Like a Londoner: A Guide to London Shopping

London, being a fashion capital, abounds with shopping options big and small, with designs ranging from those classic enough to last a lifetime to the most hip and trendy. So, regardless of whether you’re looking for luxurious designer goods or vintage gems, there is something for you.

 

London: Liberty London

Liberty, London, photo by Alvin Leong/flickr

Dress like a Londoner

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, London is perfect.  The city, after all, is the home of international designer labels including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, and Aspinal of London.

 

 If you are one for whimsical prints, be sure to check out Liberty for their small accessories or scarves. Eccentric but elegant, their prints are perfect gifts for loved ones and close friends. Liberty’s could be found just off of Oxford Street.

 

 For those who love a dash of classic Britishness, do not miss the chance to bring back a scarf or trench from British classic Burberry for that much-coveted look. The brand’s beauty line is also something for shoppers to consider. Packaged in silver compacts embossed with the classic Burberry check, the line is inspired by the ready-to-wear collection and gives its patrons with the cool London vibes. The brand could be found in independent boutiques on Bond Street and luxury Department stores such as Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

 

 If you prefer more up and coming brands, then Aspinal of London is a far younger British brand that specialises in luxury leather goods. Established in 2000, the brand features classic shapes in all sorts of fashion-forward colours and is growing in popularity among “it girls”. Those who want to be reminded of London through scent must visit Jo Malone for their one of their iconic fragrances. Even after factoring in the sales tax, purchasing them here will be cheaper than in other countries. Both have boutiques in Covent Garden.

If you don’t mind last season’s style, many beautiful pieces could be found at a steal in Bicester Village , a designer outlet just a train ride away from Central London.

 

Tea for a Londoner

Though not native to the British Isles, tea has become an iconic part of British culture, leading to the rise of multiple classic tea brands. Part of everyone’s go-to souvenir and holder of a royal warrant since 1837, Twinings is a must-buy item for any visitor, available in local supermarkets or their flagship store at the Strand. Besides staples like the English Breakfast and Earl Grey, the brand also experiments with different blends of tea with flavours from all over the world.

If you want to drink like a royal, then Fortnum & Mason is the tea to get. With its iconic mint coloured tins, Fortnum & Mason has been a holder of the Royal Warrant since 1955. Visitors can find the well-sought after tea in all the classic blends its flagship store in Piccadilly Circus or pick it up in their branch in Heathrow Terminal 5. It is recommended to get the mini sized tea tin sets to try all their blends. It’s beautiful packaging also makes it a popular choice among tourists as souvenirs to bring home. While you’re at the flagship store, you should also experience British Afternoon Tea at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon  surrounded by teaware that is the same iconic shade of mint.

London: Alfie's Market

Alfie’s Market, photo by Banalities/flickr

Vintage for a Londoner

 Other than big brands with international reputations, London is also home to a vast number of vintage finds. Visitors looking for quality vintage finds can check out Brick Lane, for vintage finds from classic 50s dresses to snazzy denim jackets from the 80s.

 A little more eclectic, the Portobello Road Market is great for vintage lovers every Friday, with a large collection of vintage merchants.  The market abounds with coats, jackets, tops and accessories from the past.

If you prefer something more dedicated, then Alfie’s Antique Market is the place for you. With the entire building dedicated to antiques and vintage gems, visitors can immerse themselves with finding all sorts of rare items, including antique and vintage furniture and decorations. So remember to bring plenty to spend!