your retail therapy cravings, here is the ultimate guide to shopping in London.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 Best Shopping areas in london
- 1.1 Camden – Best for Markets
- 1.2 Oxford Street – Best for High-Street Brand Stores
- 1.3 St James’s – Best High-End Shopping
- 1.4 Bond Street and Mayfair – Best for Window Shopping or Spending the Cash
- 1.5 Covent Garden – Best for Unique Shopping
- 1.6 Brixton Market – Best for Authentic London Neighborhood Shopping
- 1.7 Portobello Road Market – Best for Boho Chic
- 1.8 Hampstead – Best for Vintage and Second-Hand Stores
- 1.9 Brick Lane Market – Best for Flea Markets
- 1.10 Westfield – Best Shopping Centre
Best Shopping areas in london
Camden – Best for Markets
As one of London’s most popular shopping spots, Camden is known for being an area for bohemians, artists, and musicians. Here you will see a completely different side of this city than what you might expect in Central London. Along with well-known pubs and music venues, they have some of the best markets London has to offer.
Camden Market is composed of six separate markets: Inverness Street Market, Electric Ballroom, Camden Lock Village, Buck Street Market, Stables Market, and Camden Lock Market. These markets predominantly sell clothing – both new and second-hand – but you can also pick up shoes, accessories, books, arts and crafts, and homewares. Note: You will not find any major high-street brands at these markets.
Basically, the products available here are pretty much alternative items that match the bohemian feel of Camden. While in Camden Lock, you should also try some of the tasty dishes available at their food market. Lots of different world cuisine are represented here, so it is a great chance to try something new. If you prefer to sit down to eat, there is also an abundance of restaurants and gastropubs to take your pick from. Enjoy!
Oxford Street – Best for High-Street Brand Stores
Possibly the most famous of all of London’s shopping areas, Oxford Street is the best place to visit if you love the big name brands. Running between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street stretches for a little over a mile and is home to over 300 shops, including high-street chains, designer outlets, and landmark stores. You can easily spend a whole day trekking up and down the street, and there is no doubt that you will not leave empty-handed.
If you are shopping on a budget, you can still shop here. One of Oxford Street’s most famous stores is Primark. There are actually two Primarks here – one at each end of the street – where you can find all kinds of clothing and accessories, all for really low prices.
Other shops to head to, if you are hoping to get a lot for your money, are New Look, H&M, Zara, and Sports Direct. Mango also has an outlet section on the second floor where you can pick up great bargains. If you want something that is a little bit different, but also less expensive, on nearby Carnaby Street is Monki, a Swedish store that specializes in quirky clothing and accessories.
But as you’ve probably guessed, Oxford Street is not just limited to those who are trying to save money. If you have money to burn, there are also lots of options for you. Many visitors like to frequent the popular department stores here, including John Lewis, Debenhams and Selfridges. For top quality, vegan-friendly cosmetics and toiletries, LUSH is a fantastic place to go.
If you need to pick up some souvenirs for your friends and family back home while you are on your Oxford Street shopping trip, there are plenty of souvenir shops intermingled with the main stores.
St James’s – Best High-End Shopping
In my opinion, St James’s is best for high-end shopping.St James’s has actually been a fixture on the London luxury shopping circuit for quite some time. Originally conceived as a grand residential area in the 17th century, a number of coffee shops, taverns and tailors also popped up, so the area quickly became popular with politicians and high society. While it is possible to visit some of the oldest stores in London here – including the world’s oldest shopping arcade – St James’s has developed to incorporate some more modern stores as well.
Burlington Arcade is the world’s oldest of its kind – established in 1819 – as well as being one of the longest covered streets in the country. It perfectly embodies the opulent side of St James’s: Here you will find high-end jewellers, luxury perfumers, alongside designer brands.
Some of the more famous stores here include Monolo Blahnik and N. Peal. Princes Arcade also has a wonderful collection of boutiques, including the famous chocolate shop Prestat; it is said that the store inspired the children’s author Roald Dahl.
Princes Arcade leads onto the iconic Jermyn Street, which predominantly has a reputation for high-end men’s fashion, but the street has since branched out into ladies’ fashion too.You can also find boutiques selling wine, cigars, perfume, art and antiques here.
If you then need a sweet treat to get your strength back, after all of that luxury shopping, you can head to M&M’s World where you can try over 100 flavors.
Bond Street and Mayfair – Best for Window Shopping or Spending the Cash
Renowned the world over for its absolute luxury, Bond Street and Mayfair are the places to go if you have hundreds or even thousands to spare for your shopping – or if you do not, you can still enjoy some fabulous window shopping.
Very much like St James’s, Bond Street and Mayfair have been established as the height of elegance for centuries, and have long been a favorite shopping area for the rich. Another fantastic thing about spending some time here is that you are bound to spot some celebrities as you go about your day.
If you love designer brands, you will not be disappointed with a visit to Bond Street and Mayfair. Here you can find names such as Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and Dolce Gabbana. It is also here that the most famous auction house in the world – Sotheby’s – is located.
Covent Garden – Best for Unique Shopping
London is full of places where you can get top-class goods, but if you want a little quirkiness along with your quality, make your way over to Covent Garden. Covent Garden Market is usually the first port of call for most visitors, especially since here you can pick up all kinds of arts and crafts.
