Street Style: Which roads have the best shops in London?
Best shopping streets in London: Leave the clowns at Oxford Circus. Portobello, King's Road, Marylebone and more have high fashion on their High Streets
Ledbury Road, Notting Hill Gate: for cool brands loved by those in-the-know
Check out the jewellery at Wolf & Badger
Ledbury Road has long had a glamorous reputation and is full of designer gems. Head straight in to Matches for a good edit of lots of different designers, then slip next door to see what wonders Diane Von Furstenberg is working with print this season. Practise your cool face before dipping in to A.P.C. and then don't forget to scour the jewellery section for hidden gems at Wolf & Badger. Cool French brand Aimé is here, too, and Claudie Pierlot, for well-crafted Parisian pieces with cute detailing. Melissa Odabash is your luxury destination-before-the-holiday-destination for chic beach cover-ups.
Insider tip: Exhausted? Us too. Ottolenghi is right there for a small plate of Middle-Eastern bliss.
Best shops for swimwear
Upper Street, Islington: for feeling at home
Camden Passage vintage and antiques shops
Busy, bustling Angel and its shopping centre is a bit of a hub. Upper Street itself is covered in restaurants and cafes. It feels nice to shop here- probably because it's not just one long street, but a network on a slope from Upper Street down to higgledy-piggledy Camden Passage. In its antique shops and cobbled narrow walkways, there’s a real cross-section of shoppers. On Upper Street, we love the sarcastic staff at French restaurant Le Mercury and looking for treasures in Mary's Living and Giving Shop. There's also a lot of great shops for children here, you’ll find Petit Bateau, the colourful fashion at Igloo Kids and the charming toys playing amongst the antique furniture in After Noah.
Insider Tip: If you don’t want to take your kids, there’s plenty of clothes and interiors shop browsing, too, including a massive sofa shop. Disclaimer: sells normal-sized sofas.
Marylebone High Street: for a neighbourhood feel, providing you have seriously stylish neighbours
Marylebone High Street (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
It's just a little bit back from Oxford Street, but the tourists haven't found it yet. Marylebone High Street is beautiful and shady, full of character and excellent shopping. Find covetable Nordic interior design at Skandium, one of our favourite Skandi shops for new season offerings, then pop next door for Matches (again). For something with a bit more history, visit John Bell and Croydon on nearby Wigmore Street. Founded in 1798, one Google reviewer explains: "What Hamley's is to kids, this place is to hypochondriacs." Sound sinister? It's actually full of beauty treats. The Conran Shop fills multiple shopfronts with furniture design classics alongside contemporary pieces and then you've got Lululemon for sportswear so cool it makes SweatyBetty sweat.
Insider tip: Want to mix it up? Check out William Vintage, which also has a pioneering online shop. Amal Clooney once wore black vintage YSL from these rails on the red carpet. Also serves mortals.
Best designer vintage shops
Redchurch Street: for street art and art galleries
Labour and Wait, Redchurch Street
Shoreditch High Street is just around the corner but Redchurch Street has its own buzz, partly thanks to its artistic history. Tracey Emin once co-rented a shop here and you’ll still find art on and off the road: in street art and in the nearby Calvert 22 Gallery. On Redchurch Street proper is the great store, Labour and Wait with its unusual workaday layout. It’s like the best organised shed in London and you’ll find appealing menswear. Also check out Hostem for emerging menswear brands. A.P.C. and Aesop cosmetics are nearby, as is Nudie Jeans for jean repairs and/or doubling up on your double denim.
Insider tip: Vogue calls Redchurch Street design heaven, check out, on either end of the spectrum: busy Finnish folklore design Klaus Haapaniemi & Co. and then the stylish shop Monologue, for more modern interiors.
