Talking Shop: Joanna Lumley

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Joanna Lumley reveals a penchant for a bargain as she chats about her shopping habits


What is your favourite weird shop in London?

Pollock’s Toy Shop in Covent Garden. It’s a truly enchanting place. I never come away empty handed.’

What do you spend your cash on?

‘Paintings and drawings. I can't resist gorgeousness and am shameless about spending too much.’

What do you scrimp on?

‘I am mean as cats’ meat about handbags: mine don’t ever look chic. I always prefer bags that aren’t made of leather.’

What do London stores do better than anyone else?

‘A strange buzzy style – a sense of being in the heart of things.’

How have your spending habits changed over the years?

‘I buy less now. I seem to have enough or, in the case of fashion, have been there before.’

What is the best shop in the world?

‘Oh, that’s too hard to call. Boutiques in New York and Florence, stationers anywhere and bookshops everywhere, like Henry Sotheran off Piccadilly.’

Where would you spend £10?

‘In Ryman.’

What is good and bad about shopping in London?

‘Parking is a beast... and music in clothes shops is played too loud. But areas of delight are to be found everywhere, in Fulham and Islington, in Wimbledon and Hoxton.’

Of all the places you’ve travelled, where has shopping been the best?

‘Sometimes a change is as good as a rest: so Newcastle is a blast, and Paris fab, and Singapore a dream and New York divine.’

Have you managed to nick many costumes?

‘No, just one: a black dressing gown from the play ‘Vanilla’ which closed early. I still feel like a thief, but it would have been chucked away.’

What is the piece of clothing that you have had the most wear out of?

‘My father’s silk shirts.’

Biggest mistake buy?

‘A rainbow patterned tank top; a handkerchief skirt with points hanging down; a posh coat in high-vis yellow that nearly made me sick.’

Which store would you most like to supermarket sweep?

‘Maybe Jil Sander. Yves St Laurent. Dior, if I could get into anything they make.’

Do you like a bargain?

‘You bet your sweet bippy. But I’m a pathetic haggler and often give more than the original price out of a misplaced sense of duty.’

Do you have a good eye?

‘Quite good, but variable. I sometimes absent-mindedly get stuff suitable for a 16-year-old in my basket and have to backtrack fast.’

Where do you find surprisingly good stuff?

‘In street markets. Choose carefully and you will astound your friends and confound your enemies.’

See our guide to finding a bargain in London

  • Hunt down a new look without worrying about your bank balance in London's vintage shops, charity shops, markets and fairs. Here's Time Out's guide to cheap chic in London.

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