From the cobbled charm of Seven Dials to the iconic Christmas baubles surrounding the Piazza, Covent Garden pulls out all the stops at Christmas time. The main square is adorned with one of London’s biggest Christmas trees and sparkling decorations, while street performers brave the cold to keep Christmas shoppers entertained. In terms of shops, there are plenty of big designer brands, including Burberry Brit, Lulu Guinness and Mulberry. If you're looking for children's presents, Covent Garden is loaded with toyshops, including Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop, Disney Store and The Moomin Shop.
Oxford and Regent Street
Shoppers flock to these two famous streets all year round, but during the winter months they are lit up with a spectacular set of Christmas lights, making for the perfect Christmas shopping experience. Selfridges on Oxford Street has some of the capital's finest Christmas window displays, and the massive department store won’t let you down when it comes to buying presents. Then there are the other 300-plus shops to check out on Oxford Street, including department stores Debenhams and John Lewis. Get off the beaten track by slipping into a side street, such as St Christopher's Place and Berwick Street, where you'll find a fabulous choice of boutiques and restaurants. Regent Street is also excellent for gift ideas, with more than 75 international flagship stores, such as Hamleys, Liberty, The Apple Store and Anthropologie.
No Christmas shopping excursion in London is complete without paying a visit to the Queen’s grocer, Fortnum & Mason. The food hall is the real highlight here, with Christmas puddings, mince pies, chocolates and Christmas hampers fit for royalty. Nearby Bond Street is the destination for high-end luxury goods, with big names Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and more in residence.
Head to Knightsbridge as darkness falls to see its famous department store, Harrods, gloriously illuminated by 11,500 light bulbs. Don't miss the store's giant Christmas shop, with luxury decorations, posh crackers and the hugely popular Christmas Grotto. You can also pick up presents for just about anyone in the 300-plus departments on the other floors. And if that isn’t enough, Harvey Nichols is just a few steps away with a fantastic selection of fashion, homewares and more.
If you are the type to go out and do all of your Christmas shopping in one sprint then either of the two London Westfield shopping centres are for you. With more than 500 shops between them, Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City have every angle covered, plus Westfield London is usually open until 11pm in the run-up to Christmas. Whether you’re buying for parents, grandparents or your best friend’s dog, it’s all here, from high-street to luxury brands, as well as a good choice of eating places in which to refuel.
The 13 pedestrianised streets of Carnaby are the place to go when you’re buying for that super-cool friend or family member who already has everything. Carnaby Street is one of London’s coolest shopping destinations, lined with independent fashion boutiques and cutting-edge brands, including SkinnyDip, The Great Frog, Lazy Oaf and Pretty Green. Don’t forget to look up at the famous Christmas lights.
Posh shoppers flock towards the King's Road at Christmas time, where you'll find an eclectic mix of trendy boutiques, unique labels, designer shops and high-street staples, alongside a vast array of cafes and restaurants. Be sure to check out Duke of York Square too. Located just off the King's Road, this tranquil square is decked out with festive lights for Christmas.
If you are looking for something a little more unique, London’s many Christmas markets have everything from handmade jewellery to beautiful arts and crafts. These Christmas hotspots are sure to put you in the festive mood and there’s the added bonus of being able to stop off for a delicious hot chocolate or a warming mulled wine. Favourites include Southbank Centre, Winter Wonderland and London Bridge City.
Find more things to do in London this Christmas.