Tick off all those must-buy items on your list during a spot of festive shopping in London at Christmas.
In the run-up to Christmas, the capital's top shopping destinations are as crammed full of festive gifts as Santa's sack, and its twinkling Christmas lights and picture-pretty window displays add a touch of magic.
Flash the plastic at iconic Christmas shopping London hotspots such as Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, seek out heritage brands in Carnaby, beauty boutiques in Covent Garden, bespoke fashion in St James's and ultimate luxury in Mayfair. Or shop under one roof at one of Westfield's two huge malls. You can also pick up stocking fillers and last-minute gifts at the many London Christmas markets.
Shops in these areas have plenty of coronavirus safety features in place to ensure your safety, including one-way systems, hand sanitising stations and restricted entry. Check the latest government guidelines before your London Christmas shopping trip.
Covent Garden and Seven Dials
Wander through Seven Dials, a kaleidoscope of heritage brands, boutiques and beauty stores scattered across seven cobbled streets. Hunt for the latest arrivals at Nudie Jeans and Club Monaco or shop for fresh takes on classic cuts at Farah.
A short stroll away, you can discover Covent Garden’s famous 19th-century Piazza. This is where you’ll find one of London’s biggest and best Christmas trees, magical mistletoe chandeliers and Instagrammable decorations.
Check out an equally dazzling array of designer brands, including British style from Hackett, the iconic check at Burberry and must-have bags at Mulberry. For all things beauty-licious head to Covent Garden’s Beauty Quarter, an ultimate beauty heaven home to iconic brands including skincare pioneer Deciem, bespoke fragrances from Jo Malone and the flagship Charlotte Tilbury store.
Oxford Street and Regent Street
Shoppers flock to these two famous streets all year round, but during the winter months they are lit up with spectacular Christmas lights.
Fill your Instagram feed with snaps of the famous Christmas window displays at Selfridges on Oxford Street, or venture to nearby department stores Debenhams and John Lewis for even more gift choices – make sure to check out John Lewis’ winter-themed rooftop bar while there.
Or re-enact Oasis' (What's the Story) Morning Glory? album cover with a stroll down historic Berwick Street, the place to buy for music fans. Sister Ray and Reckless Records are among the many cool and quirky shops.
The 14 pedestrianised streets that make up Carnaby are perfect for treats for that super-cool friend or family member who already has everything.
Carnaby Street is one of London’s trendiest shopping destinations, lined with independent fashion boutiques and cutting-edge brands, including Diesel, Sweaty Betty and the quintessentially British Fred Perry. Or treat your loved ones to a rockin' Christmas with items from the Rolling Stones' first flagship store, RS No.9 Carnaby.
You'll not be able to miss the famous Christmas lights, which sparkle above the London shopping street and are themed each year.
Mayfair and St James's
No Christmas shopping excursion in London is complete without paying a visit to Fortnum & Mason, the Queen's grocer. Leave plenty of time to discover the delights of the food hall, with Christmas puddings, mince pies, chocolates and Christmas hampers fit for royalty.
If you’re on the lookout for gents' gifts, make your way to Jermyn Street in St James’s. Bag a bespoke hat from Bates, stock up on colourfully patterned socks from New & Lingwood or treat them like royalty with scents fit for royalty at Floris.
Chelsea and Belgravia
Join the well-heeled Chelsea set and shop in luxury stores along the King's Road, stocked with the latest London winter trends.
You'll find an eclectic mix of trendy boutiques, unique labels, designer shops and high-street staples, alongside many trendy cafes and restaurants.
Stop off at Sloane Square to explore the long-running Peter Jones department store and be sure to also check out nearby Duke of York Square. Located just off the King's Road, this tranquil square is decked out with festive lights for Christmas.
Neighbouring Belgravia has plenty of upscale options of its own. Pick up artisan-made fragrances at Elizabeth Street's pretty Les Senteurs, try on the trademark red soles of Christian Louboutin on Motcomb Street, or hunt down treasures from emerging designers at 50m in Eccleston Yards.
