I of course had to include a shopping page, because what girl doesn’t like to shop? I bought a shameful amount of books and clothes in England, so I feel like I’ve experience enough of London’s shopping scene to give you an overview of my favorites.
- If you’re looking to buy some books, try Waterstones, Daunt, or Foyles. Waterstones is like a Barnes and Noble but better. I bought most of the novels I had to read for school here. My favorite is the Piccadilly store. BONUS: Waterstones has a hysterical Twitter account. You should follow it if you have Twitter. Daunt Books specializes in travel books, but they have all kinds of other books too. It’s a beautiful bookstore. Another great choice is Foyles. It was at one time the world’s largest bookshop by shelf area. It has every kind of book you could ever need, plus music and food.
- If you want the quintessential London shopping experience, go to Harrod’s and Liberty of London. Harrod’s has literally everything you could want, from food to clothes to china to even stuffed animals. Even if you don’t buy anything you must go. It’s practically a tourist attraction on its own. My favorite part of the whole building is the escalator area, which is decorated like Ancient Egypt and is totally random. A bonus for me was that I could walk there in 10 minutes, so I spent a lot of time wandering around and hoping to run into someone famous. Another staple is Liberty of London. It’s an awesome store famous for its prints which are mostly floral. It’s in a beautiful building and carries some of the most beautiful clothes that I love to look at but could never afford. Other great choices are Selfridges, Debenhams, or Fortnum and Mason.
- My favorite way to shop in London is at the many markets, They come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. My very favorite market is Borough Market. It can never be topped in my heart. Borough is largely a food market, open every day but Sunday. My favorite time to go was Thursday at lunchtime. They have a wide variety of vendors, selling anything from cheese to ice cream to fresh squeezed juice, and it’s for the most part pretty affordable. This is a must-do activity. Other cool markets you should check out are the Columbia Road Flower Market, which is a floral paradise and open on Sundays from 8-3, the Spitalfields Market, which is close to Columbia Road and Brick Lane and sells just about everything (I got some cool carry on bags there for 10 pounds), and Portobello Road Market, made famous by Notting Hill.
- If you’re looking for some clothes that are actually affordable and will help you look a little less like an American, try Primark, Zara, Topshop, or H&M. They’re all pretty accessible and have multiple locations, but I of course have my favorites of each. My favorite Zara is right off of Duke of York Square, down the road from my old home and sometimes Duchess Kate and Pippa shop there since Pippa lives in Chelsea. Primark is kind of overwhelming (read: panic attack inducing) and huge, but sometimes you can find that one gem. My friend Sally got a pair of jeans there in 2011 for like 6 pounds and she still has them today. That’s a great pair of pants right there folks. H&M is about the same as America, but they get clothes we get about 6 months earlier, so it seems more trendy. Topshop is a British brand also sometimes worn by Duchess Kate, and it’s a good happy medium store. Not too expensive, but your clothes wont fall apart 2 months later either.