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The best Christmas shops in London

Whether you like to get your Christmas shopping done early or you leave it till the last minute, you're guaranteed to find everything you need in these stores

Selfridges Christmas windows
Selfridges
By Time Out editors, Ellie Walker-Arnott and Elizabeth Darke |
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In our minds, Christmas shopping is a rigorously organised affair. In reality, it’s a last-minute sprint around a packed department store, throwing worse-for-wear panettones, mugs and candles into a basket. But finding great gifts for friends, colleagues and loved ones is all in the planning – have an idea of what you’re looking for before making a beeline for Oxford Street. Or better yet swerve Oxford Street altogether.

From arty museum gift shops to quaint toy stores, book specialists and irresistible chocolatiers, these are the best places in London to tackle your Christmas shopping the joyful way. Gift wrap and scissors at the ready…

RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London

1
Tate Modern
Art, Galleries

Tate Modern

icon-location-pin Bankside

Good for: arty accessories and soft furnishings
Forget rainbow rubbers and giant pencils, Tate Modern’s gift shop is full of lovely things you’d actually use, from Tracey Emin Christmas cards to Grayson Perry cushion covers. You don’t even need to pretend you’re a modern art fan to shop here – thanks to its handy position at the museum’s entrance.

2
Shopping

The Goodhood Store

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Good for: designer streetwear
For casual clothes and quirky homeware that doesn’t take itself too seriously, take a trip to this game-changing concept shop, full of handpicked items for Goodhood’s very hip customers, from hand-carved skateboards and affordable accessories to branded tees. It’s all good in the ’hood.

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3
Shopping, Toys and games

Harrods

icon-location-pin Knightsbridge

Good for: all-around elegance
You know you’ve made it when your Christmas tree is covered in silk-panel baubles from Harrods. Gloriously grandiose, with its famous grotto, this London institution really comes into its own at Christmas. You could easily lose hours here floor-hopping from Toy Kingdom to the heavyweight fashion brands to the elegant beauty halls. This is London shopping at its most decadent.

4
100 best shops in London: Liberty
Shopping, Home decor

Liberty

icon-location-pin Soho

Good for: decadent gifts
Wandering through this doyenne of department stores is a little like exploring a stately home. Except that instead of portraits of dead ancestors it houses a lovingly curated selection of beautifully designed floral fabrics, designer fashion and beauty brands.

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5
2106_Pollocks945_RG.jpg
© Rob Greig
Shopping, Toys and games

Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

Good for: throwback toys 
In these times of VR headsets and child-centric iPad games, it’s heartening to see there’s still an appetite for playthings of the more traditional variety – as found at this timewarp of a toyshop. Founded in 1856, Benjamin Pollock’s houses an intriguing jumble of toy theatres, books and puppets – kids and grown-ups love it so. 

6
Best shops in London: Selfridges
Hotels

Selfridges

icon-location-pin Marylebone

Good for: a bit of everything
With nine floors’ worth of designer goods, a well-stocked beauty hall and a wealth of price points, you could tick off your entire Christmas shopping list here. Sick of shopping? Try a panto in the basement theatre. Plus, the Christmas window displays always make a pretty addition to your Instagram account.

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7
Shopping

Ottie and the Bea

icon-location-pin Blackheath

Good for: contemporary kids toys
A trip to this Blackheath toyshop will lighten the mood of even the grumpiest of little ’uns, while parents can treat it as a reconnaissance mission for scouting potential gifts. Win-win. The store touts itself as a ‘modern children’s shop’ and as such stocks Japanese collectables, comics and designer Maileg dolls’ houses.

8
Shopping, Bookshops

London Review Bookshop

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury

Good for: renowned literature and bijou tea
With informed and enthusiastic staff, invitingly arranged bookshelves and two floors packed with politics, poetry and philosophy, plus sections for audiobooks, classic and new fiction, this petite store is well worth a visit. Refuel and flick through your purchases in the excellent onsite café.

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9
Shopping, Cheesemongers

The Cheeseboard

icon-location-pin Greenwich

Good for: specialist queso
Sniff out this Greenwich outfit to find one of London’s classiest cheese shops. It celebrates some unusual British varieties along with Continental classics, with biodynamic wines, crackers and chutney thrown in for good measure. Staff are happy (in general, probably) to let customers try before they buy.

10
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Greensmiths

icon-location-pin Waterloo

Good for: artisan bread and local food
A supermarket for those who don’t much care for supermarkets, Greensmiths is tucked away round the back of Waterloo station on the cobbles of Lower Marsh. Each of its four floors teems with gastronomic treasures, from the excellent butchery on the ground floor to a basement jam-packed with craft ales and wines.

