Luxury Shopping in London
August 14, 2019
It is no secret that London is one of the most interesting and cultural cities in the entire world. Not only does it have a population of nearly 9 million people, but thanks to the architecture, famous landmarks and of course amazing shopping opportunities, it also draws in somewhere in the region of 20 million visitors every year from around the globe.
One huge draw for people to visit London has to be the fact that it is one of the top shopping destinations in the entire world. This is especially true if you are looking for some of the most luxurious items that you can buy from extremely prestigious brands.
Want to know more about the most famous places to enjoy and indulge in some luxury shopping? Then here are some of the most amazing places that you can visit and buy everything that your heart could truly desire.
Found in the West End of London, Bond Street is known to be one of the most popular shopping areas of London. Originally, though, the entire Bond Street area was made up of fields that surrounded Clarendon House, a town mansion built during the 1660s. However, over time the street was developed, by a man known as Sir Thomas Bond, and during the early 1700s buildings began to appear. These buildings appealed to the elite of Mayfair and the street swiftly became a place for them to socialise. Some of the big name brands that you will be able to shop at in Bond Street include: Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Burberry and Louis Vuitton.
Dover Street Market
As one of the newest additions to the luxury shopping scene in London, Dover Street Market was formed in 2004 at Dover Street in Mayfair, London. It is a luxury designer store, selling high end fashion and urban, streetwear brands. It is a six storey building, packed with luxury labels from Saint Laurent through to Alexander McQueen. The store was created by Rei Kawakubo and it now has branches all over the world. The interior of Dover Street Market features concrete floors to create an almost industrial space and it includes reconfigured Portaloo dressing rooms making it a shopping experience with a difference. Enjoy a refreshment on the top floor Rose Bakery serving lots of tasty treats.
Fortnum and Mason
As one of the oldest department stores in London, Fortnum and Mason was established in 1707 and serves as the grocer and tea supplier to the Royal family. William Fortnum, the Founder of the store acquired his business knowledge while working as a Footman for Queen Anne. At the time the Hanoverians, a part of the royal family, insisted that new candles were used each night which meant a lot of wax left over in the morning. Fortnum collected this surplus wax and sold it at a profit before moving into groceries too. He then persuaded his landlord at the time Hugh Mason to go into business with him and the Fortnum and Mason brand as we know it was launched. The Scotch Egg was invented at Fortnum and Mason which is a delicacy of a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs which is then fried. Fortnum and Mason food has been sent all over the world even supplying the 1922 expedition to Mount Everest.
Another West end based shopping zone, Covent Garden is so much more than just a place to treat yourself to something special. It is also a fantastic place to spend some time and socialise with friends and family. Of course, you will find a wide variety of shops here including: Mulberry, Hotel Chocolate, Chanel (in fact the first ever Chanel Fragrance and Beauty Boutique is located in this very spot).
Covent Garden has so much more to offer, you will also find theatres, restaurants and bars too. Another reason that many people head to Covent Garden is to see the street performers who are there each and every day. These range from mimes, dancers and of course wonderfully talented singers too.
When it comes to department stores in London, Harrods is probably one of the main names that spring to mind. Opened in 1834 by Henry Harrod at the age of 25, the store has grown to become one of the most prestigious and well liked shopping destinations for the wealthy. Not only does it feature some of the most luxurious items that you can own, but even the building itself has a touch of glamor about it. The perfect example of this has to be the Egyptian Escalator. The store covers over 1,000,000 square feet with the current building being built between 1901 and 1905. An early rival of Harrods, Harry Gordon Selfridge made a bet with the manager of Harrods over which store would earn the most profit in 1917. Harrods won the bet and Selfridge commissioned a silver replica of the store which is on display to this very day. The store also had its own zoo in 1917 starting with chickens and goats before adding more exotic animals as the years went by. Many fictional animals have been associated with the store too including a teddy bear bought by AA Milne for his son Christopher Robin who later became famous for Winnie the Pooh stories.
Liberty is located in a prominent building that has a real sense of the Elizabethan era. Inside the building you will find a variety of luxury products that you will be more than happy to own. Initially the store specialised in Japanese art, ornaments and fabrics. The entrance to the store was added in the 1920s using timber from two notable ships, the HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The famous playwright Oscar Wilde made the store popular in America when he went travelling there, taking with him a collection of clothing from the store. Today it still proves as well liked as it was back then, not just in the UK but in America too. On the Kingly Street entrance to the store you will find a large clock printed with the words ‘No minute gone by comes back again, take heed and see ye do nothing in vain.’ A poignant and insightful statement.
