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Shopping in London: A Guide

Last updated: Jun 6, 2018

What would travel be without a little shopping? Craziness, that’s what! Although it’s not usually thought of as a shopping destination, London is actually a fantastic place for a little retail therapy. Whether you want to purchase a bridal gown or just troll the thrift shops, you’ll find it all in this foggy city.

London shops opening hours

When you’re traveling, there’s nothing worse than arriving at a place only to find it’s closed. Before you set out looking for bargains, make sure the store you’re going to is actually open.

“Nearly all shops are open from 9 a to 5.30 pm but in the busiest places many shops will be open later. Mind you I'm not very good at shopping, that's my wife's specialty. LOL”
“West end shops open 10.00AM to 7.00PM most days (Some of the department stores open at 9.30 and close at 8.00Pm) and noon to 6.00PM on Sundays.”
“In the past Thursday nights was late night shopping night in London - however, most bigger west end stores stay open ‘til 8pm Monday to Friday, closing earlier on Saturday. Sunday opening can be much more restricted with many shops shut by 4pm. Further out of town shops tend to close at 5 or 6pm - and bigger shops staying open til 8pm on Thursday.”
“Most larger shops open approximately 11-4 on Sundays. they may open a little longer in the West end: I avoid it at weekends. Many smaller shops outside central London (and a few in central London) stay closed on Sundays”

If there’s one thing this country is known for, it’s weddings! Where better to hunt down the perfect bridal dress! Here are a few ideas about where to start:

“London Brides is very close to Marble Arch.”
“Also check out the large department stores such as Debenhams and Selfridges (Oxford St) and House of Fraser (Regent St). Also shops such as Liberty’s (Regent St) and Browns Brides.”

Looking for specialty food stuffs? There’s no better place than London! Here are a few ideas about where to find Middle Eastern and Asian groceries:

“Just west of Paddington, on Queensway south towards Bayswater, was a larger Middle Eastern area. That is if my memory is intact.”
“There are loads of Middle Eastern shops and restaurants in Westbourne Grove, Edgeware Road, Soho, etc. You can get all of those items in Marks and Spencers, Selfridges and any delicatessen.”
“For Middle Eastern produce, your best bet is the Edgeware Road, which isn't far away. For Asian, Chinatown.”

If you’ve never experienced London’s charity, or as we would say in the U.S., thrift shops, you haven’t really been shopping in London. They’re easily as good and as plentiful in London as they are in New York. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

“Oxfam has a bunch of locations throughout London, I couldn't find a link with all of the addresses, but if you Google it, the locations will come up on Google Maps.”
“It's difficult to say what a "good" charity shop is, as you never know what you'll find there. Oxfam has the more variety in books, in my mind, but it really depends on what has been donated. If you leave the city centre, you 'll find more charity shops which offer different things. In Golders Green for example I found very interesting books about Jewish life, in Muswell Hill I found more high-priced items, but that's part of the fun, looking around and discovering.”
“I am a charity shop aficionado. One tends to find that very good-quality goods (high-end labels etc) are distributed around a number of shops belonging to a particular charity, rather than all being in one particular shop. As well as Oxfam (which nowadays tends to focus more on books and CDs rather than clothes) I suggest you try the Scope shops and the British Heart Foundation and Barnardos. I've found that both generally have a higher standard of clothing etc., on sale and do not have the 'charity shop smell' that is still, occasionally, found in a few shops. But remember that it's all a matter of opinion and luck and quite frankly depends entirely on what was in the shop when you visit. Charity shops in upmarket areas will always, always have higher prices than the same charity's shop in a less well-off area, but the latter will not necessarily have worse quality goods.”
“There is an Oxfam at Portobello road, where other interesting shops are located.”
“I understand that The Oxfam shop in Covent Garden is considered to be quite good - I visited it a few years ago, and there were plenty of ' designer outfits' some are donated by 'celebrities', but they were priced quite high!”
“Charity shops are all over London and some are more expensive than others. I normally only search for books and quite often some of them have a special sale as they have too many books in stock.”
“Here is a London insiders tip for you and a place I have used many times. It is a little off the beaten track but search out the Red Cross shop at 69-71 Old Church Street, Kensington, SW3 5BS which is basically off the Kings Road in Chelsea, it is an absolute gem, full of designer kit from the beautiful people of Chelsea and mostly worn once. I know for a fact that the world famous Thomas Pink shirt company used to donate all their unworn display shirts and "last season's" styles which were sold for a fraction of the retail value. They do remove the label so people cannot take them back claiming to have bought them and demanding a refund but if you know what you are looking at, they are not hard to spot. It is well worth a run and easily the best charity shop (for clothes) that I know in London.”
“I've been to quite a few charity shops, in fact I almost always have to pop in for a browse when I pass one if time permits. I think Pimlico/Victoria area would be a good place to start there's a cluster of Charity shops just off Vauxhall Bridge Road including Oxfam and Trinity Hospice where I had once found some interesting hand-painted plates. Of course, you never know what you will stumble upon. I live in Kensington and I quite like the Charity shops on High Street Kensington (Oxfam, Geranium Shop For The Blind) and Kensington Church street, if that is convenient for you, they are worth a browse. And there are some good ones in Camden too. Happy charity shopping.”

