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The most-loved shops in London

Get the inside track on retail therapy with the help of London’s most-loved shops

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London is one of the greatest cities on the planet for shopping: you can buy anything here. But which shop do you love the most?

Below you’ll find London’s most-loved shops during the last week, the last month and since the beginning of time. Don't see your favourite? Click the Love It button and it could make it into London’s most-loved.

Columbia Road Flower Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Bethnal Green
One of London’s most well-known and nicest-looking markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, market traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. It’s worth shopping around, don’t be afraid to barter and prepare for it to get very busy. The market is popular with locals and tourists and during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that perfect pot plant. If you can’t bear crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens. When you’ve bought your blooms, head behind the stalls and down side streets to find fantastic cafés, independent restaurants, delis, shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls and small galleries, many of which follow the market’s opening hours. Pop into Jones Dairy Cafe for organic and local produce, treat yourself to a no-frills British bake at Treacle or sink a locally brewed pint at the Nelson’s Head. I've heard I need to queue now. Is that true? Where as in ye olden days you'd just show up for Columbia Road Flower Market and cram yourself into a packed corridor of tourists and tiny dogs, trying to get the best deal on a bunch of peonies. Now things have changed. Post-Covid, you have to queue to enter the Flower Market. The entrance is at the Shoreditch end of the famous market street with the queue running through Ravenscroft Park. Wait times are signposted and while sometimes it can look like a very long
ESPA Life at Corinthia
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Shopping
  • Whitehall
Situated on the mezzanine level of the five-star Corinthia Hotel, just off Trafalgar Square, is the ESPA Life day spa. A shiny, monochrome labyrinth of treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas and thermal pools, the spa is thoroughly lavish, modern, low-lit and windowless. It's the ideal place to shut the door on reality – there's absolutely no chance of spotting the 388 shuttling down Victoria Embankment or tuning into the sound of protesters underneath Nelson's Column.    Through the elegant reception, which opens on to small but stylish cream-washed restaurant, filled with white leather furniture and warmed by a roaring fireplace you'd only see in the lair of James Bond villain, visitors weave their way through corridors of pearly cream and slate paneling to find the luxurious changing rooms (the term 'changing rooms' seems an insult) and a room of 'Sleeping Pods'.   Downstairs, the spa's main area, the Thermal Suite, is a black-marbled oasis which houses a large steam room, swimming pool, jet pool, ice fountain, heated loungers and, most stunning of all, a glass-walled sauna amphitheatre as its centre piece.    If you can tear yourself away from the Thermal Suite for longer than just a toilet break, one floor up ESPA relaxation treatments on offer include personalised massages (£160), body wrap packages (£220) and facials (£170). If it's more than indulgent respite from your emails that you're after, specialist skills from the crème de la crème of naturopaths, traditional Chi
Advertising
Alfies Antique Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Lisson Grove
Housed in a huge Egyptian-style art-deco building that used to be Jordan’s department store, Alfies Antiques Market, which was founded more than 40 years ago by Bennie Gray of Gray’s Antiques Market in Mayfair, has been one of London’s premier destinations for collectors, dealers, celebs and bargain hunters on a mission to uncover unique and genuine antiques and vintage items. Across 35,000 sq ft and four floors, this Marylebone establishment is home to around 100 dealers selling antique furniture, retro clothing,  jewellery, memorabilia, homeware and decorations. Dodo Posters, run by Liz Farrow since the 1960s, sells vintage advertising and movie posters, while Diplomat Treasures International offers a mix of twentieth-century furniture, African carvings, Chinese vases and modern art. Everything feels carefully curated, and this is reflected in the prices, but if you’re serious about picking up a one-of-a-kind item, this huge antiques arcade is hard to beat. Alfies Antiques Market also has a rooftop kitchen and café – a hidden oasis that basks in sunlight for most of the day. Pop up for brunch, a burger, afternoon tea or a celebratory glass of prosecco after you’ve nabbed that 1930s light fitting you’ve always wanted but could never find. Top tip: Many of the surrounding shops on Church Street also specialise in twentieth-century antiques and collectables, high-end art and decorations. Alim Kheraj RECOMMENDED: London’s best markets
