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The 71 best shops in London

Shopping in London? Plan your spending spree with our guide to the capital’s best shops, including department stores, fashion flagships and historical gems

Written by
Time Out editors
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You can buy anything in London. The city is a shopper’s paradise, peppered with every type of store you can imagine. From brilliant bookshops to iconic department stores, bustling markets to lush plant shops, London’s retail scene is right up there with the world’s best.

This is our handpicked list of our top London shops. It favours independents or small, locally based chains, with a few legendary London icons thrown in: from innovative grocers with bold green initiatives to trailblazing department stores to directional fashion boutiques.

  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Soho

Best for: Eccentric English style and classic floral prints

There is no more gorgeous a shop in London – possibly the world – than Liberty. With its eccentric best-of-British jumble of haberdashery fabrics, brilliant homewares and vintage jewels, wandering through the wood-panelled rooms is a little like exploring a stately home – albeit one that’s home to a lovingly curated selection of cutting-edge international fashion and beauty brands.

The Goodhood Store
  • Shopping
  • Shoreditch

Best for: Streetwear with a sense of humour

After seven years of quiet success, game-changing concept shop The Goodhood Store super-sized to a brand new Curtain Road premises back in 2014. Spread over two floors, the interior boasts little exhibition spaces, a basement café and a gnarly log cabin. The upscale, leftfield stock is hand-picked for Goodhood’s very East End customers, from hand-carved skateboards to cheap-as-chips mugs, badges and stickers. A very good ’hood, indeed.

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Daunt Books Marylebone
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Marylebone

Best for: A vast array of travel tomes

One of London’s most charming bookshops, Daunt’s Marylebone flagship is pretty as a picture. The Edwardian building is literally packed to the rafters with books. From the vaulted ceiling to the William Morris accent walls and stained-glass windows, the store’s fixtures and fittings are delightfully old-fashioned. Particularly worthy of a browse is the vast travel section: ordered by country, it’s enough to induce wanderlust in the most homely of homebodies.

Best for: One-off vintage gems 

Unless you’ve been hiding in your wardrobe, you’ve probably heard about the backlash against fast fashion. Charity shops are a brilliant alternative, and the Shelter folks have done a great job of appealing to a wider audience with their special Boutique branches. The latest is in Coal Drops Yard – the new(ish) trendy shopping and dining precinct in King’s Cross – and it holds its own against some stellar high-end neighbours. Inside there’s designer, vintage and one-off gems creamed from Shelter's shops all over the UK. Hello, guilt-free shopping. 

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Rough Trade East
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Brick Lane

Best for: Rare vinyl and in-store gigs

It’s one of the youngest stores in the Rough Trade stable, but Rough Trade East has become the company’s definitive London outpost. Located in the bustling Old Truman Brewery, it boasts an expertly curated collection of vinyl, CDs and books, as well as a café and a stage for the ever-popular in-store gigs. Wristbands are usually obtained by ordering a CD first – there can be queues for bigger acts and the sets are generally shorter than regular gigs, but we’re certainly not complaining.

Best for: Filling your cupboards without filling the ocean with plastic

There’s way more than just lentils and chickpeas on offer at Bulk Market (though you can get those too, obvs). Hackney’s zero-waste store also boasts a beauty bar, where you can make your own cosmetics from a selection of oils, salts and natural waxes – BYO cosmetic container for extra green points. There’s also veg and baked goodies, as well as a freezer section where you can load up on loose frozen fruit and veg without that pesky plastic.

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  • Shopping
  • Off licences
  • Soho

Best for: All things caffeine-related

A Soho institution, this shoebox-sized shop on Old Compton Street has been trading since 1887, long before coffee got cool. Buzz seekers can choose from over 80 blends of coffee, which are all available as beans or ground. Those into their coffee gadgets can marvel at electronic grinders, thermometers, tampers, milk frothers, while those living the decaf life will be impressed by the selection of caffeine-free blends. Despite the name, ACS also stocks a vast array of quality teas for all over the world.

Paxton & Whitfield
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • St James’s

Best for: Indulgent cheese hampers

It's surprising that you can't smell the whiff of aged cheddar as soon as you step outside of Piccadilly Circus station. Located on nearby Jermyn Street, Paxton & Whitfield have been selling cheese – hards, softs and blues – since 1797. Inside the shop (which has definitely had a revamp since the 18th Century, don't worry), an extensive counter showcases the likes of Double Gloucester, Cornish Blue, erm, Ticklemore, a hard goat’s cheese from the Dart Valley. The choice is almost endless, so don't be afraid to ask for a sample.

