London Travel Guide

Shopping

London is also one of the world's most fashion conscious cities, which explains the abundance of clothing shops from the flagship shops of Oxford Street to the tiny boutiques of Brick Lane.

Though not particularly known for bargain shopping, nearly anything you could possibly want to buy is available in London. In Central London, the main shopping district is the West End (Bond St, Covent Garden, Oxford St and Regent St). On Thursdays many West End stores close later than normal (19:00-20:00).

Oxford Street. Main shopping street home to flagship branches of all the major British high street retailers in one go including Selfridges, John Lewis (includes a food hall), Marks & Spencer and other department stores. It is best to shop here in the morning as the street becomes increasingly busy during the day. (Tube: Oxford Circus)
Regent Street (between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus). Includes such gems as Hamleys, considered to be London's flagship toy store spread out on seven levels, and the London Apple Store. (Tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus)
Bond Street. Some of the world's most luxurious designer stores such as Cartier, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Versace. (Tube: Bond Street)
Tottenham Court Road. Contains some of the world's most luxurious designer interior stores such as Heals, whilst the southern end is famous for its large concentration of hi-fi, computer and electronics stores. (Tube: Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street)
Covent Garden. Fashionable area home to quaint outlets and relatively expensive designer stores. Around Seven Dials chains include Adidas Originals, All Saints, Carhartt, Fred Perry, G Star Raw and Stussy. For shoes head for Neal St. Also the London Transport Museum whose gift shop has some of the best souvenirs in the city (old maps, vintage Tube posters, etc.). London's second Apple Store is located here as well. (Tube: Covent Garden)
Charing Cross Road (near Covent Garden). A book lover's haven! New, second-hand, antiquarian and specialist. (Tube: Tottenham Court Road, Charing Cross)
Denmark Street (at the north end of Charing Cross Road near Tottenham Court Road station). Also known as Tin-Pan Alley, this is a music lover's paradise with an amazing array of music shops, bars and clubs in one short street. (Tube: Tottenham Court Road)
Soho. Offers alternative music and clothes. Now home to Chappell of Bond St's historic music shop. (Tube: Oxford Circus)
Camden Town. Alternative clothing and other alternative shopping, popular with teenagers and young adults. Has the headquarters for Cyberdog - a large shop which sells clothing and accessories for the club and rave scene. Camden Lock Market is also worth a visit to see independent artists plying their wares. (Tube: Camden Town)
Chelsea. The King's Road is noted for fashion, homeware and children's clothing. On Wednesday many stores close late. (Tube: South Kensington)
Knightsbridge. Department stores include the world famous Harrods (includes a food hall) and Harvey Nichols. On Wednesday many stores close late. (Tube: Knightsbridge)
Beauchamp Place. Shop where royalty and celebrities shop! One of the world's most unique and famous streets. Over the years it has developed a strong reputation as one of London’s most fashionable and distinctive streets, housing some of the best known names in London fashion, interspersed with trendy restaurants, jewellers and speciality shops including the world famous trademark Fortuny . (Tube: Knightsbridge)
Westminster. Some of the world's most famous shirts are made on Jermyn St. Savile Row is home to some of the world's best men's bespoke tailors including Henry Poole, Gieves & Hawkes, H. Huntsman & Sons, Dege & Skinner and many other (Tube: Westminster)
Westfield London in Shepherd's Bush is one of the two largest shopping mall complexes inside Greater London. This was the first Westfield to be built and spurred regeneration of the local area. It is served by both the London Overground and Underground. It is easiest to get here via public transport, but there is reasonable car parking space available. (Tube: Shepherd's Bush)
Westfield Stratford City in Stratford is a large shopping mall complex very similar to Westfield London in Shepherd's Bush but located on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. There is ample car parking and you can also park here to access the Park itself. This Westfield is easier to access by car due to its proximity to the A12 road. (Tube: Stratford, DLR: Stratford)
Markets

Borough Market is a great (if expensive) [[http://boroughmarket.org.uk/ food market], offering fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, meat, fish, and so on, much of it organic. The market opens Th-Sa. For market shopping, it's best to go in the morning, or after 14:00, since it starts to get very crowded by around 11:30 when the lunch crowd comes in. Lunch here is good though because there are many stalls that offer fresh made fast food on the spot; from ostrich burgers to falafel, most tastes are catered for. (Tube: London Bridge)

Old Spitalfields Market is an excellent market for clothes from up-and-coming designers, records, housewares, food, and all things trendy. Find it at 65 Brushfield St, E1 6AA (straight down Bell Lane past 66-68 and keep walking). Visit 66/68 Bell Lane nearby to see a wealthy merchants house, rumour has it John Lennon once played on the roof of this building with Yoko Ono. (Tube: Liverpool Street)

Also be sure to check out Brick Lane Market, Greenwich Market and Portobello Road Market.

Airports

Tax-free shops in airports are not strong in variety, prices are equal to London, and they close rather early as well. Shop listings at airport web sites can help to plan your tax-free (vs traditional) shopping. In the evening allow extra half an hour as closing hours are not always strictly respected.

Many big department stores in central London have an information booth where they can give you the paperwork needed to reclaim tax on purchases made at the store when you get to the airport.

Practical

London, like the rest of the UK, uses the British Pound Sterling.

Retail prices for most items, with a few exceptions, always include VAT (at 20%). Visa and MasterCard/Maestro are the two most commonly-accepted debit/credit cards, although most large shops will also accept American Express. If your card does not have a microchip (for Chip & PIN) some machines (for instance, at Tube stations) will be unable to read your card. Some shops may ask you for additional identification, especially in relation to high value items, or items that are under age related restrictions. Most shops no longer accept personal cheques.

£50 notes are not often used in everyday transactions and most shops will not accept them. When exchanging money at a bureau de change make sure to ask for £5, £10 and £20 notes only. The Bank of England's guide to bank notes may be of use.

source: Wikivoyage

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