London's appeal as a shopping destination is world-renowned, and once you start browsing through the many fantastic shopping districts, you'll soon find out why.
The city offers a wide array of different stores catering to an equally eclectic selection of tastes and budgets, so we've compiled this brief guide to five of the best areas for indulging in some serious retail therapy...
The shopping at Oxford Circus is unparalleled, and if you're looking for a place you can really lose yourself in retail, then this is a fantastic area to start. It gets pretty hectic here during the weekend, thanks to the many flagship stores which line the surrounding streets (including Regent Street), and the shops themselves tend to be quite large.
There's a wide mixture of different brands and independent stores to choose from, including the likes of Karl Lagerfeld for upscale luxury, and Liberty London for those eager to experience a traditional British department store.
The shop is set within a historic building and offers floor upon floor of luxurious shopping, covering everything from fashion to perfume, accessories and specialist departments where you can really pamper yourself in style. For bargain hunters, there's plenty to enjoy too, as the high street is also well represented. On your trip to Oxford Circus, you'll find the likes of Primark, New Look, Topshop and River Island all within walking distance. Those eager for the latest perfumes can head to Penhaligon's perfumerie and immerse themselves in a world of delightful scents.
Another of the city's most famous districts, you may not immediately associate Notting Hill with shopping, but it’s actually home to some of the best places to find something truly unique. Portobello Road hosts a delightful market on Saturdays, where you'll be able to find anything and everything.
Tourists absolutely adore this market, so we highly recommend getting there early if you're eager to explore with less hustle and bustle! During your stay at the Park Grand Hotel Hyde Park, you're ideally placed to enjoy everything from small boutiques to antique dealers, with a range of different budgets catered for within this area. Vintage shopping is a popular pastime in Notting Hill, so if you're ready to hunt down your latest new retro find, then look no further.
For those who'd prefer to have a less hectic shopping trip, go straight to Carnaby Street, where you'll find a relaxed pace yet tons of great places to pick up something special. The area has long been associated with British fashion, and proved particularly popular as a major hub during the Swinging '60s.
Today it is still home to some of the biggest names in the business, with the likes of Ben Sherman, Barbour and Jack Wills all located here. It’s not just British fashion which Carnaby Street champions, however. There's also plenty of international brands on offer. While the area may now be noted for its influence on the fashion industry, until a redevelopment project in the 1960s it was a far less trendy area, and fell into disuse for many years.
'Mod' fashion helped put Carnaby Street on the map, and by 1965, anyone who was anyone could be found browsing the local shops. The street was so famous it even made its way into popular songs of the era, and maintained this reputation into the 1970s and 1980s.
Time has been kind to Carnaby Street, and it still helps to champion quirky and offbeat fashion which you may not find anywhere else. Newburgh Quarter will be particularly interesting to guests at luxury accommodation in London, thanks to the 30+ independent stores in this part of Carnaby Street.
Filled with adorable shops where you'll find a wide range of souvenirs from your trip to the Park Grand Hotel Hyde Park, Covent Garden is also close to many luxury outlets. The district often features on must-see itineraries for visitors to London, and it's easy to see why.
Covent Garden somehow combines great shopping with an aesthetic and atmosphere which is all its own, and its widely associated with one of its most famous buildings, the Royal Opera House, as well as being near to many of the city's most notable theatres – perfect for catching a show once you've finished your shopping!
In addition to the more independent stores which Covent Garden is known for, you'll also find lots of chain outlets. One of the most significant stores in the area is Neal's Yard, which specialises in natural remedies. The store itself is beautiful, and you'll regularly see people snapping a few photos of the brightly coloured building before heading inside to browse what's on offer.
Shoreditch and Spitalfields
Last but certainly not least, East London offers a wide array of great shopping districts, with hipster-friendly outlets sure to delight anyone eager to see an essential part of London culture. One of our favourites is Boxpark Shoreditch, a unique shopping destination which is made from shipping containers and provides a home for independent retailers in each of its individual boutiques.
Old Spitalfields Market is a great destination for anyone eager to experience London's market scene. A historic covered market with almost anything you can imagine available for sale, here you'll find clothes, vintage items, great art and much more. A walk around this district is perfect for shoppers who don't mind spending a little time rummaging for something extra special, and has grown significantly over the last decade to compete with some of the more traditional shopping areas of the city.
One of the things Shoreditch has quickly become known for is its love of fashion, and you'll find lots of it here, with independent designers regularly taking up residence. Stores such as Luna & Curious provide a home for talented young designers, while antique hunters can head to Maison Trois Garcons for everything from vintage mirrors to antique furniture.