Considered one of the ‘big four’ – alongside Milan, Paris and New York, London is home to some of the world’s most in-demand designer names, flagship high street stores and quirky markets. Planning a shopping break in the city? Stay on trend and check out the following hotspots…
If you only visit one fancy department store in London, make it Liberty. Located on Great Marlborough street, within a stone’s throw of bustling Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, Liberty is famous for its eclectic mix of new brands and designer labels, fashion, homeware and accessories. The four-storey building is something of a landmark in its own right. It was designed in the 1920s, (when the Tudor revival was all the rage) with timber recycled from two ships, the HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan. Also well worth a browse is Dover Street Market, a sprawling six-floor concept store that combines the edgy spirit of London’s indoor markets with exclusive designer labels. Once you’ve taken it all in, kick back with a coffee from Rose Bakery on the top floor. For serious label lust, make your way to Motcomb Street and Pont Street in Knightsbridge where eye candy comes courtesy of Christian Louboutin and Anya Hindmarch. When it comes to sharp London tailoring, look no further than the well-turned out manikins of Jermyn Street.
Owned by former model Konrad Lindholm, Floyd’s on Shacklewell Lane is a cosy little spot to grab a bite if you’re pottering around trendy Dalston. Ethically sourced ingredients and reasonably priced dishes make this restaurant a real gem of a find. Still in Dalston, L’Atelier Cafe serves up excellent coffee, cakes and light bites alongside a quirky indoor market of kitsch knick knacks. Speaking of eye-popping interiors, Sketch on Conduit Street is located in a former Christian Dior boutique. Designed to be a ‘total sensory experience’, this colourful restaurant most definitely has the wow factor, not least the fabulous baby pink dining-room. Up all night? Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower is open 24 hours meaning early morning breakfasts and late night snacks are just a quick elevator ride away. The views aren’t half bad either.
Famed for its Indian and Asian food offering, Brick Lane has also established a reputation for its quirky shops and market stalls. Home to one of London’s largest flea markets with stalls selling antiques, clothes and bric-a-brac at bargain prices; the bustling markets are a heap of jewels and junk. If you’ve got time to trawl through the stalls, you could find a few hidden treasures you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in London. There are also a few hip independent boutiques – more chic than shabby – alongside vintage tearooms and retro cocktail bars for a boozy lunch. East London’s other major draw is Spitalfields Market. Open seven days a week, there’s plenty to browse within the two Victorian halls. For a weekend fashion fix, head to Spitalfields’ Saturday Style Market where you’ll find original clothing, accessories, homeware and ethical goods by over 80 different independent designers. On Sundays, stop and smell the roses at the fragrant (and highly photogenic) Columbia Road Flower Market. Meanwhile in south London, the covered walkways of lively Brixton Village and Market Row play host to around 100 independent fashion, jewellery and art traders.
From dapper mod to prickly punk, over the years London has given birth to some of fashion’s most iconic looks. You don’t have to search too hard in the city to find beautiful vintage pieces. Head to Rellik on Golborne Road for clothing and accessories dating from the 1930s to the present. Over in Covent Garden, Blackout II is a veritable time capsule of the 20th century’s most exciting trends, spanning from the 1920s right up to the 1980s. No journey into London’s fashion past would be complete without a visit to Carnaby Street, the centre of ‘swinging London’ in the 1960s. These days, Carnaby’s Sam Greenberg Vintage invites dedicated followers of fashion to pop in and browse their collection of original street style.
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- Jessica Fogarty