Shopping in London?

Apr 13th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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Shopping in London?

Are there any great places to shop in London, for someone on a budget? My daughter plans on a shopping spree while we are in London, but with the exchange rate, the spree may be very short! Also, are the shops open past 7 pm in the city? I'd like to shop one evening. Thanks,
Marbie is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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How old is your daughter? Knowing her age will help people refine their answers and give you shops and or neighborhoods which would appeal to her age range.

There are lots of great places to shop in London but most of them have never been considered a bargain and all of them are even less so with the current exchange rate.

The larger stores on Regent and Oxford Streets are open until 8 in the evening. Smaller boutique places not on the main tourist trails tend to shut between 5-6 pm.

obxgirl is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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There is a chain of small shops called Accessorize. They have inexpensive handbags, scarves, hair accessories, colorful flip-flops, even some sunglasses.
elaine is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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How about Portabello Road and Camden Market?
Scarlett is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 05:31 PM
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Make that Portobello Road
Scarlett is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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My daughter is 14 y/o. I wouldn't mind looking for myself also though!!Clothing and accessories are big on the shopping list.
Marbie is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 06:10 PM
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Two words: Oxford Street. You get the best of both worlds -- fun department stores, and the fun, London shops like H & M and Topshop (trendy and very inexpensive, even for London). Oasis, Moonsoon are also great, but a little more expensive.

The stores are open late on Thursday nights, but they will be crowded.

Have fun!
ucsbalum is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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Figure on spending up to 2x the price in the U.S. In my opinion the only "fun" place to shop is at Harrod's just for the ambience. After checking out various shops and department stores, the prices were a joke!! Maybe your daughter could find some funky shop somewhere but don't plan on a "budget" experience. Honestly, buy in U.S. and spend your "shopping" dollars elsewhere.
nancy is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 07:43 PM
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I agree with Nancy. London has always been very expensive for clothes shopping, even before the fall of the US dollar. There are H&M's in the States. Why go to London to pay twice the price for a pair of jeans???????? Unless you hit a major sale, don't shop in London unless you see something that you ABSOLUTELY have to have. I was born in London and never shop there when I go home for a visit. The last time I was in Harvey Nic's, I got the shivers when looking at price tags, and this is from someone who normally shops at NM, Saks, and Bloomingdale's.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 07:47 PM
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..for a teen, I reallly cant recommend anything except cute (and cheap accessories). The exchange rate is dreadful and quite a turn around from when I was a student..I would buy several light weight lambswool turtlenecks from Marks and sparks for under 5 pounds each and great undies..was in Southampton this Fall and even M and S about what I'd expect to pay here but in $ not pounds..great way not to even be tempted to shop.
travelbunny is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 07:58 PM
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My profession allows me to study retailing and shopping environments A LOT. As many have said, unless you find that unique item that you love and can't find similar things at home, or it represents some kind of souvenir, shopping in London (and Europe in general) is relatively expensive, especially for clothing. Some of the young people's boutiques mentioned above are good options for the young and young-at-heart. You might also try Zara's and H & M (but increasingly, we find these inthe states.) Between VAT's, and very highly regulated periods when retailers are allowed to put things on sale, I'll shop the states anytime.

That said, browsing in the shopping districts can be its own entertainment. I'd do Harrod's anytime for the sepctacle of it all, the shopping districts mentioned above, little shops around Brompton Road and Chelsea, etc. Covent Garden is touristy, but the shops for your daughter's age could be fun. Some of the arcades (e.g. Burlington) are more for the fuddy-duds, but a unique experience for Americans. There is also a British cap store that I love nearby on Piccadilly.

I never saw the "wow" factor of Harvey Nick's -- not bad, but nothing to rave about if you get to shop New York, etc. It's quite pricey, nothing you haven't seen in the U.S.

Selfridges is more interesting than M & S, in my opinion, if you'd like to browse more mid-range department stores.
madameX is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 09:11 PM
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You might like to go to Harrod's just for the experience, but you probably won't be buying much there! Everything is very expensive, and with the exchange rate, even more so.

I also liked one of the Accessorize shops, bought a very pretty velvet scarf with appliqued flowers there that wasn't too expensive and they had lots of neat things there. The one I went to was just down the street from Harrod's (I think east of it on the same side of the street).

Across the street was a Lush store if you like bath products, although I have to say that I'm not that crazy about their products. I had a bad reaction to one of their soaps, but I should point out that I have extremely sensitive skin and am allergic to a lot of bath products.

