118 Best Places to Shop in London, England

Agent Provocateur

Soho Fodor's choice

Created by punk fashion designer Vivienne Westwood's son and daughter-in-law, this line of lingerie in gorgeous fabrics, silks, latex, and lace tends toward the kind of risqué underwear that is both provocative and practical. The original boudoir-like shop is staffed by assistants in prim pink uniforms in what was Soho's red-light district, but the brand has gone a bit more mainstream and now also sells bathing suits, nightwear, jewelry, and luggage in multiple locations in Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Victoria, and Notting Hill.

Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

This landmark toy shop still carries on the tradition of its eponymous founder, who sold miniature theater stages made from richly detailed paper from the late 19th century until his death in 1937. Among his admirers was author Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote, "If you love art, folly, or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's." Today the mesmerizing antique model theaters are expensive, but there are plenty of magical reproductions for less than £10. There's also an extensive selection of nostalgic puppets, marionettes, teddy bears, Victorian paper dolls, spinning tops, jack-in-the-boxes, and similar traditional children's toys from the days before batteries were required (or toys were even run on them).

Berry Bros. & Rudd

St. James's Fodor's choice

Nothing matches Berry Bros. & Rudd for rare offerings and a unique shopping experience. A family-run wine business since 1698 (Lord Byron was a customer), BBR stores more than 20,000 vintage bottles and casks in vaulted cellars that are more than 300 years old. The in-house wine school offers educational tasting sessions, while the branch at 63 Pall Mall has an excellent selection of whiskeys, cognacs, rums, and more. The shop has a quirky charm, and the staff are extremely knowledgeable—and not snooty if you're on a budget.

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Blackout II

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

Escape the bustle of Covent Garden's Neal Street here at one of London's top vintage clothing shops. Its two small floors are overflowing with high-end vintage dresses, coats, suits, costume jewelry,  shoes, and more from the 1920s to the 1970s. With that much to choose from, you'll be hard-pressed to leave without finding something to sharpen up your look.

Books for Cooks

Notting Hill Fodor's choice

It may seem odd to describe a bookshop as delicious smelling, but on several days you can't help but notice the aromas wafting out of the tiny café in the back of this cookbook shop, where the resident chef cooks a three-course set lunch for only £7, served from noon on Tuesday through Friday (it's first come, first served, so get there early). The dishes are drawn from recipes in the 8,000 cookbooks on the shelves. Just about every world cuisine is represented, along with a complete lineup of works by celebrity chefs. Before you come to London, visit the shop's website to sign up for a specialized cooking workshop in the upstairs demonstration kitchen.

Broadway Market

Hackney Fodor's choice

This parade of shops in hipster-centric Hackney (north of Regent's Canal) is worth visiting for the specialty bookshops, independent boutiques, organic cafés, neighborhood restaurants, and welcoming community feel. But wait for Saturday (9–5), when it really comes into its own with a farmers' market and more than 70 street-food and produce stalls rivaling those of south London's famed Borough Market. Artisan breads, cheeses, pastries, organic meats, waffles, fruit and vegetables, seafood, and international food offerings: this is foodie heaven. There are also stalls selling vintage clothes, crafts, jewelry, and more. There is a smaller market on Sunday.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Hoxton Fodor's choice

London's premier flower market is about as pretty and photogenic as they come, with more than 50 stalls selling flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and trees—everything from bedding plants to 10-foot banana trees—as well as garden tools, pots, and accessories at competitive prices. The stallholders' patter is part of the fun. It's on Sunday only, and it's all over by 3 pm. Columbia Road itself is lined with 60 interesting independent shops purveying art, fashion, furnishings (most of which are only open on weekends), and the local cafés are superb.

Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

Established in the 1670s as a thriving fruit, herb, and flower market, this popular historic piazza now has three separate market areas: the Apple Market, the East Colonnade Market, and the Jubilee Market. In the main covered area originally designed by Inigo Jones and known as the Apple Market, 40 stalls sell handcrafted jewelry, prints, clothes, ceramics, and crafts from Tuesday through Sunday, while Monday is given over to antiques, curios, and collectibles. The East Colonnade Market has stalls with mostly handmade specialty items like soaps and jewelry, as well as housewares, accessories, and magic tricks. The Jubilee Market, in Jubilee Hall toward Southampton Street, tends toward kitschy T-shirts and cheap household goods Tuesday through Friday but has vintage antiques and collectibles on Monday and handmade goods on weekends.

Largely aimed at the tourist trade in the past, Covent Garden Market continues its ascent, introducing a more sophisticated image (and correspondingly higher prices) with the opening of upscale restaurants and chains in the surrounding arcades, including a huge Apple Store; beauty outlets like Chanel, M.A.C., and Dior; and boutiques for top brands like Mulberry and N.Peal. Don't miss the magicians, musicians, jugglers, and escape artists who perform in the open-air piazza; the performances are free (though contributions are welcome).