King's Road: for a long road that keeps on giving
The Shop at Bluebird
King's Road is prime territory for a game of Made in Chelsea bingo. It's very long: perfect for providing lots of space to free-range Sloane Rangers. Take the bus straight up for The Shop at Bluebird, then wend your way back down to Sloane Square. There's a curation of brilliant brands at Bluebird, then great homeware at The Designer's Guild nearby. Heading back East, find Anthropologie, Sandro, Joseph, Heals and Rigby & Peller, who supply the Queen and sell great swimwear, too. Partridge's Fine Foods on the Duke of York Square is a good stopping point and there's often a food market in the square, by the Saatchi Gallery. While you're on the square, why not duck down to Elystan Place, where there are a whole host of other charming shops, including Amaia, the children’s clothing brand favoured by Prince George.
Insider tip: If you feel like an outsider, act like one – pop in to the charity shops and feel rebellious. Down a side street, King's Road's Red Cross charity shop often has a stunning sale and once took in Victoria Beckham's cast-offs. One Culture Whisperer tried on her Zak Posen dress here, but nearly had to call the Chelsea fire brigade to get it off again.
Best fashion boutiques
Westbourne Grove: for those fresh from Portobello
You’re just around the corner from Portobello Road market and Ledbury Road, so why not stop here? Westbourne Grove is a proper shopping destination in its own right with all your favourite shops from the higher end of high street fashion. Our favourite stretch? Weekend MaxMara next to LA supercool cottons for men and women from James Perse, next to Smythson, next to Daylesford Organic, next to Orlebar Brown swimwear- all lined up in a row on the North side of the street. Then try Alexeeva & Jones Chocolate Boutique. Its friendly staff are probably the second best reason to visit the shop. There’s also great kitchen appliances from Lords and flowers from designer’s favourite Wild at Heart.
Insider tip: Is it just us, or are those the most glamorous public loos we’ve ever seen?
Best florists in London
Stoke Newington Church Street: for time off
Search and Rescue shop interior
Oh, Stoke Newington, saved from tourists by having no local tube. Once you’re there “Stokey” (nickname very optional) is a proper neighbourhood, with a friendly vibe and local shops. Try Nook, one of the best-ranked gift and homewear shops in London for Scandi brands like Hay and Marimekko, though you’re in danger of buying yourself some nice handy string. Visit nearby Search and Rescue for homewear, too. For clothing boutiques, try Hub, founded by two sisters, which stocks Denmark’s coolest brand, Ganni, as well as other designers, alongside their own range.
Insider tip: Visit The Jolly Butcher, the highly popular local pub, for a roast or refreshment.
Regent’s Park Road: for books and cupcakes
Primrose Hill Books, from Facebook
Running through Primrose Hill, this is a pleasant shopping parade to explore, with the delightful Primrose Hill Books and plenty of other independent shops such as the curious beer seller Bottle Apostle. A definite pitstop on the way down from climbing the hill.
Insider tip: We love the contemporary Garden fair, GROW London, at Primrose Hill in July
Covent Garden: for buzz and bustle
Magical Neal's Yard
For small outposts of big stores, come to Covent Garden, where the branches are on quiet streets, perfect for popping in and out of. There's an Apple here, plus chic designers like Cos and Camper, and classics like stately perfume house Penhaligon's. At Neal Street, visit Aram for contemporary furniture and then drop in to magical Neal's Yard for a spot of respite: Homeslice Pizza or 26 Grains.
Insider tip: At Covent Garden, pop in to the market building itself: there's often live opera and classical music echoing up from the ground floor and you can look down over it – a culture fix for free.
Regent's Street and Carnaby Street: if you can't let go of Oxford Street
Colourful Carnaby Street
Just next to Oxford Circus, for affordable Scandinavian design, hit & Other Stories, which has its flagship on Regent's Street. Next, the fabulous Liberty's department store has the best Christmas floor, florist and haberdashery, as well as pioneering designer wear tucked under Tudor beams. Afterwards, chase London's dream of the swinging sixties down the Carnaby backstreets. We like the parade of delectable cosmetic shops from Benefit to Illamasqua.
Insider Tip: Carnaby Street has a giant screen up for watching the collections live at London Fashion Week and 120 stores will celebrate with exclusive LFW offers.