London & Environs

Eating & Drinking
Practical information
Days out




Shopping - links

Eating & Drinking



Paraphrasing William Shakespeare, “To shop or not to shop, this is the question!”, is really what everybody would say to describe the awful different opportunities London has to offer in terms of shopping. Downtown or at the edge of Greater London, at every corner of the road, there are shops and shops that sell almost everything, what to buy simply depends on you (and on your wallet!).

London's shops really provide an introduction to British history and tradition. To get the most out of them, it is necessary to know that although most shops open from 9:30 or 10:00 to 17:00 or 18:00 (Monday to Saturday), Central London shops rarely close for lunch. In addition, in some areas, including Oxford Street and Covent Garden, shops are open six hours on Sundays (usually from 12:00 to 18:00). Nevertheless, other areas and individual shops can have different opening hours. Most areas have late-night shopping for one specific evening a week, such as Wednesday in Knightsbridge and Thursday in Oxford Street and Regent Street. Of course, during particular periods of the year, such as Christmas and “Summer sales”, opening times are often extended.

Shopping is a nice activity, that’s why somebody defines it as “retail therapy”, and under this point of view, London has got so much to offer, from world renowned elegant shops and fine art galleries, to small specialist outlets and tiny craft shops, to cutting-edge fashion stores.

Oxford Street, the High Street of London, which takes a very modern approach, hosts all the top British chain stores and international retailers, too. Prices are reasonably cheap and the choice is huge, that’s why Oxford Street attracts like a magnet thousands of faithful shoppers, the same as Regent Street, although the latter is more elegant.

Piccadilly, with a lot of gentlemen’s clubs, art galleries and ultra-exclusive stores, is like a bridge to London’s glorious past.

Carnaby Street, less important and by far less attractive than in the past, is a shopping area in the hearth of Soho, attended by young people. A new interest for the area, is attracting many leading fashion brands.

Seven Dials is formed by seven streets, filled with eclectic shops and cafe bars. The area was built during the late 17th century and preserves several of the original buildings, providing attractive shops and young designers and niche retailers, as well as established local specialist traders.

Covent Garden, built up as a kind of vegetable and fruit market, is a meeting point full of life, with shops, restaurants, street performers, music bands, nightlife.

Knightsbridge is one of Londons' most elegant shopping and residential districts.

Bond Street and and Kensington Church Street are famous for antiques, the same as Portobello and Camden Passage (Islington) where week-end markets are held where you can get interesting collectibles. Kensington High Street has all the chain stores but is not so busy as Oxford Street.

Soho is a vibrant and lively area filled with cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs and off licences. Here you'll find arty boutiques, sex shops and several well stocked music shops. Chinatown, situated in Soho, has many Chinese food stores.

Tottenham Court Road is the place to reach if you need to buy any electrical item or computers. Shop around and find great deals, but remember to make sure your goods come with a full warranty.

Kings Road is a legendary shopping strip, full of chain stores and smaller boutiques.

Charing Cross Road is literary heaven with a number of big and well-respected bookstores.

Music stores, occupying entire building, stands even in central London, also in this area, especially Denmark Street, just off Charing Cross Road.