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Labour and Wait
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Shoreditch

Best for: Trendy homewares

Located in an old, emerald-tiled pub on Redchurch Street, Labour and Wait is an emporium of very beautiful yet very useful items. The owners, Rachel Wythe-Moran and Simon Watkins, both previously fashion designers, set out to create a shop selling of timeless, well thought out pieces, unlike the throwaway products often found in high street stores. Block-coloured ceramics, enamel dishes, oversized recycled tote bags, Breton striped tops, stainless steel coffee mokas – it's the epitome of cool and functional.

Foyles Charing Cross Road
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Charing Cross Road

Best for: A vast range of books and great service

News that Foyles was moving up the road to flash new premises was greeted with dismay by legions of bibliophiles. But with eight levels packed with more than 200,000 books, a capacious art space and a floor dedicated to events, it’s hard to fault this glossy, well-lit store. In the age of the e-reader, it’s a gutsy statement in favour of ink and paper.

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Choosing Keeping
  • Shopping
  • Art, craft and hobbies
  • Seven Dials

Best for: Smart stationery

It’s entirely possible to walk out of Choosing Keeping having just spent £45 on a stapler feeling like it was the smartest purchase you’ve ever made. The thing with this shop is that everything is just so damn beautiful: dinky rulers shaped like Toblerones, sinister hole punches that look like they were crafted in Soviet Russia, golden scissors that snap together to form the sleekest of lines. Visit when the tiny space isn’t crammed with flower-wielding tourists and you'll find yourself choosing to buy just about everything they sell.

Best for: satisfying takoyaki cravings 

Japan doesn’t feel quite so far away when you’re surrounded by miso in this subterranean supermarket. Grab some takoyaki with dancing bonito flakes to fuel your shopping from the upstairs café, before browsing more noodles, very sharp knives and Kewpie mayo than you can shake a Pocky stick at. It’s the closest you can get to Japan without the 12-hour flight.  

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  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Spitalfields

Best for: Leisurely book browsing

Just a few paces from Brick Lane, Libraria's dinky black shop front is deceptive – once through its small door and you'll discover books for days. A tunnel of double-height canary yellow walls is lined with rows and rows of books, making room for the occasional cushion-filled nook for visitors to sit and get cosy. Libraria isn't just the place for covetable hardbacks on philosophy, architecture, food and design, it hosts regular evening talks with authors and cultural speakers, screenings, performances and crafty workshops.

Lina Stores
  • Shopping
  • Bakeries
  • Soho

Best for: Authentic Italian delicacies

This wonderful family-run Italian deli has been trading from its Brewer Street shop since 1944 and even now it's still a proper Soho gem. An alluring, mint green-coloured building from the outside, inside Lina Stores is a treasure trove of Italy's finest consumables. Bottles of passata, jars of olives, tins of brined sardines and bags of dried spaghetti fill the shelves on one side of the store, whilst a counter brimming with authentic cheeses, cured meats, cakes and fresh ravioli lines the other. Pop into their massive new branch at Coal Drops Yard if you're in the area, which also features a restaurant alongside its much-loved deli products. 

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  • Shopping
  • Florists
  • Hackney Road

Best for: beaut houseplants

One visit to Conservatory Archives’ urban jungle and you’ll be lusting after its hanging greenery and climbing vines. The shop on Hackney Road is one lavish indoor garden, a stark space with peeling plaster walls and big windows, stuffed full of weird, wacky and wild vegetation. Prepare to fall hard for the green stuff.

Neal’s Yard Dairy
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Seven Dials

Best for: Top quality cheese

If Neal’s Yard Dairy began championing small cheesemakers when the shop opened in 1979, and has been central to creating a huge community of high-quality cheesemakers in Britain and Ireland. Like Monmouth Coffee, NYD has larger branches in Borough and Bermondsey, but this tiny, fragrant nook wins hands-down on character. When they offer taste after taste, don’t say no!

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  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Bankside

Best for: Beautiful things you don't need, but absolutely must have

Laughing in the face of rainbow rubbers and giant pencils, the Tate Modern’s gift shop is full of lovely things that you would actually want: David Shrigley dominoes, Guerrilla Girls tea towels, Yinka Shinobare crockery, Hockney tote bags, Grayson Perry’s silk scarves. Artfully positioned at the museum’s entrance you don’t even need to pretend to be interested in the art to shop there.

