The 100 best shops in London by type: beauty and grooming

Going shopping in London? Plan where to head with our round-up of the city’s finest retailers, from cheap vintage shops to world famous department stores

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Now you’ve seen which are the 100 best shops in London. But where will you find something cheap to buy, or a piece of cutting-edge fashion straight off the catwalk? Somewhere with an in-store café or a family friendly set-up?

We’ve applied 25 handy labels to the 100 shops in our list – here you’ll find London’s best beauty and grooming shops. The numbers in the yellow hexagons denote the shop’s position in our full list.

Are we missing something? Tell us your favourite shop in the in the comments below.

The 100 best shops in London by type: beauty and grooming

1

Selfridges

Best for
High fashion from high street to designer under one roof

Don’t miss
The denim studio

How much?

 

The reason Selfridges takes the shopping crown this year is that it really is for everyone – alongside its designer labels and luxurious services it has clip-in hair extensions, cheapo nail bars and a ground floor busting with fashion that is well within the reach of a teenager’s purse. If you can’t find something to buy in Selfridges you simply aren’t looking hard enough.

In June 2013, it unveiled what is unquestionably the capital’s best denim department on the third floor, while the paltry toy offering was buoyed by a fun new department a couple of months later. At the other end of the shopping spectrum, Louis Vuitton recently unveiled a three-storey townhouse within the store – a London first.

  1. 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB
  2. www.selfridges.com
    Bond St tube
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2

Liberty

Best for
Eccentric English style and historical prints

Don’t miss
The famous rug room

How much?

 

There is no more gorgeous a shop in London, possibly the world, than Liberty. While the high streets around it and beyond become more and more ubiquitous, this mock-tudor department store remains utterly unique – designed by Edwin Thomas Hall and son Edwin Stanley Hall to resemble a stately home.

It’s certainly one we’d love to live in, with an eccentric best-of-British jumble of haberdashery and its world-renowned fabrics, high-end fashion plus lotions and potions aplenty. Despite its vintage appearance, there is much innovation to be found, and they recently opened an excellent Josh Wood hair salon, an expensive but brilliant childrenswear department and a capacious bath shop offering many fragrant delights.

  1. Regent St, W1B 5AH
  2. www.liberty.co.uk
    Oxford Circus tube
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3

House of Hackney

Best for
Bold, printed home accessories and clothing

Don’t miss
The printed fine bone china

How much?

 

In many ways the natural successor to Liberty, House of Hackney is a print-based lifestyle brand with Britishness running through every stitch and flick of a paintbrush. HOH first start as an interiors label, but with founders (and couple) Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle both hailing from fashion backgrounds, it was only natural that their London-inspired prints (Dalston Rose, Hackney Empire) made their way first on to clothing and accessories, and recently washbags, notepads and crockery.

This glorious store opened in July 2013, and it’s one of the most gorgeous retail establishments to land in London in years, bedecked in the deliberately over the top juxtapositions of print-on-print-on-print that have made the brand's name. Gormley confesses that the brand was partly inspired by her own boredom with Ikea-minimalist-ubiquity. You’ll find none of that here – the entrance is bursting with flora from resident florists Wild at Heart, and the floral theme is picked up on sweatshirts, bikinis, cups and saucers on the first floor.

Downstairs, you’ll find plump leopard print armchairs cheek-by-jowl with palm print chaise longues and scattered with floral cushions – all made in the UK and, where possible, in London. Even if you walk away with just a teacup rather than a full suite of furniture, you should walk away with something – a little piece of England. Or England, how we’d like it to look.

  1. 131 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JE
  2. www.houseofhackney.com
    Old St tube
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7

The Shop at Bluebird

Best for
A high-class shopping experience

Don’t miss
The regular designer pop-ups

How much?

 

There’s something exceedingly Zen about The Shop at Bluebird. The 10,000ft space, originally used as a garage in the ‘30s, has a white tiled floor and lots of natural light, tempting shoppers to roam calmly through its delightfully curated mix of fashion, beauty, interiors, books and music.

