A few years ago I read a quote by Susan Sontag. It read, ‘to travel is to shop!’ Two of my favorite words, ‘travel’ and ‘shop’ in one sentence. Needles to say I take it to heart. Every time I travel, I make it a point to take a few hours to indulge in retail therapy. I love spending time wandering through farmers markets, through boutiques that stock local products, bazaars where all the tourists go, visit workshops where locals still make things with old machines and their hands and I also love to strut down high end shopping districts to see all the luxury that money can buy. Shopping let’s you interact with locals, observe people, look and touch beautiful things, smell and taste local produce and flavors and immerse yourself in the culture.
I was in London in Oct 2016 and luckily had friends who showed me around. I spent a wonderful week being tourist where locals hang! London is shoppers paradise, this is not news and here are my favorite places to visit if you’re in London.
When in London, go to London Bridge. Right by the bridge is London’s most renowned food market. Local cheeses, teas, tea cakes and deserts, fresh seafood, wines, pimms (!!) and so much more. When you’re tired of of eating, shopping, chatting with store owners find yourself a bar that offers views of the bridge and reward yourself with a Guinness!
Camden Market is buzzing with tourist stores selling trinkets and memoreblia to bring back home. But when you step off the main street and walk inside, you’ll find hundreds of stores selling home goods, clothes, accessories, and everything a man or woman needs in their wardrobe. One can spend an entire day and more in this place. I bought leather jackets from thrift stores and earrings made by hand. When you’re there don’t forget to check out the All Saints star. Showroom is gorgeous with over 100s of sewing machines on display. I gifted myself an All Saint’s jacket because when in London, buy British! The faux fur jacket I am wearing is for 10 pounds from one of the stores in Camden Market!
Shoreditch is in East London and to me seemed like what Brooklyn is to NYC. Thrift stores, record stores, bars, graffiti walls, Shoreditch is my favorite place in London! You can spend an entire weekend walking around and soaking in the sights, enjoying cocktails and shopping your heart out! Don’t miss Beigel Shop (Brick lane) when you’re hungry. The salted beef bagel and the salmon are both delicious! Not all bagel shops have their own Wiki page!
Last but not the least, I spent a few hours in and out of Selfridges, TopShop, Debenhams, Primark, and a zillion other stores on Oxford Street. Walking around Selfridges was perhaps the most unique experience. This is where millionaires shop, where the latest couture and designer collections are displayed. I found a Burberry trench that fit my petite frame and had bring back the classic, iconic British designer back with me!
The friends who showed me around Shoreditch also include a wonderful photographer. My friend from college, Samir took photos of me around Shoreditch while his gorgeous wife Sulu helped me by the orange hat I am wearing! I came back to Philly with wonderful memories and a wish to visit and explore again. I’ll watch out for any comments from you on where I can go shop in London next!
Fur Vest & Brooch Camden Market – Camden Market
Grey Wool Skirt & white tee – Uniqlo