  • Shopping
  • Art, craft and hobbies
  • Clerkenwell

Best for: Covetable stationery

You'll find all the stationery you could ever need – plus more that you’ll convince yourself you do – in the small but perfectly formed Present & Correct. With leather pencil cases and lovely notebooks galore, their collections blend the latest designs from Japan and Scandinavia. 

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  • Shopping
  • Department stores
  • Piccadilly

Best for: Luxe foodie hampers

With its stylish eau de nil and copper-clad façade, ultra-opulent interiors and numerous royal warrants, Fortnum’s makes a serious play for the title of world’s poshest department store. No trip to 181 Piccadilly is complete without meandering through the fragrant food halls, where you can fill luxury hampers with delicacies beyond a gastronome’s wildest dreams. Also worth a visit is the second-floor beauty emporium, which stocks exclusives from a clutch of niche fragrance brands, and is home to a Bamford Haybarn spa.

  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Hoxton

Best for: Treats for big kids of all ages

Purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind, this little curiosity shop is just the ticket for vampires, werewolves and humans on the prowl for Earwax (fudge – £1.50) or a pot of Creeping Dread (boiled sweets – £10) containing short stories by the likes of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby and Zadie Smith. Proceeds support the Ministry of Stories – an initiative that sees professional writers mentor young people in the art of story writing.

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SCP
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Shoreditch

Best for: Designer chairs and home accessories

A champion of functional but beautiful design for decades now, SCP does a brilliant job of blending contemporary exhibition and retail space. The ground floor features artfully displayed, aesthetically pleasing furniture from design giants like Terence Woodgate and Matthew Hilton, as well as pieces from SCP’s in-house brand. Downstairs, the basement showcases jewellery, accessories and stylish but tongue-in-cheek knick-knacks for the home. Find a new store on Pimlico Road too. 

  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Canonbury

Best for: Little-known vineyards

Starting life as a stall in the drool-inducing Borough market, this independent wine shop is a testament to London’s boozy ways.  Their original postbox-sized outpost of the brilliant wine shop carries an excellent edit of plonk from smaller producers and family firms, plus a wine and beer refill station. Cheers!

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Best for: dreamy interiors 

Hand-thrown vases, vegetable-wax candles and hand-knitted throws – Search & Rescue is here to help you build the living space of your dreams… or at least Instagram. We’re talking geometric prints, pastel ceramics and hand-printed linen from small, artisan producers. It’s a good shout for Christmas prezzies, too. 

  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Marylebone

Best for: Haute homewares

Modernist pioneer Terence Conran has always had an impressively sharp eye for the decorative, and nowhere is this more evident than at his Fulham Road flagship store. The Conran Shop presents a knowledgeable edit of investment pieces like Jacobsen and Eames chairs alongside an unusual and beautiful collection of decorative wares from international designers.

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Eat 17
  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • Homerton

Best for: A surprising and brilliant variety of condiments and produce

The most pimped grocery shop you'll ever step into, the Homerton branch of Eat17 is housed in an art deco picture house and has a refillable wine station, a dedicated organic and craft beer section, and a boutique florist. Total foodie heaven, you'll go in for a pint of milk and a loaf of sourdough bread (this is Hackney, now) and you'll leave with beetroot hummus, homemade salted caramel brownies, a jar of bacon jam and rainbow trout from the fresh fish counter. Of course, that's why we love it.

General Eyewear
  • Shopping
  • Opticians
  • Camden Market

Best for: Retro eyewear

General Eyewear is a far cry from Specsavers. The Camden showroom is a true insider’s secret that’s found on the speed dial of every major fashion mag and costume director in the land – Eddie Redmayne recently wore custom-made General specs for his Oscar-bothering turn as Stephen Hawking. The ‘70s and ‘80s frames on display hail from larger-than-life fashion houses like Versace, Moschino and Christian Lacroix, boasting a glamour and eccentricity that today’s mass market-courting designer specs often lack. You can now also find them at 17 Soho Square. 

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London Graphic Centre
  • Shopping
  • Art, craft and hobbies
  • Seven Dials

Best for: Quality art supplies

Whether you’re a keen novice, a seasoned professional or just easily pleased by shelf upon shelf stationery, you’ll find plenty to suit at the flagship branch of one of London’s major suppliers of art and graphics materials. Arty books and magazines, lightboxes, modelling clays and spray paint are clearly and thoughtfully arranged, along with a reliably good selection of arty gifts – think wind-up tin toys and tiny notebooks adorned with cartoon Warhols and Dalis.