Opened by John and Belle Robinson (who also own Jigsaw) in 2005, it now has a reputation for tempting luxury brands such as Chloé and Jonathan Saunders to the King’s Road, as well as for discovering up-and-coming designers. There’s also an in-store spa and a pop-up area that changes hands each month.

  1. 350 King’s Rd, SW3 5UU
  2. www.theshopatbluebird.com
    Sloane Square tube
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8

Topshop

Best for
Cheap, on-trend fashion

Don’t miss
The Unique range and the Wah nail bar

How much?

 

It’s hard to avoid this Oxford Street goliath, with its garish window displays, blaring indie music and constant gaggle of loitering teens. Others have tried to steal its crown but Topshop still rules the high street. We’re not going to lie – Saturdays at the Oxford Circus flagship are living hell, like being in an awful nightclub with over-bright lighting and dodgy DJs. But weekday mornings provide the opportunity for a more civilized and fruitful shopping experience.

The ground floor is packed with accessories, from hipster sunglasses to sturdy leather satchels and hot hosiery – much of it for less than a tenner. Take the escalator down to the main collections – the brilliant denim range is located just to the right. Further to the right, you’ll find Topshop’s exclusive Unique and Boutique collections as well as special designer collaborations, which have included Richard Nicoll, Meadham Kirchoff and J.W. Anderson of late, as well as their first and best collaborator Kate Moss, returning in 2014 with her hugely popular line. There’s also an on-trend and affordable maternity line. Shoes and boots are down in the basement alongside various vintage concessions.

  1. 36-38 Great Castle Street, W1W 8LG
  2. www.topshop.com
    Oxford Circus tube
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11

Harrods

Best for
Ostentatious style under one roof

Don’t miss
Toy Kingdom on the third floor

How much?

 

It might be unashamedly ostentatious, stuffed with tourists and in possession of the world’s most vulgar statue (Dodi and Diana in bronze by the Egyptian escalators), but Harrods – London’s most famous department store – is still a spectacular shop. The elegantly tiled and fragrant food halls on the ground floor are always worth a butchers and the beauty halls boast a wealth of luxury exclusives. But the store’s true delights can be found on an explorative walk.

As well as London’s first moving staircase and its very own bank, Harrods boasts an art gallery, a stunning new interiors department and a kitchenware floor that hosts live cooking lessons from household names. Got kids? Head straight to Toy Kingdom on the third floor – its enchanted forest, intergalactic science lab and bespoke sweet maker should keep them occupied. There’s always a team of shopping assistants on hand to demonstrate the latest toys and gadgets. Sadly, 2014 sees the closure of its legendary Pet Kingdom to make way for more womenswear, but we are promised a satellite pet store nearby imminently.

Elsewhere, Harrods excels at shoes – with a gargantuan footwear department stocking labels like Ferragamo, Charlotte Olympia and Giuseppe Zanotti. The Fashion Lab has recently opened on the fourth floor, by the Egyptian escalator, selling a range of young designer labels such as Zadig & Voltaire, Wildfox and The Kooples.

  1. 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL
  2. www.harrods.com
    Knightsbridge tube
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13

John Lewis

Best for
All household goods with excellent customer service

Don’t miss
The Somerset by Alice Temperley range

How much?

 

Entering the John Lewis flagship is a welcome relief from the madness of Oxford Street. Set over five airy floors the store is well-spaced with heaps of natural light pouring in through the massive atrium. Famed for its excellent customer service and dependable, quality goods, John Lewis caters for every aspect of your lifestyle from technology to kitchen gadgets, fabrics and furniture.

As you might expect, there are plenty of tasteful sofas and scatter cushions in every hue, but the store has made a real effort to also appeal to the more daring customer by offering a range of designer collaborations and collections including its Design Icons range across its homes departments, which includes expensive classics like the Philippe Starck for Kartell Louis Ghost Chair and numerous iconic pieces by Vitra-Eames.

