Flex your credit card in preparation for a trip to London's best shops that vary from brilliant bookshops to fabulous furniture shops, fabric shops to shoe shops.
- An original Edwardian bookshop, Daunt Books has long oak galleries and arranges its books by country rather than alphabetically.
- A bibliophile’s paradise, Foyles’ flagship on Charing Cross Road has more than 200,000 books spread over five floors, with a stylish cafe at the top.
- Find travel books and maps at Stanfords' flagship Covent Garden store.
- Waterstone’s Piccadilly is Europe’s largest bookstore, with regular book signings and fabulous views from its 5th View Bar.
- Search for rare and exquisite books at Shapero Rare Books in Mayfair.
Fabulous fabric shops
- Beautiful department store Liberty is famous for its classic Liberty print dressmaking and furnishing fabrics.
- Love to knit and crochet? Loop in Islington’s Camden Passage has a huge range of hand-dyed natural fibre yarns.
- A magnet for fashion students and fashion designers, Crescent Trading in Spitalfields Market sells high-end fabrics at discount prices.
- As well as running sewing classes for all abilities, Ray-Stitch is chock-full of designer and organic fabrics for dressmaking, quilting, soft furnishings and craft.
- VV Rouleaux is a fabric shop that's stocked with ribbons, tassels and feathers, as well as wool, chenille and taffeta.
Sensational shoe shops
- Get your cool kicks adorned with the famous three stripes in the UK’s flagship Adidas store on Oxford Street. You can also find men’s and women’s sports performance clothing in the huge store.
- For shoes that stand out from the crowd, head to Irregular Choice, where you’ll find a raft of fun and quirky footwear, that feature everything from embellished heels to lavish fabrics.
- Discover the world’s largest shoe department at Selfridges, where 35,000 sq ft is dedicated to footwear, with more than 5,000 pairs of shoes from 120 high-street and designer brands.
- Popular with celebrities, Kurt Geiger’s Covent Garden flagship stocks a huge range of shoes, from stiletto heels to comfortable loafers.
- For trainers galore, head to Size? in Carnaby. No matter what style you're looking for, find your fresh footwear and some cool clothing to match.
Musical instrument shops
- The brilliantly-named Duke of Uke in Spitalfields sells ukuleles and banjos for all abilities.
- Open since 1972, Ray Man is an independent music shop specialising in traditional instruments from across the globe.
- The cavernous Piano Warehouse in Surbiton stocks new, secondhand and digital pianos. It also has pianos for rent.
- Go bonkers for brass at Phil Parker, a treasure-trove of trumpets, trombones and tubas.
- Folk and acoustic musical instrument specialists, Hobgoblin Music, sell everything from accordians to bagpipes, xylophones to zithers.
Marvellous music shops
- A huge distributor of vinyl, the hugely popular Fopp in Seven Dials also stocks specialist CDs, DVDs, books, blu-ray and headphones at low prices.
- Find the latest music, DVDs, blu-ray, technology and games releases at HMV in Westfield London.
- Famously featured on Oasis’ album cover (What’s The Story?) Morning Glory, Sister Ray has an eye-popping collection of records at its Berwick Street store.
- Rough Trade East offers a mix of vinyl releases, CDs, books and even cassette tapes. The store also homes a Monmouth Coffee bar and a stage for live music performances.
- Based in Notting Hill, old-school record shop Honest Jon’s has been selling soul, reggae, jazz and world music since 1974.
- Rummage for bargains at Absolute Vintage in East London, which stocks cheap vintage shoes, bags, dresses and men’s clothes.
- Beyond Retro in Brick Lane is stuffed full of handpicked vintage clothing, which makes it easier to find that perfect item.
- West London’s Rellik specialises in designer women’s clothes and accessories, including items by Vivienne Westwood and Pierre Cardin.
- House of Vintage is a small vintage boutique off Brick Lane that specialises in 1940s, 1950s and 1960s fashion, as well as catering to brides.
- Celebrities flock to One Of A Kind for its luxury vintage fashion selection, including Gaultier and Lagerfeld.
- London’s most famous toyshop, Hamleys in Regent Street, has seven floors of games, toys and gadgets.
- Established in 1856, the theatre-themed Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop is bursting with paper toy theatres, globe puppets and marionettes.
