Number 1 in the full list The mock Tudor department store was a clear winner – so many of our panellists singled it out – and rightly so. Liberty was founded in 1875, but the present Marlborough Street site, with its ships’ timbers and leaded windows, was built in the 1920s. The interconnecting jumble of rooms, with the odd fireplace and cushioned window seat, makes for an intimate feel – as if you’ve strayed into a private room in a stately house. It’s not an accident, founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty wanted customers to feel as if they were exploring someone’s home, keeping the shopping galleries small, albeit linked to three rather grand atriums. Read more about Liberty Recommended by:Maggie Davis, Jackie Dixon, Geoffrey J Finch, Bethan Holt, Bip Ling, Peter Jensen, Dan Jones, Sharmadean Reid and Yasmin Sewell.
Number 3 in the full list Now well past its centenary, Selfridges manages to be both stately and very contemporary at the same time. A real shopper’s shop, Selfridges is in many ways the perfect department store, with a considered area designed to suit the needs of every family member. Its approachable, noisy ground floor fashion department for teenagers handpicks the best bits from Topshop, H&M et al, and sits them alongside pop-up stalls selling anything from body art to hair straighteners. Meanwhile, the nearby beauty and food halls strike just the right balance between pedestrian and luxurious – you can spend £200 on a facial, or a jar of truffles, or you can buy a straightforward bottle of Clarins or a sandwich. As you get higher up the premises, the stock gets its serious swank on – with the newly re-christened 3rd Central housing designer wares from the likes of Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney. While the store is an enduringly popular mecca for fashion, homewares and accessories of all varieties, it never rests on its laurels. Read more about Selfridges Recommended by:Dan Jones and Christopher Woodward.
Number 11 in the full list It’s sublime, it’s ridiculous, and no trip to London would really be complete without a visit to this hugely impressive department store. Previous owner Mohammed Al-Fayed left a big gold mark on the place – from the blinging Egyptian escalators to the ever popular Dodi and Diana memorial. But there’s also lots of high fashion, a fairground food hall – and an absolutely delightful pet department that sells a range of live furry friends as well as pampering services. Read more about Harrods Recommended by:Brix Smith-Start and James Frey.
Number 19 in the full list Harvey Nichols is still one of London’s most glamorous designer destinations. While it lacks in the quirkiness of Liberty or the sheer size of Selfridges, it more than makes up for it in sleek, international modernity. The brilliant beauty department caters to expats from the Middle East and Europe and is full of bizarre potions, lotions, colognes and creams that can’t found anywhere else in London. And, since shopping is thirsty work, the 5th floor bar is still one of the swankiest places in town. Read more about Harvey Nichols Recommended by:Navaz Batliwalla.
Number 22 in the full list Enter Fortnum via the main Piccadilly entrance and you’ll soon sink into a plush red carpet – a nod to the sheer celebrity of the London department store, and the level of respect it gives its rare teas and mille-feuille pastries, musical biscuit tins and jars of honey (extracted from Fortnum’s own hives on the roof of the building). Fortnum has a rich history, a stately home-quality shop fit, and more than its fair share of British quirk. Most importantly, it can lay claim to having invented one of the best snack food in the history of the world: the Scotch egg (in 1738). Read more about Fortnum & Mason Recommended by:Danielle Scutt.
Number 53 in the full list This often overlooked Oxford Street giant is having a bit of a moment – not least with Mary Portas’s brilliant in-store boutique. Having spent millions on improving the men’s and interiors floors it’s earned itself a bit of retail kudos. The huge stable of brands has its high points including Mulberry, house label Biba and vintage picks from The Assembly (the premium range from the East End Thrift Store) – and crowd pleasers from Robbie Williams’ Farrell brand and GraciEve by the indomitable 'TOWIE' sisters Billie and Sam Faiers. Read more about House of Fraser
101 The Arcade, Westfield Stratford City, London, E20 1EL
Number 57 in the full list The partnership’s first new shop in more than 20 years, John Lewis Stratford City has been opened, of course, to capitalise on the forthcoming Olympic Games. It feels much like any other branch of John Lewis with the products, styling and excellent service to match – but it’s the first time the brand has been able to create a building from scratch and its main architectural feature is a huge store-high atrium with banks of escalators connecting one floor to the next. Catch one to the Olympic shop on the top floor for stunning views of the Olympic Park and London. Read more about John Lewis Stratford City