Longtime London leather specialist RoB London expanded in 2008 to include a bright, airy space, a private(ish), snug room with flame-effect fire for private fittings and a dark, dungeon basement. With RoB London’s thick-cut leather-wear, accessories and multi-flavoured lubes on the ground floor, the basement is packed with specialist S&M products: a sling ergonomically designed to aid fisting, say, or executioners’ hoods. The onsite design and moulding of its own dildo line has been replaced with a tailor’s cutting room for leather- and latex-wear and repairs.Read more
You don’t have to be a woman to pass through the hallowed pink portals of London’s only female-oriented sex shop, but you’ll need to be chaperoned by one. The capital’s best sex shop for toys, Sh!’s strongest feature is its friendly staff who give honest advice. Books, gifts and new kinky artworks are displayed alongside strap-on harnesses and a well-stocked vibrator table that includes own-range clitoral pumps, dildos and vibrators in numerous materials, styles and prices (our fave is the iPod-activated vibrator, £50, that pulsates in time to your tunes). The Sh! Lil’ Softee vibrator is a bargain at £7. Even the fetish and lingerie lines downstairs in the basement have the feminine touch: handcuffs are suede-lined, collars are fit for a princess and bondage tape, crops and whips (some vibrating!) are candy-coloured. If you're interested in new techniques as well as toys, book into one of the workshops hosted in-store – mostly for women, but also featuring some classes for couples. You know what they say... the couple that plays together, stays together. Sh! is number 76 in our list of the 100 best shops in London.Read more
Since opening this Soho shop nearly 15 years ago, Agent Provocateur has become an international success story, with branches as far afield as New York, Moscow and Dubai. It’s the first port of call for the decadent and fashion-forward lingerie fan. The distinctive retro glamour of the London store’s pink and black decor is extended to the staff, who are kitted out in cleavage-enhancing pink nurses’ uniforms. Bras, from 32A to 38F, start at around £60. Corsets, hosiery, nightwear, pasties and perfumes are also on the menu.Read more
This erotic emporium is London’s most glamorous introduction to kink. The boudoir aesthetic creates an unmistakable vibe of refined naughtiness, and trying items on is a particular highlight, what with the peepshow-style velvet changing rooms that allow your lover to watch you undress from a ‘confession box’ next door. Stock has an ethical, artisan-led twist; you can be sure your dildo is made from WWF-endorsed wood (owner Sam Roddick clearly inherited her mother Anita’s green credentials). The jewelled nipple clips, jade cock rings and rose-decorated ceramic butt plugs and dildos are among the list of intriguing pieces. There’s a deliciously large lingerie selection including Mimi Holiday, Lascivious, Aloe, Bordelle and Coco de Mer’s own range as well as an array of leather masks, locking gauntlets and corseted belts by Paul Seville and Ilya Fleet. The female-oriented book range now includes an exclusive rare vintage selection, where you can find 1920s pornography and fiction originals, like Lolita. Coco de Mer is number 37 in our list of the 100 best shops in London.Read more
Despite its location on the Holloway Road, Showgirls is known by some as ‘the Harvey Nicks of fetish shops’. With its stylish collection of couture fetishwear – delicately lace printed or perforated – it’s definitely more high fashion than down and dirty. Resident designer Atsuko Kudo is famed for her chic rubber dresses and lingerie and has recently created pieces for Grace Jones, Eva Mendes and countless stylists and photographers (on our visit, staff were busy wrapping samples for top fashion photographer Stephen Meisel and Italian Vogue). To complete your ensemble, Showgirls offers a small but striking collection of high heels, rubber ties and must-have accessories – tiny top hats and berets in slick, shiny rubber.Read more
This shop offers touch of decadent, old-school naughtiness glamour in Shoreditch. Original lingerie designs by Damaris, Myla, Pussy Glamore and Buttress & Snatch swing off the rails alongside Australian swimwear label Jemma Jube and corsetry pieces by Miss Katie and Sian Hoffman. With a smattering of men’s undies by Fred & Ginger, Bordello also stocks boudoir furniture, candles and homewares.Read more
Many gay Londoners have suffered the indignity of being turned away from the Hoist nightclub owing to lack of proper leather gear. Now help is at hand. This fetish shop is right next door and open late on weekend evenings. So if you are barred by the Hoist’s doorman, pop in and pick up a pair of leather chaps (£129) or open-crotch shorts (£36) and, poof!, now you can go to the ball!
The first of this chain of shops was opened in 1993 on Brewer Street, with the intriguing concept of combining a bookshop with a sex store. That doesn’t just mean the books are about sex – you’ll find cookery tomes, art and architecture books and historical studies on the shelves – but it does mean that the sex bit downstairs is welcoming, brightly lit, and non-seedy.Read more