The largest part of an international visitor’s holiday budget is spent on shopping, according to a 2017 tourism report from Barclays, with tourists spending an average of £453 in shops. With holiday destinations like London, a treasure trove of markets and shopping centres, it’s little wonder why. Whether it’s the bustle of the city you’re after or somewhere you can avoid the London traffic, there’s something for you.
Perhaps the most iconic of London’s shopping centres, Oxford Street boasts a wealth of designer and typical high street shops. Whether it’s a designer coat you’re after or something for the kids, you’re sure to find it on Oxford Street, with most stores remaining open until 9pm. It’s worth avoiding the 5:00-6:30pm window for your shopping trip though – Oxford Street is notoriously busy at this time.
There are now two Westfield shopping centres in London, housed in White City and Stratford. For a car-free shopping experience, these are great answers to finding everything you need under one roof at a great price. With a so many big names competing in one complex, it’s impossible not to find a bargain. Just a stone’s throw away from London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Westfield in Stratford has a large food court with lots of variety, a Vue cinema and an All Star Lanes bowling alley, making it a great day out for the whole family.
For a true London experience, shopping at Covent Garden is a must. With market stalls and boutiques galore, it’s a great place to catch talented street performers and artists or grab a cocktail while you rest your feet. At Covent Garden, a shopping destination steeped in history, you’re bound to find that unique Christmas gift you’ve been searching for.
Visit Canary Wharf for a clean and modern shopping experience, covering designer shops to independent boutiques, with over 120 stores throughout the centre. Visit the Everyman Cinema while you’re there, and watch out for exciting arts events throughout the year. While everything’s open from 9am during the week, be careful not to plan your trip for a Sunday morning, when shops don’t open until midday.
If it’s something a little more niche you’re after, you’ll want to explore London’s markets. Borough Market is a must for food and drink, from artisan breads to local cheeses to fresh fruit and vegetables, with a mouth-watering array of street food available constantly. For fashion, music and art, visit Camden Market, a vibrant, lively place with a plethora of unique shops and stalls. Don’t miss Columbia Road Flower Market on a Sunday for independent shops and a sea of beautiful fresh flowers.
The list of shopping possibilities in London is endless. With something for everyone, it’s easy to see why tourists save such a large part of their budget for shopping. What you take home with you is only part of the joy: perhaps the biggest pleasure comes from the wealth of experiences offered in each of London’s shopping destinations.