Daunt Books

Marylebone Fodor's choice

An independent bookstore chain (there are additional branches in Belsize Park, Hampstead, Holland Park, and Cheapside), Daunt favors a thoughtful selection of contemporary and classic fiction and nonfiction. The striking Marylebone branch is an original Edwardian bookstore, where a dramatic room with a long oak-paneled gallery under lofty skylights houses the noted travel section, which includes not only guidebooks but also related literature and poetry. The Hampstead branch is strong on children's books.


Mayfair Fodor's choice

A manageably sized department store, Fenwick is a welcome haven of affordability in a shopping area where stratospheric prices are the norm. The store is particularly strong on accessories (notably lingerie, wraps, and hats), cosmetics, perfumes, and chic, wearable fashion by both big names and more niche designers such as Goat, J Brand, and Tory Burch. There are also three small spas (Chantecaille, La Prairie, and a Blink waxing room), various beauty services (including a hair salon, nail bar, and Blink brow bar), and three restaurants, plus a men's department in the basement.

Fortnum & Mason

St. James's Fodor's choice

Although F&M was jokingly known as "the Queen's grocer" (time will tell if the nickname will keep pace with the change of monarch) and the impeccably mannered staff still wear traditional tailcoats, its celebrated food hall stocks gifts for all budgets, including irresistibly packaged luxury foods stamped with the gold "By Appointment" crest for under £5. Try the teas, preserves (including the unusual rose-petal jelly), condiments, or Gentleman's Relish (anchovy paste). The store's famous hampers are always a welcome gift.

The gleaming food hall spans two floors and incorporates a sleek wine bar, with the rest of the store devoted to upscale housewares, men's and women's accessories and toiletries, a dedicated candle room, and a jewelry department featuring exclusive designs by breakthrough talent. If you start to flag, take a break in the tea salon; or FIELD, which specializes in local ingredients and overlooks the food hall; or the contemporary 45 Jermyn St. restaurant (the three-course set menu is a good value); or head to the indulgent ice-cream parlor, where you can find decadent treats like a banana split or a less-traditional gin-and-tonic float. There's another branch at St. Pancras International train station.


Soho Fodor's choice

Founded in 1903 by the Foyle brothers after they failed the Civil Service exams, this labyrinthine family-owned bookstore and literary landmark is in a 1930s art deco building, once the home of the renowned art and fashion college Central Saint Martins. One of London's best sources for textbooks and the United Kingdom's largest retailer of foreign language books, with more than 200,000 titles on its four miles of bookshelves, Foyles also stocks everything from popular fiction to military history, sheet music, medical tomes, graphic novels, and illustrated fine arts books. It also offers the in-store Ray's Jazz (one of London's better outlets for music) and a cool jazz café. Foyles also has a branch at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre.

Geo F. Trumper

St. James's Fodor's choice

If you don't have the time for an old-fashioned hot-towel shave at this "traditional gentlemen's barbers" established in 1875, pick up a razor, a shaving brush, or other men's grooming accessories to take home for yourself or as a gift. The Extract of Limes Skin Food is a popular, zingy aftershave, and the Coconut Oil Hard Shaving Soap, which comes in a hand-turned wooden bowl, is a classic. There is also a store at 9 Curzon Street in Mayfair.

Grosvenor Prints

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

London's largest collection of 17th- to early-20th-century prints focuses on views of London and its architecture and denizens, as well as royal, sporting, and decorative motifs. From master printmaker William Hogarth to English political caricaturist James Gillray, the delightfully higgledy-piggledy selection is hugely eclectic, with prices ranging from £20 into the thousands. Staff will happily ship globally; just note that it's closed on weekends.


St. James's Fodor's choice

This is the United Kingdom's oldest bookshop, open since 1797 and beloved by writers themselves—customers have included Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and Lord Byron. Despite its wood-paneled, "gentleman's library" atmosphere and eclectic selection of books, Hatchards is now owned by the large Waterstones chain. Nevertheless, the shop still retains its period charm, aided by the staff's old-fashioned helpfulness and expertise. Look for the substantial number of books signed by notable contemporary authors on the well-stocked shelves. There's another branch in the St. Pancras International train station.

Heywood Hill

Mayfair Fodor's choice

Open since 1936, this is considered by some to be the best small bookstore in the English-speaking world—John Le Carré, who set a scene in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy here, was a long-standing customer. Browse for a leather-bound volume on architecture, gardening, natural history, or topography—just some of the topics in which the antiquarian collection specializes. The contemporary selection emphasizes literature, history, biography, travel, architecture, and children's books, and the knowledgeable staff is happy to provide advice. During World War II, author Nancy Mitford helped keep the bookstore going. Today, the 12th Duke of Devonshire, a descendant of her brother-in-law, the 11th Duke, is the owner.

