London has long been part of a central axis of fashion and shopping alongside Paris and New York City. But unlike the other cities, the shopping scene in London is renowned for extending its scope beyond the tastes of the Blair Waldorf’s of the world. From high-end designer stores and boutique shops, to hip markets and bazaars, when it comes to things do to in London, shopping is a must. Depending on your tastes and your budget, here are a few of the world-famous areas for those looking to fill their closets.
The Apple Market
Located right in the heart of the Covent Garden district – a district jam-packed with funky stores and constant entertainment – is the Apple market. Sometimes referred to as the Covent Garden market, it is an indoor swath of boutiques, specialty shops and jewelry stores, clothing stands, cafés, and bars. The market has a reputation for its authentic English feel and moderate prices. Every Monday, the market holds a Vintage day for those looking for unique items hard to come by anywhere else.
Every Saturday, the Portobello Road Market takes over the entirety of Portobello Road, stretching over ten football fields in length, so visitors should be prepared for a marathon of shopping. The market, located in Notting Hill and most famous for its portrayal in the eponymous film, is actually the largest antiques market in the world. The street invites all walks of life, catering to everyone from tourists and locals to the most hardcore artifact-seekers. Vintage stores and cafés dominate the bottom of the hill, but as one heads further up the road, a younger vibe prevails as the stands transition into fashionable flea markets. Needless to say, your feet will be hurting by the time you’re done.
In the Mayfair/Knightsbridge districts of London is the crown jewel of ritzy shopping: Regent Street. Posh locals and affluent travellers patrol along Regent Street, fashioning tailored suits and handbags worth more than an old Fiat. Here you can step into designer stores and luxury boutiques to survey the latest fashion trends, and are guaranteed to feel in vogue with Regent Street purchases in your collection.
Those looking for the latest fashions at more affordable prices know that there is no better destination than Oxford Street. Intersecting with Regent Street at what is known as Oxford Circus, Oxford Street is the home to stores like H&M, Niketown, and Kate Moss’s ultra-trendy Topshop. Here you’ll find younger crowds and college kids along with your run-of-the-mill tourists looking for a stylish something without having to worry the price tag.
Many would argue that Camden Market is one of the best marketplaces in the world, and after one visit there you will be hard-pressed to disagree. Located in the über-hip Camden Town district, the local market certainly reflects its surroundings. It’s hard not to get lost within the sprawling clothing bazaars, handcrafted jewelry shops, independent market shoot-offs, bars, and restaurants, and if the shopping isn’t enough, tattoo parlors litter the walls along the buildings.
For those looking for something a bit more vibrant, there is even an EDM (electronic dance music) store in the mix, full of neon clothes and glowing accessories, with its own bondage shop in the basement. The alternative clothing and overabundance of hipster attire for bargain prices should be enough incentive for any young traveller in the area to stop by. Needless to say, Camden Market attracts over a hundred thousand visitors every weekend during the summer.