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Portobello Road Market
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Portobello Road
While Notting Hill has become one of London’s most affluent and desirable areas, Portobello Road Market, which runs between Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove, retains the area’s former cool. There’s the architecture – colourful terraced houses and shops all tightly squeezed together – and the market, which is actually several markets melded together. Portobello Road Market is best known for its antiques, with hundreds of dealers selling jewellery, books and collectables dating from the 1600s to the 1960s. There are numerous reasons for foodies to visit Portobello Road. Like many London markets it began life as a place to buy fruit and veg, something you can still do six days a week (the whole market is closed on Sundays). There are numerous eateries dotted around, like local institution Lowry & Baker, while street-food vendors pitch up on Fridays and Saturdays. Nearby Golborne Road has North African and Caribbean street food available during the week. Under the Westway and along the walkway to Ladbroke Grove, second-hand clothes sit next to the wares of up-and-coming fashion designers. Fridays are a little less hectic here, and you’ll be able to explore fashion-focused Portobello Green Market, which comprises more than 800 stalls. But Portobello Road is a top tourist destination, so it’s always going to be busy. However, it’s full of character and charm, so embrace its craziness and soak up the vibe. Top tip: In the summer, grab an iced latte from Coffee Plant, which se
The Grove
  • Shopping
  • Watford
The Grove is known for its luxurious spa facilities which help attract people to this huge, elegant country pile just ten minutes off the M1 in Hertfordshire. There's the Vitality Pool with hydrotherapy jets, the huge indoor pool and extensive spa menu. But during the summer months a lot of the action (or should we say, blissful inaction) takes place outside with the fantastic pool and beach in the hotels walled garden. That's not all – this summer the hotel has installed more than 80 pieces of sculpture around the place, created variously by Royal Academicians, international artists and up-and-coming names. So you can feel pampered and indulge your art-loving side too.
Advertising
Daunt Books - Marylebone
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Marylebone
Though not strictly a travel bookshop, this beautiful Edwardian store will always be seen first and foremost as a travel specialist thanks to its elegant three-level back room complete with oak balconies, viridian-green walls, conservatory ceiling and stained-glass window – home to row upon row of guide books, maps, language reference, history, politics, travelogue and related fiction organised by country. France, Britain, Italy and the United States are particularly well represented; go downstairs to find more far-flung destinations. Travel aside, Daunt is also a first-rate stop for literary fiction, biography, gardening and much more. James Daunt’s commitment to providing proper careers for his workers ensures an informed and keen team of staff. Branches: Cheapside, Chelsea, Hampstead, Holland Park. As featured in the 100 best shops in London
Coco de Mer
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Seven Dials
Just as deluxe chocolates often boast that they contain a high percentage of cocoa, deluxe sex lives may boast that they incorporate an indulgent amount of Coco de Mer. This is London’s most glamorous, upmarket erotic emporium. Browse toys, accessories, jewellery and lingerie made from the finest materials: stunning sterling silver nipple shields and gold-gilded clamps; beautiful, subtly sexual rings that double as massage aids; leather reins and harnesses to transform your partner into the dressiest of dressage ponies; and love eggs made from rose quartz and jade. Of course, a lot of this designer decadence comes with a price tag that would turn even Christian Grey’s bank balance deep red, but there are plenty of classy treats that manage to look anything but cheap while being pleasingly affordable, too. Coco de Mer was originally established by Sam Roddick – daughter of Body Shop founder Anita – and although it was bought out by online adult retailer Lovehoney in 2011, it maintains an ethical, artisan-led streak. Check out dildos made from sustainable wood (thankfully highly polished to avoid excruciating splinters in unthinkable places), ceramic butt plugs that can be immersed in cool or warm water to change their temperature, and glass wands which are – ahem – hand-blown in England. Also of note is the brand’s latex clothing range, designed in conjunction with Slaughterhouse Couture, their range of vintage books, and saucy homewares such as wallpaper, cushions and crocker
