London is famous for its historic and magnificent landmarks, as well as a vibrant and varied nightlife. However, inbetween soaking up the rich sights and sounds of the English capital, you’ll want to indulge in some retail therapy.
The Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotel is a brilliantly located and well-linked base from which to launch an attack on your bank balance, with London’s best shops within a reasonable walking distance or a short Tube ride away.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL
Arguably London’s most famous department store, Harrods [pictured] occupies five acres, with 330 departments spread over one million sq ft of retail space.
Amongst its women’s clothing and fashion departments are premium brands like Burberry, Chloe, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Max Mara and many others, while men can browse collections from Gucci, Hugo Boss, Tom Ford and Versace.
Other departments include accessories, shoes, children, beauty, food & wine, homeware, souvenirs, gifts and Christmas.
If you are planning to drop by Harrods, you’ll need to dress the part. The store has operated a smart dress code, which has been in place since 1989, and has a history of turning away many customers deemed to be dressed inappropriately. These include a soldier in uniform, a scout troop, a woman with a mohican haircut, and the entire Shakhtar Donetsk football team for wearing tracksuits.
Getting to Harrods from the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotel is straightforward. You could walk through Hyde Park, past the Italian Gardens and Princess Diana Memorial Fountain, or take the Tube from Paddington station on the Circle line, and changing on to the Piccadilly line at Gloucester Road and alighting at Knightsbridge. Both approaches take around half an hour, so whatever takes your fancy.
Address: Queensway, W2 4YN
While Harrods may be the London’s most well-known department store, Whiteleys was the capital’s first.
The original Whiteleys was born when Yorkshire-born entrepreneur William Whiteley started a drapery shop in 1863. Within four years, it had expanded to a row of shops with 17 departments and continued to flourish weathering no fewer than four fires and various controversies, most notably, Whiteley’s murder at the hands of someone who claimed to be his illegitimate son. However, a lack of customers forced it to close in 1981, before reopening under new ownership in 1989.
Today, it is a quintessential shopping complex with typical high street names such as Marks & Spencer, HMV and Starbucks, as well as a food hall, an eight-screen cinema and a bowling alley.
Whiteley’s is housed in a Grade II-listed building and many of its original features remain in place, including the sweeping La Scala staircase and the charming tiered atrium, windows and marble floor.
From the Park Grand Lancaster Gate Hotel, Whiteleys is just half a mile away, which should take no more than about ten minutes on foot.
Oxford Street may only stretch for 1.2 miles, but it manages to squeeze in more than 300 shops and five million sq ft of retail space.
Over 200 million shoppers hit Oxford Street every year, making it not only the busiest street in London, but in Europe too! Almost any high street name you can think of will be here.
If you’re setting out from the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotel, it’s a two-mile walk away, but you can reduce what would be a 40-minute walk to a 15 minute journey by taking the Tube’s Bakerloo line from Paddington to Oxford Road station.
London has some of the finest boutique shops in the world and there are plenty a short walk away from the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotel.
- Paul Smith Kensington Park Road (apparel and accessories – 120 Kensington Park Road, 1.3 miles, 26 minutes)
- Wolf & Badger (homeware, clothing and jewellery from up-and-coming designers – 46 Ledbury Road, 1 mile, 21 mins)
- Merchant Archive (vintage and modern clothing and homeware – 19 Kensington Park Road, 1.4 miles, 27 mins)
- One Vintage (vintage clothing – 200 Kensington Park Road, 1.4 miles, 29 mins)
- Woodhouse Clothing (men’s casual designer clothing, suits and footwear – 189 Westbourne Grove, 1 mile, 20 mins)
- Matches Fashion (designer clothing – 60-64 Ledbury Road, 1.1 miles, 22 mins)
- Feathers (ladies clothing – 176 Westbourne Grove, 1 mile, 20 mins)
- Aashni+co (Indian high fashion for women – 47 Ledbury Road, 1.1 miles, 22 mins)
- Appletree Boutique (ladies’ clothing – 127 Portobello Road, 1.3 miles, 25 mins)
- Couverture & The Garbstore (modern fashion and lifestyle store, womenswear, kids’ clothes and home accessories – 188 Kensington Park Road, 1.4 miles, 28 mins)
Less than half an hour’s walk away is one of London’s best antiques markets, which takes place on Portobello Road every Saturday. It also hosts fruit and veg stalls throughout the week.
Anyone that has seen Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant will recognise the market, as much of the 1999 film was shot on the street. Don’t go looking for the famous blue door though; it was auctioned off for charity a few years ago.