Whenever you’re planning a trip, one piece of advice is stable; pinpoint local shops and department stores near your accommodation. This practice never gets old because it helps you save money, especially if you’re aiming for a budget-friendly vacation. Department stores bring you all your heart’s desires under one roof; they range from luxurious stores with high-end labels and fine dining options to casual spots where you can enjoy a heart-warming cup of tea with a delighted wallet.
During your time in London, you will hear about or come across some of the following department stores. We’re listing them briefly to give you a glimpse of where they are, what they offer, and what to expect from the hundreds of shops inside. Here are the top department stores in London you must visit and indulge in:
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Before even travelling to London, you must have heard about Harrods. It’s not only the most famous department store in the UK but also in the world. The store’s roots date back to the 1820s, and despite historical ups and downs, it remained at the top of the world’s luxurious stores. Harrods got a lot of fame from its consecutive owners, among which was Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, who influenced the creation of the Egyptian Hall, where recreations of Egypt’s distinguished are on display.
Although Harrods is publicised as a luxurious department store, you can still find many affordable items to take back home, such as tea and chocolate. You will surely enjoy your time looking through the store’s 330 shops and its fascinating interior, or you can simply indulge in a relaxing cup of tea at one of the tea rooms. As a leading luxury department store, Harrods brings you all the services you need through its online website and application. You can plan your store visit, shop online, track your order, and book any services beforehand.
Location: Knightsbridge, London.
Arthur Liberty started his own business in 1874 with only three employees under his supervision and £2,000 as a loan. In less than two years, he’d paid his loan and doubled the size of his shop. Liberty envisioned establishing his own brand of fabrics, ready-to-wear fashion, and home goods. By the end of the 19th century, Liberty was working with a plethora of British designers to stay steps ahead of the fashion scene and compete against worldwide brands.
Despite the store’s expansion plans, it closed all its shops outside London and focused instead on small outlet shops at airports. Liberty’s outstanding Tudor-style exterior, wooden carved animals, and engravings about WWII will take you through a historical journey. You can find luxury clothes for all ages, accessories, homeware, cosmetics, and the famous Liberty fabrics.
Location: Regent Street, London.
The Goodhood Store
The Goodhood Store is a relatively new department store that opened its doors in 2007. Upon opening, the store pledged to curate a unique vision of fashion and lifestyle, which enabled it to establish the Goodhood name among other department store chains. The Goodhood Store encompasses shops in women’s fashion, men’s fashion, household items, beauty, and cosmetics.
Goodhood uses culture as its primary source of inspiration. Hence, here you might find the newest household items on display besides retro-styled pieces that will take you back in time. All household items you can think of, you will find here at this department store, even if you’re browsing simply for a new favourite mug.
Location: Curtain Road, London.
Harry Gordon Selfridge was an American department store executive who wanted to manifest his expertise in the US and UK retail markets. Work on the store began in 1909, and construction works finished in 1928. The store was chosen as the world’s best department store twice, in 2010 and 2012. Its unrivalled exterior design still gives the impression of a museum rather than a shopping centre.
Today, Selfridges brings you luxurious yet affordable chocolate and confectionaries, with a Pick n’ Mix counter to create your own sweet collection, all in addition to luxury fashion brands, homeware, and cosmetics. The department store also encompasses a number of cafés, restaurants, and a bar. However, you can simply take a stroll through the store after a long day outside and enjoy the stained-glass windows and unique interior.
Location: Oxford Street, London.
When Benjamin Harvey opened a linen shop in 1831, he had no idea it would become one of the world’s most luxurious department stores. Ten years later, he employed James Nichols, whose hard work earned him a management position. After Harvey died in 1850, the partnership between his wife Anne and James Nichols brought Harvey Nichols to life. The department store has 14 worldwide branches, but its Knightsbridge one is its flagship store, bringing you the latest in fashion, beauty, luxury food and drinks, and hospitality.
Harvey Nichols will offer you a luxurious shopping experience, where a shopping consultant will accompany you through a private tour, much like the surreal experience at Paris’ Le Samaritaine. The store also brings a wide range of services, such as relaxation spots, sensual dining experiences, classy fashion pieces to choose from, and a teasing menu with a delightful drink at the bar. HN has mastered the art of luxury retail shopping, so prepare to be amazed.
Location: Knightsbridge, London.
Dover Street Market
Dover Street Market will offer you an unconventional fashion experience with almost symmetrical fashion lines and designs. This department store is the London hub for the Japanese label Comme des Garçons, which literally translates to “Like boys.” Despite the label’s name, Rei Kawakubo, the designer, only added a men’s line to the label nine years after she established her brand.