Advertising
Liberty
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Soho
Liberty was founded in 1875 - when founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took a building on Regent Street with just three staff - 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 home. It’s not an accident, Arthur wanted customers to feel as if they were exploring someone’s home, keeping the shopping galleries small, albeit linked to three rather grand atriums. Although Liberty trades well on its history, it constantly squeezes innovation into its wood-panelled rooms. Over the years Liberty has launched its own clothing and homeware lines, most recently including its own ready-to-wear line this year, designed by head of design Holly Marler. Formerly at Temperley and Alexander McQueen, under Lee McQueen himself, Holly has an eye for charming and thoughtful detail. Liberty fabrics can now be spotted a mile off by those in-the-know and can be worn as easily as a wardrobe staple as a wall covering.  Alongside one of the best edits for fashion shopping in the world, its expansive beauty hall juxtaposes world-renowned makeup and skincare brands beside lesser-known, but equally high quality, offerings.  Piercing expert Maria Tash, widely worn by celebrities and members of the fashion community, has her own parlour
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Bethnal Green
It’s difficult to walk into this east London institution and not be dazzled by the rainbow rails. With a decade under its belt, it’s easy to see what has made the franchise such a success: it caters for the festival teen, the trendy twenty-something and the shrewd, more mature, fashionista. For both men and women, this branch offers one of the widest selection of retro-wear in London, all under one roof. Ready for the summer shopper, the current stock includes Hawaiian shirts galore and its very own range of sleeveless cropped shirts in every shade and style under the sun. A word to the wise though: don’t be so overwhelmed by the potent mix of patterns and colours that you pick out any old thing, finding the right item takes time and consideration.
Columbia Road Flower Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Bethnal Green
One of London’s most well-known and nicest-looking markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, market traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. It’s worth shopping around, don’t be afraid to barter and prepare for it to get very busy. The market is popular with locals and tourists and during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that perfect pot plant. If you can’t bear crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens. When you’ve bought your blooms, head behind the stalls and down side streets to find fantastic cafés, independent restaurants, delis, shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls and small galleries, many of which follow the market’s opening hours. Pop into Jones Dairy Cafe for organic and local produce, treat yourself to a no-frills British bake at Treacle or sink a locally brewed pint at the Nelson’s Head. I've heard I need to queue now. Is that true? Where as in ye olden days you'd just show up for Columbia Road Flower Market and cram yourself into a packed corridor of tourists and tiny dogs, trying to get the best deal on a bunch of peonies. Now things have changed. Post-Covid, you have to queue to enter the Flower Market. The entrance is at the Shoreditch end of the famous market street with the queue running through Ravenscroft Park. Wait times are signposted and while sometimes it can look like a very long
ESPA Life at Corinthia
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Shopping
  • Whitehall
