Possibly my favourite non-food shop in the whole of London is the shop at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden.
Few things symbolise London as vividly than the London Transport (LT) system, with its iconic logos, posters and maps. Whenever I think of LT, the catch phrase 'Mind the Gap' comes to mind (based on an automated announcement introduced in 1968 to warn people to take care of the gap between the station platform and carriage door and still in use today) that will bring back memories for those who have used London's tube system.
The London Transport Museum shop stocks a gloriously irresistable range of esoterica associated with LT. Some - such as postcards, mugs, toy buses and trains - are fairly obvious, and some are frankly bizarre. For example, on my last visit, they were actually selling footrests and chairs upholstered in the distinctive checked fabric that was in use for seat covers in the 1970s and 80s (which was a bit too nostalgic, even for me!)
This is an excellent place to buy high quality but fairly affordable mementoes of your time in London, as well as gifts for those at home (particularly those who come from, or have previously visited London). My personal favourites are linen tea towels printed with poster designs from the golden age of LT's in the 1920s and 30s, which are the ultimate travel purchase as they are useful, easy to pack and weigh nothing. At about £10 each, they're not cheap, but they will last forever, and are so gorgeous that they could even be framed - see photo for one of the designs I bought on my recent visit.
Another fascinating option is 'Mr Beck's Map', a beautifully illustrated book on the development of the iconic Underground map in the 1930s, which was the first of its kind to use a topological format, and has since been adopted by most other transport systems in the world. This is a brilliant (and fairly small) coffee table book for the transport nerd or graphic design freak who has everything!
When my parents came to visit recently, they bought me a set of these gorgeous china tea mugs, decorated with Charles Paine's famous 1921 'For the Zoo' penguin motif: if ever there were a better gift to receive as a host, I have yet to find it (and it's true that tea really does taste better out of a china cup)!
The shop is open to 18:30 Sunday-Tuesday and 19:00 Wednesday-Saturday, so if you're planning an evening out in Covent Garden, you can indulge in a little retail therapy on your way! For those who can't get there in person, it is also possible to shop online.
Eat, dance, relax - lots of street performers, handmade crafts, designer shops
a good blend of everything
What to buy: Locally made soap and candles
What to pay: depending on what you buy- around GBP 20 for small shopping and a meal per person
Covent Garden Market was a great walk around once we got our breathe back from climbing the underground staircase - take the lifts!. There are lots of arty style stalls and street entertainment for when you get sick of shopping- if you ever get sick of shopping.
What to buy: It's a great place to buy some unusual gifts - we got a light shade - made of paper and pressed flowers - and a vase of wooden tulips.
What makes this place special??
Well, its an old shop, purveyor to Royalty, and is definitely NOT full of fru-fru English Rose and Lavender scents.
It has great salesmen who know their product and how to sell it, which I really appreciate these days.
It was an amazing shopping experience!
What to buy: I, well, the lovely salesboy, found the perfect scent for me, called Amaranthine, which I completely fell in love with. I really loved that it was unique, and unlike any purfume or scent that i had EVER bought before. The scents are so lovely, and the experience totally cool!
What to pay: I'm sure you will not leave there spending less than $100. Which isn't really alot, I suppose, for some people to spend on purfume, but it was to me! But soooooo worth it!
While in London I thought it will be good idea to check out on my outdoor gear and add few more needed items. I got tips in the Forum to check Covent Garden and so I did, many stores are around and one useful that I found was this one.
Jubilee market is part of Covent Gardens. It is more of a flea market and you can find some good bargains here. Here you can find clothing, jewelry, toys, framed pictures, handbags, cosmetics and more. Go browse the stalls and have fun!
Here is my the best shopping Mecca in London..They are always to develop simple products,but amazing of art of minimalist design at reasonable prices and using and making the best materials while considering environmental issues..Natural and simple design..
Muji has fifteen stores in U.K
Ten are based in London and they also have 6 stores in Paris and one in Milano..Finally,we have it in Istanbul 2008.Thanks God:)
What do you find in there..furniture,stationery,travel,kitchen,desk accessories,candles,fragrancies..toys,garments..multi functional pen&pencil which I've large collections of them..
opening hours 10.ooam-19.00pm sundays 12.oo-18.00pm
What to buy: this time I've bought,pen-pencil(aluminium body)and rain coat(9 pound)!! wonderful but cheap!!!
I love Covent Garden and Jubilee Market the small shops the street vendors is my favourite place in London. I found here the present for my mun and my aunt, there are many places for shoppings, eat, have a drink, live music and entertainment everywhere. Avoid to visit at weekends it´s full of tourist and sometimes mentro station is closed.
Me encanta Covent Garden y el Jubilee Market es mi sitio favorito en Londres. Aquí encontré el regalo para mi madre y le encantó. Hay tiendas, puestos, sitios para comer, beber, música en directo y malabaristas que te entretienen mucho. Evitar ir los fines de semana porque está repleto de gente y a veces cierran la parada de metro.
