Exploring London- Part 2, When/Where to Shop

Hello again!  Yes, I love shopping, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I spent a lot of time while in London exploring the famous department stores and street side boutiques.  I happened to be in London during their bi-annual sales week which occurs towards the end of June.  That being said, pretty much every store had a large selection of clothes 50% off and more.  Department stores, such as Harrods, went all out.  The annual Harrods sale is the only one they have a year, meaning that yes, the place is mobbed, but they dedicate a whole floor to sale items, along with sales up and down the rows of designer collections making it well worth the visit.

This might just sound like heaven in a shopper’s paradise, and it pretty much is.  However, I knew that the sales would draw crowds to prime shopping areas near my hotel in Knightsbridge.  It was true, and I definitely noticed more people on Saturday than Friday, but I took advantage of the limited shoppers on Friday and shopped all over the city.  Below, I have compiled a list of my favorite, along with the best shopping that I experience while I spent time in London this summer in celebration of London Fall Fashion Week starting this weekend.

  • Liberty’s and Regent Street
    • Liberty’s was my personal favorite.  The building itself is charming and perfectly reflects British culture.  Although known for its famous prints,   Liberty has a great collection of mid to high range British designers out of London.  The sale there was particularly good with an entire floor half off.  They also have an array of home goods and decor.
    • Regent Street is very popular for mid to high price range chain stores.  It can get very crowded, however.
  • Bond Street and Burlington Arcade
    • A little window shopping never killed anybody, and this rings true to this glitzy area.  Bond Street is home to flagship stores of both British and international Haute Couture houses.  The well-heeled crowd is fun to watch, and who says you cannot have a look around.  I personally love doing that, in order to find inspirational from my dreams.
    • The Arcade is famous for its jewelry and watch displays, and it is worth a visit to experience the quaint yet grande architecture that fills the narrow strip.  There is also a Ladurée shop at the end which sells divine macaroons that do actually live up to their hype.
  • Fortum and Mason IMG_7704
    • Very close to the high streets of Mayfair, Fortum and Mason is a food haven.  The department store specializes in delicacies, and has an immense display of speciality tea.  I’ll admit it, I’m a tea snob, so their food hall was paradise for me.  I had stopped here to grab lunch at their great café, and ended up spending over an hour such gazing at all the delicious preserves, candies, and groceries that they had.  In addition, I smelled and tested every kind of tea until I had them package a special one for me.  An amazing experience if you are into food shopping.
  • Harrods and Brompton Road
    • Probably the most famous department store in the world, Harrods doesn’t disappoint.  The massive over the top fashion mecca is stocked full with any high end designer and fashion house possible, along with middle market British brands, cosmetics, jewelry, and accessories.  The food halls are a whole other story with each room filled to the brim with different gourmet produces. They actually have a lot of decent take out options that can be eaten on the go (my hotel was right near by, so it was super convenient to grab food here), in addition to sit down places.  On this particular trip, I visited Harrods twice for multiple hours at a time, and I still didn’t feel like I saw close to the whole thing, but the size is amazing to gawk at!  Tip: go early in the morning and not on the weekend, when the tourist haven’t arrived yet.  It might still be crowded,  but the crowd will be either locals or actual interested shoppers, making the experience more authentic.
    • Brompton Road surrounds Harrods, and hosts large flagship stores and British chains.  There’s a huge Zara and Topshop for fast fashion fans, in addition to a flagship Burberry, Ted Baker London, and All Saints.
  • Sloane Street and BelgraviaIMG_7961
    • Another area that is optimal for window shopping; Sloane street is adjacent to Brompton Road and is lined with designer labels.  Harvey Nichols is another department store that calls Sloane Street home, and while I heard it is worth while, I didn’t get the opportunity to explore it on my trip.  Alas, something to look forward to for my next visit.
    • Right near that, there are a handful of side streets in Belgravia that have a lot of local ateliers and boutiques that are super fascinating to go into.  I was amazed by the fact that these tiny unassuming store fronts could produce masterpieces with fabric.

It seems like I cannot get enough of British fashion, and I couldn’t help to love everywhere I shopped in London.  I hope this guide’s helpful for fellow fashionistas!

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