Christmas shopping is stressful enough, so we’ve made it easy with our handy London itinerary. Tick off some of the most festive spots in the capital, spot beautiful Christmas lights and window displays, all while picking up the gifts on your list, all in one day.
Start your London shopping day the right way. Take the tube to Leicester Square or Covent Garden and walk the cobbled streets to Covent Garden piazza, where you will see one of London’s biggest Christmas trees and immaculately decorated streets.
Breakfast options range from the extravagant at Balthazar (or its own bakery), to the simpler Le Pain Quotidien on the main square. Once you’ve had your morning coffee you can pick up the latest iPhone or other Apple goodies at the Apple store, or grab the best in British fashion at Barbour, Ben Sherman, Burberry, Hackett, Jack Wills, Paul Smith, Ted Baker and lots more.
Take a stroll through the West End and past Piccadilly Circus into posh Mayfair, where you will find high-end fashion, jewellery and iconic arcades.
Turn into Bond Street for some serious window shopping at the likes of Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co, pick up festive chocolates at Prestat in the Princes Arcade and stroll the red carpet into Burlington Arcade for independent boutiques and to marvel at the towers of macarons in Laduree.
While in Mayfair it is an absolute must to pop into the Queen’s grocer for a spot of food shopping, and maybe even a quick cup of tea. Fortnum & Mason is just across the road from Burlington Arcade and pulls out all the stops at Christmas, from the always-beautiful window displays to the legendary Christmas puddings and hampers to buy.
If you want to really treat yourself then book in for afternoon tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon to refuel for all the shopping ahead!
You can keep walking down Piccadilly, past Hyde Park, or jump back on the Tube for two stops to Knightsbridge, where you will want to head for the twinkling lights of Harrods.
Christmas and Harrods go together like jam and scones. Tickets for the wildly popular Christmas Grotto go on sale as early as September and often sell out straight away, but the Christmas shop is there for all to enjoy. The famous department store will be busy during the winter months, but the Christmas decorations are still worth braving the crowds for. The other 300 plus departments will have you covered for gift ideas, from accessories for your dog to sports equipment.
If your feet are still OK and you don’t have too many bags, take a walk through Hyde Park to Marble Arch, before swinging a right onto Oxford Street. This is where you can get the bulk of your buying done, with everything from luxury brands and historic department stores to high-street favourites represented here and along the nearby Regent Street.
Both are lit up with spectacular lights so make sure to go after the dark, and some of the most iconic shops in the capital are located here, from Selfridges and Hamleys, to John Lewis and Liberty. If you want to get off the beaten track be sure to check out the Christmas Lights on Carnaby Street; while South Molton Street has a lovely selection of boutiques and lights of its own.
See also: PAD LONDON 2015: MICHAEL HOPPEN