  • Shopping
  • Clerkenwell

Best for: Independent magazines

Print lovers, rejoice! Here's a shop dedicated to perfectly-bound paper and it's absolutely brilliant. Located on the Islington end of St John Street, magCulture stocks hundreds of independent magazines from all over the world. Whatever your niche, you'll find a publication to interest you – from art and football magazine 'OOF' to 'DOG', a magazine about, erm, dogs. Even if you aren't going to read them, go bag a few mags to brighten up your coffee table.

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Beyond Retro Dalston
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Dalston

Best for: On-trend vintage pieces

If you're into your retro clothing then stopping by this vintage stalwart should be top of your to-do list. The biggest of all Beyond Retro's stores, this is a vast warehouse of second-hand and vintage fashion, including both men and women's denim, shoes and accessories. It's never old jumble here, however – every piece is hand-selected for the store and ranges always reflect current trends. If rummaging through rails leaves you ravenous, there's an in-store café serving good coffee and home-baked treats for refuelling as well.

Blackout II
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Covent Garden

Best for: Quality vintage stock that spans the decades

This Covent Garden gem has been peddling vintage threads for well over 20 years – long before retro became fashionable. Here you’ll find a wonderful array of dress-up clothes, from ‘30s cocktail frocks and Downton-esque beaded slips to slinky ‘80s numbers. Home to a mind-boggling 1,000 pairs of vintage shoes, the basement is well worth a careful rummage: the knowledgeable staff will help you pinpoint the perfect decade.

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Clapton Craft
  • Shopping
  • Clapton

Best for: Niche craft beer

‘Bottle shop'? Is that not just a fancy new term for an off-licence? Well, step through the door of this dedicated beer shop and you'll be forced to admit that 'off-licence' doesn't quite cut it. As well as an enormous selection of bottles and cans of beer from London, the UK and beyond, there are eight taps dispensing draught beer to take away in bottles. There's now five of them across London - but our fave is still the Lower Clapton Road. 

Berry Bros & Rudd
  • Shopping
  • Off licences
  • St James’s

Best for: Innovative wines

This comprehensive wine shop has been a family affair ever since it began trading in 1698. And while BBR still operates from its original premises on St James Street, where dark wood-panelled walls and low-hanging chandeliers exude grandeur, they have a shiny new shop around the corner on Pall Mall. It's here that vino virgins and oenephiles alike can browse fine and rare wines from all over the globe and slurp on samples from their enomatic dispensing machines.

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  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Islington

Best for: Hot furniture and home accessories

Housed in an impressive Victorian concert hall, Aria is one of London’s best design destinations. The painstakingly restored original features contrast beautifully with the contemporary homewares. As well as kitchenware, clocks and lighting from big names like Alessi, you’ll find glorious prints by Oliver Taylor, plus plenty of quirky treasures. There’s also a tempting selection of posh toiletries, including old-style apothecary and Scandi skincare brands.

  • Shopping
  • Exmouth Market

Best for: Crafty cards and gifts

This rustic gift shop on Exmouth Market is straight out of a home counties village high street, and that's why it's a treat to find it in Zone 1. All products here are hand-crafted and hand-selected by owner Alice, with many of the store's products being made on-site, either at the shop counter or in the downstairs studio. Alongside cards, textiles, jewellery and ceramics, Botanique offers bespoke floristry too, with same-day delivery available across the country. There's also second branch on Church Street, Stoke Newington.

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Bloom Perfumery
  • Shopping
  • Perfumeries
  • Covent Garden

Best for: Unusual fragrances

This unisex fragrance store, with branches in Shoreditch and the West End, is not to be sniffed at. If it's a cheap scent you're after, go elsewhere. But if you want to enjoy the process of trying out high-quality, unusual perfumes and hearing from knowledgeable staff about how they've been created, this is the place for you. Bloom stocks niche perfumes from brands including Arquiste, and also runs regular events and courses so you can find out more about what you're buying. Smell yeah!