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11
House Of Hackney, 2016
Shopping, Home decor

House of Hackney

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Good for: luxe interiors
Cross the threshold of this Shoreditch emporium and you’ll be greeted with an audacious array of prints – from ’70s-style Palmeral to dusky Dalston Rose – which adorn fabric, mugs, wallpaper and garments. Minimalism is not the vibe here, nor downstairs where you will find statement furniture and ahead-of-the-curve accessories.

12
Shopping And Style__DSC9123.jpg
© Britta Jaschinski
Shopping, Bookshops

Book Art Bookshop

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Good for: unusual editions
This cute corner shop provides shelf space for small press publications, artsy limited editions and carefully selected small runs of collectable books. Beautifully designed cult magazines and coffee table tomes make this tiny haven a lovely place to grab something special for a bookworm with eclectic taste.  

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13
Gucci, Dover Street Market, 2017
Shopping, Womenswear

Dover Street Market

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Good for: up-and-coming labels
This multi-coloured mecca for the fashion-obsessed houses some of London’s brightest stars, from Grace Wales Bonner’s elegant tailored menswear to Molly Goddard’s dreamy dresses. Besides, where else can you find polka-dot Converse alongside a beautiful menagerie of stuffed birds?

14
Blitz London
Shopping, Music and entertainment

Atika

icon-location-pin Spitalfields

Good for: trending retro gear
Anyone with an eye for vintage should head to this fabulous old furniture factory. It’s filled with rails of coloured denim, silk kimonos, seersucker blazers and shiny, lace-up brogues, plus a floor for accessories and a great book collection. You won’t find that musty charity shop smell here: all the stock is cleaned, steamed and folded before it hits the racks.

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15
Shopping, Menswear

Oi Polloi

icon-location-pin Soho

Good for: menswear
Founders Steve Sanderson and Nigel Lawson have been supplying the snappily dressed men of London and Manchester with stylish yet understated garb since 2002. Buy from them now, then sit back and watch all your mates follow suit.

16
Shopping, Toys and games

Sylvanian Families Shop

icon-location-pin Highbury

Good for: cute collectables
A testament to the enduring popularity of these adorable soft toys, the Sylvanian shop in Highbury has been around since the early ’90s and continues to attract both serious collectors and fickler younger fans. It’s the only store of its kind in Europe – a genuine retro delight.

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17
Shopping, Bookshops

Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

icon-location-pin Hoxton

Good for: amusing oddities
Selling ghoulish-sounding sweets such as ‘Fang Floss’ and ‘Cubed Earwax’, plus stationery, t-shirts and letterpress cards, this inspired east London store feels like something JK Rowling might have dreamed up. In fact, its takings help fund the Ministry of Stories, a charity co-founded by Nick Hornby that provides writing workshops and coaching for youngsters.

18
Shopping

Pam Pam

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Good for: fancy footwear
Not all girls are Barbie-pink glitter fiends, and those who aren’t will appreciate the relaxed, boyish clothing, eclectic jewellery and pastel ceramics sold at Pam Pam. With a front room dedicated entirely to women’s trainers, it’s the ideal shopping destination for anyone who isn’t a girly-girl.

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19
100 best shops London: Other Shop
Shopping, Womenswear

OTHER/Shop

icon-location-pin Soho

Best for: cult and niche brands
For wearable labels with a creative twist that will almost certainly provoke a ‘I love your top, where did you get it?’ from fashion-savvy mates, it has to be Other. The uncluttered, industrial-style space provides a cool backdrop for unfussy designs from the likes of Lemaire and Peter Jensen.  

20
Shopping, Home decor

Labour and Wait

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Best for: utilitarian-yet-stylish gifts
If you’re shopping for a design-savvy, hipster-ish chum, it’s worth sticking your head into Labour and Wait. Think toolboxes, pocket knives, can openers and the like mixed up with plaid shirts, Welsh tapestry, enamelware and all manner of charmingly-packaged condiments (never has a jar of mustard looked so enticing). You may leave clutching a bag of Beer Bread Mix, a hand rake, bird call, or packet of Portuguese tomato seeds, wondering how you can feasibly pass it off as a Christmas present.

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21
Liberia bookshop
Iwan Baan
Shopping, Bookshops

Libreria

icon-location-pin Spitalfields

Good for: distraction-free literature
At this fun, stylish, tech-free bookshop, you can leaf through literature, which has been arranged into themes such as ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Enchantment’ and ‘The City’, which should make discovering new authors easier as well as speed up any last-minute gift-buying you happen to be doing.

