The celebrated author Samuel Johnson said that when a man was tired of London he was tired of life. That was said in 1777 however, it might well have been expressed by Johson today if he could somehow be transported to 21st century London. The city remains a vibrant metropolis with attractions that will delight even the most seasoned or jaded of world traveler.
One of the undoubted delights of a visit to London is the wealth of shopping opportunities. In fact, the choice of retail destinations is so vast that it can lead to a sort of retail ‘mental block’ or a state of confusion – where to begin?
For those who want to avoid this unfortunate condition here are some of the most popular areas in London for shopping – and what one can expect to find while perusing the shelves of the many and varied outlets across the city.
- Oxford Street.
Oxford Street is filled to the brim with a uniquely London aura of vibrancy. It is one of the most visited streets in the city. It is at the heart of the shopping district, due in part to the sheer selection of shopping experiences that are available. There are around 300 stores, boutiques and fashion outlets in Oxford Street. Both domestic and international designers are there in abundance. An abiding favourite is Selfridges – well worth a visit for anything from food to furniture. Avoid the weekend pedestrian madness at all costs.
- Covent Garden.
If you are after fashion of any type (men’s, women’s or kiddies) this should be on your bucket list of London shopping destinations. Keep your energy levels up by visiting one of the many restaurants, coffee shops and cafes that are scattered throughout the area. There are three markets in Covent Garden – each worthy of leisurely exploration. These are Jubilee Market – where the offerings change daily. Repeat visits are required. The second is East Colonnade Market where a huge selection of hand made goods can be found (including some wonderful hand-knitted items). Finally, there is the Apple Market where you can pick up antiques, artwork, fashion items and housewares.
- Carnaby Street.
For a taste of the 60’s head to Carnaby Street where the ‘Mod’ movement which has powered by the dissatisfaction of British youth with the status quo. It was then that clothing choices became more exploratory and rock took on a harder edge. that era is reflected in the number of shops that retail ‘cutting-edge’ clothing. There are some wonderful restaurants in the area, as well as some great bars and cafes. This is the place to go for those who want to be at the forefront of fashion. Access using public transport and walk – it is definitely not a ‘car-friendly’ destination.
- Bond Street.
If your bank balance is showing a (very) healthy balance then you will want to visit Bond Street. It is known throughout the world as one of the premier districts to pick up high end and bespoke fashion. However, it’s not only clothing that draws in well-heeled shoppers. There are numerous high-end jewelers, art dealers and exclusive antique dealers in both New Bond Street and Old Bond Street (which collectively make up ‘Bond Street’) such as Watch Centre which along with Rich Diamonds, are part of the Watches and Jewellery of Bond Street brand.
These are only a few of the many shopping enclaves that can be found in London. It is a city that rewards exploration. Samuel Johnson was right. You might get footsore exploring the shopping opportunities – but you will never get tired of London.