Christmas Shopping in Central London
London boasts plenty of shops and designer boutiques lining some of the finest shopping streets in the world. You won’t have time to visit them all, so hopefully our guide can give you an idea of the best places to indulge in some retail therapy and make the most of your shopping trip to London.
Shopping District of Central London
If you can’t find it here you won’t find it anywhere. The main shopping areas of Central London are found in the West End. This area includes Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Covent Garden.
Oxford Street is definitely the main shopping street of the whole city and is an excellent starting point. Many chain stores host their flagship shop on this street such as Selfridges, the UK’s 2nd largest department store; John Lewis, the UK’s 3rd largest department store; and others such as Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Zavvi, House of Fraser, Topshop and Primark.
Half way down Oxford Street, it’s intersected by Regent Street and this area is called Oxford Circus. The shops found here include Nike Town, H&M, Topshop/Topman, United Colors of Benetton and Miss Selfridge.
Regent Street stretches from Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus. On this street you can visit Hamley’s which has 6 storeys of toy store! Formerly the worlds biggest toy store, this is definitely the place to pick up that must have toy for your little loved ones. Another shop found on Regent Street is the London Apple Store, which is the largest one in the world.
At Piccadilly Circus there’s another Zavvi store on the site where there used to be Tower Records.
Bond Street runs parallel, and to the west, of Regent Street. Here you will find some of the world’s most luxurious designer stores such as Cartier, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Versace.
Located away from the West End, and situated in Knightsbridge, is Harrods located on Brompton street. It’s the second biggest shopping store in the world after Macy’s in New York. Harrods occupies a site of 18,000 m2 and contains over 300 departments! Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique – All Things for All People.
Also located in Knightsbridge you can find Harvey Nichols, which caters for a younger crowd, although its designer gear tends to be more expensive.
Other shops found on Sloane Street, around the corner from Knightsbridge, include Christian Dior, Chanel, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Alberta Ferretti, Nicole Fahri and Katharine Hamnett.
Kensington High Street in the main shopping street of Kensington and is essentially a smaller and less crowded version of Oxford Street. Located on this street you can fins such shops as Karen Millen, Monsoon, Gap, H&M, Ann Summers, Laura Ashey and a few others.
Getting to the Shopping Districts of Central London
If you’re driving in from Heathrow Airport then it’s a simple matter of heading out of the airport and onto the M4. Follow it directly into the heart of the city, as it becomes the A4, turn left at Piccadilly Circus and you will be driving up Regent Street, with access to all the West End Shopping Streets. This route will also take you directly through Knightsbridge, so no need for any turn offs.
For Kensington, you’ll need to turn left onto Warwick Road after you have past through Hammersmith and then right onto Kensington High Street.
Parking in the Shopping Districts of Central London
For general parking information you can find that information in our London Traffic Blog. But more specifically, for the above shopping streets, there are a number of car parks you can avail of. Parking on the streets on Sundays is free, but if you’re staying overnight be sure to move your car before the wardens are out at around 7.30am.
For the West End, you’ll find the Oxford Street Car Park located just off the street in Cavendish Square. Parking costs £5 for the first hour and is £32 for a 24-hour period. To the north of this there’s Harley Car Park on Queen Anne Mews, where parking is £5 for the first hour and is £30 for a 24-hour period.
There’s also Soho Car Park, on Poland Street which branches off Oxford Street. Parking costs £5.50 for the first hour and is £36 for a 24-hour period, though there’s also a £14 over night option (enter after 6pm and leave before 9am).
For Knightsbridge and Kensington, you’ll find the Knightsbridge Car Park on Kinnerton Street. It’s just south of Knightsbridge Street and can be accessed from Sloane Road. Parking costs £3.50 for the first hour and is £33 for a 24-hour period.
If you’re arriving at Heathrow Airport and need a car to hit the shops of Central London, check out our car hire Heathrow Airport page. The shopping options in Heathrow aren’t too bad either and you can read more about them here.
So if you have any questions or suggestions about how to avoid the worst of the hassles in the city why not leave your message in the comment box below.