Saturday, 28 August 2010


Shopping around London definitely is a lovely experience and the only serious risk you can face is to use your credit card so many times to empty your bank account and do not even find it out, so be careful and try to let emerge your self-restraint capability.

Oxford Street and Regent Street can, without any question, be considered the pulsing heart of London. Both streets are literally teeming with department stores and shops of every kind and size. Moving on from Marble Arch towards Oxford Circus the first department store you’ll find is Primark, where you could able to buy cloths, and not only clothes, at extremely cheap prices.

Then, on the opposite side you’ll find Selfridges & Co., a totally different kind of department store. Renowned as the House of brands, Selfridges is a multi-storey store offering designer clothing and other different kind of items, including a selection of cooking utensils, which are everything but ordinary.

That’s not all, spread across the street and among the most well known high-street brands you’ll find department stores such as John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams.

If you are not comfortable in the crowds you can turn in one of the many side streets and continue your shopping in all tranquillity.

But, according to your budget possibilities, just be careful if turning into New Bond Street (which will then change its name in Bond Street throughout), where you’ll just find haute couture showrooms. Starting from Oxford Street and going through New Bond Street till Piccadilly, you’ll, in fact, run across all the major fashion designers’ ateliers, literally from A to Z, Armani to Zegna, but also Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Dolce e Gabbana, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and will finish your walk in Piccadilly where a De Beers show room is located.

From Oxford Street you could also very easily access St. Christopher’s Place and Berwick Street.

Delimited by Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, also Regent Street will offer you lot of shopping opportunities from mid-sized to very expensive brands, including the Apple Store, Church’s Shoes Maker, Hamleys and many others.

From Regent Street you could also take a look at Jermyn Street, famous for its men clothing and tailor made shirts shops, but also for its shoe shops as well, here the style is rigorously British.

If you want to try an even more remarkable and genuine taste of British Style a visit to Savile Row is somewhat like compulsory. Home to Henry Poole & Co., credited as the first suit handmaker in the street and, most of all, with having invented the tuxedo, Savile Row also includes names such as Ozwald Boateng, Gieves & Hawkes and Huntsman and Sons.

Still in the area you can’t miss a walk through Carnaby Street and Kingly Court, where you could buy one-off fashion creations and unique products.

London offers shopping opportunities across the whole city, so that also in Covent Garden and the neighbouring areas you’ll find plenty of interesting shopping places. The Covent Garden Market and shops in Neal Street, Mommouth Street, Floral Street, Shorts Gardens and Neal's Yard, will give you the change to buy clothing, cosmetics and shoes inspired to the latest urban trends.

Ride either the District or the Circle tube line and get off at Sloane Square for a real mix of shopping opportunities and original interior design solutions offered by Heal’s, Cath Kidson and Peter Jones. But don’t miss to pay a visit to Vivienne Westwood’s World’s End, where punk style was born in the 70s, and to the Chelsea Antiques Market.

Other pleasant shopping opportunities are offered at Knightsbridge and Brompton Road, where the iconic Harrods and Harvey Nichols are located. In Brompton Road you could also decide to shop at the Emporio Armani, whose store also includes the Emporio Armani Café.

Last but not least, you shouldn’t miss a shopping experience at Portobello Road and Market, the road, long nearly one mile, offers a whole range of stalls offering different kind of items, once there don’t miss to pay a visit to the nearby Westbourne Grove.

If you like the concept and reality of “everything under one roof”, Westfield Shopping Centre or Retail Complex is what it takes. Located in London zone 2 and renowned as the biggest urban shopping centre in Europe, you’ll be able to find here over 700 brands, a cinema, a gym and several restaurants and cafes (nearest tube station: White City).

As you can see London really offers a wealth of shopping opportunities, the only serious problem here, especially if you are a shopping addict, is take self-control.

Another thing, rather unusual for European citizens, is that contrary to expectations, CDs and DVDs are cheaper in London than in other European countries. In particular HMV, the famous British chain, is constantly launching offers, sales and promotions making really cheap to buy both CDs and DVDs. If you are used to download music and movie files from the internet, have a go you could really readdress your opinion about this practice. Having the chance to buy music and video at reasonable prices you could find worth it to pay for them.

During your shopping it is very likely that you would take a break now and then and one of the best way to enjoy a break in London is to sip a coffee whilst eating a snack.

London doesn’t really lack of places where to do so, the main coffee bar chains in the UK are: Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Caffe Nero and PrĂȘt a manger. You could also find some French and Italian patisserie around London, offering handmade croissants and traditional cookies, which really represent the ultimate choice for a pleasant and relaxing break.

All of these places are equipped with very comfortable furniture which made your afternoon tea, or your breakfast, absolutely enjoyable so that, as they used to say during a flight, just seat back, relax and enjoy your break.

Prices vary accordingly, if the price of a medium cappuccino and a croissant at Costa can approximately be of £4, in one more traditional patisserie, the price would start from £7/8, but it can, nonetheless, definitely be worth it.