A fashionista’s delight, London is always dressed to impress. The city’s streets are not only brimming with precious independent boutiques and cutting-edge couture, but they’re also dreamily picturesque and very pleasantly walkable. Being the hometown of several fashion giants from Burberry to Vivienne Westwood to Alexander McQueen, the English capital is also a major fashion capital. Needless to say, shopping in London is a lot of fun. Any style-savvy visitor is guaranteed to find their personal sweet spot somewhere in the city, no matter how particular their taste. But where to go in such a huge and varied city?
Here, you’ll find our insider’s guide to the most fashionable shopping streets in London right now. And by “insider”, we mean you won’t be finding the tourist clichés of Oxford Street, nor even Harrods, in our city guide. Whether they’re big department stores or tiny hidden avenues, these are the places for the best fashions as well as the best shopping experiences. (Be sure to save this for your next visit!)
[Hero image: Portobello Market. Feature image: Carnaby Street.]
Where to shop in London:
Take a leisurely stroll down quiet Mount Street for a curious combination of grand, old architecture and hip contemporary designers. The likes of Simone Rocha, Roksanda, and Christopher Kane can be found along here, almost disguised in the 18th-century red brick town houses. Turning into these stores takes you to a whole different vibe, like the unmissable pink mirrored changing rooms in Roksanda or the modern art decor of Simon Rocha’s flagship.
A short walk from Mount Street is the world-famous Selfridges. A much cooler department store than Harrods, it’s also surprisingly less crowded. A gathering of established luxury brands, new trendy labels from around the world, and frequent pop-ups, Selfridges is a fashionista’s dream house. It’s a perfect place to spend rainy days in London (which are plenty!), and there are styles, price points, and activities for everyone. You can browse edgy sunglasses at the hit Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster or personalise your own everything at Chaos. Fashion traditionalists can still feel at home with all the likes of Gucci, Prada, or Celine they could ask for. The staff here also offer great, friendly assistance, and there are some very trendy bites on the ground floor to fuel your shopping spree!
An equally modern classic is the colourful, buzzing Carnaby Street. Home to Liberty London and Hamley’s, the incredible seven floor toyshop, Carnaby is where the young go to spend and where the fashionistas go to play. Check out the Carnaby-exclusive Lazy Oaf for bold leisurewear, or head to cult favourites The Ragged Priest. Carnaby is also an absolute must for the sneakerheads, being home to Onitsuka Tiger, Superga, Adidas Originals, and so much more. True, it does get quite crowded around here, but Carnaby Street is truly a shopping experience like no other. The buzz and colour make it fun and exciting for fashionistas and non-fashionistas alike.
The same goes for Notting Hill’s precious gem – Portobello Road. Crowds are somewhat guaranteed, but it’s still a must-go for any fashionista visitor. Having said that, it is still possible to avoid crowds by going early in the morning or just before the shops start closing (around 4pm). Before you even get to Portobello, there are some fabulous shops en route from Notting Hill Gate tube station that shouldn’t be missed. Hop into Rainbow for a gorgeous selection of fun jewellery pieces and little trinkets from trendy seashell hair-clips to charm pendant necklaces.
Once you’re walking along Portobello Road, you’re sure to find yourself something completely one-off and unique, whether it’s a vintage fur coat or a pair of sequinned flares. Make your way to the end of the long road and you’ll be rewarded with a marketplace of amazing retro goods. From authentic concert T-shirts that date back to the 60s to custom-made jewellery specialists, Portobello is a magical wonderland of rare fashion finds.
For the true crowd-fearer who’s still looking for some quality goods, head over to the King’s Road in Chelsea for a slight change of scene. Defined and popularised by the iconic fashion designer Mary Quant, King’s Road continues the legacy of trendy ‘it-girl’ fashion from the woman who introduced miniskirts to England. Although quieter because more residential, the shops here still boast big names like Lululemon, Hugo Boss, Maje, and The Kooples. There are also several more contemporary and lesser known brands. Blaiz – a colourful and bold Latin American-inspired clothing store – encapsulates the vibrant soul of King’s Road. Also worth checking out is The Shop at Bluebird, which sells a miscellany of items from clothes and accessories to furniture and books. Poke around in Anthropologie for a curation of all things wholesome and pretty. Wherever you wander into, if you see something you like, get it before it’s gone – the high rent prices mean King’s Road is notorious for frequently switching up stores. You might not see the item again once it moves!
If you’re just wandering around, turned into Pavilion Road at the North end of King’s Road. This is a charming little avenue with just a handful of shops, varying from Kate Spade to organic produce stores. Pick up a luxuriously silky set of pyjamas from Olivia Von Halle, or some beautiful coffee-table books from Papersmiths. Then, for a perfect end to a day of shopping, sit down for an espresso and a most gloriously oozy doughnut from Bread Ahead.