Situated on the mezzanine level of the five-star Corinthia Hotel, just off Trafalgar Square, is the ESPA Life day spa. A shiny, monochrome labyrinth of treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas and thermal pools, the spa is thoroughly lavish, modern, low-lit and windowless. It's the ideal place to shut the door on reality – there's absolutely no chance of spotting the 388 shuttling down Victoria Embankment or tuning into the sound of protesters underneath Nelson's Column.    Through the elegant reception, which opens on to small but stylish cream-washed restaurant, filled with white leather furniture and warmed by a roaring fireplace you'd only see in the lair of James Bond villain, visitors weave their way through corridors of pearly cream and slate paneling to find the luxurious changing rooms (the term 'changing rooms' seems an insult) and a room of 'Sleeping Pods'.   Downstairs, the spa's main area, the Thermal Suite, is a black-marbled oasis which houses a large steam room, swimming pool, jet pool, ice fountain, heated loungers and, most stunning of all, a glass-walled sauna amphitheatre as its centre piece.    If you can tear yourself away from the Thermal Suite for longer than just a toilet break, one floor up ESPA relaxation treatments on offer include personalised massages (£160), body wrap packages (£220) and facials (£170). If it's more than indulgent respite from your emails that you're after, specialist skills from the crème de la crème of naturopaths, traditional Chi
Advertising
Alfies Antique Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Lisson Grove
Housed in a huge Egyptian-style art-deco building that used to be Jordan’s department store, Alfies Antiques Market, which was founded more than 40 years ago by Bennie Gray of Gray’s Antiques Market in Mayfair, has been one of London’s premier destinations for collectors, dealers, celebs and bargain hunters on a mission to uncover unique and genuine antiques and vintage items. Across 35,000 sq ft and four floors, this Marylebone establishment is home to around 100 dealers selling antique furniture, retro clothing,  jewellery, memorabilia, homeware and decorations. Dodo Posters, run by Liz Farrow since the 1960s, sells vintage advertising and movie posters, while Diplomat Treasures International offers a mix of twentieth-century furniture, African carvings, Chinese vases and modern art. Everything feels carefully curated, and this is reflected in the prices, but if you’re serious about picking up a one-of-a-kind item, this huge antiques arcade is hard to beat. Alfies Antiques Market also has a rooftop kitchen and café – a hidden oasis that basks in sunlight for most of the day. Pop up for brunch, a burger, afternoon tea or a celebratory glass of prosecco after you’ve nabbed that 1930s light fitting you’ve always wanted but could never find. Top tip: Many of the surrounding shops on Church Street also specialise in twentieth-century antiques and collectables, high-end art and decorations. Alim Kheraj RECOMMENDED: London’s best markets
Advertising
Portobello Road Market
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Portobello Road
While Notting Hill has become one of London’s most affluent and desirable areas, Portobello Road Market, which runs between Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove, retains the area’s former cool. There’s the architecture – colourful terraced houses and shops all tightly squeezed together – and the market, which is actually several markets melded together. Portobello Road Market is best known for its antiques, with hundreds of dealers selling jewellery, books and collectables dating from the 1600s to the 1960s. There are numerous reasons for foodies to visit Portobello Road. Like many London markets it began life as a place to buy fruit and veg, something you can still do six days a week (the whole market is closed on Sundays). There are numerous eateries dotted around, like local institution Lowry & Baker, while street-food vendors pitch up on Fridays and Saturdays. Nearby Golborne Road has North African and Caribbean street food available during the week. Under the Westway and along the walkway to Ladbroke Grove, second-hand clothes sit next to the wares of up-and-coming fashion designers. Fridays are a little less hectic here, and you’ll be able to explore fashion-focused Portobello Green Market, which comprises more than 800 stalls. But Portobello Road is a top tourist destination, so it’s always going to be busy. However, it’s full of character and charm, so embrace its craziness and soak up the vibe. Top tip: In the summer, grab an iced latte from Coffee Plant, which se
The Grove
  • Shopping
  • Watford
The Grove is known for its luxurious spa facilities which help attract people to this huge, elegant country pile just ten minutes off the M1 in Hertfordshire. There's the Vitality Pool with hydrotherapy jets, the huge indoor pool and extensive spa menu. But during the summer months a lot of the action (or should we say, blissful inaction) takes place outside with the fantastic pool and beach in the hotels walled garden. That's not all – this summer the hotel has installed more than 80 pieces of sculpture around the place, created variously by Royal Academicians, international artists and up-and-coming names. So you can feel pampered and indulge your art-loving side too.
