Live Like a Local in London: A Guide to Department Stores
Surviving in London means knowing how and where to shop. We're here to help with our list of the best department stores in London.
Liberty: Instantly recognisable even from a distance with its striking mock-Tudor facade, Liberty is a stylish store worthy of an afternoon of exploration. You can easily spend a few hours lazily browsing through the drool worthy clothing and perfectly displayed products across the London store's six floors. Most well known for their fashion edits and iconic printed textiles, Liberty also stock a great range of crafts and antiques, as well as a carefully curated selection of beauty and skincare brands. Though the store is fairly large, it somehow manages to evoke the intimate and personal feel of a (admittedly grand) home. And you can tell some of the staff have been working there for years and truly love the store.
Best for: swathes of fabric, beauty products and creative supplies.
Harrods: Could we really have a list of department stores in London without a mention of the most historic and famous store in the city? Harrods isn't just a shopping destination, it's a luxury experience. With more than 300 departments set across seven floors, there is plenty to covet in the grand and ornate halls of this iconic London store. Service is impeccable of course, and the staff are clearly used to going the extra mile for their regular international customers that fly in just to shop here. Shoeaholics, there's actually a section called Shoe Heaven here worthy of its name. And don't get us started on the famous Harrods Food Hall. Taste your way through the different food counters and find gourmet snacks from all around the world.
Best for: Designer brands, food sampling, and fragrance sniffing.
Selfridges: When you think of London shopping, Selfridges may very well be the first store that comes to mind. And the London department store is iconic for good reason. Located on Oxford Street (AKA London's most famous shopping street) Selfridges is set over six floors and has been offering Londoners and tourists everything from luxury to high street fashion, technology to jewellery for decades. If you want a varied range of brands under one roof, this is the store to go to be truly spoilt for choice. Feeling a little overwhelmed with the variety? The helpful team of Selfridges personal shoppers are on to help you find just what you're looking for.
Best for: browsing the latest fashions, awe-inspiring window displays, and the largest denim department in the world.
Harvey Nichols: While you're in Knightsbridge for Harrods, pop into nearby Harvey Nichols. The popular London department store has eight floors of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products on offer, including all the major designer brands. The fifth floor is a bright and airy space dedicated to bars and restaurants, and is worth a visit for when you need that mid-shop snack (or drink). If you want high quality beauty treatments in London, there's a sumptuous Beauty Lounge on the ground floor offering everything from manicures to makeovers.
Best for: the luxurious Beauty Lounge and the fifth-floor terrace cafe overlooking Knightsbridge.
Fortnum & Mason: Want to pick up your food items from the same grocery store used by the Queen? Fortnum & Mason is a historic London store established in 1707. Located in Piccadilly London, it's brimming with fine foods, fresh produce, and extravagant hampers. It's worth a trip to feast your eyes on the grand interior design alone. Fortnum & Mason is also famous for offering the classic afternoon tea experience in the heart of London. While you're here, don't forget to indulge in a decadent sundae in the first floor ice cream parlour. This is also the place to get a quintessentially British gift for your friends and family back home.
Best for: afternoon tea and exquisitely packed gift hampers galore.
Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury's: Need some essentials while in the city? If you're looking for a quick grocery shop in the centre of London, you'll find all the major UK supermarket chains have smaller branches in the city. Little Waitrose, Tesco Express and Sainsbury's Local all have similar offerings at similar prices, and you'll easily be able to find at least one of these in each London neighbourhood.
Best for: quick and convenient grocery essentials.
Whole Foods Market: This international organic grocery chain is loved around the world for its extensive range of natural and healthy food items. If you're opting for organic food items and eco-friendly products, you'll find everything you need at a Whole Foods Market. They also cater well for specialist diets such as vegan and gluten free. There are currently seven branches across London, including central locations such as Picadilly Circus, Camden and Kensington.
Best for: fresh organic groceries, and a healthy bite at lunch.
Planet Organic: Want your grocery items 100% organic and sustainably produced? Look no further than Planet Organic, the biggest certified organic grocery store in the UK. With more than 8000 product lines across their 7 London stores, you'll be spoilt for choice with it comes to natural food, health and beauty products here. Try the organic wine at the Planet Organic bar, or get some expert health advice. They also regularly hold events including cooking classes, meditation and yoga.
Best for: variety of natural products, knowledgeable staff and sustainable lifestyle events.