Department stores, London
No matter what you are looking for, I am sure that John Lewis will have it for you. In the basement you can buy your kithcen stuff from stove to teaspoon.
What to buy: The best thing I bought there was the lining for your baking dishes. This teflon coated liner ensures that your dishes does not get burned and helps with easy cleaning.
Most people who live in North London never think of traveling to Oxford Street, Bond Street or Knightsbridge. Brent Cross shopping centre has everything they need right on the doorstep.
Two huge department stores (John Lewis, Fenwicks), plus loads of smaller ones. You will find all the brands you seek.
To be honest, the only part of Fortnum & Mason that I have been in is the food hall, it pales in comparison with the elaborate ornate food hall at Harrod's but it's worth a stop should you find yourself in the area, even if just to browse. There's another section downstairs and you can also have afternoon tea here.
Open since 1707, Fortnum & Mason is high end shopping.
The name of this chain of stores stands for French Connection UK. It created a furor when they tried to open a store in the US with that name. I'm not sure if they deliberately picked that name in order to rile up people's sensibilities or not. I suspect they did, otherwise, why not change it in the UK to F.C.G.B. or in the US to F.C.U.S.? Of course that wouldn't be as controversial.
I have never shopped there.
What to buy: They apparently carry clothing, watches, toiletries, shoes, housewares and the like.
One of the grand old department stores of London, Selfridges was established in 1909 by Gordon Selfridge, an American immigrant from Wisconsin. Although ownership of the store has changed several times since, and its fortunes waxed and waned since the Second World War, Selfridges is now firmly established as one of the premier department stores in London. It sells everything from womenswear to household items, and has an army of personal shoppers if you find shopping too tedious to do yourself! There are also several cafes and restaurants inside the store if you need nourishment during your shopping spree.
What to buy: Major strength probably is womenswear, though they sell (almost) anything.
What to pay: Varies - not cheap!
As far as a typically English department store goes, this department store wins hands down I feel. It has long been my favourite shop to browse around and buy those special items now and again.
I worked a block away from it for nearly 4 years, and was a frequent shopper here.
I love the old-style architecture and staircase, doors and decor. It is currently being refurbished, not to modernise it.. but keeping the typical look, just making it better. They have included a round staircase in the middle of the food court, taking you down to another food court below.
The floors above have clothing, bath essentials, games, crockery
What to buy: I have bought all kinds of things here, from salt and pepper shakers to lovely easter eggs, to various types of mustard and jams. My favourite jam is their brand of strawberry jam and champagne.
It is delicious!
They always have different things to high street chains, which I love.
I love their coffee and tea selection too. They have an exquisite chocolate counter too... but I havent bought anything here ever, watching the waistline!
I have bought quite a few Christmas decorations and items here too. Spending that little bit extra is worth it, as I have reused these items again and again.
They have mens and womens sections... and a baby clothes section too. It is all upmarket in nature (and price!).
What to pay: This is an expensive shop to shop at. I think the one thing that absolutely shocked me were the Christmas cards... some were (for one!!!) £108.00. Yes, you read that correctly! Very fancy and ornate.
I think I should start making greteing cards for them ;)
They say they are a toy shop that rivals Hamleys... hmmm.. of this I am not convinced, as I am a HUGE fan of hamley's.
But they do have a lot of toys!
It is child friendly and I enjoy looking here.
They have chain stores all over.
What to buy: Any kind of toy in any shape or form practically.
From arts and crafts for the kids, to action figures to dolls to train sets. They have a good variety of toys that cater for all ages... even adults ;)
You can get dressing up outfits here (and here they do rival and beat Hamley;s whose dressing up section isn't that great in my opinion), all kinds of novelty items too.
What to pay: They have some good deals at times. Go during the sales! When they are clearning stock... BIG bargains!
I have to admit when I first entered this store, my jaw nearly dropped to the ground!
The Kingston branch is MASSIVE!!! Other branches are generally rather large too.
Large, clean, clear, with tons of space. It appeals to young and old alike, and caters for men and women. They have various sections, solely geared toward one thing.
It is multi-levelled and has lifts and escalators between the floors, and has good wheelchair and buggy access.
We were after childrens tables and chairs, so headed for the nursery and kiddies section.
A very enjoyable shopping experience!
