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London Shopping Self Guided Walk

Stage 2 Leicester Square China Town To Knightsbridge & Harrods

Oxford Street Chain Store London

Typical Oxford Street Chain Store


Author: Bob Handford

This is the second part of our shopping walk meandering through London's shopping districts. In Stage 1 of the walk we went through some of the smaller specialist districts. On this stage we visit the mainstream districts, the ones addressed in your London guide book.

We left stage 1 of the walk at China Town, coming into Leicester Square.


Its unlikely if you are an avid shopper that you would complete this walk in a day, so we recommend you read through and improvise on what attracts you.

These notes have focus on the logistics, no attempt is made to be a substitute for a good guide book on London.

Invest in a good London street map, (the London A-Z series has a great range of suitable street maps) readily available in all news stands and shops and you'll have no problem following this walk and be fully equipped to make interesting diversions and adaptations with confidence.


At the end of stage 1 of our London shopping walk had left China Town and Coventry Street and now are in Leicester Square. Leicester Square is at the heart of the Theatre District. Its a favourite place for visitors to just hang out. Its worth checking out the theatre kiosk at the southern end of Leicester Square which acts as a clearance outlet for theatre tickets not sold.

Following Coventry Street brings you to Piccadilly Circus, one of London's main landmarks. The Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines of London's underground train network stop here. You may wish to start the walk here at Piccadilly Circus.

Piccadilly

On the south side of Piccadilly Circus is the large department store, Lilywhites. Lilywhites specialises in sporting goods of all kinds, even the most minority of minority sports is catered for.

The shop has attracted the best sports people, celebrities and royalty for over 100 years.


We exit Piccadilly Circus westwards by way of Piccadilly itself, (see map above for orientation). Keep to the southern side of Piccadilly, (left). You will soon come to number 203, Waterstone's - Britain's largest bookshop.


London Shopping Self Guided Walk

Jermyn Street

Jermyn Street is full of small gentlemen's outfitters/tailors along its entire length.


Go as far down Jermyn Street as the subject matter appeals. Isaac Newton lived at number 87.


On the right hand side of the street at the junction with Duke Street is Fortnum & Mason. Fortnum & Mason is London's most prestigious food store, founded in 1707. Suffice to say the store doesn't stock normal supermarket food and is full of delicacies, hampers etc. The store is a supplier to the Royal Family with royal warrants.

The store also has a choice of restaurants and is a favourite place to take a traditional afternoon tea.


A little way past Fortnum & Mason our route leaves Jermyn Street by the Piccadilly Arcade, though you may wish to continue exploring further down Jermyn Street and come back. Piccadilly Arcade is a short arcade leading back to Piccadilly.

Piccadilly & Burlington Arcades

Piccadilly Arcade off Piccadilly London

Piccadilly Arcade off Piccadilly

A little way past Fortnum & Mason our route leaves Jermyn Street by the Piccadilly Arcade, though you may wish to continue exploring further down Jermyn Street and come back. Piccadilly Arcade is a short arcade leading back to Piccadilly. On the opposite side of the road at Piccadilly is Burlington Arcade.


These arcades are the precursors of the mid-19th century European shopping gallery and the modern shopping centre. Unlike today’s malls, the early arcades had style and top architects of the day were used like John Nash, more famous for Buckingham Palace and flamboyant Brighton Pavillion.

When you come out onto Piccadilly, take care to cross busy Piccadilly. Opposite Piccadilly Arcade is Burlington Arcade where our route continues.

Burlington Arcade was Britain's first arcade opened in 1819. It now contains a string of luxury gift outlets from jewellery and shoes through to antiques and silver. At the end of the arcade turn right into Burlington Gardens, (though Cork Street opposite is the centre of fine art in London).

Saville Row - Tailors

Second left is Saville Row, home of bespoke tailoring and famous for the 'Saville Row suite'. Even Hollywood past greats like Cary Grant, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra have had suits from here. The street continues to supply the wealthy with their tailored requirements moving along with current fashion.

The road is lined with tailors. Number 30 is where Prince Charles has his suits made. Number 15 is credited with 'inventing' the tuxedo. Number 3 was the home of the Beatles 'Apple Group' and is famous for the Beatles last gig in 1969, (on the rooftop of the building).

Regent Street & Hamleys Toy Shop

Take the first road right in Saville Row, New Burlington Street which leads onto Regents Street, for London an elegant, wide 'boulevard' that was cut through the narrow streets in the 19th Century.

Burbury, the luxury clothing brand has a store on the corner.


Turn left, heading northwards and cross to the opposite, eastern side of Regent Street. Soon you will come to Hamleys Toy Shop at number 196, Britain's biggest toy shop dating back to 1760. Hamleys is credited with inventing Table Tennis, the game being lunched exclusively at Hamleys.


The store has evolved and now has more the feel of a big corporate chain store than an independent outlet with charm.

Carnaby Street

On exiting Hamleys retrace your steps south, taking the second turning on your left (Beak Street), just after a Wedgewood shop. Along Beak Street take the third turning on your left (Carnaby Street).

For a brief period in the 60's, Carnaby Street was the centre of world fashion and epitomised 'swinging Britain'. Today the pedestrianised street is lined with outlets showcasing brand named clothes that still attracts the young.

Continue right to the end of Carnaby Street just after it kinks to the right, then turn left into Great Marlborough Street.


At the end of Great Marlborough Street, at the junction with Regent Street is Libertys Store on your left, an unmistakable building in Tudor style.

Opened in 1875 and specialising in silks and other goods from the East. Not as flamboyant as its early days the department store still continues today with a focus on clothes and fabrics, some of which it makes.


Now turn right up Regent Street to Oxford Circus Underground Station. Then turn left into Oxford Street.

Oxford Street

Harrods Department Store Knightsbridge

Harrods Department Store Knightsbridge

Oxford Street is the busiest shopping street in London and contains most of the big general department stores. Most of the UK chain stores have their flagship stores here.

Harrods is not in Oxford Street though.


Oxford Street stretches right up to Hyde Park at Marble Arch. Our walk turns south off Oxford Street about a third of the way along into New Bond Street. Opposite Debenhams department store and well before Bond Street Underground.

Bond Street - Exclusive Luxury Goods

Bond Street is part of Mayfair, London's most exclusive area. Bond Street connects Oxford Street with Piccadilly. The northern part is called New Bond Street, the southern half Old Bond Street.

All along are the most exclusive world famous luxury brands and fine art shops.


Among others in New Bond Street are Fenwick Department Store (63), Sotheby's Auctioneers (34/35), Cartier (175), Asprey's jewelers (169).

In Old Bond Street, shops include De Beers Jewelery (46), Gucci (37), Chanel (26) and Prada (17).

Harrods Knightsbridge

No walk on London's shops would be complete without Harrods. Unfortunately (for this walk), Harrods is located in Knightsbridge, Kensington, away from the very centre of London. However, it is only a 5 minute ride on the Piccadilly Line Underground to Knightsbridge from Green Park.


Back To Stage 1 Tottenham Court Road To Leicester Square


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