Mayfair is home to some of the world’s most exclusive and expensive properties. Originally it was part of the manor of Eia and was largely a rural area until the early part of the 18th century. If you like to mix things up a little while you shop, visit the most haunted house in London at 50 Berkeley Square. Rumours of insanity, death and paranormal activity surrounding the property. There are also 15 embassies in Mayfair, and it is littered with elaborate buildings with national flags for the various countries proudly on display outside. Mayfair has some absolutely stunning architecture, with many of the properties being built to suit the elite. Many of the properties have been converted into commercial premises such as headquarters and offices. Sample what the luxury lifestyle has to offer with many of the designer boutiques and shops selling everything from furniture to books.
The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange dates back to the 16th Century and is located in the heart of London. At one time it was known as the centre of commerce and was a place where the royal proclamations were made, and it is one of London’s most significant buildings. During the war, the Royal Exchange was severely damaged by the Blitz, mainly down to the frequent bombings that occurred throughout the area. However, it was reconstructed and became the Mermaid Theatre for a while before being transformed into a high end shopping and restaurant centre. There are many statues displayed outside including the Duke of Wellington.
The area of St James in London is home to some of London’s oldest shops. A journey through St James’s quarter will take you on a journey through the past. With a famous handmade shoe shop and a hatters shop still in the street and Jermyn Street which is well known for its handmade suits and outfitting services. Established in 1698, the famous wine merchants Berry Bros and Rudd who are Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant. Other shops include Paxton and Whitfield, a famous cheese maker, established in 1797 and the store has a Royal Warrant to supply cheese to the Queen.
Home to a selection of premier brands and exclusive stores, Connaught Village is perfect for a leisurely afternoon of luxury shopping. Located in the prestigious Hyde Park Estate, you will find high quality artwork, beautiful homeware and luxury fashion in one of the many stores in the estate. In Connaught Village you will be able to explore some new, independent stores as well as browse some of the sophisticated galleries and view the work of some leading designers. Some of the most renowned galleries include Lyon and Turnbull which has been in operation since 1826 and is one of the longest serving fine art and antique auction houses in the entire United Kingdom. From artisan food and designer boutiques to luxury goods and exclusive places to eat, you will find that Connaught Village has a lot to offer.
If you are searching for a fine bespoke tailored suit, then one place in London that you absolutely must visit is Savile Row. This particular street found in Mayfair is well known for offering some of the very best men’s tailored clothing available. Whether that is a traditional suit or perhaps something with a little more style about it. There are a variety of places that you can head to when shopping on Savile Row. This includes Henry Poole & Co and also Gieves & Hawkes too.
Established in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the store is the largest on Oxford Street, covering 650,000 feet. It has been voted the World’s Best Department Store on two separate occasions and it was the first store in the UK to display a working television in 1925. During the Second World War one of the basements in the store was used by the US Army Signal Corps because it was located underground and safe from bombs. Today the store has the world’s largest women’s shoe department, stocking more than 100,000 shoes and sells over 7,000 pairs every week.
Sloane Square has changed considerably over the years, from its origins as a small village with links to Royalty to today where it is known as one of London’s most prestigious areas. The area has some striking architecture and interesting history, which definitely attracts people just as much as the fantastic shopping opportunities too. There is a distinctly glamorous feel when you visit this Chelsea shopping area, whether you wander around some of the amazing stores or perhaps even book yourself in a luxurious stay at the Sloane Square Hotel and other amazing places to stay.
Since the 19th century Carnaby has been recognised as a place to find a variety of amazing retail stores. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that Carnaby Street established its reputation in the luxury shopping industry. While the area in and around Carnaby Street is known for its retail, it hasn’t always been this way. Through the decades, Carnaby House has had its share of famous music icons who have shopped here including Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. All of which are reflected in the beautiful colour and charm that makes up the Carnaby Street character.
For a premier shopping experience, London has everything that you could ever want in luxury goods. From tailors to jewellers and art to antiques, it really has an original mix of old and new. London is a vibrant, bustling city with countless luxury retailers and boutiques selling some of the world’s finest but most expensive products. Wherever you find yourself in the city there is so much choice from homeware to fashion and jewellery to suits. Enjoy luxury shopping at its best in any one of the top destinations we have covered in this guide.
The various shopping districts in the city are where many of the world’s elite go to shop, whether it’s Harrods or Fortnum and Mason or Sloan Street or Kings Road, London is the perfect destination to find high end produce and alternative goods that you just can’t find elsewhere in the world. Whether your interest is in something unique or one of the famous designer brands, London has a lot to offer for everyone.
Want to visit London and treat yourself to some clothes, accessories or beauty products whilst you are there? Remember that non-EU residents are eligible for tax free shopping so don’t forget to claim your VAT refund on anything that you buy for yourself during your time in the capital.