What to buy: You can buy practically anything in the giftware and homeware category here.
From cushions to frames to boots to tights to stationery to audio to sports equipment to linen.. it is all here.
They have a comprehensive online website too, which is easy to navigate and is quite substantial.
What to pay: It is an expensive shop as they only deal with quality, but they do have good sales! They are a chain stor, an upmarket one, and you get good quality throughout. A dependable store to be found in many High Streets.
London has a number of famous department stores, and Liberty is one of them. Frequently under-estimated compared to its rivals, Liberty occupies two attractive buildings on Regent Street. It sells most things, but is particularly strong in fabrics and clothing.
What to buy: Things to wear.
What to pay: On the expensive side, of course.
I am not much of a shopper. A crime some would say, when working in Piccadilly Circus, with all that temptation around!
But there is something you can do and enjoy, without actually going inside the shop and meeting the crowds...
You can window shop!
My personal favourite high street windows are Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly Street, and Harrods and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. Sloan Square and Street has some fine window displays too, as does Chelsea high street.
What to buy: Anything really.. from fancy furniture and fire places and chandeliers... to boutique-type or funky clothing.
This is one of the big department stores on Oxford Street.
London isn't just about clothes shopping. Consumer durables are available in abundance.
John Lewis has probably the best choice of televisions.
Toshiba 26WLT66 (16:9 26 inch LCD digital, made in UK) £649 (includes 5-year guarantee).
Toshiba 32WLT66 (16:9 32 inch LCD digital, made in UK) £795 (including 5-year guarantee).
...Prices correct at Dec.12th, 2006.
What to buy: Central London's main shopping area is the 'West End'.
Oxford Street has most of the 'chain stores', discount clothing stores & some department stores, e.g. Selfridges & Debenhams.
Regent Street is slightly more exclusive (e.g Dickins & Jones department store).
Piccadilly has smaller/esoteric/more unusual shops.
Bond Street has top-notch shops like Chanel.
Tottenham Court Road & Edgware Road has specialist electrical/computer/photography shops.
Harvey Nichols is a department store in High Street, Kensington, on the western fringe of the west end, southwest of Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens (High Street Kensington tube).
Harrods is an upmarket department store in Knightsbridge, south of Hyde Park (Knightsbridge Tube Station).
This lovely department store dates to 1875. It's definitely worth a stroll through, even if you don't buy anything. Old wood fixtures and an elegant feel make it a nice, quick browse, and the Tudor architecture is beautiful!
Think Lacoste. Think alligator logo. Think La Societe Chemin Lacoste. Think 1933 when the well known French tennis player Rene Lacoste started his line in tennis shirts. For 18 years they were white until the American market beckoned.
In 1952 he partnered David Crystal who was the owner of both Izod and Haymaker and thus launched the brand Izod Lacoste.
In 1959 they moved into children's shoes and other casual styles followed.
The first of their tennis shoe lines came out in 1985, just 8 years before the two companies parted forever.
It took until 1996 before Lacoste on its own was re-introduced into the U.S.A.
What to buy: The Lacoste brand is associated with everything from fragrances to French wine, quite apart from its clothing and footwear lines.
John Lewis is a huge several story department store that has just about everything you'd need for home. The store also has a great stationary section and just every floor it's just nice to look around to see the wide selection for just about anything under the sun from patio furniture to TVs.
What to buy: Home Furnishings
What to pay: Depends, but reasonable prices for items for the home, stationary, electronics, clothing, kitchen appliances, etc.
Oxford Street is a good place to have a look at several department stores and the many varied places to buy clothes, electronics etc. Start your walk at Marble Arch Tube station if you're ambitious (or Bond St. station if you're not so fit) and end at Oxford Circus. The Oxford Street flagship (at Marble Arch) of the private-label department store Marks & Spencer, Marks & Sparks to the locals, is worth visiting for quality goods. Further up is the flashy Selfridges with most off the designer lables. FCUK and others also have outlets on Oxford st.
There's also plenty of sports gear at the Adiadas shop and Nike Town at Oxford Circus - don't bother to go the the other sports stores as they don't carry the same range of sizes etc.
What to buy: There is a full range of items to buy. Plenty of cafes are about including several in Selfridges, so take your time. There are a couple of good English Pubs around Oxford Circus for reviewing what you have ended up purchasing.