- The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾ features a magical range of collectibles, including wands and time turners, as well as board games and mugs.
- Feel the magic when you step inside the Disney Store on Oxford Street. This one’s great for kids and adults alike, with all your favourite characters in a fantastic range of products. Don’t miss the 267ft high Princess Castle with an animated clock.
- The only shop of its kind, the Sylvanian Families shop stocks more than 400 items, including discontinued lines.
- Get a caffeine hit at the ever-popular Monmouth Coffee Company, which sources, roasts and brews its own coffee. Find stores in Seven Dials, Borough and Bermondsey.
- Attendant is an old Victorian toilet turned espresso bar that serves up coffee from Caravan on Exmouth Market and uses milk from a Somerset farm.
- Just steps away from Oxford Circus, Kaffeine is an independent antipodean cafe that prides itself on its professionally-made espresso coffee.
- For top quality Ethiopian coffee, head to Ground Control near Angel.
- Shoreditch Grind is a funky espresso bar that serves up a fabulous mix of caffeine, cocktails and music.
Ice cream shops
- Enjoy a gourmet ice cream at Europe’s first-ever liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour, Chin Chin Labs.
- Gelupo Gelateria features a raft of exciting flavours, such as tiramisu, rhubarb custard, and gin and elderflower.
- Covent Garden’s Le Gelatiera uses 100% natural ingredients to make its gelato on-site every day. Quirky flavours include basil and chili; and porcini mushroom and chocolate cream.
- Marine Ices is a Camden institution, serving up scrumptious ice creams “made the Italian way”.
- Those with special dietary requirements are well catered for at Snowflake Gelato, which offers a great selection of gluten-free gelato and vegan alternatives.
- Find everything for the home, including furniture and gardening accessories, in Heal’s, an elegant shop on Tottenham Court Road.
- For stylish interiors, head to Habitat, where you’ll find funky lighting, furniture, crockery and more. There are five Habitat branches in London, including on Tottenham Court Road, Finchley Road and Westfield White City. Find the other two inside Sainsbury’s in Wandsworth and Nine Elms.
- Pick up Japanese-designed furniture alongside other items, ranging from tableware to technology, at Japan House London.
- Got cash to splash? The Conran Shop offers everything from iconic design classics to contemporary pieces from emerging designers.
- Peruse the latest trends in home décor at Zara Home in Westfield Stratford City.
Wedding dress shops
- Get the star treatment at The Mews Bridal in Notting Hill. Best for boho Parisian chic style, the shop offers an array of sought-after designs by big names in the industry, such as Delphine Manivet and Laure de Sagazan.
- Popular with celebrities, Mirror Mirror has a mix of couture dresses and designer items.
- Enjoy a glass of bubbles while choosing a frock at Pronovias.
- Angelica Bridal stocks gowns by some of the world’s best designers, including Alice Temperley and David Fielden.
- Shop for spectacular wedding dresses at David’s Bridal in Westfield Stratford City.
- Selling digital cameras, digital SLRs and lenses, Park Cameras is one of London’s largest independent professional photographic shops.
- Snap up cameras, equipment and accessories at Camera World.
- London Camera Exchange has an impressive array of new and second-hand cameras, lenses and photographic equipment.
- Love Nikon cameras? Grays of Westminster is a Nikon-only shop selling new and used cameras and equipment.
- For budding and professional photographers, Wex Photographic boasts an enormous range of photographic equipment, from cameras and lenses to studio lighting and video.
- Be wowed by intricately beaded and embroidered dresses at Temperley London, featuring creations by star designer Alice Temperley.
- For this season’s must-have dresses, visit Topshop’s huge Oxford Circus flagship.
- Help the environment by finding a completely unique frock at TRAID, which transforms cast offs into high quality clothes. There are 11 branches across the capital.
- Shop for party dresses at Lipsy London, which has branches in both Westfield shopping centres.
- Splash out on a voluminous dress at the Vivienne Westwood flagship store in Mayfair.
- Do your bit for charity by purchasing a designer fashion item at Mary’s Living and Giving Shops for Save the Children. Set up by retail expert Mary Portas, these charity shops are filled with designer donations. There are several branches across the capital.
- Label lovers should hotfoot it to Cancer Research UK’s branch on Marylebone High Street for bargains aplenty.
- Rummage for high-end clothing at the Oxfam Boutique King’s Road, donated by wealthy Chelsea residents.