Advertising
Daunt Books - Marylebone
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Marylebone
Though not strictly a travel bookshop, this beautiful Edwardian store will always be seen first and foremost as a travel specialist thanks to its elegant three-level back room complete with oak balconies, viridian-green walls, conservatory ceiling and stained-glass window – home to row upon row of guide books, maps, language reference, history, politics, travelogue and related fiction organised by country. France, Britain, Italy and the United States are particularly well represented; go downstairs to find more far-flung destinations. Travel aside, Daunt is also a first-rate stop for literary fiction, biography, gardening and much more. James Daunt’s commitment to providing proper careers for his workers ensures an informed and keen team of staff. Branches: Cheapside, Chelsea, Hampstead, Holland Park. As featured in the 100 best shops in London
Coco de Mer
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Seven Dials
Just as deluxe chocolates often boast that they contain a high percentage of cocoa, deluxe sex lives may boast that they incorporate an indulgent amount of Coco de Mer. This is London’s most glamorous, upmarket erotic emporium. Browse toys, accessories, jewellery and lingerie made from the finest materials: stunning sterling silver nipple shields and gold-gilded clamps; beautiful, subtly sexual rings that double as massage aids; leather reins and harnesses to transform your partner into the dressiest of dressage ponies; and love eggs made from rose quartz and jade. Of course, a lot of this designer decadence comes with a price tag that would turn even Christian Grey’s bank balance deep red, but there are plenty of classy treats that manage to look anything but cheap while being pleasingly affordable, too. Coco de Mer was originally established by Sam Roddick – daughter of Body Shop founder Anita – and although it was bought out by online adult retailer Lovehoney in 2011, it maintains an ethical, artisan-led streak. Check out dildos made from sustainable wood (thankfully highly polished to avoid excruciating splinters in unthinkable places), ceramic butt plugs that can be immersed in cool or warm water to change their temperature, and glass wands which are – ahem – hand-blown in England. Also of note is the brand’s latex clothing range, designed in conjunction with Slaughterhouse Couture, their range of vintage books, and saucy homewares such as wallpaper, cushions and crocker
Advertising
Liberty
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Soho
Liberty was founded in 1875 - when founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took a building on Regent Street with just three staff - 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 home. It’s not an accident, Arthur wanted customers to feel as if they were exploring someone’s home, keeping the shopping galleries small, albeit linked to three rather grand atriums. Although Liberty trades well on its history, it constantly squeezes innovation into its wood-panelled rooms. Over the years Liberty has launched its own clothing and homeware lines, most recently including its own ready-to-wear line this year, designed by head of design Holly Marler. Formerly at Temperley and Alexander McQueen, under Lee McQueen himself, Holly has an eye for charming and thoughtful detail. Liberty fabrics can now be spotted a mile off by those in-the-know and can be worn as easily as a wardrobe staple as a wall covering.  Alongside one of the best edits for fashion shopping in the world, its expansive beauty hall juxtaposes world-renowned makeup and skincare brands beside lesser-known, but equally high quality, offerings.  Piercing expert Maria Tash, widely worn by celebrities and members of the fashion community, has her own parlour
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Bethnal Green
It’s difficult to walk into this east London institution and not be dazzled by the rainbow rails. With a decade under its belt, it’s easy to see what has made the franchise such a success: it caters for the festival teen, the trendy twenty-something and the shrewd, more mature, fashionista. For both men and women, this branch offers one of the widest selection of retro-wear in London, all under one roof. Ready for the summer shopper, the current stock includes Hawaiian shirts galore and its very own range of sleeveless cropped shirts in every shade and style under the sun. A word to the wise though: don’t be so overwhelmed by the potent mix of patterns and colours that you pick out any old thing, finding the right item takes time and consideration.
Columbia Road Flower Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Bethnal Green
One of London’s most well-known and nicest-looking markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, market traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs. It’s worth shopping around, don’t be afraid to barter and prepare for it to get very busy. The market is popular with locals and tourists and during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that perfect pot plant. If you can’t bear crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens. When you’ve bought your blooms, head behind the stalls and down side streets to find fantastic cafés, independent restaurants, delis, shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls and small galleries, many of which follow the market’s opening hours. Pop into Jones Dairy Cafe for organic and local produce, treat yourself to a no-frills British bake at Treacle or sink a locally brewed pint at the Nelson’s Head. I've heard I need to queue now. Is that true? Where as in ye olden days you'd just show up for Columbia Road Flower Market and cram yourself into a packed corridor of tourists and tiny dogs, trying to get the best deal on a bunch of peonies. Now things have changed. Post-Covid, you have to queue to enter the Flower Market. The entrance is at the Shoreditch end of the famous market street with the queue running through Ravenscroft Park. Wait times are signposted and while sometimes it can look like a very long
