For those who want to plan their Christmas shopping, London is perfect for shopping sprees for all budgets. At the top end is Harrods, where purportedly everything and anything is available – at a price.
We’ve already covered this and some of London’s other “flagship” department stores in a previous article. But there are also lots of other opportunities to pick up attractive and unusual gifts.
For those with an affinity for the swinging sixties, Carnaby Street has lots of atmospheric boutiques selling original gifts for the festive season.Carnaby Street has a “swinging 60s” theme this Christmas in anticipation of its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010
Or why not search for personal gifts for him and her from the treasure trove that is Liberty, just off Regent Street? You’ll also find the famous Hamleys toy shop nearby, which fulfils every kid’s dreams.
It’s worth mentioning in passing that Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotels is offering a “Shop, Sip and Celebrate” package which includes discounts at both Hamleys and Liberty (please enquire directly with them for details).
One of the chain’s best hotels based on guest reviews is the refurbished Bloomsbury Street hotel featured in our British Museum must-see guide.
Sticking with department stores, Fortnum and Mason is famous for food hampers: for example, its classic Christmas Hamper (currently £150). As well as classics like Christmas cake, biscuits and cranberry sauce it also has more exotic fare like mulling spices, Turkish delight and ginger preserve.Fortnum and Mason’s hampers are filled with little culinary treasures
Not only do London’s markets offer great value for money but they are highly-entertaining too.
Covent Garden is perhaps the best-known and should not be missed in the run-up to Christmas. Its original halls are packed with fantastic gifts from silver to pottery, shoes to clothes and anything else you may desire.
If you’re after antiques, try Gray’s Antiques Market (off Oxford Street). Around 200 dealers sell jewellery, furniture and many other great pieces.
Try shopping in the middle of the week to avoid the huge Christmas shopping crowds. And above all, do keep an eye on your cash and credit cards, as pickpockets are out in force at this time of year.
We’ve already featured some hotels that are well-placed for shopping in London’s big department stores.
But what if you’re looking for somewhere particularly cosy and boutique-y to rest your weary legs after a hard day’s graft?
We’ve uncovered two little gems for you: intimate hotels with about 50 rooms or less and staff who get rave reviews on TripAdvisor.The Pelham provides a haven in stylish South Kensington, close to the Natural History Museum
The townhouse-style Pelham Hotel (Kensington) gets solid scores for service (currently in TripAdvisor’s top 40). Guests appreciate its quality rooms, nice neighbourhood and helpful staff (particularly the concierge).
The Pelham currently has an attractive “Winter Break” offer with 3 nights for the price of 2. It’s handily-placed to access Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as is our other intimate central London gem, the Egerton House.
We covered the Egerton House when it was briefly TripAdvisor number 1.
Although no longer number 1, this 5 star boutique London hotel still gets rave reviews from recent guests. Staff have been described on TripAdvisor as “too wonderful for words” and “the best staff of any hotel”.
It also has a lovely intimate bar you an rest in after returning with your shopping bags to inspect your purchases. You’ll sit back and enjoy reputedly the best martini in London made by your friendly barman Antonio.The Egerton House epitomises “cosy” and offers some nice winter deals
The Egerton House currently offers several excellent winter packages including benefits like champagne in your room, a Harrods shopping voucher, afternoon tea, hot drinks and a romantic turndown.
Please enquire directly with the hotel for offer details before you book.
An alternative to doing your pre-Christmas shopping in London is to actually visit the city during the festive season itself.
For this too, London Hotels Insight has you covered since our next article will identify the best hotel packages for spending Christmas in London.
Photo credits: Red Carnation Hotel Collection, Pelham Hotel, Fortnum and Mason.