Not Really a Shop but an area in london. Covent Garden is apparently named because of a witches covent that used to be based there.
Now it is one of the best area's for shoe shopping in london, and for non-high street shop type wear as well. Many area's like oxford street have the same shops that can be found anywhere... covent garden has many little shops such as hi-jinx for skaters, all the way through to designer boutiques. In recent years the fashion for retro clothing (or what some people like to call second hand style) has boomed, and as a result some of the stores you'll find here are very different.
There are a few brands you'll find here with their own shops, which are quite rare in london. For instance diesel are usually sold through other companies here, there aren't many diesel stores in london, but there's a huge one here.
Shoes is a big thing here, along neal street there are lots and lots of shoe shops and they're not too expensive either.
if you want to see what the latest styles are in london then covent garden is probably the place to be...
What to buy: Shoes/Trainers
especially if you're american, instead of walking around london in your big white trainers that wouldn't look out of place in a marathon, get some trainers that are for comfort and style rather than actually playing sport. there's so much to choose from here, with the likes of offspring and sole trader you can't go wrong. if something looks strange like a pair of orange pumas... buy them
What to pay: the sky is the limit here... sometimes i spend nothing, other times i can spend $1000 it's up to you
The shops here are really good. On a nice day it is lovely. the street performers are out and there's loads to see. the royal ballet is also located here. it is just different to all the normal high streets with all the same shops. you can easily spend the whole day here. there are loads of places to eat as well.
What to buy: Look out for the urban outfitters and the david and goliath shop!
What to pay: Some of the prices are quite high
Covent Garden is a little touristy, but it is very nice to have a wander around to take in the sights and sounds. I may be a bit partial because this is the first place I came to in London (fresh off the tube from Heathrow, with my baggage making lots of noise rolling on the cobblestones--what a horrible tourist I was!). But the Royal Opera House is here and the London Transport Museum, and in the summer they have all kinds of things going on in the piazza. Great for people-watching. And if you're here just before Christmas, it is a good place to do your shopping.
What to buy: My favorite shops are here (chain shops)--Lush (for handmade bath goodies) and Monsoon clothes store (for pretty, bright, soft fabrics and colors). I don't spend much time with the vendors because they can get expensive, but I did buy a light waterproof jacket there once for fairly cheap.
What to pay: Depends on how much of a shopaholic you are!
Located in the heart of London COVENT GARDENS MARKET is a great place to shop, stroll, people watch and be entertained by Buskers.
A bustling hub of activity, there is a market here every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
What to buy: Anything from arts and crafts, jewellery, souvenirs, boutiques, food booths, shops and eateries.
What to pay: Expensive
Jubilee market (next to Covent Garden) is a covered area with dozens of stalls selling all kinds of mostly handmade crafts including, clothes, wooden objects, jewellery, soap, leathergoods and picture frames to name a few. There are a couple of stalls selling tourist tat but not too many. There are a few fast food stalls selling bacon butties and hotdogs etc. If you want anything posher go to Covent Garden.
What to buy: I was looking for bootlaces but ended up with pretty shiny things ~ a necklace and earrings ~ there really was so much choice it was hard to decide.
What to pay: I paid just under 10 GBP for them.
Covent Garden was originally land owned by Westminster Abbey - specifically St Peter's Convent. The convent garden was given to the Earl of Bedford during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. A century later the architect Inigo Jones was commissioned to design and construct a piazza.
There has been a fruit and vegetable market in the square since 1649, but by the 18th century this had expanded to fill most of it. The market building that still stands today, was built in 1830, and other buildings in the square went up later that century.
The fruit and veg market was transferred to Vauxhall in 1973, and the empty buildings stayed as they were for a few years until the market we know today was opened with all the jugglers, mimes, dancers, fire-eaters and operatics etc.
Today Covent Garden is part tourist trap and part shopping arcade. It's really not my favourite London market as it is just too expensive and full of *chains* and arty crafty stalls rather than real bargains. There's loads of places to sit and eat or just have coffee and watch the street theatre around you!
Don't forget to check the website below for all the other (more authentic!) London markets!
What to buy: Hand made items - jewellery, scarves, toys, paintings, wood carvings etc etc.
What to pay: It varies. It's expensive though.
This is a wonderful little place where I have found many bargains in outdoor gear over the years. I think it works on the principle of selling off remaindered gear from larger shops cheaply. There is no doubt that all the big name brands for are represented - Berghaus, Karrimor, Lowe Alpine, North Face, Vango etc. etc. There is a good selection of clothing, sleeping bags, footwear, accessories etc. The staff, most of whom seem to be antipodean backpackers themselves, are friendly and knowledgeable. Worth a visit for a bargain.
What to buy: Anything related to outsoor pursuits.
What to pay: Cheaper than the "name" shops in the same area.