People travel to London from all over the world just to give their credit card a workout - to say it's a shopping mecca is no exaggeration. Throughout the capital, you'll find cutting-edge fashion, art galleries, farm-to-market produce and second-hand bookstores. There are iconic destinations such as Harrods and Selfridges and expertly curated boutiques that pepper the side streets between the city's main roads. Here's our ultimate guide to shopping in London.


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World-Famous Department Stores

Normally, department stores aren't the most interesting places to visit, but London is different. Some of its stores are world-famous - and perhaps nowhere more so than Harrods in Knightsbridge. Its seven floors are stocked with luxury fashion, technology, homeware and gourmet food and drink, alongside several restaurants.

Selfridges is another historic London department store, its bright yellow bags instantly recognisable. It has 10 acres of floor space, filled with the latest fashion, tech and toys. And if it's the perfect pair of jeans you're after, you're in the right place: Selfridges' denim department is the world's largest.

Elsewhere, in a mock-Tudor building in Soho, Liberty started as a haberdashery in 1875. Today it's one of the best places in London to look for high-quality fabrics, designer clothing and homeware.

For gifts and gourmet foodie produce, call into Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly. Offering a classically English shopping experience, it's particularly known for its luxury picnic hampers and teas, but it also sells fragrances, jewellery, homeware and stationary.

One of the hippest department stores in London is Dover Street Market, which prides itself on delivering a unique shopping experience. Created by Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, founder of the Comme des Garçons label, it features big and up-and-coming brands.

For a blend of high end - think Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo - and high street stores - think Topshop, Marks & Spencer - head to Westfield shopping centre. London has two: one in White City/Shepherd's Bush, the other in Stratford.


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Eclectic markets

Alongside its long-standing department stores, London is also famed for its many markets, each with its own speciality.

Spitalfields is in central-east London and home to a collection of vintage clothing, art, jewellery, craft and food stalls. It's surrounded by lots of shops, from Kiehl's for beauty to Rag & Bone for fashion - great for an afternoon of leisurely browsing.

Another East End spot, Columbia Road Flower Market is a local favourite that opens every Sunday. Head down early to admire the blooms and enjoy a coffee and a bagel from Café Columbia.

Borough Market, meanwhile, has been around since 1014. Next to London Bridge, there are dozens of street food stalls with vats of paella, sandwiches and wraps, scotch eggs, chocolate brownies and more. The actual market sells meat and fish, fruit and veg, plus farm-made produce such as oils and preservatives.

Over in West London's Notting Hill, Portobello Road Market is one of the largest antiques markets in the world. As well as antiques, there are different sections dedicated to fruit and veg, clothing and second-hand wares. Early on Saturday is the best time to visit.

Finally, check out Alfie's Antique Market in north-west Lisson Grove. It's the city's largest indoor antiques market with around 100 dealers selling jewellery, furniture, art, silverware and more.


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Fashion Capital

Oxford Street needs little preamble as one of the world's major shopping streets. As well as department stores, you'll find all the main high street fashion shops, such as Topshop, H&M, Primark and Gap.

For high-end suits, look no further than Savile Row. These tailors have been creating bespoke suits for many years - tuxedo inventor, Henry Poole & Co was the first tailor here, in 1806.

Designer stores line Regent Street and Bond Street. A London must-visit is punk-goddess Vivienne Westwood's flagship on Conduit Street or the brand's World's End store on King's Road, Chelsea.

Vintage stores abound, but one of the best is Beyond Retro on Brick Lane, East London, where there are thousands of pieces to browse, such as vintage Levi's and 1950s dresses. In Angel, you'll find Pennie's Vintage and Annie's Vintage.

The Best of the Rest

Toy shop Hamleys is on Regent Street, where your kids will have a field day choosing which toy to take home. The store also hosts regular events, such as puppet shows and storytelling so it has plenty of entertainment value too.

For something a little different, time your visit to the capital to coincide with the annual Affordable Art Fair. It's a great place to check out artworks that hover around the £100 mark. To snap up the work of up-and-coming artists, visit a degree show - try Chelsea College of Art or Goldsmiths.

Finally, London has a rich literary history and bookshops are not in short supply. Foyles' flagship store in Charing Cross Road flagship is enormous, with five floors and four miles of shelves to peruse. Daunt Books' Marylebone branch has a beautiful Edwardian interior and organises books by country.

Acclaimed travel bookshop Stanfords is also well worth a visit, especially if you're looking for holiday inspiration. So too Gosh! in Soho, which is dedicated to graphic novels and comics, and Word on the Water, a barge-based bookshop at King's Cross that combines nicely with a stroll along the canal.