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 Street 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. Complete the festive feeling by admiring the famous Christmas window displays at Selfridges on Oxford Street before exploring the street's other shops, 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.
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.
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 trendiest 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.
Mayfair and St James's
No Christmas shopping excursion in London is complete without paying a visit to the Queen’s grocer, Fortnum & Mason. Leave plenty of time to discover the delights of the food hall, 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.
If you like to 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.
Join the well-heeled Chelsea set and shop in luxury stores along the King's Road, stocked with the latest in London winter fashion. 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 much-loved Peter Jones department store and be sure to check out neighboring Duke of York Square too. Located just off the King's Road, this tranquil square is decked out with festive lights for Christmas.
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. For the fashion-forward there's also a range of independent designers selling high-end ready to wear clothing, luxury evening gowns and quirky shoes.
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. Get in the festive mood while browsing through the stalls at these Christmas hotspots with lashings of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Favourites include Southbank Centre, Winter Wonderland and London Bridge City.