Cissy Wears
  • Shopping
  • Children's clothes
  • Hither Green

Best for: Seriously stylish kids' clothes

Relocated to the hip Coal Drops Yard, this lifestyle shop is lovely for a number of reasons – its selection of eco-friendly products, from toothbrushes to aromatherapy – but its main draw is its assumption that children also value good design. Everything in this shop is design-led, and with sophisticated grey baby-mittens and monochrome toys, your sprog will be the coolest kid in town.

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  • Shopping
  • Bloomsbury

Best for: Bespoke bikes

A Gray’s Inn Road stalwart since 1948, family-run Condor Cycles is the store of choice for those in search of top-notch cycling kit: Condor’s beautiful bikes have tackled the Tour de France and won world championships. Bikes can be built to order on a bespoke basis or purchased off the rack, while the range of accessories for the more casual rider is one of the best in town.

Article
  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Brixton

Best for: Classic sneakers brands

Tucked under a railway arch on Atlantic Road, the second branch of men’s streetwear store Article is a welcome addition to Brixton’s indie shopping scene. Under the corrugated metal roof (like a hipster Anderson shelter), you’ll find a careful edit of understated styles from brands like YMC, Edwin and Nixon. Tucked around the corner is the beautifully arranged shoe room, stocking an impressive array of trainers that’s almost too pretty to shop from. Almost.

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Cheeses Of Muswell Hill
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Muswell Hill

Best for: Weird and wonderful cheeses

If you're not from the area, it's worth making the pilgrimage north to this local cheese haven. Opened in the early Eighties by owner Morgan McGlynn, who is now the resident fromage expert on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch, Cheeses stocks a vast range of artisan products from independent dairies. The shop's less traditional offerings are a real draw too, like the Choco 21, an Italian blue cheese aged in chocolate liqueur. While samples are aplenty, the shop can also host bespoke cheese tasting sessions.

Best for: understated style 

Maybe you’ve heard of Folk, the London-based casual brand. It’s stocked in boutiques around the world, but here in London they’ve got five stores that are temples to their effortlessly cool clothes. Soho is our favourite, with its menswear on ground level and women’s downstairs. At first glance it might not look like much, but Folk is all about the details: expect pillow-soft cotton T-shirts and sturdy denim. One for the casualwear geeks.  

Holborn: 49 & 53 Lamb's Conduit St, WC1N 3NG.

Soho: 3 Berwick St, W1F 0DR.

Notting Hill: 69 Golborne Rd, W10 5NP.

Shoreditch: 45 Redchurch St, E2 7DJ.

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Lewis Leathers
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Fitzrovia

Best for: Legendary leathers

With Kate Moss parading around in its tough-ass boots and every rocker worth their salt (The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Ramones) having worn its biker jackets, Lewis Leathers is a true Brit heritage brand. Just a stone's throw from its original site, and still using the same phone number it had in the 1930s, this icon of bikerwear cool sells 15 classic vintage designs from the ’60s and ’70s. It’s not cheap – most jackets are over £800.

Couverture & The Garbstore
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Notting Hill

Best for: Original and stylish gifts

The contents of this three-storey boutique are flawlessly curated. On the lower level is Ian Paley’s marvellous menswer label The Garbstore; every item is made using old-school techniques from the 1940s and ’50s and gets the nod of approval from even the snootiest of dapper gents. The upper floors are home to Couveture, which stocks an enticing range of homeware, plus a beautiful selection of women’s and children’s fashion.

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Best for: sustainable womenswear that actually looks good 

Finding ethical fashion is a tricky business, so let 69b Boutique do the hard work for you. This friendly little store near London Fields curates on-trend brands with eco-friendly and sustainable values. Amongst the rails you’ll find a pick ’n’ mix of high-end fabrics and contemporary cuts, with brands ranging from ecological trainer company Veja to cosy wool jumpers by Maska.  

  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Leicester Square

Best for: Avant-garde international fashion

Upping sticks and moving into its Haymarket home has rendered Dover Street Market none the less awe-inspiring, or intriguing. As a nod to Thomas Burberry – who erected the building in 1912 – a trio of Burberry trenches reimagined by Rei Kawakubo greet customers on their way through the cavernous store. Carrying a truly comprehensive stock, it has fashion dons like Gucci and Valentino, the Commes labels. A true fashion mecca, it houses collections from some of the capital’s brightest stars.