ESPA Life at Corinthia
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Shopping
  • Whitehall
Situated on the mezzanine level of the five-star Corinthia Hotel, just off Trafalgar Square, is the ESPA Life day spa. A shiny, monochrome labyrinth of treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas and thermal pools, the spa is thoroughly lavish, modern, low-lit and windowless. It's the ideal place to shut the door on reality – there's absolutely no chance of spotting the 388 shuttling down Victoria Embankment or tuning into the sound of protesters underneath Nelson's Column.    Through the elegant reception, which opens on to small but stylish cream-washed restaurant, filled with white leather furniture and warmed by a roaring fireplace you'd only see in the lair of James Bond villain, visitors weave their way through corridors of pearly cream and slate paneling to find the luxurious changing rooms (the term 'changing rooms' seems an insult) and a room of 'Sleeping Pods'.   Downstairs, the spa's main area, the Thermal Suite, is a black-marbled oasis which houses a large steam room, swimming pool, jet pool, ice fountain, heated loungers and, most stunning of all, a glass-walled sauna amphitheatre as its centre piece.    If you can tear yourself away from the Thermal Suite for longer than just a toilet break, one floor up ESPA relaxation treatments on offer include personalised massages (£160), body wrap packages (£220) and facials (£170). If it's more than indulgent respite from your emails that you're after, specialist skills from the crème de la crème of naturopaths, traditional Chi
Advertising
Alfies Antique Market
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • Lisson Grove
Housed in a huge Egyptian-style art-deco building that used to be Jordan’s department store, Alfies Antiques Market, which was founded more than 40 years ago by Bennie Gray of Gray’s Antiques Market in Mayfair, has been one of London’s premier destinations for collectors, dealers, celebs and bargain hunters on a mission to uncover unique and genuine antiques and vintage items. Across 35,000 sq ft and four floors, this Marylebone establishment is home to around 100 dealers selling antique furniture, retro clothing,  jewellery, memorabilia, homeware and decorations. Dodo Posters, run by Liz Farrow since the 1960s, sells vintage advertising and movie posters, while Diplomat Treasures International offers a mix of twentieth-century furniture, African carvings, Chinese vases and modern art. Everything feels carefully curated, and this is reflected in the prices, but if you’re serious about picking up a one-of-a-kind item, this huge antiques arcade is hard to beat. Alfies Antiques Market also has a rooftop kitchen and café – a hidden oasis that basks in sunlight for most of the day. Pop up for brunch, a burger, afternoon tea or a celebratory glass of prosecco after you’ve nabbed that 1930s light fitting you’ve always wanted but could never find. Top tip: Many of the surrounding shops on Church Street also specialise in twentieth-century antiques and collectables, high-end art and decorations. Alim Kheraj RECOMMENDED: London’s best markets
Advertising
Portobello Road Market
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Portobello Road
While Notting Hill has become one of London’s most affluent and desirable areas, Portobello Road Market, which runs between Notting Hill Gate and Ladbroke Grove, retains the area’s former cool. There’s the architecture – colourful terraced houses and shops all tightly squeezed together – and the market, which is actually several markets melded together. Portobello Road Market is best known for its antiques, with hundreds of dealers selling jewellery, books and collectables dating from the 1600s to the 1960s. There are numerous reasons for foodies to visit Portobello Road. Like many London markets it began life as a place to buy fruit and veg, something you can still do six days a week (the whole market is closed on Sundays). There are numerous eateries dotted around, like local institution Lowry & Baker, while street-food vendors pitch up on Fridays and Saturdays. Nearby Golborne Road has North African and Caribbean street food available during the week. Under the Westway and along the walkway to Ladbroke Grove, second-hand clothes sit next to the wares of up-and-coming fashion designers. Fridays are a little less hectic here, and you’ll be able to explore fashion-focused Portobello Green Market, which comprises more than 800 stalls. But Portobello Road is a top tourist destination, so it’s always going to be busy. However, it’s full of character and charm, so embrace its craziness and soak up the vibe. Top tip: In the summer, grab an iced latte from Coffee Plant, which se
The Grove
  • Shopping
  • Watford
The Grove is known for its luxurious spa facilities which help attract people to this huge, elegant country pile just ten minutes off the M1 in Hertfordshire. There's the Vitality Pool with hydrotherapy jets, the huge indoor pool and extensive spa menu. But during the summer months a lot of the action (or should we say, blissful inaction) takes place outside with the fantastic pool and beach in the hotels walled garden. That's not all – this summer the hotel has installed more than 80 pieces of sculpture around the place, created variously by Royal Academicians, international artists and up-and-coming names. So you can feel pampered and indulge your art-loving side too.
