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Shopping in London
If visiting a new city is all about imbibing its architecture, history, art and way of life then shopping is a fine way to go about it. What could be lovelier than Harrods’ yellow facade or Liberties iconic art-nouveau prints dating back to 1900?
And if nothing deserves a place on your souvenir list more than a pair of Manolo Blahniks, then London is where you need to go. Paris is lovely if you don’t mind queuing up outside Louis Vuitton. And Jimmy Choos on Milan’s cobbled streets?
Think about it. London, however, has it all. Ideally located the city has range to suit every fickle mood, whether it is budget shopping, or indulging in designer wear, shopping in London is an absolute delight. Before you go wandering off into Westminster Abbey or The House of Lords in search of a fashion remember that the capital is divided into two areas; The City of London and the City of Westminster.
The latter is home to the grand dames of British shopping-Harrods’, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Liberty, high street delights and the bustling markets of Covent Garden. It’s here that you will find the hallowed asphalt of Oxford Circus, Kings Road and Knightsbridge – true style nirvana.
Knightsbridge is a sybarite’s dream come true. Harrods’ attracts 350,000 visitors a day, and their motto “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” or “All things for all people, everywhere” is taken seriously by its personal shopping service! Further along Harvey Nichols, is a favourite haunt for English footballer wives and girlfriends (WAGs).
If the rarefied atmosphere of Chanel is making you dizzy then step out for a brisk walk along Knightsbridge High Street, take in the luscious hues of Green Park and Piccadilly, and head to Mayfair, home to Dover Street market. It is a unique retail shopping experience where the dynamic market ambiance meets the last word in luxury shopping.
Commes de Garcons, Boudicca, Azzedine Alaia and other hip labels hawk their wares in a shopping space that’s as fashion forward as the clothes themselves.
All the shopping is bound to make a girl hungry, and there is nothing quite like afternoon tea in the sumptuous winter garden saloon at The Ritz. But if ones budget doesn’t stretch that far, pop into Patisserie Valerie on Motcombe Street, a Belgo – French chain that does heavenly hot chocolates and pastries worth that extra mile on the treadmill.
Another delicious place to while away time is Selfridges, the store that takes shopping in London to stratospheric heights. The ground floor is enough to have you frothing at the mouth with their large beauty department stocking everything from Clinique to Shu Uemura, Kiehls and La Mer. Shop contently before heading to the Moet Bar on the first floor for some bubbly.
If you can drag yourself outside Selfridges, you’ll find yourself on the high street – every budget shoppers dream come true. Things don’t get better that the interesting than the intersecting avenues of Oxford Street Bond Street and Regent Street. The reigning queen of the high street is Top Shop where everyone from teens to trendy grandmothers to fashion editors shop in London.
If you are not one for labels London’s weekend market won’t disappoint. A heady mix of fresh fashion, great food and ambiance, each and every market has something special to offer.
There is nothing like a whirlwind retail romance. And whatever the color of the season maybe, the red, white and blue of the Union Jack will always cull favour with fashionistas.