James Smith & Sons Ltd.

Bloomsbury Fodor's choice

Stepping into this gorgeous Victorian-era umbrella shop is like stepping back in time. Open since 1857, this family-run emporium sells every kind of umbrella, parasol, cane, and walking stick under the sun (including some containing a small flask or a corkscrew or that fold out into a seat). Rumored to have been the inspiration behind Ollivanders Wand Shop in the Harry Potter series, the interior of the shop is almost unchanged since it first opened its doors. Prices range from about £35 for a modest folding umbrella to £425 for a classic blackthorn root-knob solid stick brolly, to thousands for bespoke items. If the umbrella prices are too steep, smaller accessories like ox horn shoehorns or pocket combs make perfect gifts.


Soho Fodor's choice

Its distinctive black-and-white Tudor-style facade, created from the timbers of two Royal Navy men-o'-war ships, reflects this department store's origins in the late Victorian Arts and Crafts movement. Leading designers were recruited to create the classic Liberty silk prints that are still a signature of the brand, gracing everything from cushions and kimonos to photo albums and stationary. Inside, Liberty is a wood-paneled labyrinth of rooms stocked with well-chosen merchandise, including niche beauty, perfume, footwear, and housewares lines such as Soho Home, which features furniture from the membership club. Clothes for men and women focus on high quality and high fashion, with labels like Rixo and Roland Mouret. The store regularly commissions new prints from contemporary designers, and it sells both these and its classic patterns by the yard. If you're not so handy with a needle, an interior design service will create soft furnishings for you. There's also a florist, a hair salon, a men's barber, beauty treatment rooms, a brow bar, foot spa, and a body piercing studio.

Lock & Co. Hatters

St. James's Fodor's choice

Need a silk top hat, a flat-weave Panama, or a traditional tweed flat cap? Or, for ladies, an occasion hat? This wood-paneled shop has been providing hats since 1676 (the oldest in London, they claim) for customers ranging from Admiral Lord Nelson, Oscar Wilde, and Frank Sinatra to, more recently, Robert Downey Jr., Guy Ritchie, and Kate Middleton, as well as trendsetting musicians and models.

Maggs Bros. Ltd.

Bloomsbury Fodor's choice

A bibliophile’s heaven, this bookshop was first established in 1853 by the wonderfully Dickensian-sounding Uriah Maggs, who passed the business onto his four sons. Still one of the most important sellers of rare antiquarian books today, Maggs famously negotiated the purchase of a Gutenberg Bible from cash-starved Stalinist Russia, as well as the priceless Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest copy of the New Testament) that now sits on display in the nearby British Library.

The staff are expert enough to advise important collectors but are friendly and helpful to all interested visitors. Maggs is also an authority on works on counterculture, subversion, punk, and the occult. There are occasional exhibitions of manuscripts and rare editions, plus a sister shop on Curzon Street in Mayfair.

Neal's Yard Dairy

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

Magnificent stacks of Britain's finest farmhouse cheeses fill the racks at this renowned cheesemonger and artisan cheese lovers' paradise off Seven Dials in Convent Garden. Ever pungent and matured on-site, browse the rare raw milk Stilton-esque Stichelton blue cheese from Welbeck in Nottinghamshire or the 65 other small-batch, British-made creations like Montgomery cheddar, Camembert-style Tunworth, and a lactic goat's cheese Innes Log.

Old Spitalfields Market

Spitalfields Fodor's choice

Once the East End's wholesale fruit and vegetable market and now restored to its original architectural splendor, this fine example of a Victorian market hall is at the center of the area's gentrified revival. The original building is largely occupied by shops (mostly upscale brands like Mulberry, Lululemon, and Diptyque, but some independents like trendy homeware-and-fashion purveyor The Mercantile), with traders' stalls in the courtyard. A modern shopping precinct under a Norman Foster–designed glass canopy adjoins the old building and holds approximately 70 traders' stalls. You may have to wade through a certain number of stalls selling cheap imports and tacky T-shirts to find the good stuff, which includes vintage and new clothing, handmade rugs and jewelry, hand-carved toy trains, vintage maps, unique baby clothes, rare vinyl, and cakes. Thursday is for antiques; Friday for a biweekly record fair; while weekends offer a little of everything. The Kitchens, 10 central dining venues showcasing small, independent chefs and restaurants, provide fresh takes on Mexican, Japanese, and other world cuisines. There are also indie street-food stalls and some superior chain outlets.