Crafters and sewers take note: London is a great place to pick up supplies! Here are some great resources for fabric:

“Walthamstow market is supposed to be good for fabrics (haven't been myself, am going from recommendations on sewing sites). It's a daily market but just a farmers' market on Sundays.”
“I've seen several blogs and websites which mention the fabric shops on Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush.”
“Yes, Goldhawk Road is good, or for something different there's a shop near Willesden Green tube station that has a huge range of African fabrics with wonderful prints. Or of course sari fabric in Southall.”
“If you want a more conventional department store with a good range, John Lewis on Osford Street or Liberty on Regent Street are both well regarded, with the latter being more upmarket and rather expensive.”

Related Links



Here's the original discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Athens asked on Oct 27, 2004

London

What time do shops open/close in london ?

hello! im visiting london in a few days. im interested in visiting some shopping areas. i know the oxford street. can u please tell me what time do shops open and close from monday till saturday? and if there are some special times in oxford street plz mention them!thanks!



5 Answers


answered on 10/27/04 by
a VT member from Dover

Nearly all shops are open from 9 a to 5.30 pm but in the busiest places many shops will be open later. Mind you I'm not very good at shopping, that's my wife's speciality. LOL




answered on 10/28/04 by
a VT member from Dublin

West end Shops open 10.00AM to 7.00PM most days (Some of the department stores open at 9.30 and close at 8.00Pm) and noon to 6.00PM on Sundays.




answered on 10/28/04 by
a VT member from London

In the past Thursday nights was late night shopping night in London - however, most bigger west end stores stay open til 8pm Monday to friday, closing earlier on Saturday. Sunday opening can be much more restricted with many shops shut by 4pm. Further out of town shops tend to close at 5 or 6pm - and bigger shops staying open til 8pm on thursday.




answered on 11/3/04 by
a VT member from Plymouth

Are shops still closed on Sundays? My god, I thought that was only in history books! - stefan




answered on 11/3/04 by
a VT member from London

Most larger shops open aprox 11-4 on Sundays. they may open a little longer in teh west end: i avoid it at weekends. Many smaller shops outside central London (and a few in central London) stay closed on Sundays






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Malta asked on Nov 2, 2009

London

Bridal shops in London?

Hi

i'll be travelling to London for 4 days next week and am interested doing some shopping for my wedding ... flowergirl dress, bridesmaid dress, mother of the bride dress, souvenirs, etc ..

ill be staying in a hotel very close to Marble Arch ... very central ...

Any names of shops I can visit around this area please?

Thanks

Rgds
Elaine



3 Answers


answered on 11/2/09 by
a VT member from Peterborough

Hi Elaine,

London Brides is very close to Marble Arch :
londonbrides.co.uk/findus.ht...


& here is a list of other Bridal shops around London :
londononline.co.uk/local/Sho...

Have a lovely time,

Darren




answered on 11/2/09 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Also check out the large department stores such as Debenhams and Selfridges(Oxford St) and House of Fraser (Regent St). Also shops such as Libertys (Regent St).

and Browns Brides:

brownsfashion.com/cm/stores....

You won't be short of choices. Enjoy!




answered on 11/3/09 by
a VT member from Malta

Thanks a lot for your help! :-)






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Kolding asked on Apr 12, 2011

London

Paddington - Middle Eastern or asian grocery shops

I am going to London with my job and will we staying near paddington station.
I won't have that much time for shopping, but I would like to shop some food (spices, lentils, currypaste, noodels etc) to bring back home.

I would like to buy food from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Can anyone recomend shops with a big selection af autentic items?



4 Answers


answered on 4/12/11 by
a VT member from Vancouver

Just west of Paddington, on Queensway south towards Bayswater, was a larger Middle Eastern area. That is if my memory is intact.
Best of luck




answered on 4/12/11 by
a VT member from Jávea

There are loads of Middle Eastern shops and restaurants in Westbourne Grove,Edgware Road, Soho.etc
You can get all of those items in Marks and Spencers, Selfridges and any delicatessen.




answered on 4/12/11 by
a VT member from Rio de Janeiro

For Middle Eastern produce, your best bet is the Edgeware Road, which isn't far away. For oriental, Chinatown.




answered on 4/14/11 by
a VT member from Kolding

Thank you so much for the tips.






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member asked on Nov 1, 2013

London

Charity Shops

Hi everyone :)
I'm going to spend the next weekend in London on shopping. Could you tell me where are the best charity shops?
Thank you for your answers :)



9 Answers


answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from Chicago

Oxfam has a bunch of locations through out London, I couldn't find a link with all of the addresses, but if you Google it, the locations will come up on Google Maps.