Coal Drops Yard
Around the corner from Granary Square in King's Cross, Coal Drops Yard mixes big brands with emerging craftspeople and designers, and is a great place to find elusive gifts for those who are hard to shop for.
Green-fingered friends will love indoor plants from the Botanical Boys, chocoholics will thank you for tasty treats from Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse while trendy teens are catered for at Universal Works and American Vintage.
There are plenty of cosy cafes and restaurants to warm up in, between shopping sprees, at this new shopping destination that was once a Victorian rail yard.
Head to Knightsbridge as darkness falls to see world-famous department store Harrods sparkling with more than 12,000 lightbulbs.
Explore the store's giant Christmas shop, filled with luxury decorations, posh crackers and ornaments from top designers. You can also hunt for presents for family and friends in the 300-plus departments on the other floors.
And if that isn’t enough, the lavish department store Harvey Nichols is just a few steps away with a fantastic selection of fashion, homewares and Christmas hampers.
Late-night and last-minute shoppers can breathe a sigh of relief – both shopping hubs are usually open until 11pm in the run-up to Christmas.
Whether you’re buying for parents, grandparents or your best friend’s dog, there’s everything from high-street stalwarts to luxury brands including House of CB, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, as well as a mouthwatering selection of restaurants to refuel in.
City of London
Tick off items from your list at One New Change shopping centre, in the heart of The City. Find stocking-sized gifts at Hotel Chocolat and Dermalogica, stylish footwear at Dune or alternative accessories at All Saints. Make sure to take the lift up to the rooftop terrace for epic views.
If you want an extra touch of magic in the build-up to Christmas, seek out Leadenhall Market, the filming location for Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter film. It's home to small-scale and independent traders selling everything from watches to wine, with some big-name brands too such as Barbour and Diptyque.
Find one-of-a-kind gifts in Connaught Village, an exclusive shopping district just a short stroll from Oxford Street.
This hidden gem is full of picture-perfect shops selling unique wares, such as vintage books, antique jewellery and exquisite pieces of art – not forgetting Instagrammable cafes such as Saint Aymes. Bid for something unique at auction house Lyon & Turnbull, find luxury shoes at Lucy Choi, or trawl through pre-owned designer items at The Dresser.
Seeking something (very) different? Lay your hands on some unique, personalised presents only found in Camden. Gift a message in a necklace (on a grain of rice, in fact) from Trinity Camden or modern, striking home decor from Photo Typewriter.
Enjoy late-night shopping at Camden Market on select days the week before Christmas, just in time for you to grab unforgettable gifts for that special someone.
Many of London’s outlet centres are home to high-street and high-end brands which sell heavily discounted goods, so they’re the place to spoil your loved ones with fancy treasures for less. Make sure to also keep an eye out for Christmas events, offers and decorations over the festive seasons.
Find something unique at one of London’s many Christmas markets, from one-off pieces to handmade jewellery and beautiful arts and crafts – these are havens for even the most disorganised, last-minute shoppers.
Christmas markets in London include handmade gifts, stocking fillers and seasonal foodie treats. Head to the Winter Market at Southbank Centre for riverside views, Christmas in Leicester Square for shows between shopping sprees or Christmas by the River at London Bridge City, where you can shop against the iconic backdrop of Tower Bridge.
Away from central London, flock to Greenwich Market which is given a festive makeover with fashion, crafts and food stalls. Or visit Kingston's Ancient Market Place which turns into an Alpine Village featuring stalls crammed with stocking fillers and unique gifts.
More Christmas ideas
If you're not able to make it to London for Christmas shopping this year, buy London gift vouchers or treat friends and family to luxury Christmas gifts and experiences in London to use in the future.
Find more things to do in London this Christmas with our 101 top festive tips. If you're after more seasonal shopping inspiration, check out our tips for the winter sales, many of which start before Christmas.