Don’t overlook the fashion departments either – there have been some brilliant collaborations with British designers such as Joe Caseley-Hayford in menswear and Alice Temperley, whose Somerset range for women has been the department store’s best-selling fashion range ever. Temperley has recently added a line of vintage-inspired Somerset Lingerie and a collection for girls aged 4-10 too. Also visit the store’s new and improved beauty hall in which the brand now offers its own range of nail polishes.

  1. 300 Oxford St, W1A 1EX
  2. www.johnlewis.com
    Oxford St tube
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35

Harvey Nichols

Best for
Designer fashion and luxe food

Don’t miss
The excellent personal styling

How much?

 

This luxury Knightsbridge department store isn’t the bastion of cool it once was – Liberty, Selfridges and even Harrods seem to be more engaged with their customers and are hosting more dynamic shopping events these days – but it’s still a worthy port of call for any fashion-conscious shopper. The rails are filled with top labels like Alexander Wang, Balenciaga and Givenchy.

Head here for a well-stocked luxury beauty hall, an excellent array of accessories and the top beauty buys from luxurious brands like Tom Ford and COR (whose soap contains real silver). Finish off proceedings by taking lunch on the fifth floor (where the buzzy food department is located).

  1. 9-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ
  2. www.harveynichols.com
    Knightsbridge tube
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36

Debenhams

Best for
Cheap and cheerful fashion

Don’t miss
The designer collaborations

How much?

 

Until its £25million refurbishment, the Debenhams flagship was one of Oxford Street’s drabbest and most down-market department stores. But things have changed dramatically for the 200-year-old brand. The seven-floor store has been completely redesigned with a new interior, an impressive shimmering kinetic metal façade (which resembles a wave) and a chichi new shoes department. There’s also a chic bistro in the basement.

The store now features 21 designer collaborations including Henry Holland, Matthew Williamson and Jenny Packham, but our favourites are the Todd Lynn and Jonathan Saunders Edition ranges. Up on the fifth floor you’ll find kids’ clothing and toys plus an airy new family friendly restaurant. Finally, it’s a light-filled, easy-to-navigate store you’ll want to linger in.

  1. 334-348 Oxford St, W1C 1JG
  2. www.debenhams.com
    Oxford Circus tube
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64

G Baldwin & Co

Best for
Old-fashioned herbal remedies and tinctures

Don’t miss
Their own-brand health and beauty range

How much?

 

As is proclaimed proudly on the shop’s red and gold frontage, G Baldwin & Co have been ‘purveyors of natural products since 1844’. Arguably London’s oldest apothecary, its original location was just a few doors down at 77 Walworth Road and at its peak there were 12 Baldwin branches across London.

This one remaining location has had staying power since the ’70s and has become something of an Elephant & Castle institution. It retains a nostalgic atmosphere thanks to the tinkling brass counter bell, personal service and floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves brimming with herbs, tonics, tinctures, aromatherapy oils, beauty products, health foods and supplements.

  1. 171-173 Walworth Rd, SE17 1RW
  2. www.baldwins.co.uk
    Elephant & Castle tube
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87

Floris

Best for
Old school Brit fragrances

Don’t miss
The bespoke fragrance making service

How much?

 

Enterprising young Spaniard Juan Floris set up his fragrance shop at 89 Jermyn Street in 1730, where Floris has been based and run by the same family ever since. Pay a visit and you’ll be following the noses of everyone from King George IV to Ian Fleming, who mentions Floris products in several Bond novels.

One imagines not too much has changed since then. Everything is placed behind glass cabinets and oak paneled counters in the manner of an old fashioned apothecary, and smartly dressed men and women gently guide you through the selection process. Much more civilised than a department store or duty free. There is also a fragrance customisation service which enables you to create your own scent assisted by a Floris perfumer.

  1. 89 Jermyn St, SW1Y 6JH
  2. www.florislondon.com
    Green Park tube
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