November 17, 2016
Soak up London’s festive atmosphere and indulge in some Christmas shopping at the best traditional markets and department stores. Admire the stunning seasonal shop windows and easily hunt down the perfect present in the capital with our guide.
West End wonders
See London at its most dazzling and marvel at the array of glitzy lights and decorations adorning the city’s high streets. From the giant Christmas baubles surrounding the Covent Garden Piazza to the cobbled charm of Seven Dials and the twinkling lights of Carnaby Street, you’ll be spoiled for choice with places to pick up your gifts. If you’re on the hunt for high-end designer gear, Regent Street is your best bet and, while you’re there, Oxford Street is just around the corner. You can’t go wrong with one of the most famous shopping districts in the world, worth visiting just for the Christmas window displays alone.
London is home to some of the best department stores in the world. Whether you’re after kitchenware or exotic foods, you’ll find it all conveniently wrapped up under one roof. Hailed as the king of department stores, Harrods, in Knightsbridge, is best known for its glittering Christmas lights and impressive sales. The Food Hall at Selfridges on Oxford Street is also a must, and you can sample the world’s finest cheeses, nibble on dainty desserts or simply people watch from the cafe. Make sure you also add Liberty to your Christmas shopping checklist, and prepare to be charmed by the Tudor-style store, which was constructed in 1924 using the timber from two former Royal Navy ships.
Stock up on handmade gifts, pretty confectionery and stay warm as you sip mulled wine at London’s magical Christmas markets. Feel the spirit of the season at the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, which runs until 4 January 2018, and stroll along the riverside to see what goods the traditional wooden chalets have to offer.
Where else can you visit the world’s oldest toy store, buy marionettes and get eco-friendly toys? Discover London’s fantastic shops, selling a wide range of children’s toys, such as retro board games, puppets, cool gadgets and educational toys. Founded in 1760, Hamleys is a world-renowned store on Regent Street filled with seven floors of toys from every popular brand. Or step back in time at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, established in 1856, where you’ll find paper toy theatres and other traditional toys with a theatrical theme.
Deck the halls
Half the fun of Christmas is dressing up your home. But don’t limit Christmas decorations to the tree – why not bring some back as a pretty decorative memento? If you’re after something elegant, VV Rouleaux in Marylebone has all the inspiration you need for the finishing flourishes, including an in-house present-wrapping station. For the best baubles in town, head to Liberty’s Christmas Shop on the top floor of the department store, where you’ll find some of the city’s most luxurious and dazzling decorations. Deck out your home in style.