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Hamleys
  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Regent Street

Best for: Toys, toys and more toys

The oldest and biggest toy shop in the world, Hamleys is nirvana for any child, and for lots of adults, we imagine. Across a whopping seven floors you'll find cuddly toys, action figures, LEGO, dolls, puzzles, a rocking horse (though that will set you back £1,800) – even the most spoilt of kids will be satisfied with the selection of fun on offer here. If that wasn't enough, the Harry Potter-themed Department of Magic is your first stop for wands, golden snitches and more chocolate frogs than you can possibly stomach.

Gill Wing
  • Shopping
  • Kitchen and bathroom
  • Islington

Best for: Envy-inducing cookwear

For anyone in a normal-sized (i.e. tiny) London flat, Gill Wing Cook Shop is a nightmare. Within seconds of entering you're convinced that you have space for six cast-iron ramekins and a new, state-of-the-art lemon juicer. It stocks the staples as well as the frivolous – on days when even Amazon Prime can't save your dinner party crisis, Gill Wing is there to provide an extra pair of wine glasses or those crucial fondue forks. It's a cave of kitchen wonders.

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Lock & Co Hatters
  • Shopping
  • Hats
  • St James’s

Best for: Handsome headgear

Lock & Co Hatters has been a St James’ fixture since 1759, making it one of the oldest hat shops in the world. It’s also possibly one of the most famous. Inside, you’ll find one of the most comprehensive selections of classic headgear to be found in the capital: from bowlers to berets via top hats, panamas and a whole host of other fancy head-coverings. Whatever you decide upon, though, it's sure to be an investment piece: Lock & Co offer a comprehensive aftercare service, and have been known to repair and reshape hats up to 50 years old.

House of Hackney
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Shoreditch

Best for: Future home classics

Britishness runs through every stitch and paintbrush swirl at House of Hackney’s flagship. The store flicks two fingers at minimalism; it’s decked out in the deliberately over-the-top juxtapositions of print-on-print-on-print that have made the brand’s name. From the dusky gothic Dalston Rose to the heady '70s Palmeral, all of HoH’s beautiful prints are here, on everything from armchairs to oven gloves. Look out for the collaboration with the estate of their aesthetic forefather and fellow East Londoner, William Morris.

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Machine-A
  • Shopping
  • Designer
  • Soho

Best for: Edgy new labels

Offering a platform for the capital’s most exciting and emerging designers, ever since its birth Machine-A has been a tireless champion of independent brands. Housing avant-garde brands that you know and love – the likes of Raf Simons, Maison Martin Margiela and Craig Green can all be found in there – what makes this Soho store unmissable are actually the names that you’ve never heard of but will be incredibly happy to discover. Expertly curated by founder and buying director Stavros Karelis, this buzzy boutique is an absolutely integral part of Soho.

John Bell & Croyden
  • Health and beauty
  • Pharmacies
  • Marylebone

Best for: An international edit of beauty brands

After two centuries of curing London’s maladies, age was starting to wither this venerable pharmacy. Cue a multimillion-pound revamp back in 2015, which balanced the store’s imposing heritage with an exhaustive range of new products. Antique apothecary bottles and Queen Victoria’s prescription book are dotted amongst a globetrotting selection of beauty brands.

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Hub
  • Shopping
  • Jewellery
  • Stoke Newington

Best for: Brilliant luxe basics

Spot a gaggle of well-dressed yummy mummies nursing soya lattes in a Stokey café and chances are they’ll have picked up their Armorlux Breton tops and Ally Capellino totes at a branch of Hub. No. 49 on Stoke Newington’s swish Church Street houses womenswear – think stompy shoes from Grenson, Scandi-chic by Wood Wood and lovely denim from Bethnals – while No. 88 stocks many of the same labels but for chaps.

KJ’s Laundry Marylebone
  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Marylebone

Best for: Classic cuts

This small-but-perfectly-formed Marylebone boutique is home to understated, incredibly wearable labels. Founders Kate Allden and Jane Ellis track down soon-to-be cult classics before they become so by sourcing more under the radar brands, and then fill the store with stylish yet timeless pieces and wardrobe classics. Its eponymous own-brand is predictably great as well.

 

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Hedonism Wines
  • Shopping
  • Off licences
  • Mayfair

Best for: An array of exceptional booze

This glass-fronted shop in deepest Mayfair isn't just for vino fans – it's a haven for fine spirits too. The ground floor of this two-storey venue is a sleek, wooden-clad showroom of wine and liquor, but head down stairs to the MI5-like cellar and you can pine over hundreds of stored vintage bottles and sip 75cl samples from their ever-changing wine tasting menu. If you don't drink, you'll still be captivated by the oh-so Instagrammable wine glass chandeliers that hang from the store's ceiling.