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from Germany

It's difficult to say what a "good" charity shop is, as you never know what you'll find there. Oxfam has the more variety in books, in my mind, but it really depends on what has been donated. If you leave the city centre, you 'll find more charity shops which offer different things. In Golders Green for example I found very interesting books about Jewish life, in Muswell Hill I found more high-priced items, but that's part of the fun, looking around and discovering.




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member

Thank you so much :)




answered on 11/1/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I am a charity shop aficionado.

There are no 'best' charity shops...all depends on what any one shop has on sale when you visit. To have a particular shop which only had the 'best' goods would be counter-productive. One tends to find that very good-quality goods (high-end labels etc) are distributed around a number of shops belonging to a particular charity, rather than all being in one particular shop.

As well as Oxfam (which nowadays tends to focus more on books and CDs rather than clothes) I suggest you try the Scope shops:

scope.org.uk/shops/shopsnear...

and the British Heart Foundation:

bhf.org.uk/shop/our-local-sh...

and Barnardos:

barnardos.org.uk/shop/shop-s...

I've found that both generally have a higher standard of clothing etc on sale and do not have the 'charity shop smell' that is still, occasionally, found in a few shops.

You can look at this:

timeout.com/london/shopping/...

or this:

telegraph.co.uk/travel/desti...

but remember that it's all a matter of opinion and luck and....quite frankly....depends entirely on what was in the shop when you visit.

Charity shops in upmarket areas will alway, always have higher prices than the same charity's shop in a less well-off area, but the latter will not necessarily have worse quality goods.

I think the best thing to do is to put 'charity shops london' into google and look at what shows on the map near to wherever you are staying or intend to visit. Then do a general trawl through.... :-)




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from Hengelo

There is an Oxfam at Portobello road, where other interesting shops are located.

[original VT link]

PJ




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from Sheffield

I understand that The Oxfam shop in Covent Garden is considered to be quite good - I visited it a few years ago, and there were plenty of ' designer outfits' some are donated by 'celebrities', but they were priced quite high!




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

Charity shops are all over London and some are more expensive than others. I normally only search for books and quite often some of them have a special sale as they have too many books in stock.




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from London

Here is a London insiders tip for you and a place I have used many times. It is a little off the beaten track but search out the Red Cross shop at 69-71 Old Church Street, Kensington, SW3 5BS which is basically off the Kings Road in Chelsea, it is an absolute gem, full of designer kit from the beautiful people of Chelsea and mostly worn once.

I know for a fact that the world famous Thomas Pink shirt company used to donate all their unworn display shirts and "last season's" styles which were sold for a fraction of the retail value. They do remove the label so people cannot take them back claiming to have bought them and demanding a refund but if you know what you are looking at, they are not hard to spot. It is well worth a run and easily the best charity shop (for clothes) that I know in London.

Here is a link.

redcross.org.uk/Where-we-wor...

Hope this assists,

fergy.




answered on 11/1/13 by
a VT member from London

I've been to quite a few charity shops, in fact I almost always have to pop in for a browse when I pass one if time permits.

I think Pimlico/Victoria area would be a good place to start there's a cluster of Charity shops just off Vauxhall Bridge Road including Oxfam and Trinity Hospice where I had once found some interesting hand-painted plates. Of course you never know what you will stumble upon.

I live in Kensington and I quite like the Charity shops on High Street Kensington (Oxfam, Geranium Shop For The Blind) and Kensington Church street, if that is convenient for you, they are worth a browse.

And there are some good ones in Camden too. Here is a link I found: lovecamden.org/camdens-best-...

Happy charity shopping.






Here's a related discussion:



a VirtualTourist member from Freiburg im Breisgau asked on May 3, 2014

London

Fabrics shops ?

On 21.Mai we'll come to London from Germany and looking for some fabrics .
Who knows some shops or markets ?
Thank's a lot in advance.

Herbertle



3 Answers


answered on 5/3/14 by
a VT member from Uxbridge

The following is a link I came across when searching on line:

allinlondon.co.uk/directory/...

Then I saw this one:

theberwickstreetclothshop.co...

As with everything else when you visit, where you are staying and how much you want to spend will influence what you buy. I hope this helps or at least puts you on the trail of the shops you need.




answered on 5/4/14 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Walthamstow market is supposed to be good for fabrics (haven't been myself, am going from recommendations on sewing sites). It's a daily market but just a farmers' market on Sundays:

walthamforest.gov.uk/pages/s...

I've seen several blogs and websites which mention the fabric shops on Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush e.g.

diy-couture.co.uk/shepherdsb...




answered on 5/4/14 by
a VT member from Ealing

Yes, Goldhawk Road is good, or for something different there's a shop near Willesden Green tube station that has a huge range of African fabrics with wonderful prints. Or of course sari fabric in Southall.

If you want a more conventional department store with a good range, John Lewis on Osford Street or Liberty on Regent Street are both well regarded, with the latter being more upmarket and rather expensive





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