For cool streetwear, shoes, and cosmetics, Neal Street is the place to go. There are some stores here which you should definitely check out: Deciem for skincare, the Alkemistry for unique jewellery, and Whittard of Chelsea for some traditional British tea. But in addition to trendy stores, Covent Garden is also famous for having some of the most picturesque shopping spots in the city – Neal’s Yard, Floral Street, and St. Martin’s Courtyard – so you can also get some great photos of some of the loveliest parts of London.
As well as all of the cute shops you can browse, you can also catch performances of street performers while strolling along for free, or check out the various entertainment venues which can be found in the area, such as the Royal Opera House.
Brixton Market – Best for Authentic London Neighborhood Shopping
Most of the London shopping areas – no matter how authentic they try to be – still have a tinge of tourism about them. However, there is a district which will make you feel as if you are in a part of London that is properly lived in – and that’s Brixton.
Primarily known as a multi-ethnic area with a vibrant music scene, the market here is also a really cool reason to visit. Located on the famous Electric Avenue, the stalls here are all run by local people and sell items such as homeware, electrical goods, and food.
One of the most popular aspects of Brixton Market is the Farmers’ Market. As a multicultural area, you can buy some really interesting Caribbean and African produce, such as live African snails. There’s also an emphasis on organic food, if that’s your preference. Be sure to check out the biodynamic fruit from Brambletye Fruit Farm and Akiki Organics, organic fruit and vegetables from farms from the counties of Kent, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, and a wide selection of free range meats from Boarstall Farm.
Portobello Road Market – Best for Boho Chic
Located in Notting Hill and dating all the way back to the 1800s, it was not until the 1950s that Portobello Road Market became famous when it was turned into an antiques market. Since then, the market has expanded and nowadays you can buy everything from clothing and accessories, to ceramics and furniture. You can even pick up lots of cool wall posters here, something Portobello Road Market has become pretty well-known for.
But if you are interested in antiques, there are still plenty of stalls and stores for you to browse selling these kinds of items. Because of the history of the area, Portobello Road has a boho vibe, similar to Camden but more upmarket, so this is a great place to be if you like your boho style a bit more chic.
Note: Just be warned that Portobello Road Market is incredibly popular, so expect large crowds, especially on the weekends.
Even if you’ve met your retail fix, there are a few other reasons why a visit to Portobello Road should stay on your London itinerary. Firstly, it is home to the second smallest museum in London and is completely dedicated to gin. Second, there are also some fantastic food stalls to sample and one of the best fish and chips shops in London. Lastly, if you are into art, it is here you can see some of the few original Banksy pieces left in the city.
Hampstead – Best for Vintage and Second-Hand Stores
If you want to get the closest you can to country living while in the middle of a huge metropolis, Hampstead is the best London district for this. Hampstead Village actually has a huge variety stores, including a high-street with all the usual suspects such as Jigsaw, Hobbs, and Whistles, but it is the vintage and second-hand stores that really draws in most of the shoppers.
One of the most popular second-hand stores here is All Aboard. This chain actually has many stores around London, but it is the one in Hampstead which stands out the most. In addition to the usual second-hand clothing, you can also find other bargains here, such as jewellery, books, and toys. Other second-hand and vintage stores to visit include Boutique by Shelter, Octavia, and Question-Air. Oxfam also has a really cool bookshop in Hampstead where you can even pick up some special editions if you are patient and look hard enough.
Brick Lane Market – Best for Flea Markets
London obviously has many flea markets throughout the entire city, but the one which is held in highest regard is Brick Lane Market. More famous for its variety of eateries – another great reason to visit the area – Brick Lane has long been a favorite place to visit for many travelers to London.
The market here is actually comprised of five different sections – Vintage Market, Sunday UpMarket, Backyard Market, Tea Room, and Boiler House Food Hall – which altogether make one of the largest markets of this kind in London. Pretty much everything you could want to buy can be found here, from trinkets and souvenirs to clothing, accessories and homeware.
Brick Lane Market is open every day, but the best day to visit is actually on Sundays. It is on this day of the week that you will find people lining the streets selling all kinds of second-hand gear, and there are lots of bargains to be found – you just need to keep your eyes peeled for them! Street performers also take to the streets on Sundays, so you can enjoy some impromptu performances and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere as you are shopping.
As briefly mentioned, Brick Lane is also renowned for its fantastic foodie scene, including Bangladeshi curry houses and Jewish bagel shops. So, once you have finished your shopping, you can easily grab a tasty bite to eat and take a breather.
Westfield – Best Shopping Centre
For being such a huge city, it is probably surprising that London’s shopping centres are not that well-known, with visitors preferring to visit the more famous shopping districts of the city. However, if you do prefer to do your shopping inside – or it happens to be raining on a day when you want to go shopping in London – Westfield is the best option.
There are actually two in the city – White City, which is the Hammersmith and Fulham borough, and Stratford City – so it will depend on where you are staying as to which is more convenient for you to visit.
Both Westfield shopping centres have over 250 stores, including high-street favourites such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Next, Mango, and River Island. As with all shopping centres, there is a great selection of fashion, beauty, electrical, homeware, and book stores.
If you are visiting Westfield White City, there is also a designer section known as the Village which includes brands like Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Gucci. Both centres also have cinemas, gyms, and numerous eateries, so you can really make a day of it if you want.
There’s nothing like retail therapy!
Note: Many avid shoppers, go to Bicester Village for a Shopping day!
As you can see, there are many good reasons why London is a fantastic shopping destination. Whether you love high-end fashion, big brand names or cheap vintage bargains, London has it all and much, much more.
As the saying goes, “you can’t take it all with you,” so you might as well enjoy it while you can!
Enjoyed reading? Save it for later on Pinterest!