It should come as no surprise that London is a major destination for shoppers, being the capital of the United Kingdom and home to a number of major international brands. You're bound to find everything you're looking for on London shopping breaks, from high street chains to independent boutiques selling unique items, but sometimes it takes a little inside knowledge to find the best shopping locations and the best prices.
Many of London's large department stores and retailers are tourist attractions in their own right, including Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Many of London's historical market districts offer a different shopping experience to these luxury outlets, from trendy Camden Market to traditional Covent Garden, though those heading to these areas for shopping rather than sightseeing are advised to check out the side alleys to beat the crowds and inflated prices of the main streets and market halls.
It can also be useful to find out which areas of London specialise in certain types of goods and services, to improve your chances of finding what you're looking for. King's Road is a major area for household goods, for example, while Marylebone High Street is widely praised for its food sellers, such as butchers.
If you're hoping to find some of London's more quirky or individual retailers, some of the best areas to visit are Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Spitalfields, as Brick Lane, Cheshire Street and Dray Walk are home to all manner of small boutiques, as well as Spitalfields Market itself. Oxford Street is the city's most bustling shopping street however, partly thanks to the absence of traffic in this pedestrian zone.
If you've chosen to stay in one of the , in order to be close to the major retail centres, you can find ways to avoid expensive prices too, sometimes based on the time of year you visit. Most shops can be relied on to lower their prices during the usual sales dates, such as the period after Christmas, and you should look out for designer warehouse sales too. Shoppers can also avoid paying congestion charges between Christmas Day and New Year's Day - meaning your Christmas spending money can go further.
You could also save money by keeping your eyes peeled for other discounts, such as shopping brochures featuring money-off coupons at selected retailers. Some parts of London offer late night shopping on certain days of the week, usually Thursday, which can give you more time to browse and benefit from lower parking rates when visiting Central London.
Sean Burke writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.