Advertising
Daunt Books - Marylebone
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Marylebone
Though not strictly a travel bookshop, this beautiful Edwardian store will always be seen first and foremost as a travel specialist thanks to its elegant three-level back room complete with oak balconies, viridian-green walls, conservatory ceiling and stained-glass window – home to row upon row of guide books, maps, language reference, history, politics, travelogue and related fiction organised by country. France, Britain, Italy and the United States are particularly well represented; go downstairs to find more far-flung destinations. Travel aside, Daunt is also a first-rate stop for literary fiction, biography, gardening and much more. James Daunt’s commitment to providing proper careers for his workers ensures an informed and keen team of staff. Branches: Cheapside, Chelsea, Hampstead, Holland Park. As featured in the 100 best shops in London
Coco de Mer
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Seven Dials
Just as deluxe chocolates often boast that they contain a high percentage of cocoa, deluxe sex lives may boast that they incorporate an indulgent amount of Coco de Mer. This is London’s most glamorous, upmarket erotic emporium. Browse toys, accessories, jewellery and lingerie made from the finest materials: stunning sterling silver nipple shields and gold-gilded clamps; beautiful, subtly sexual rings that double as massage aids; leather reins and harnesses to transform your partner into the dressiest of dressage ponies; and love eggs made from rose quartz and jade. Of course, a lot of this designer decadence comes with a price tag that would turn even Christian Grey’s bank balance deep red, but there are plenty of classy treats that manage to look anything but cheap while being pleasingly affordable, too. Coco de Mer was originally established by Sam Roddick – daughter of Body Shop founder Anita – and although it was bought out by online adult retailer Lovehoney in 2011, it maintains an ethical, artisan-led streak. Check out dildos made from sustainable wood (thankfully highly polished to avoid excruciating splinters in unthinkable places), ceramic butt plugs that can be immersed in cool or warm water to change their temperature, and glass wands which are – ahem – hand-blown in England. Also of note is the brand’s latex clothing range, designed in conjunction with Slaughterhouse Couture, their range of vintage books, and saucy homewares such as wallpaper, cushions and crocker
Advertising
Liberty
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Soho
Liberty was founded in 1875 - when founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took a building on Regent Street with just three staff - 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 home. It’s not an accident, Arthur wanted customers to feel as if they were exploring someone’s home, keeping the shopping galleries small, albeit linked to three rather grand atriums. Although Liberty trades well on its history, it constantly squeezes innovation into its wood-panelled rooms. Over the years Liberty has launched its own clothing and homeware lines, most recently including its own ready-to-wear line this year, designed by head of design Holly Marler. Formerly at Temperley and Alexander McQueen, under Lee McQueen himself, Holly has an eye for charming and thoughtful detail. Liberty fabrics can now be spotted a mile off by those in-the-know and can be worn as easily as a wardrobe staple as a wall covering.  Alongside one of the best edits for fashion shopping in the world, its expansive beauty hall juxtaposes world-renowned makeup and skincare brands beside lesser-known, but equally high quality, offerings.  Piercing expert Maria Tash, widely worn by celebrities and members of the fashion community, has her own parlour
  • Shopping
  • Vintage shops
  • Bethnal Green
It’s difficult to walk into this east London institution and not be dazzled by the rainbow rails. With a decade under its belt, it’s easy to see what has made the franchise such a success: it caters for the festival teen, the trendy twenty-something and the shrewd, more mature, fashionista. For both men and women, this branch offers one of the widest selection of retro-wear in London, all under one roof. Ready for the summer shopper, the current stock includes Hawaiian shirts galore and its very own range of sleeveless cropped shirts in every shade and style under the sun. A word to the wise though: don’t be so overwhelmed by the potent mix of patterns and colours that you pick out any old thing, finding the right item takes time and consideration.
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