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Paul Smith

Covent Garden Fodor's choice

British classics with a twist define esteemed fashion designer Paul Smith's collections for women, men, and children. Beautifully tailored suits for men and women take hallmarks of traditional British style and turn them on their heads with humor and color, combining exceptional fabrics with flamboyant linings or unusual detailing. Gift ideas abound—leather wallets, cashmere scarves, card cases, and distinctive belts and socks—all in Smith's signature rainbow stripes. There are several branches throughout London, in Notting Hill, Soho, Marylebone, and Southwark, plus a Mayfair shop that includes mid-century furniture.

Peter Jones

Chelsea Fodor's choice

This tasteful department store has been a beloved local institution since it opened in 1937, and the poet John Betjeman remarked that come the end of the world he would like to be in the haberdashery department of Peter Jones "because nothing bad could ever happen there." It's the traditional default wedding-list option of Kensington and Chelsea brides thanks to its outstanding selection of bed and bath linens (many from the in-house line of John Lewis, the store's parent company), flatware, ceramics, and glassware, with offerings at all price points. There's also an extensive and eclectic beauty department, as well as kitchenware and appliances, furniture, tech stuff, a florist, and clothing, shoes, and accessories for the whole family, plus pretty much everything else you can think of, along with a restaurant and a Clarins spa.

Philip Treacy

Belgravia Fodor's choice

Magnificent hats by Treacy are annual showstoppers on Ladies' Day at the Royal Ascot races and regularly grace the glossy magazines' party and catwalk pages. Part Mad Hatter, part Cecil Beaton, Treacy's creations always guarantee a grand entrance and are favorites with everyone from Lady Gaga to Kate Middleton. In addition to the extravagant, haute couture hats handmade in the atelier, less flamboyant ready-to-wear hats are also for sale, as are some bags.

Reckless Records

Soho Fodor's choice

Open since 1984, Soho's longest-standing secondhand vinyl store has seen the reign of cassette tapes, CDs, Napster, and Spotify, and arguably has massively helped contribute to vinyl's recent revival. Come here to leaf through the racks for rare vinyl finds and classic albums, spanning everything from rock and roll and New Wave to electro, heavy metal, and drum and bass. If the shop front itself looks familiar, that's because it was featured on the cover of Oasis's 1995 hit album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?


Dalston Fodor's choice

The carefully curated vintage clothing—for women, men, and kids, plus a limited range of jewelry and accessories—on sale at this atmospheric boutique is updated on a near-daily basis, meaning you'll be tempted by something new every visit. Alternations are free and can be turned around quickly. There's another branch on Broadway Market.


Marylebone Fodor's choice

This giant bustling store (the second largest in the United Kingdom after Harrods) gives Harvey Nichols a run for its money as London's most fashionable department store. Packed to the rafters with clothes ranging from mid-price lines to the latest catwalk names, the store continues to break ground with its innovative retail schemes, especially the ground-floor Wonder Room (for extravagant jewelry and luxury watches), a dedicated Denim Studio, a Fragrance Bar where you can create custom perfume, an array of pop-ups ranging from spaces for designers such as Jil Sander to a healthy shot bar (if you need some colloidal silver to keep you going). The giant accessories hall has miniboutiques dedicated to top-end designers such as Chanel, Gucci, and Vuitton, while the new Corner Shop offers U.K.-themed gifts and souvenirs at all price points.

There are so many zones that merge into one another—from youth-oriented Miss Selfridge to audio equipment to the large, comprehensive cosmetics department—that you practically need a map. Don't miss the Shoe Galleries, the world's largest shoe department, which is filled with more than 5,000 pairs from 120 brands, displayed like works of art under spotlights. Take a break with a glass of wine at the rooftop restaurant or pick up some tea in the Food Hall as a gift.

So Tiny London

Fitzrovia Fodor's choice

This small store has loads of imaginative clothes for babies and young children, such as T-shirts emblazoned with Union Jacks and phrases like "Darth Vader Is My Father" and "Baby Gaga," as well as the utterly inspired baby onesie decked out in classic black-and-white prison stripes with the caption “Been Inside for 9 Months.” There are also pretty dresses with English Rose prints, dragon costumes for dress-up, and great gifts for the little ones in your life, like dinosaur hand puppets or a knitted gold crown.

Swaine Adeney Brigg

St. James's Fodor's choice

Providing practical supplies for country pursuits since 1750, Swaine Adeney Brigg carries beautifully crafted umbrellas, walking sticks, and hip flasks, or ingenious combinations, such as the umbrella with a slim tipple-holding flask secreted inside the stem. The same level of quality and craftsmanship applies to the store's leather goods, which include attaché cases (you can buy the "Q Branch" model that James Bond carried in From Russia with Love) and wallets. You'll find scarves, caps, and the Herbert Johnson "Poet Hat," the iconic headgear (stocked since 1890) worn by Harrison Ford in every Indiana Jones film.