Milroy's of Soho
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • Soho

Best for: Rare whiskies

There’s an Old World charm to London’s oldest whisky shop, and the small, low-lit space is lined with enough bottles of the glorious amber stuff to make you feel a bit sozzled just by entering. There are fabulously rare and fiendishly expensive bottles, but there's also a big selection of more affordable options, perfect for a posh, boozy gift. Somehow they've squeezed a couple of bars in – one in the main shop that functions during opening hours and one swish, speakeasy-styled basement bar, Vault, serving cocktails in the evenings.

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Hop Burns & Black
  • Shopping
  • Specialist food and drink
  • East Dulwich

Best for: Niche local brews

Hop Burns & Black on East Dulwich Road sells three things: beer, hot sauce and vinyl, with the former available to carry out in one-litre flagons (what similar operations call a ‘growler’, inevitably with a bit of puerile nudge-winkery). Thanks to a nifty counter-pressure filling machine, the grog stays fresh for weeks – although with breweries on offer including London’s finest, US legends and Kiwi trailblazers like Yeastie Boys, you’ll do well not to see it off in a single sitting.

Best for: releasing your inner Mystic Meg

We’ve been looking into our Time Out crystal ball, and we predict a boom in astrology. If you’re want to learn how to cleanse your crystals, swot up on the moon’s movements or pick up a deck of tarot cards, all signs point to the London Astrology Shop. This institution has specialised in astrological books since 1989; now you’ll find over 1,500 titles lining the shelves. Consider your esoteric needs met. 

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  • Shopping
  • Gifts and souvenirs
  • Oxford Street

Best for: Umbrellas that are built to last

There’s one essential accessory for life in London, and it’s not a Burberry mac, a Mulberry tote or a corgi-print tea towel: it’s an umbrella. James Smith & Sons have been selling them from this charming New Oxford Street shop for over 150 years. The gilt front has remained unchanged, and the customer service is old school, too. As well as an array of ceremonial umbrellas, there are high-tech folding models and beautifully designed everyday styles. Just don’t leave your new purchase on the tube.

Kristina Records
  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • Homerton

Best for: Hard-to-find vinyl

In this brave new world of streaming, this Hackney record shop is something truly special: a living, breathing experience for living, breathing music fans. The clean, uncluttered layout makes browsing a breeze: expect a discerning selection of new and used vinyl, covering genres from techno to soul and everything in between, alongside a clutch of musically minded books and ephemera. Keep an eye on the shop’s Facebook page for news of DJ sets and in-store shindigs.

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Best for: broadening your wine horizons (aka drinking more booze)

Remember when the choice of wine was red or white? How times have changed. Find the best of the bunch in Noble Fine Liquor, a beer and wine store that specialises in organic and biodynamic bottles. It’s got a little spin-off wine shop-meets-bar on Lower Clapton Road too, where you’ll find a well-curated bottle selection to take away or drink in store. Whether you want an orange wine that’s hella funky, or a refined number from the Loire Valley, this is your go-to. 

Pentreath & Hall
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Bloomsbury

Best for: Picture-perfect homewares and accessories

This petite store looks like the drawing room of a smart country house scaled to the size of a Shoreditch studio flat. It’s a tight squeeze, but there’s plenty packed into Ben Pentreath and Bridie Hall’s dinky boutique. Design and architecture books sit alongside vintage maps and china mugs, and there’s a pretty range of decoupage crockery from designer Hall. It’s an ideal gift destination, but you’ll inevitably find yourself stocking up on Pinterest-ing additions for your own pad, too.

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  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • South Kensington

Best for: Arty gifts

The V&A’s airy, capacious store is the queen of London’s museum shops. Found right at the heart of the grand old building, its contents are curated with as much thought and flair as any of the museum’s blockbuster exhibitions. The limited-edition themed products (designed to tie in with each big show) are always covetable, while the permanent collection of art and design books, postcards and contemporary jewellery makes it a reliably good gift destination.

  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Knightsbridge

Best for: Extravagant style under one roof

Yes, it’s unashamedly ostentatious, but Harrods is a spectacular shop and a London institution. Once you’ve dodged the tourists taking selfies outside, the elegantly tiled food halls on the ground floor are heaven for foodies, while the beauty halls boast a wealth of luxury exclusives. Other highlights include the gargantuan Shoe Heaven and fragrant Salon de Parfums showcase. Little ones can be kept occupied for hours in the Toy Kingdom, which sells everything from posh dressing-up gear to mini Mercedes G-Wagons for the aspirational tot.