I enjoyed Covent Gardens and the antique/collectible market there. Some very expensive stuff but also some more reasonable things if you like that sort of thing.
Have a great trip!
SusanP is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 12:37 AM
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An earlier reply mentioned Topshop - I am sure your daughter would LOVE this place - incredibly popular with English teens because the prices are very reasonable and it is always trendy. There's a massive Topshop in Oxford Street, covering about 4 floors, including a coffee bar (where my husband sits with a newspaper waiting for us to shop!). Also has clean toilets in the shop which is worth knowing! This Topshop also carries a great range of jewellery (called Freedom I believe), and handbags, shoes etc.
I recently returned from a holiday in California and was really shocked at the prices of T shirts in Abercrombie and Fitch!
Also you might like to look at NEXT shops. These have a good range of slightly smarter clothes, still at reasonable prices. I beleive there is a NEXT just across the road from Topshop on Oxford Street.
Accessorize are popular too, and their necklaces are especially beautiful.Have a look at
Have a great time!
Morgana is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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If you put "Top Shop" or Topshop" in the earch engine on this forum, you'll pull up a couple of really good threads on just this subject - bargain, fashion shopping for teenagers.

For the record:
Oxford Street (Oxford Circus Tube) for Top Shop (very cheap fashion - and you may even spot Madonna or Gwyneth browsing for bargains), Zara, Mango, H&M
Neal Street in Covent Garden for great range of 'youth' clothing - surfie gear, trainers, shoes, jeans etc etc.
Camden Market for alternative/vintage etc.
King's Road in Chelsea for people watching as much as shopping - if you want her to be spotted by a model scout to be the next Kate Moss, this is the place to hang out.
Kate is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Definitely do yourself a favor and shop in the US. Value is much much better. It might be interesting to browse Oxford St or Harrods, but for entertainment value only. Do some window shopping in London and then buy the same item in the states when you return for 1/2 the price!
Juliekl is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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Another vote for Portobello Road in the Knotting Hill area.

Gekko is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 08:54 AM
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I've got a daughter who is about to turn 14 and she loves shopping in London. Your girl will figure out pretty quickly that her cash won't go very far. The spree might be short but that doesn't mean the experience will be brief. A number of these stores are in the US but there will be endless opportunities to compare inventories, try things on, and debate in perpetuity which pair of 9,000 identical bracelets is the right one to buy. Mindnumbing stuff for the average adult but sport & entertainment for your typical 14 YO girl.

And yes, mine paid way too much for a pair of jeans but she earned the money, it was her choice, and those are one coveted pair of jeans. (this season, anyway)

I think Kate has put together the best list to which I would add Jane Norman and Urban Outfitters. Also Boots, Superdrug and Lush for makeup & body products. Finally, Paperchase (the flagship store on Tottenham Ct. Rd) for cool paper products.

My girl loved Camden and Spitalfields markets but thought Portobello was a yawn. Harrods was a hoot because of its OTT pretentiousness but the novelty soon wore thin. She wasn't that into the upscale department stores as a lot of the junior lines repeated from store to store and the prices were off the charts.

Oxford Street and Covent Garden rated high as destinations.
obxgirl is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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The Top Shop at Oxford Circus & Camden Market for cheap, fun clothes and Covent Garden for a 'nice afternoon' out.
Tallulah is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 11:49 AM
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As a British mother of 2 teenage daughters, the only places they want to shop are Topshop, Zara, H&M and New Look. All are very low budget but the quality isn't too bad either, Topshop being the best. Pilot is also pretty good. You cannot go wrong with visiting these stores, most of which are on Oxford Street. Dorothy Perkins also gets a thumbs up some of the time. Portobello Market can be OK but the quality can be a bit dodgy at times and after a wash garments can lose shape. You get what you pay for... Top British style icons like supermodels Kate Moss, Sophie Dahl and actress Sienna Miller (engaged to Jude Law) all adore Topshop, or so we're told in the press! Good luck and have fun. Added bonus of Topshop is there are "model agency scouts" around, which make your daughter feel really good if approached, and you don't have to take it any further if you don't want to.
julia_t is offline  
Apr 14th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Zara is low budget????? The last time I was in Zara (Lisbon), a man's shirt was $50 US. (This was before the euro was instituted and the exchange rate between the escudo and dollar were very good.) That is mid-range, in my opinion. Very similar to Zara in the States is JCrew. This is not equivalent to H & M, where you can get a pair of jeans AND A SHIRT for $50.

A US bugdet and London are like oil and water, sweetie.
ThinGorjus is offline  

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