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The annual Christmas shopping bonanza will see more than 40 million people visit London over the festive period. You’ll find world class independent stores, flagship big-name brands and Christmas lights, Christmas markets and other seasonal events going on in the capital – making it more than just a shopping opportunity. So get your lists together (check them twice) and read on for our guide to where to get your gifts this Christmas in London. Plan your Christmas shopping trip in London at some of the most festive spots in the capital, spot beautiful Christmas lights and window displays, all while picking up gifts on your list.
Breakfast in Covent Garden
Walk the cobbled streets to Covent Garden Piazza, where you will see one of London’s biggest Christmas trees, surrounded by immaculately decorated streets. Breakfast options range from the extravagant at Balthazar (or its own bakery), to the simpler Le Pain Quotidien on the main square. Once you’ve had your morning coffee, you can pick up the latest iPhone or other Apple goodies at the Apple Store, or find the best in British fashion at Barbour, Ben Sherman, Burberry Brit, Hackett, Jack Wills, Paul Smith, Ted Baker and lots more. Alternatively, grab a coffee and cinnamon bun from Fabrique at nearby Seven Dials, before exploring its seven bustling shopping streets, transformed into an enchanted forest of lights for Christmas.
Morning in Mayfair
Take a stroll through the West End and past Piccadilly Circus into upmarket Mayfair, where you will find high-end fashion, jewellery and iconic arcades. Turn into Bond Street for some serious window shopping at the likes of Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co; pick up festive chocolates at Prestat in the Princes Arcade; and walk the red carpet into Burlington Arcade for independent boutiques and to marvel at the towers of colourful macarons at French luxury baker Ladurée. South Molton Street always wows shoppers with its amazing Christmas decorations and lights.
Afternoon Tea along Piccadilly
While in Mayfair, it’s an absolute must to pop into the Queen’s grocer for a spot of food shopping, and maybe even a quick cup of tea. Fortnum & Mason is just across the road from Burlington Arcade and pulls out all the stops at Christmas, from the ever-beautiful window displays to the legendary Christmas puddings and hampers on sale. If you want to really treat yourself, book in for afternoon tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon to refuel in preparation for more retail therapy! Alternatively, head along Piccadilly to another London institution The Ritz, which hosts its luxurious afternoon tea in the light-filled Palm Court.
Buy your Christmas tree decorations at Harrods
Keep walking down Piccadilly, past Hyde Park, or jump back on the Tube for two stops to Knightsbridge, where you’ll make a beeline for the twinkling lights of Harrods. The world-famous department store is a must for Christmas shoppers. Tickets for Harrods’ wildly popular Christmas Grotto go on sale as early as September and often sell out straight away, but the Christmas shop is there for everyone to enjoy, with festive decorations galore, including Union Jack baubles, sumptuous stocking fillers and luxury crackers. The other 300-plus departments will have you covered for gift ideas, from accessories for your dog to sports equipment.
Oxford Street after the sun goes down
If your feet are not too sore and you don’t have too many bags to carry, take a walk through Hyde Park to Marble Arch, before swinging a right onto Oxford Street. This is where you can get the bulk of your shopping done, with everything from luxury brands and historic department stores to high street favourites represented here and along nearby Regent Street. Both are lit up with spectacular lights so make sure you go after dark to soak up the festive atmosphere. Some of the capital’s most iconic shops are located here, from Selfridges and Hamleys, to John Lewis and Liberty. If you want to get off the beaten track, check out the Christmas Lights at Carnaby.
Last-minute shopping at Westfield
Westfield London opens until 11pm on selected days in the run-up to Christmas and Westfield Stratford City just one hour earlier at 10pm, allowing for some late-night scrambling to find that special gift that has been eluding you all day. Both are a short Tube ride away, with Westfield London being the closer of the two to Oxford Street (just an 11-minute Tube ride away). With more than 100 restaurants between them, either shopping centre is a good place to finish an epic day of shopping with dinner and a well-earned drink. If you want to get active, Westfield London has a pop-up ice rink over the festive season.