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Owl Bookshop
  • Shopping
  • Bookshops
  • Kentish Town

Best for: Book recommendations

The Owl has been owned by Daunt Books for some years, but you’d never know it: this greatly loved Kentish Town local retains its independent feel. Staff are very keen on books, and they take advice on good new books from their customers, who in this area are a pretty well-read bunch. The kids’ section encourages flop-down-and-read sessions; fiction and biography are probably the best of the adult sections.

Best for: boujie skate hoodies

Where do skater boys go when they’re all grown up and have well-paid media jobs? Browsing the rails at Palace. A marble temple to the wooden thing on wheels, this luxe London-based brand has grown into a high-fashion player, with an empire built on limited-edition hoodies and T-shirts. It’s not cheap – around £140 for a hoodie – but that’s a small price to pay for street cred.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Covent Garden

Best for: Pretty home decorations

The new centrally-located branch of Petersham Nurseries (the original is in Richmond) comes fit with two restaurants, a deli, a florist and a wine cellar, but it's the shop that's the main draw for us. Set in a Grade II-listed Victorian building, covetable antique furniture, fragrant candles, ceramics and other hand-crafted homewares sit amidst lush green foliage.In a nod to its roots, there's also an array of potted plants and gardening accessories. If your purse strings are tight, just wandering around this shop is a delight.

Modern Society
  • Shopping
  • Boutiques
  • Shoreditch

Best for: Photo-worthy cakes and clothing

Housed on Shoreditch’s increasingly glossy Redchurch Street, Modern Society is a destination boutique. With a lovely selection of fashion, jewellery and homeware from across the globe, it’s the perfect place to pick up gifts – or for some more selfish shopping. Its dinky little café serves top brews, plus a host of Instagrammable snacks.

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Rigby & Peller
  • Shopping
  • Tailors
  • Mayfair

Best for: Bras fit for a queen

If it’s good enough for Her Majesty, it’s good enough for us. Rigby & Peller was granted a royal warrant in 1960, and has been making Queen Elizabeth II’s smalls ever since. Book an appointment to be expertly fitted for ready-to-wear lingerie, or measured for a bespoke brassiere. The Mayfair boutique (there are also outposts in Chelsea, St Jonh's Wood, Bow Lane and Knightsbridge) also stocks other premium brands such as Aubade, Simone Perele and Cosabella.

Best for: getting all nostalgic in an olde English shoppe 

William Martyn set up this charming little store in 1897 to serve the good people of Muswell Hill with quality coffee, teas and pantry goods, and to be honest, very little has changed. In fact, the fella running the place is still called William. He’s named after his great grandfather and continues to stock the family-run joint with artisan jams, biscuits and truffles. Pop in and order a Hamper for the full W Martyn experience, if not just to soak up the history of this place. 

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Atsuko Kudo
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Holloway Road

Best for: Rubber fetish wear

If you spy a glossy starlet stepping out in latex, chances are it’s from Atsuko Kudo, whose rubber styles have been sported by everyone from Lady Gaga to Kim Kardashian. Holloway Road’s latex specialists are known for fine filigree details, custom prints and perfect tailoring. You may have to take a deep breath to afford these designs, but the investment is reflected in the superb quality. Attentive staff and a surplus of talc are on hand to help relax rubber virgins.

Twentytwentyone
  • Shopping
  • Home decor
  • Islington

Best for: Minimal Scandi homewares

Set over two spacious floors, the sleek lines and muted colours of Islington’s Twentytwentyone display minimalist furniture and accessories at their most appealing. Beloved of local architects and designers there’s a Scandi-slant to the carefully sourced stock, and sound advice on investing in classic retro furniture is always on hand. Look out for artful kids’ gifts and the timeless mid-century designs of Eames and Robin Day.

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YMC
  • Shopping
  • Womenswear
  • Brick Lane

Best for: Cool casualwear for him and her

Brit brand YMC (otherwise known as You Must Create) shines with its lines of contemporary, wearable style for men and women, which have remained quietly relevant for over 20 years now. It's glass-fronted Shoreditch store is light and airy, and is the perfect environment to browse (and then buy) YMC's chic designs, on-trend shoes and quirky accessories.

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