London doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to affordable prices, but there are plenty of budget stores if you know where to look. The city offers everything from department stores to chains to street markets for your shopping enjoyment.
The Classic Department Stores
For a true London experience, the city has a couple of can’t miss spots you should visit to pick up bargains while mingling with the locals.
- Harrods: It may be London's most famous luxury department store, but that shouldn't deter you from visiting. Instead, go straight to the souvenir section, where you can grab an inexpensive Harrods-branded item as a trip memento. It's also worth checking out the sale sections.
- Selfridges: More affordable than Harrods, Selfridges is still a high-end option with the opportunity for finding good value items. This department store offers anything from fashion to electronics and jewelry to books. It's worthwhile to catch the largest denim department in the world, with over 11,000 pairs of jeans on sale.
The Popular Chains
Pick a capital city anywhere in the world and it'll most likely be packed full of the same stores: H&M, Mango, Zara, and Topshop. You'll find these on most of the major shopping streets in the city, like Oxford Street, and they're usually clustered close together, which works well if you want to treat yourself to something new.
When it comes to affordable fashion in the city, these are a great option if you just want to spend a little money on a new top. Think Zara for the nicest clothes, and H&M for the most inexpensive.
At stores like Primark, you'll find incredibly cheap clothes, but don't expect them to last for very long.
Don't Forget Carnaby Street
One cool, pedestrians-only spot near Oxford Street is Carnaby Street. Stores and cafes line the wide walkways, and you can pick up anything from Diesel jeans to antique hippie wear. The street is lined with opportunities like Sacred, a sweet little coffee spot that's a good place to rest your shopping-tired feet while having a cardamom-flavored cup of Thai coffee with condensed milk.
Check Out the Street Markets on a Sunny Day
London's street markets are some of the best, so if you are craving some retail therapy and it's not raining, explore some of local bargain hunters’ favorites.
- Portobello Market: This is one of London's most famous markets. Head here for antique shopping—there are over 1,000 dealers—as well as clothing and inexpensive street food. If you're into antiques and collectibles, this is the place to be.
- Covert Garden Market: One of the most popular areas of London also has a fun market to wander around. You'll find jewelry, artwork, souvenirs, a farmer's market, and food.
- Borough Market: If you're seeking a bargain on street food, visit the hundreds of food stalls here, whether you're looking for gooseberry and mint-flavored mustard or a steaming bowl of chicken curry for lunch.
- Brixton Village: This is a fine, less-crowded spot for delicious eats from around the world. The third Saturday of each month they have a Retro and Vintage Market with clothing.
- Petticoat Lane Market: Clothes and crowds abound at this market—haggle on the leather jackets this street market's known for.
This article has been edited and updated by Lauren Juliff.