The 100 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 unmissable food halls
Liberty
Photograph: EQRoy/Shutterstock
By Elizabeth Darke |
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Knowing where to begin a shopping spree in London is difficult. From luxury design houses and cutting-edge fashion boutiques to homeware havens and department stores that simply have it all, the capital has an overwhelming amount of options for those in need of some retail therapy. Luckily, we’re here to guide both you and your wallet in the right direction, as we’ve distilled our favourite shopping spots in the capital into one handy list. Whatever your desire and whatever your budget, our round-up of the 100 best shops in London will have it covered. Now prepare to go and shop ‘til you drop – or ‘til your bank account runs dry.

Here’s the lowdown on 5 of the best shopping experiences in London:

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11
Shopping, Womenswear

Blackout II

icon-location-pin 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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12
Bloom Perfumery, 100 Best Shops 2017
Shopping, Perfumeries

Bloom Perfumery

icon-location-pin 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, Jovoy and Paul Emilien, and also runs regular events and courses so you can find out more about what you're buying. Smell yeah!

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13
Borough Wines, Essex Rd, 2017
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Borough Wines

icon-location-pin Islington

Best for: Little-known vineyards

Starting life as a stall in the drool-inducing Borough market, this independent wine shop is testament to London’s boozy ways, having grown to seven full-on shops in the capital, one in Hastings and one more on the way (location TBC). In the same vein this postbox-sized outpost of the brilliant wine shop carries an excellent edit of plonk from smaller producers and family firms, plus refillable glass bottles – it’s also very handily situated on the 38 bus route.

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14
Botanique
Botanique
Shopping

Botanique

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

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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15
100 best shops London: Brick Lane Bookshop
Shopping, Bookshops

Brick Lane Books

icon-location-pin Brick Lane

Best for: Local history books

Bookshops are thin on the ground these days, which is why it's always a pleasure to find a longstanding local that's managing to hold its own. This little spot in the hipster heartland has been around since the ‘70s and in its present location for over decade. As well as the latest fiction titles, you can find a great selection of local and London history titles, all the photography and graphic novels the trendsters need, plus a small and lovely kids' corner. Staff are knowledgable and helpful, and look out for talks and other events.

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16
Browns Fashion, 100 Best Shops 2017
Shopping

Browns Fashion

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Best for: Beautifully curated designer fashion

It was already one of the capital’s favourite fashion boutiques – with the founder Mrs Burnstein being one of first to support Alexander McQueen – but following its acquisition by Farfetch it has been reinvigorated. Serious investment has given it a much bigger buying team and a CEO who cut her teeth under Natalie Massenet at Net-a-Porter. With 70 new brands in stock since last year, the new team has been bloody busy. New lines include those by Vetements, Simone Rocha and Marques Almeida.

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17
Burberry
Shopping

Burberry

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Best for: Luxury Brit clothing in jaw-dropping surroundings

For a heritage brand, Burberry is about as directional as you can get. The first London Fashion Week designer to live stream its catwalk shows – way back in 2010 – and then the first brand to retail straight from the runway. Truly consumer first, the Regent Street flagship store is an all-mod-conned ‘brand experience’ complete with interactive magic mirrors, a 38 square-metre video display unit and even digital rain showers. The full complement of menswear, womenswear, accessories, shoes and beauty is here, alongside a bespoke trench service and gifting department. Should you feel peckish after navigating the store’s four floors, Thomas’s Café offers posh British fare.

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18
Shopping, Art, craft and hobbies

Cass Art

icon-location-pin Islington

Best for: Well-priced arts materials

Hidden down an Islington back street, this cavernous store spans three large floors, and houses a stellar array of artistic materials from sable brushes and oil paints to Winsor & Newton inks, artist mannequins and even achingly on-trend colouring books for grown-ups. Markers, watercolours and fancy papers are available in every conceivable colour and finish, while crafty types could waste hours browsing the decoupage, calligraphy and model-making paraphernalia.

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19
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Cheeses Of Muswell Hill

icon-location-pin 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.

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20
Shopping, Art, craft and hobbies

Choosing Keeping

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

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.

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