The mad shopping season of Christmas is upon us. As we venture out of our homes, we brave crowded streets and shopping centers in search of those items that will tell our friends and family how much we love them. London is a shopper’s paradise throughout the year, but things turn up a notch after Halloween ends. The Christmas decorations go up on the high streets, the displays land in department store windows, and the holiday villages pop up overnight on the streets and squares. To help you with your shopping this year, we’ve identified five of the best places for you to do your Christmas shopping in London. Let us know your own favorite shopping locations in the comments.
If you need toys for the little ones or children of all ages, Hamleys of London should be your destination. Hamleys is the city’s oldest toy store, having first opened in 1760, and today its location on Regent Street features seven floors full of over 50,000 toys. Beyond the popular toys of the season, Hamleys also features a large collection of Paddington Bears of all sizes and styles. Hamleys also regularly hosts in-store events, so be sure to check the store calendar for upcoming fun.
If you’re looking for a shopping experience that’s closer to what you’d find in America, Westfield Shopping Center is London’s take on the malls we’re used to visiting. Westfield has two locations (Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City), so you have the choice of whichever is more convenient. Both have dozens of stores, including International brands to luxury shops and everything in-between. Both stay open until 11 pm in the days up until Christmas, so there will be plenty of time for you to explore the shopping centers to find just the right gift.
Winter Wonderland Angel’s Christmas Market
Christmas markets set up all throughout London from Greenwich Market to Christmas by the River, but perhaps the best one to visit is the Angel’s Christmas Market that’s part of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. 2019 marks Winter Wonderland’s 13th year, and it’s full of lights, rides, food, and plenty of shopping opportunities at the 100+ wooden chalets throughout the park. Winter Wonderland stays open 10 am to 10 pm from November 22 through January 5 (except for the holidays themselves, of course), there are plenty of opportunities to experience this special place, though we recommend doing it at night for the full effect.
Arguably London’s most famous department store, Harrods has seven floors and over 300 departments that cater to practically every need. In fact, the store’s motto, “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” translates to “All things for all people, everywhere”, so there’s a good chance that they’ll have the exact item you want or know how to get it. Beyond what’s inside, the window displays are some of the finest Christmas decorations in London, and the 12,000 lightbulbs help it light up Knightsbridge for the holiday. The store also has its own special Christmas merchandise that make for unique gifts, including the Christmas Bear.
Oxford Street and Regent Street
While the high streets can get a little crazy during the holiday season, Oxford Street and Regent Street are not to be missed. Beyond the shopping experience that these two adjoining streets offer, they also have some of the best and most colorful Christmas decorations of anywhere in London. Oxford Street has brand new light curtains with over 220,000 bulbs, and Regent Street is graced by angels floating over the shoppers. Both also host elaborate lighting ceremonies in the middle of November when the shopping season officially starts, so be sure to check local calendars to find out when to go.