London’s revered around the world as one of the perfect places to visit to get some serious shopping done. Indeed, practically anywhere within its city limits offers a fine selection of stores, boutiques and various kinds of retail offerings. Yet, what if you’ve chosen to make your place of stay slap-bang in the centre of things near Hyde Park? Well, the clue’s in that question – you’re slap-bang in the centre of things and, thus, amply served by a plethora of fantastic shopping options…
London’s legendary retail hub, the streets that make up what’s termed the ‘West End’ are an absolute must to savour for all their vending goodness; not least if you’re staying in one of the hotels in Hyde Park area, such as the Park Grand hotel London. The main stretch is, of course, the one-and-a-half-mile-long Oxford Street, fit to bursting with flagship high-street retailers and internationally famous departments stores such as John Lewis and Selfridges. Just a few steps away you’ll come across Bond Street, renowned for its upmarket boutiques, and then there’s Regent Street, which is packed full of luxury brand outlets, including the likes of Burberry, Russel & Bromley and Ted Baker – in addition to the iconic, supreme Hamleys toy shop, of course.
(151 Queensway W2 4YN)
Once upon a time London’s first ever department store, today the magisterial Edwardian building – that’s still referred to as Whiteleys – is home to mainstream tenants including fashion retailers Zara, Gap and H&M. However, it’s worth visiting as much for its glorious interior (all glass atria, marble floors and grandiose staircases) as it is for its shopping potential. Oh, and for its eight-screen Odeon cinema and upmarket ten-pin bowling facilities.
Duke of York Square
In some ways, the appeal of this open-air shopping centre is its location – just off the legendarily well-to-do and fabulously fashionable thoroughfare that’s Chelsea’s King’s Road – but it’s a haven for chic shopping too. Stuffed full of the usual high-street fashion leaders (but with something of a more stylish air about them), it’s also home to a number of irresistible boutiques, as well as a fascinating Taschen art-and-photography-based bookshop and – harking back to its famed Swinging Sixties days of lore – the official Mary Quant cosmetics store.
Westfield White City
(Ariel Way W12 7GF)
Finally, any run-through of Central London’s best shopping options wouldn’t be complete without mention of the enormous out-of-town-style mall that’s taken this part of the city absolutely by storm. Filling a total 46 acres of real estate, it’s so big, in fact, that it manages to occupy nine postcodes; located, as it is, on the original major site of London’s 1948 Summer Olympic Games. Nowadays, it’s full to the brim with outlets for standalone brands like Ugg and Hollister, luxury names such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton, boutiques including Cos, Mylo and Tabio and myriad eateries – indeed, as many as 50; not least the Croque Gascon restaurant that features two Michelen-starred chefs. At Westfield then, the shopping world truly is your oyster!