London: A Guide To Retail Therapy

By Kirsty Allen.

London has always been a daunting location. Even Paris, with its winding streets and typical maze like structure does not intimidate me in the way London does. Maybe it’s the height of the buildings, maybe it’s the disconcerting déjà vu of a familiar Starbucks or Bella Italia on every corner, or maybe I’m just not used to London as at heart I’m a country girl. Either way, when you find yourself in Brixton at 2AM after a rock gig and the homeless guy at the bus stop is threatening to stab you for loose change, you can understand why it can be daunting.

Last Christmas, when I was previously in London putting on my art exhibition at the Oxo Tower in Southbank, the experience was somewhat non plus, non eventful. I saw friends, family and had several glasses of free wine in the derelict, culture full building, eating pizza at nearly midnight with friends I hadn’t seen since college. The whole atmosphere had me feeling excited and ready for Christmas.

I could put it down to location. Southbank is the quirky, arty area of London, whereas Brixton is the center for edgy music and seeming crack dens. Either way London is a place I would recommend visiting for the memorable experiences gained.

In just seven days I’m travelling the two hours to London for some much needed retail therapy with my friend Lucy and it got me thinking where best to visit, to make the most of my shopping trip. I thought, dear reader, I would share these ideas with you.

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Camden

Home to many independent stalls in the market, I always see Camden as a very tourist-y location. Sure, it has Cyberdog and plenty of shops to encourage a wild and eccentric wardrobe, but to me, it reminds of being abroad, visiting bustling and energetic street markets where each stall is selling a slight variation on the previous. This is a great place to visit if you are after a cheaper range of clothing.

Oxford Street

This is your main shopping street. Home to H&M, Zara & Selfridges, expect busy streets and reasonably priced clothing. If you’re new to England and are looking to be immersed into a London lifestyle then here is the place to visit.

Bond Street/ Mayfair

At the upper end of the spectrum we have Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Expensive and a must-see for luxury items. Although, expect to be followed around Louis Vuitton by beady-eyed, paranoid security guards.

Westfield

This shopping center is a condensed version of Oxford Street. Bustling with energy, expect the masses, especially at weekends.

King’s Road

This is where I know I will spend the majority of my hard earned cash as Habitat is here! With a new house that is dying to be decorated the allure of fresh, designer ranges might prove to be irresistible. Although, somehow I don’t think I’ll be able to fit a new bed in the back of Lucy’s car.

As soon as our shopping trip is done we hope to finish the evening with a cocktail or two at The Shard, overlooking the ignited London skyline as the sun dips into the horizon.

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