Beyond the familiar axis of Oxford and Regent
Streets, London plays host to a huge variety of shops, one-of-a kind boutiques
and street markets.
Brixton Village has become one of
the city’s most exciting and diverse places to eat. It’s home to some 20
eateries, selling food from Pakistani thalis and Chinese dumplings to
Neopolitan pizzas and British charcuterie. Many sell homemade produce to take
away (off Coldharbour Ln; 8am–7pm; cheeses from £4).
London loves its railway arches, and one of the best
conversions lies between Maltby Street
and Druid Street in Bermondsey, where artisan food seekers come to pick up
oven-hot loaves, preserves, free-range meats and wines from small-scale
producers. There’s an offshoot of the
market further east where the tracks cross Spa Road (Saturdays 9am–2pm;
Barnsley chops from £22 per kg).
Tucked away in a car park behind Notting Hill Gate tube
station and frequented mostly by locals, The Notting
Hill’s Famers’ Market is a fine place to sample and buy fresh pies, meat,
fish, veg, cheeses, fruit, eggs and juices (don’t miss the Chegworth Valley
farm-pressed apple juice) – all the while cutting out the middlemen and
supporting sustainable farming (Kensington Church Street; Saturdays 9am-1pm; 1
litre of Chegworth Valley apple juice £2.50).
Vintage and antiques
Full of noise, colour and life, Brick
Lane and its side streets are a fantastic destination for vintage clothes
and quirky pieces for the home. Try the Backyard Market opposite Dray Walk for
early 20th-century homeware and furniture, and the huge Beyond Retro on
Cheshire Street for fashion one-offs (Tower Hamlets; vintage leather jackets
The shops located in the secure subterranean vaults on the
eastern fringes of Holborn together make up the largest collection of silver
under one roof in the world. The London
silver vaults tend to specialise in different types of silverware – from
cutlery sets to Edwardian picture frames and jewellery (53–64 Chancery Ln;
silver napkin rings around £65, antique toast racks from around £240).
Alfies antique market, in
northwest London, is an ex-department store in an Art Deco building, now
dedicated to 20th-century furniture and rare ’20s to ’70s pieces. Lose an
afternoon rambling through its four floors of sculptural lighting, vintage
posters and evocative furniture. Take a breather in the fine rooftop café (13–25
Church St; closed Sun & Mon; 1950s advertising posters from around £30).
Boutiques and luxury
Showcasing Comme des Garçons, Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan, among
other designers, the Dover Street
Market is the place to find high-end fashion. Four floors of clothing are
artfully displayed around surprising architectural features such as a
Portaloo-style dressing room (17–18 Dover St; printed T-shirts from £45).
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another era at Liberty, a mock- Tudor department store in
Soho, established in 1875 and rebuilt in the ’20s. It’s best known for its
printed fabrics, homewares and exotic rugs, but it also sells some of the best
fashion and accessories in the world. A truly British sense of the eccentric
reigns at this London icon (Regent St; Liberty art fabrics £21 per metre).
All number of suppliers can be found beneath the three glass
domes of Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.
Around 95 showrooms specialise in carpets, accessories, lighting and hardware.
Shops include Original BTC, Besselink & Jones, Vaughan and Porta Romana.
There’s also a café in the north dome (411 The North Chambers; Mon–Fri;
Original BTC table lamps from £119).
Where to stay
The industrial design of Paddington’s Stylotel,
incorporates two converted, 19th-century townhouses, with scored aluminium,
opaque green glass and stainless steel throughout. Self-conscious name aside,
it’s a real joy to find a contemporary boutique hotel at an affordable price in
London (160-162 Sussex Gdns; from £95).
The B+B Belgravia
is a chic place to make like a southwest Londoner. Its interiors are thoroughly
modern, from the black and white lounge to the colourful minimalism of its
guestrooms (64–66 Ebury St; from £135).
The Zetter in
Clerkenwell is a special place. Its rooms are small but big on personality. Its
restaurant, Bistrot Bruno Loubet, and Atrium Bar, with alfresco drinking, are
superb (86–88 Clerkenwell Rd; rooftop studios from £300).
Among the main London train stations, Euston mainly serves the northwest of the country
(Manchester from £36), King’s Cross the northeast, Paddington the west and southwest (Bristol from
£22), Waterloo and Victoria the south coast, and Liverpool Street serves East
Anglia. In London, Underground and Overground
trains, and buses, are the easiest way to get around (one-day travelcards £8.40).
The article 'Mini guide to shopping in London' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.