As a continuation of the CDG artistic fashion theme, Dover Street Market brings you artsy pieces from other world-class fashion houses, such as Gucci and The Row. You can also find outstanding designs from independent designers such as British designer Elena Dawson and Italian designer Daniela Gregis. If you wish to catch your breath, you can try freshly-baked pastries from the Rose Bakery on the third floor.
Location: St James’s Square, Central London.
The Pantechnicon is a concept store in London rather than a department store. Inside the majestic building, two distinct cultures blend in a harmonious symphony. Nordic delicacies and lifestyles meet Japanese specialities and traditions. The store opened in 2020 in a Greek-styled building dating back to 1830. Choose your getaway from the world by stepping inside and picking between different restaurants and cafés, or check out the event space, which is regularly updated with exceptional goods.
Location: Motcomb Street, London.
Fortnum & Mason
William Fortnum started as a footman in Queen Anne’s court in addition to having a grocery business outside the royal court. His partnership with Hugh Mason proved fruitful in 1707 when they established the first Fortnum & Mason. Over the years, the store’s reputation as an exclusive venue for speciality items led to an increase in business. The current neo-Georgian department store in Piccadilly is the flagship store and has a branch in Hong Kong, and their exclusive goods are available worldwide via their online shop.
You’ve come to the right place if you have a sweet tooth. Fortnum & Mason stocks up on everything devilishly yummy, from chocolate, jam, and marmalade to jelly with unexpected flavours. And what’s jam’s and marmalade’s favourite companion? Cheese! Here, you will find a wide range of cheeses from all over the world to sample and pair with a jam of your choice. If you’re thinking about good quality tea, you can enjoy a cup and buy premium quality English tea at one of the tea shops available.
Location: Piccadilly, St James’s Square, London.
John Lewis & Partners
John Lewis opened a drapery shop in 1864, and then his son, Spedan, suggested the partnership in the first quarter of the 20th century. Since the partnership began, John Lewis & Partners acquired multiple local stores such as Bonds, Jessops, and Cole Brothers. The branch on Oxford Street is their flagship store, and today, the partnership owns 35 stores in the UK alone. John Lewis & Partners has had the same motto since they started the partnership: “To offer customers the same low price competitors provided in the market without compromising the quality.”
At John Lewis & Partners, you will find all the trending items from British labels in fashion, technology, and homeware. Then, you can rest your feet and delight your heart at the rooftop bar, enjoy a refreshment, or grab a bite at one of the store’s restaurants. If you’re seeking some pampering, you can explore the beauty hall and pick a satisfactory treatment to uplift you.
Location: Oxford Street, London.
John James Fenwick, a shop assistant from North Yorkshire, manifested his dream shop when he opened Mantle Maker and Furrier in Newcastle in 1882. The Newcastle branch became the company’s headquarters, and since John opened the London branch on New Bond Street, he opened eight more branches across the UK. Fenwick is an outlet department store, which means you will find impeccable-quality items that are reasonably priced.
Sadly, London will bid farewell to its Fenwick branch at the beginning of 2024. Due to financial strife, the Fenwick family had to let go of the 130-year-old department store. This current year is the last opportunity to visit Fenwick while in London and enjoy its unique atmosphere and focus on women’s fashion. If you intend on visiting other Fenwick branches, you can head to York, Newcastle, Kingston, or Brent Cross.
Location: New Bond Street, London.
John Harris Heal and his son established a feather-dressing company in 1810, and eight years later, they expanded their business to include bedding and furniture. At the turn of the 19th century, the store became one of Britain‘s most successful department stores. Sir Ambrose Heal, who served as chairman during the first half of the 20th century, is credited with setting the bar high regarding the store’s observation of quality and employing the latest trends to serve customers best.
Heal’s interior décor will bring your experience to a full circle. The magnificent Bocci chandelier, which sits at the centre of the spiral staircase, gives an inexplicable utopian vibe. This vibe will reflect on your time at this retail department store, where you will find the latest designs in furniture, home accessories, and interesting lighting settings. The store caters to different tastes, so whether you’re looking for the newest trend or a vintage and homey feel, Heal’s has got you covered.
Location: Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury, London.
Shop-goers prefer to visit department stores for the variety of goods they offer, the different price ranges, and the inclusion of all possible tastes and styles. We hope our list proves helpful and you can enjoy your time at whichever store you choose.