After visting the museums in Kensington I always visit Harrods. It is only a 10 minutes' walk or so from the museums.
Harrod is by far the world's most famous department store and the biggest store in England. I love just popping in, wandering around the luxurious food-halls and buy a small item - it is rather expensive in there, to say the least. It has over 330 departments, including of course all the black-label names, and rooms with different names.
On the groundfloor is The room of luxury, The White hall, The Black hall, The Egyptian hall, three very luxurious food-halls, a souvenir shop and the very ornate Egyptian escalator - even the bathrooms are full of luxury. Harrods has got 7 floors, but the ground-floor is the most fun visiting, I think.
The store in this magnificent bulding opened in 1905 (the first store opened in 1849), but Mohamed-Al-Fayed owned the store for 25 years and his name was kind of integrated with Harrods. He sold the store in May 2010 to Quatar Holdings.
No trip to London would be complete without a visit to Harrods, the largest shop in Europe with 330 departments and over 1 million feet of selling space. I have not put this in the shopping tips as when i visited the other day the store was crowded with tourists, most of whom were not purchasing.
The store motto is omnia omnibus ubique, everything for everybody,everywhere, and if you wander around you will se items from all over the world at exorbitant prices.
Charles Henry Harrod founded the business in Southwark back in 1824 when he was 25 years old, and had several different outlets selling different products throughout London, but in 1951 he took over a small shop in its current location. Unfortunately the store burnt down in 1883, but he built a new building and in 1898 installed England's first escalator.
My interest was in the food hall where food is imported from all corners of the globe as shown in the attached photographs.
How could one go to London and not visit the famous Harrod's!
While the items are quite expensive, it is a great place to visit nonetheless. The staff are quite friendly and very willing to answer your questions.
I purchased two items there: (1) Fine Indian (Cyelon I believe) tea and (2) multi-pack of English tea.
the best and certainly the most well known department store in the world, Harrods occupies a whole city block. Was opened in 1849
The stores motto is omnia omnibus ubique - everything for everyone everywhere. Dont miss the food hall with its mouthwatering display of fresh produce.
Take a look at this architecture and interior!
Monday to Saturday 10am to 7pm
Sunday 12 noon to 6pm
SELECTED FOOD HALLS OPEN
Saturday 8am to 9pm
Sunday 12 noon to 6pm
Mohamed al-Fayed has created a memorial
to Princess Diana and his son Dodi, who died
in the 1997 Paris car crash with Diana, at the
Harrods department store in London.
September 1, 2005, it was announced that
Harrods has unveiled a bronze statue to pay tribute
to Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, eight years after
the pair were killed in a Paris car crash.
The statue of Diana and Dodi Fayed is titled
"Innocent Victims" ....
If you like architecture as I do, you will appreciate the interior of the food court at Harrod's. The ceiling of the food court is quite interesting with a square shaped dome with tiled intricate motifs of leaves, birds and trees.
Through out the food court you will see sculptures of peacocks as well as a few allegorical fountains. There are some really nice iron works as well.
If you happen to live in the Knightsbridge area then Harrods is a useful little place to stock up on life essentials - pate de foie gras, Beluga Caviar, etc.
Seriously though, Harrods is on may people's 'must see' list, and it is an impressive store. I remember an episode of the 'Good life' comedy on the BBC when Margo is asked how she will celebrate Christmas. She replied "Oh, we order it from Harrods and a little man brings in round in a van". That kind of sums up the place it has among a certain section of society,
Within the store itself the Food halls are perhaps the most impressive sections with their hanging hames, game, seafood waterfalls and the like.
The Egyptian rooms on the ground floor perhaps remind me more of the type of themeing you would get in an American Theme park, but the hundred of thousands Alfayed spent on them in homage to his homeland provide an impressive backdrop to the business of selling stuff.
Meanwhile, upstairs you will find the much quieter departments where the 'old money' spends its dosh - such as the schoolwear outfitters and a sports department that features polo sticks.
You will also find, on a more poiniant note, a memorial to Alfayed son Dodi and Princess Diana at the base of the Egyptian escalators.
Harrods is the worlds most famous department store as is located in Knightsbridge. Its owned by the Egyptian Business man Mohamad AlFayed, whom i have met on a few occasions.
Whenever i am in London i like to go to Harrods to have a little look around and some of the most phenominally expensive things that can be bought.
I always end my harrods pilgrimage in the sweets shop to by a 50 p chocolate. I only do this so i can get one of the expesive bags they give out.
Harrods is truly a place to behold. It is just massive. I think Macy's NYC may be bigger, but HArrod's is by far more exquisite, and truly a destination. My favorite part was downstairs. I could not believe the food that was available. Unfortunately we went on our last day, so I could only stay for an hour, I could have stayed for an entire day!!! If you are a foodie, you must go!
Well, Harrod's does not need any comment... The place where you can find everything 'from a pin to an elephant' (I hope not anymore) displayed a fantastic series of fairy tales theme windows for Xmas. We did not get in though, preferring to taste London's open air atmosphere.
Harrod's is one of the most famous department stores in the world. It built its reputation on amazing service and the ability to supply anything humanly possible. It is a great site to see at night all lit up with its 11,500 lights.
The store has its roots dating back to 1849, when Henry Charles Harrod opened a grocery store nearby. He later expanded to other things with his philosophy of good service and quality.
I would avoid the crowds inside unless you really really want to go shopping, but the lobbies with Egyptian artifacts are interesting.
Even if you don't want to, you may eventually find yourself gravitating towards Harrods. If this is the case, grab hold of something solid and try to prevent yourself from taking this evil step.
Harrods is nothing more than a very large department store full of overpriced goods and sweaty tourists pushing each other from floor to floor in search of the toilets.
There is a memorial for Princess Diana inside, but I can assure you that it is nothing to visit. It is of questionable taste (being inside a department store) and you will be disappointed.
If you have to go into Harrods in search of a Harrods souvenir for someone back home, then try to go first thing in the morning. Once the tourist crowds invade the place, you'll want to flee. Even in October there seemed to be packs of people inside Harrods... imagine what the summer must be like...
Even if one doesn't buy anything here, one should visit Harrods. It is quite possibly the ultimate department store, and it's rare to see a department store that is in itself a major tourist attraction. The decadent opulence of the shopping atmosphere and the decor are somethign else, and the crowds can be crazy. Be careful not to get separated! You may never see each other again. Thankfully, there is a department for locating lost souls. Don't miss the Egyptian Staircase or the grocery department.
One can buy all kinds of Harrods souvenirs, too, and in fact there are plenty of things that are not really that expensive, at least not more so than more up-scale department stores in the US. It is, in the end, simply a really fancy department store.
If you like food, of ANY kind, then you can't miss the Harrod's food hall. It's an institution and great place to grab a sandwich, people-watch, and buy a few goodies.
My favorite purchase? Chocolate, of course!
Gianduja to be exact. Boy do I love the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate!
See picture left. Notice how I'm just barely out the door and already eating! LOL
Take the Piccadilly Underground line to the Knightsbridge line. There are two exits in the station - when Harrods is open you can take the exit which lets out directly next to the huge store. However, we were visiting on Sunday, when the store is closed. Let me just say that Sunday isn't the easiest day to visit the city - many things are closed. However, crowds do seem to be smaller.
The area around Harrod's is full of upscale shops. Some of them are open on Sundays, but most are not.
The store is interesting to see, even if it is closed. It's enormous and very impressive. If you do get the chance, see it at night when all of the hundreds of lights on the facade are lit up.