As one of the world’s fashion capitals, London is full of style for all price points and categories. On one end of the spectrum, London has a strong tradition of classic tailors and high-end ateliers, which can still be experienced today, alongside up-and-coming indie labels full of youthful spirit. And it’s not all small stores: Just about every big luxury, mid-range, and discount consumer brand (including fashion, home, and electronics) have an outpost—if not a flagship store—here. Whatever you’re on the hunt for, chances are that you can buy it in London.
Oxford Street is London’s most famous, and often busiest, shopping drag, featuring massive flagship stores for British and international fashion chains like UNIQLO, Next, Adidas, H&M, Primark, and Zara. In addition to the big and impressive stores by just about every major fashion, home, beauty, and tech label, Oxford Street is home to several key department stores including John Lewis, Debenhams, and the Marks and Spencer flagship store. You can also find the famous and historic Selfridges department store, which takes up an entire block.
Veering off Oxford Street, you’ll find another shopping mecca on Regent Street. Expect more major brands on the grand, bending Regent Street, though in general Regent Street shops tend to be slightly more upscale. (For example, Regent Street is the home of Burberry, Barbour, Calvin Klein, Coach, Mulberry, and Apple.) You can also find Liberty London, a luxury department store housed in a charming Tudor revival building; the main entrance is off Regent Street and on Great Marlborough Street. In addition to selling women's, men's and children's fashion, Liberty is also known for its luxurious collection of cosmetics and fragrances.
Also located off Oxford Street, you’ll find the affluent Bond Street thoroughfare, which is divided into New Bond Street (the northern part of the street) and Old Bond Street (the southern part of the street). Considered London’s premier shopping street, Bond Street stores house priceless jewelers, haute couture labels, one-off ateliers, and art and antiquities dealers. Here you’ll find Tiffany and Co., Fendi, Fabergé, and Hermès, as well as Fenwick, a high-end British department store, and the famous Sotheby's auction house. There are also several arcades running off Bond Street, such as The Royal Arcade and The Burlington Arcade, which are narrow covered corridors lined with more exclusive shops.
Located in the heart of London’s West End (near Oxford Street), Carnaby Street is a tucked-away, pretty street packed with a mix of big names (like Levi’s and The North Face) and independent shops (like bespoke tailor Mark Powell and indie fashion label The Ragged Priest). There’s also a good collection of restaurants and bars. Also considered part of Carnaby Street is Kingly Court, a three-level outdoor food hub, and the charming Newburgh Quarter, which showcases plenty of independent boutiques.
Calling all mallrats: Stratford, in the northeast of London, was revamped for the 2012 Olympic games and is now the home to the sprawling mega-mall, Westfield Stratford City. It’s one of the largest urban shopping centers in all of Europe, and it has about 280 stores and 70 restaurants. There are plenty of big names here like the Disney Store, Gap, and Ikea. Most brands fall into the mid-level price range. Westfield also offers personal shopping experiences and there are few hotels in the Westfield Stratford complex as well, including Holiday Inn, Premier Inn, and Staybridge Suites.
Packed with excitement — and hoards of tourists — Covent Garden is a picturesque shopping area in the heart of London. Shops here are a good blend of big luxe labels like Tom Ford and Diptyque and small gems like Petersham Nurseries, Miller Harris, and Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop. The pretty, green-and-glass covered Covent Garden’s Apple Market houses well-known brands alongside small stalls selling handmade items like cakes and soaps. Also, don’t miss Neal's Yard, a tucked-away, brightly colored little courtyard in Covent Garden filled with cult favorites like the Neal’s Yard Remedies Store and Neal’s Yard Dairy.
King’s Road is a trendy stretch of stores that extends through Fulham and Chelsea. You’ll find smaller stores than those on Oxford Street and the like. Most shops on this road are considered stylish and smart (like Reiss and Jigsaw). This street was once home to many young fashion labels and became associated with the punk scene. You can still visit the original Vivienne Westwood boutique, Worlds End, at 430 King's Road. There are also plenty of buzzy eateries on this street.
Knightsbridge is one of London’s most expensive neighborhoods and it has the stores to match—including London’s most famous department store Harrods. Here you’ll find only the most exclusive stores often tooting international appeal like Gucci, Lulu Guinness, and Christian Louboutin. Possibly one the most recognized store in the world, Harrods is always packed, and you can find everything from fashion to food inside. Harvey Nichols is another iconic department store with cult status and a high-fashion pedigree.
For traditional bespoke men suits, one must head to Savile Row in affluent Mayfair. Tailors have been toiling away on Savile Road since the late 18th century and you can still find many of the same shops there today, such as Henry Poole, who was credited with coming up with the tuxedo. The term "bespoke" is thought to have originated on Savile Row, though nowadays, you can find a few ready-to-wear suit shops too.
The aristocratic and sartorial Jermyn Street is also known for its shops peddling high-end men’s clothing and accessories. Home to some of London’s most prestigious tailors, shirt makers, and cobblers, here you’ll find beautiful and historic stores like Turnbull & Asser menswear and Crockett & Jones shoes. Also on Jermyn Street, there’s an entrance to the simply majestic Fortnum & Mason department store, which dates back to 1707 and is still packed with the most fabulous and elegant confections and fine wines.