22
Petersham Nurseries
Restaurants, Contemporary European

Petersham Nurseries Shop

icon-location-pin Richmond

Good for: garden lovers
Petersham Nurseries has a knack for making you want to buy everything in the shop; carefully curated displays of intricate glass baubles sit beside potted ferns, suitably botanical-themed stationery and handmade ceramics. For something pocket-friendly, thoughtful and a little homespun, consider gifting a plant - pop in to the nursery greenhouse where all the ingredients (hyacinth bulbs, terracotta pots) lay waiting to be assembled.

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23
Shopping, Bookshops

Daunt Books

icon-location-pin Marylebone

Good for: travel books
Oak balconies, stained-glass windows and viridian-green walls combine into what could well be London’s most beautiful bookshop. Its Edwardian walls are packed to the rafters with paperbacks and the travel section’s especially great: ordered by country and bound to induce wanderlust in the homeliest of homebodies.

24
Shopping, Home decor

V&A Shop

icon-location-pin South Kensington

Good for: unusual stocking fillers
The V&A Shop is home to all sorts of things - jewellery, textiles, superb greetings cards and reasonably-priced homeware. If you’re filling a stocking, look out for those little knick-knacks like compact mirrors, bejeweled pencils, funky stitch-on clothes patches and embroidery kits. Keep your eyes peeled for designer collaborations, too, which include Stella McCartney silk scarves and limited edition artist’s prints.

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25
Art, Home decor

Heal’s

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury

Good for: modern aesthetics
Heal’s puts its 42,000 square feet to good use with an aspirational edit of fancy furniture, Nordic dinnerware and Tom Dixon fragrances and candles. If you’re short on gift-getting inspiration, its gift-laden ground floor is sure to provide a eureka! moment or two, and its customer service has been a virtue throughout its long history.

26
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates

icon-location-pin Angel

Good for: cocoa alchemy
Willy Wonka has nothing on Paul A Young, the pastry chef-turned-chocolatier behind this boutiquey store, and others in the city. This is where you’ll find the good stuff: quirky truffles in fantastical varieties (Marmite, for one), gooey brownies and bingeworthy boxes that can be made up with an assortment of your faves.

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27
Shopping, Bookshops

Foyles Charing Cross Road

icon-location-pin Charing Cross Road

Good for: popular reads
After moving into the old Central Saint Martins building in 2014, the dramatically made-over Foyles can make a decent claim to the title of London’s best bookshop. Its 37,000 square feet of floor space is packed with more than 200,000 books, as well as a floor dedicated to events and a swish café. With that amount of real estate, you’ll find all the latest cookbooks and high-profile releases as well as plenty of niche titles, plus very well-read staff.

28
Shopping, Home decor

The Conran Shop

icon-location-pin South Kensington

Good for: designer homeware
Sir Terence Conran’s eye for dazzling design is as sharp as ever judging by the offerings at his Fulham Road flagship. Bringing together trendy investment pieces, ornaments and cookware, it’s the ideal place to pick up gifts and goods for the home. The art deco building itself was formerly owned by Michelin, and there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, Bibendum, and oyster bar housed within.

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29
Shopping, Home decor

West Elm

icon-location-pin Tottenham Court Road

Good for: budget-friendly decor
Owned by the brains behind Pottery Barn, this is the place to unearth some lovely interior designs at affordable prices. As well as top-notch homeware and artwork from local artists, West Elm boasts a convenient gift-wrapping service for frazzled Christmas shoppers.

30
New_Anthopologie471.jpg
© Ed Marshall
Shopping, Womenswear

Anthropologie

icon-location-pin Regent Street

Good for: quirky homeware
Anthropologie is a sort of one-stop shop for more or less every friend or relative. A typographic mug for your ‘Secret Santa’, a cat-emblazoned tea towel for your granny, a scented candle for your sister-in-law, a fancy hair accessory for your best mate. The list goes on. Get in there early for a pleasurable browse, and pop in again right before Christmas when the sale has started.

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31
Present and Correct, 100 Best Shops 2017
Shopping, Art, craft and hobbies

Present & Correct

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

Best for: stylish stationery
Most of us know a stationery lover – someone who finds notebooks exciting and gets a kick out of a nice ruler or stapler. That person would be in heaven in Clerkenwell’s Present & Correct. An organised mash up of books, pencil cases, paint brushes, prints, and vintage paraphernalia, this is a shop for the person who knows their Rhodia from their Penco.

32
Marby and Elm
Shopping, Art, craft and hobbies

Marby & Elm

icon-location-pin Clerkenwell

Best for: gift wrap
Having started out in a garden shed, family-run Marby & Elm has maintained its handmade appeal since opening up shop in Exmouth Market. If you derive more pleasure from wrapping than buying gifts, this is the shop for you – gift tags, wrap, tape and cards abound, all hand screen-printed in neon shades of pink, green, orange and blue.

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