London!For all its marvellous historical attractions, parks and museums, itsthatsort of place too you know, where you walk down a busy road and find yourself pulling out your wallet
So this summer, how about shopping spree inLondon?
If all you have is 48 hours, check out some of these retail hotspots. But this isnt only about indulging oneself. Away from the glitzy high streets are a host of specialty stores. Looking for a rare edition of a book or an old concert video?Londonis where youll find it. Many retail areas and markets have a distinct historical character so fascinating, you could use up a couple of hours without spending a pound!
High Street Temptations
If you like crowds, youll loveOxford Street. Careful with your wallet as you browse hundreds of street side shops hawking touristware T-shirts (you know the kind, with slogans likeMy Dad went to London and all he got me was this T-shirt), funky baubles and endlessLondonsouvenirs. Some of Britains best department stores are here DebenhamsandJohn Lewis besides a host of upscale stores and boutiques.Selfridgesis the granddaddy of department stores, famed as much for its architecture as its mind-blowing window displays and innovative marketing policies that are now a given for department chains worldwide.
Its not hard to imagine that once, top-hatted gentlemen and chiffon-gowned ladies strolled on the pavements of elegantRegent Streetwhile horse-drawn carriages clattered past. Its home to the iconicHamleys, a kids wonderland of toys (and many adults too). Close by isJermyn Street, renowned for its tradition of bespoke clothing stores likeCharles Tyrwhitt(shirts) andJohn Lobb(shoes) very propah, very British.
Harrodsin Knightsbridge isLondonsmost celebrated store. First timers invariably go slack-jawed at the sheer elegance of the displays, the impeccably dressed, discreet and knowledgeable staff and amazing dcor. Chocolates and wines, toys, clothing, furniture, jewellery and fresh produce from all over the world theres nothing you cannot get at Harrods.
I wanna be a billionaire, so friggin bad.If your budget is a tad stretched, Travie McCoys wistful lyrics will help you cope with retail envy while stepping around snootyMayfairandBond Street, where the biggies of luxury are based Louis Vuitton,TiffanysandBurberry. No matter, window shopping here is elevated to a high art. And if its your lucky day, you might lay eyes on Liz Hurley, the Beckhams or other assorted members of Londons swish set who love shopping here.
Fun & Specialty Shopping
Some shopping areas are worth visiting for sheer atmospherics. AtCovent Gardenyou can check out the latest in street fashions and browse through an eclectic mix of shops selling organic cosmetics, funky footwear and cool arts and crafts. Take in a snack as you enjoy the antics of buskers, Londons famous street entertainers.
Kings Roadis a great place to explore edgy fashions. Iconoclastic designer Vivienne WestwoodsWorlds Endis where punk fashion was born during the 1970s.
Head toCharing Crossfor a street full of bookstores you just might find that elusive title you crave in a second-hand shop.Denmark Street(a.k.a.Tin Pan Alley)
Is known for its music shops.
Chelsea Antiques Marketat Kings Road (open Monday through Saturday) has a large area devoted to first edition books. Also pick through watches, furniture,objet dartsand loads of collectables.
Notting Hillacquired international status thanks to the film of the same name, but Londoners have long frequented it for its rare, vintage fashions, one-off gift items, antiques and organic food. Nineteenth centuryPortobello Road Marketis a one-mile stretch of stalls set up on Fridays and Saturdays, offering eatables, ceramics, music, posters and more.
Petticoat Lane,the Sunday market at Londons East End dates back to the 18thcentury, getting its name from the lace and petticoats hawked by the French Huguenots. The prudish Victorians renamed it Middlesex Street to avoid the reference to womens innerwear, but the original name has stuck. Theres a bit of everything here spread over 1000 stalls surplus designer wear, household stuff, toys, you name it Londons happy hunting ground for bargain seekers.
Berwick Street Marketis one of Londons oldest markets for fresh produce and cheese, where shopkeepers still shout out to attract customers and offer afternoon discounts.Leadenhall Marketin the City is a gorgeous, Victorian-style, glass-roofed market with cobbled walking areas, cafes and gourmet food shops grocery shopping redefined!
Want more? Youll have to plan an extended stay inLondon!