London City Guide

There really is shopping to suit every taste in this city, from pop-up shops, high-end boutiques, flagships and huge department stores. Obviously Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford (the largest urban shopping centre in the EU), are where most people tend to head when they come shopping in the capital, but at this time of year especially, you’ll be battling against massive crowds. Instead why not think about hitting somewhere like Kensington High Street, which has a majority of the same shops, but with significantly less people.

Although Harrods is an unoriginal choice, for many no Christmas would be complete without a visit to the legendary store. Packed full with tourists, but it’s worth it for a trip around their Christmas store and it’s equally impressive food hall. Liberty is another London department store, that deserves a mention for their festive section, as well as their ability to stock almost every luxury good possible, unmistakable prints and their exclusive designer collaborations. From the 12th to the 17th of December, Liberty is hosting ‘Be Jewelled’; a week of jewellery events, including the opportunity to meet an international line-up of designers and consult their expert jewellery buyers to find your perfect gift. Fenwick are offering an event in conjunction with the Telegraph newspaper on Wednesday the 4th December at their New Bond Street store. Lucy Choi, London shoe designer, is making an appearance on the first floor. There’s 20 per cent off all departments and enjoy Christmas music from Cantando and the Colla Voce Choir.

Taylor Morris Eyewear is, former Made In Chelsea star, Hugo Taylor’s line of sunglasses and they are exhibiting until the 15th of December at The Mama Brown pop-up-shop on Kings Road, one of London’s coolest and most individual pop-up shops. Don’t be put off by his reality show connections, the sunglasses are stylish and would make a great present for both men and women. Also to be found at Mama Brown are other independent brands such as Brooski Jewellery and The Village Bicycle, so it’s definitely worth a trip. Dover Street Market is where anyone with a serious interest in fashion should head, not a market in the traditional sense but more a multi-brand, multi-floored fashion house and not forgetting the delicious Rose Bakery on site. It’s curated by Rei Kawakubo, the Comme des Garcons visionary in a fashion house and currently stocks labels such as Jil Sander and Lanvin as well as more independent designers, providing gifts for all tastes.

Everybody loves chocolate and Artisan du Chocolat on Westbourne Grove, takes the art of this sweet delight very seriously. They produce their own chocolate from ground beans and have a range to suit different dietary requirements, but most importantly, it tastes delicious.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, is London’s biggest and now most well-known Christmas market, it’s full of over-the-top festiveness and is definitely worth a trip. However the best markets for individual gifts in London are undeniably Spitalfields and Portobello Road, full of individual designers and antiques respectively, as well as Borough Market for foodies.

Insiders View
Julie Chappell, Visit London.
“Christmas is a great time to come and visit London. The
capital offers unrivalled shopping experiences including top end luxury goods, bespoke tailoring, affordable high street fashion and quirky market stalls. There’s something for everyone. The Christmas lights on Oxford Street are a must see.”

Covent Garden looking festive

Covent Garden looking festive

Liberty's Christmas department

Liberty’s Christmas department

The inside of Mama Brown's pop-up shop

The inside of Mama Brown’s pop-up shop

Where to stay: The Hoxton

81 Great Eastern St, Hoxton, EC2A 3HU
Situated in the city’s trendy East End, the Hoxton Hotel is a gem, just around the corner from the areas pubs and bars, and just a short walk from Old Street tube station. It offers reasonably priced rooms, starting at £49 a night, including a to-go Pret breakfast. Stylishly but simply decorated and with a warm and welcoming lobby, its no frills approach is perfect for a Christmas shopping get-away.

The Hoxton hotel

Open fires and exposed brick work add to the cosy feel

Where to drink: Royal Academy

Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
Good news- no longer do you have to be a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in order to frequent their gorgeous patrons’ bar and restaurant, it’s open to the public for the first time in 50 years. Now anyone is able to try Peyton and Byrne’s menu or inventive foraged-ingredient cocktails, and get a truly cultured one-of-a-kind experience as you drink whilst surrounded by art from esteemed artists such as Tracey Emin.

keepers house

Where to eat: Raoul’s

13 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, W9 1SZ
Geraldine Leventis founded this restaurant 27 years ago out of boredom– it’s now one of three west London restaurants and delicatessens. It feel like an old neighbourhood friend, offering plenty of hearty Mediterranean cuisine, but beware of the queues that snake around the block at lunchtime. Find plenty of one-off treats in the connecting deli, such as Raoul’s own label wine, a range of Vallebona’s products and olive oil made exclusively at Geraldine’s home in Greece. This Christmas time, be sure to try it’s famous panettone.

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And another thing…

No visit to London during the festive period would be complete without a trip to one of the capital’s ice rinks. Skate underneath the stars at beautiful and historic settings such as Somerset House and the Natural History Museum.

Skate at Somerset House, presented by Coach

Skate at Somerset House, presented by Coach

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