- Find two floors of second-hand fashion at The Salvation Army Trading Company, just off Oxford Street.
- As its name suggests, Oxfam Books and Music sells second-hand books, CDs and cassette tapes.
- Selfridges is one of the world’s finest department stores, featuring 10 acres of shopping space spread across six floors, and 11 places to eat. It even features the world’s biggest-ever denim department and a three-screen cinema.
- Boasting the finest products in food, fashion, homeware and technology, Harrods is home to a whopping 330 departments and 27 restaurants.
- The official grocer to the Queen, Fortnum & Mason is renowned for being a purveyor of fine foods, hampers, teas and wine.
- Explore high-end accessories, homewares, fashion and beauty over six floors of Liberty London’s mock-Tudor building.
- Fashionistas flock to Harvey Nichols for its high-end labels, including D&G, Space NK, Burberry and Jimmy Choo.
- Selling everything from buttons to beds, John Lewis’ Oxford Street store has a fabulous roof garden that opens during the summer months with pop-up restaurants and weekly yoga sessions.
- Brixton Cycles encompasses a bicycle shop, workshop and a wheely good cafe that serves up cakes, croissants and amazing coffee for when you need to refuel after a gruelling day on two wheels.
- A Recumbent retailer, Bikefix also stocks folding bikes, city bikes and trailers, as well as homing a workshop offering same-day repairs.
- Cyclists are well catered for at the Sheen-based Pearson’s, which has a shop, an al fresco coffee shop, a workshop and an in-house physio and sports therapy centre. If you’re buying a new bike, the store offers a three-hour bike fitting service which analyses your posture to help you find the perfect bicycle.
- Billing itself as a “bike shop cafe bar”, London Velo sells fixed gear, road bikes, hybrid bikes, folding bikes and much more, alongside a workshop and cafe.
- Brick Lane Bikes is a workshop and shop selling vintage and custom-built models.
- The Family Business in Exmouth Market is world renowned for its ink work.
- Great for oriental and tribal tattoos, Kate Moss and Boy George have both been inked at Good Times tattoo parlour, based in a fashionable studio in hip Shoreditch.
- The Sex Pistols and Pete Doherty have frequented Diamond Jacks, a Soho-based tattoo studio.
- There’s always a waiting list for the ever-popular New Wave Tattoo in leafy Muswell Hill.
- World-famous tattoo artists often make a guest appearance at Frith Street Tattoo in the heart of Soho.
- Luxury cake shop chain Konditor is famous for its chocolate vanilla Curly Wurly cake, brownie bar and creamy cupcakes.
- Bea’s of Bloomsbury has scooped numerous accolades for its scrumptious cakes and afternoon teas.
- American-style bakery The Hummingbird Bakery offers whoopie pies, layer cakes, brownies, muffins and more.
- Treat yourself to beautifully decorated cakes in equally pretty surroundings at Peggy Porchen's Parlour.
- Head to Cutter & Squidge for its speciality Biskie, that combines a biscuit, cake and cookie to create a taste sensation. The Soho cake shop also sells dream cakes, ice cream sundaes and vegetarian marshmallows.
Men’s clothing shops
- Paul Smith is the godfather of British menswear. Head to his Covent Garden flagship for a wide range of casual and formal pieces.
- Follow in the footsteps of celebrities, such as Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch, by buying a bespoke suit at Alexander McQueen’s only full menswear shop, located on Savile Row.
- Find the latest high-street fashion trends at the Topman flagship on Oxford Circus.
- Iconic British brand Marks & Spencer is the go-to shop for classic items, such as smart suits and cashmere jumpers.
- For edgy, Shoreditch-style clobber, visit pop-up mall Boxpark.
- An art store for more than 115 years, Cass Art is the UK’s leading arts material supplier and can be found behind the National Gallery.
- The Paperchase flagship on Tottenham Court Road has an abundance of arts and crafts materials.
- Popular with hobbyists and professionals, Atlantis Art Materials offers a huge range of art materials for printmaking, modelling, fine craft and more.
- In London’s trendy East End, AP Fitzpatrick Fine Art Materials supplies top quality art materials to everyone from students to Turner Prize winners.
- The Southbank Art Company offers a bespoke framing service as well as paints, brushes, paper, canvases and more.