Tick off all those must-buy items on your list during a spot of festive shopping in London at Christmas.
In the run-up to Christmas, the capital's top shopping destinations are as crammed full of festive gifts as Santa's sack, and its twinkling Christmas lights and picture-pretty window displays add a touch of magic.
Flash the plastic at iconic Christmas shopping London hotspots such as Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, seek out heritage brands in Carnaby, beauty boutiques in Covent Garden and bespoke fashion in St James's. Or shop under one roof at one of Westfield's two huge malls. You can also pick up stocking fillers and last-minute gifts at the many London Christmas markets.
Covent Garden and Seven Dials
Wander through Seven Dials, a kaleidoscope of heritage brands, boutiques and beauty stores scattered across the seven cobbled streets of the pretty neighbourhood. Hunt for the latest arrivals at Brandy Melville and Club Monaco, perfect for the modern muse, or shop for fresh takes on classic cuts at Farah.
A short stroll away, you can discover Covent Garden’s famous 19th-century Piazza. This is where you’ll find one of London’s biggest and best Christmas trees, magical mistletoe chandeliers, and themed Instagrammable decorations.
Check out an equally dazzling array of designer brands, including Hackett, Burberry and Mulberry. For all things beauty-licious head to Covent Garden’s Beauty Quarter, an ultimate beauty heaven home to iconic brands including Deciem, Jo Malone and Charlotte Tilbury.
Oxford Street and Regent Street
Shoppers flock to these two famous streets all year round, but during the winter months they are lit up with spectacular Christmas lights.
Fill your Instagram feed with snaps of the famous Christmas window displays at Selfridges on Oxford Street, or venture to nearby department stores Debenhams and John Lewis – make sure to check out John Lewis’ winter-themed rooftop bar while there.
The 14 pedestrianised streets that make up Carnaby are perfect for buying things for that super-cool friend or family member who already has everything.
Carnaby Street is one of London’s trendiest shopping destinations, lined with independent fashion boutiques and cutting-edge brands, including Diesel, Sweaty Betty and the quintessentially British Fred Perry.
Don’t forget to look up at the famous Christmas lights which sparkle above the London shopping street.
Mayfair and St James's
No Christmas shopping excursion in London is complete without paying a visit to Fortnum & Mason, the Queen's grocer. Leave plenty of time to discover the delights of the food hall, with Christmas puddings, mince pies, chocolates and Christmas hampers fit for royalty.
Wander just around the corner to South Molton Street to find ethical beauty at Lush and fashion stores The Kooples and Boudi Fashion – don’t forget to take a festive shot of the magical illuminated arches!
If you’re on a lookout for stylish threads for gentlemen of exquisite taste, make your way to Jermyn Street in St James’s. Bag a bespoke hat from Bates, stock up on colourfully patterned socks from New & Lingwood or treat them like royalty with scents fit for the Queen at Floris.
Chelsea and Belgravia
Join the well-heeled Chelsea set and shop in luxury stores along the King's Road, stocked with the latest London winter trends.
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.
Stop off at Sloane Square to explore the fashionable Peter Jones department store and be sure to also check out neighbouring Duke of York Square. Located just off the King's Road, this tranquil square is decked out with festive lights for Christmas.
Neighbouring Belgravia has plenty of upscale options of its own. Pick up artisan-made fragrances at Elizabeth Street's pretty Les Senteurs, try on the trademark red soles of Christian Louboutin on Motcomb Street, or hunt down treasures from emerging designers at 50m in Eccleston Yards.
Head to Knightsbridge as darkness falls to see world-famous department store Harrods sparkling with more than 12,000 lightbulbs.
Explore the store's giant Christmas shop, filled with luxury decorations, posh crackers and ornaments from top designers. You can also hunt for presents for family and friends in the 300-plus departments on the other floors.
And if that isn’t enough, the lavish department store Harvey Nichols is just a few steps away with a fantastic selection of fashion, homewares and Christmas hampers.
Late-night and last-minute shoppers can breathe a sigh of relief – both shopping hubs are usually open until 11pm in the run-up to Christmas.
Whether you’re buying for parents, grandparents or your best friend’s dog, there’s everything from high-street stalwarts to luxury brands including House of CB, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, as well as a mouthwatering selection of restaurants to refuel in.
Find one-of-a-kind gifts in Connaught Village, an exclusive shopping district just a short stroll from Oxford Street.
This hidden gem is full of picture-perfect shops selling unique wares, such as vintage books, antique jewellery and exquisite pieces of art – not forgetting Instagrammable cafes such as Saint Aymes. Bid for something unique at auction house Lyon & Turnbull, find luxury shoes at Lucy Choi, or trawl through pre-owned designer items at The Dresser.
Seeking something (very) different? Lay your hands on some unique, personalised presents only found in Camden. Gift a message in a necklace (on a grain of rice, in fact) from Trinity Camden or modern, striking home decor from Photo Typewriter.
Enjoy late-night shopping at Camden Market on select days the week before Christmas, just in time for you to grab unforgettable gifts for that special someone.
Many of London’s outlet centres are home to high-street and high-end brands which sell heavily discounted goods, so they’re the place to spoil your loved ones with fancy treasures for less. Make sure to also keep an eye out for Christmas events, offers and decorations over the festive seasons.
Find something unique at one of London’s many Christmas markets, from one-off pieces to handmade jewellery and beautiful arts and crafts – a haven for even the most disorganised, last-minute shoppers.
Christmas markets in London include handmade gifts, stocking fillers and seasonal foodie treats. Head to the Winter Market at Southbank Centre for riverside views, Christmas in Leicester Square for shows between shopping sprees or Christmas by the River at London Bridge City, where you can shop against the iconic backdrop of Tower Bridge.
Flock to Greenwich Market which is given a festive makeover with fashion, crafts and food stalls. Or mingle with the crowds at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, a Christmas festival packed with more than 200 wooden huts selling gifts and stocking fillers.
Find more things to do in London this Christmas with our 101 top festive tips. If you're after more seasonal shopping inspiration, follow our Christmas shopping itinerary or check out our tips for the winter sales, many of which start before Christmas.