Wherever you go, stay, eat, and play in London, you are never far from a shopping opportunity of some sort. From the iconic designer stores just around the corner from The Marble Arch London to the tourist boutiques overlooked by the hotels near Oxford Street London, to the market stalls and pop-ups situated around the outside of the city’s green spaces and central hubs, there is always somewhere to find a little treat or something new.
But when it comes to Christmas, it pays to be a little more in-the-know and smart about what you can find where, and how best to navigate the shops and markets available to you. Which is where this guide article comes in.
Browse this guide from the comfort of your luxury hotel room in London and use it as your introduction to the city at Christmas – sharing some of the best places to go for gifts, treats, and everything in between.
Shopping in London
Oxford Street is considered the central hub of London, not least because it is pretty much at the centre of the London underground map but because it is a central location from which you can travel pretty much anywhere in the city. Packed full of shops and brands across all retail industries, with shops separated by bars and restaurants, Oxford Street is a must for those who want to browse and coincide some tourist gifting with a few designer treats.
Oxford Street is directly connected to Carnaby Street and Regents Street which are also both popular shopping areas, and it is home to Selfridges which is one of the biggest shopping stores in London in size and name – and is a particularly extravagant place to visit at Christmas. If you haven’t already visited the Christmas floor in Selfridges, then add it to your must-see list immediately!
Bond Street is synonymous with luxury and with playing host to some of the finest designer brands in the world. Surrounded by stylish London hotels, special offers are aplenty around this area of London at Christmas as hotels seek to fill their rooms and create a festive buzz – not to mention if you stay close to Bond Street, you don’t have to carry your bags very far!
Why the title? Because there are actually two Westfield shopping centres in London, one of which is located in the West of the city while the other is over to the East in Stratford. Both present a multitude of different stores and brands under one roof, creating a convenient and enjoyable place from which to indulge in a little shopping even when the rain starts to pour.
What better way to immerse yourself in London at Christmas than in the setting of Covent Garden – an authentic and traditional London market hall structure which boasts live street performances all through the day and plays host to both affordable and high end brands within and around its structure. A great place to centre your day in London around, Covent Garden is within walking distance of many of the top hotels in the city and is just a short walk from the West End and the theatres and festive shows available to book and watch this Christmas.
For those who believe that Christmas is all about great food, there is no better place to go at Christmas than Eataly. Both an Italian market store and an experience in itself, Eataly is packed full of genuine Italian ingredients and treats and creates a very immersive atmosphere with its selection of bars and places to pick up a slice of focaccia or pizza while you browse. The exterior of the store is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations from November onwards, drawing you in and almost certainly making you miss the next train home from neighbouring London Liverpool Street station.
Christmas Markets in London
Time for something a little more exclusive and a little bit magical…
As much an attraction as it is a place to indulge in some retail therapy, Winter Wonderland is all about rides, food and drinks, and losing yourself in a little festive spirit. Located right on the edge of Hyde Park within walking distance of Oxford Street, Winter Wonderland is ideally located and is somewhere where you can enjoy a mulled wine while browsing the multitude of festive stalls and pop-ups supplied and managed by local and independent businesses.
Winter Wonderland is a ticketed event which is best booked in advance.
Christmas in Leicester Square
A free Christmas market that you can wander around at your leisure, the Christmas in Leicester Square event combines chalet-style market stalls with Christmas music and plenty of food and drink to get your in the mood.
Christmas along the Southbank
Located just South of the river by Waterloo Station, the festive array of pop-up market stalls and foodie vans may not offer the structure of a traditional Christmas market, but it is certainly a great place to go to indulge in a festive tipple or pick up a gift on the way to meet a friend. Combined with the permanent shops dotted at intervals along the Southbank, you can look across to the North of the river to enjoy the Christmas lights, while sipping on a hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Christmas in London
From chestnuts roasting, to mulled wine brewing, all of these experiences and more offer a great way to immerse yourself in the magic of Christmas in the city. Make sure to research in advance if you want to attend one of the ticketed markets, or simply head to your favourite shopping areas of the city to pick up gifts and start creating your own wish list for Santa.
And don’t forget to look up as you dash from shop to shop – London’s Christmas lights are always spectacular, and they’re always twinkling just waiting to be noticed.