Tick off some of the most festive spots in the capital and admire beautiful Christmas lights and window displays, all while picking up gifts on your list.
Breakfast in Covent Garden
Take the Tube to Leicester Square or Covent Garden to start your London shopping day in style in Covent Garden. Walk the cobbled streets to the Covent Garden Piazza, where you will find one of London’s biggest Christmas trees and beautiful Christmas decorations.
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 tech must-have at the Apple Store, shop for traditional toys at Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, or find the best in British fashion at Barbour, Burberry, Jack Wills, Paul Smith, Ted Baker and many more.
Morning shopping in Mayfair and St James's
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 walk the red carpet into Burlington Arcade for independent boutiques and to marvel at the towers of colourful macarons at French luxury baker Ladurée. South Molton Street always wows shoppers with its amazing Christmas decorations and lights.
Afternoon tea along Piccadilly
While in the area, 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 ever-beautiful window displays to the legendary Christmas puddings and hampers on sale. If you want to really treat yourself, book in for afternoon tea in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon to refuel in preparation for more retail therapy!
Alternatively, head along Piccadilly to another London institution The Ritz, which hosts its luxurious afternoon tea in the light-filled Palm Court to the sound of a live choir in the run-up to Christmas.
Buy your Christmas tree decorations at Harrods
Keep walking down Piccadilly, past Hyde Park, or jump back on the Tube for two stops to Knightsbridge, where you won't be able to miss the twinkling lights of Harrods.
The world-famous department store is a must for Christmas shoppers. Tickets for Harrods' wildly popular Christmas grotto go on sale as early as September and often sell out straight away, but the Christmas shop is there for everyone to enjoy, with festive decorations galore, including Union Jack baubles, sumptuous stocking fillers and luxury crackers. The other 300-plus departments will have you covered for gift ideas, from accessories for your dog to sports equipment.
Oxford Street after the sun goes down
If your feet are not too sore and you don’t have too many bags to carry, take a walk through Hyde Park to Marble Arch, before swinging right onto Oxford Street. This is where you can get the bulk of your shopping done, with everything from luxury brands and historic department stores to high street favourites represented here and along nearby Regent Street.
Both are lit up with spectacular lights so make sure you go after dark to soak up the festive atmosphere. Some of the capital's most iconic shops are located here, from Selfridges and Hamleys, to John Lewis and Liberty. And for an alternative Christmas atmosphere, check out the Christmas lights at Carnaby.
Last-minute Christmas shopping at Westfield
Westfield London opens until 11pm on most days in the run-up to Christmas and Westfield Stratford City just one hour earlier at 10pm, allowing for some late-night scrambling to find that special gift that has been eluding you all day.
Both are a short Tube ride away, with Westfield London being the closer of the two to Oxford Street (just an 11-minute Tube ride away). With more than 100 restaurants between them, either shopping centre is a good place to finish an epic day of shopping with dinner and a well-earned drink.
Discover more of the best places to shop in London at Christmas and check out the capital's best Christmas markets. And if you're still in London after Christmas, don't miss the Boxing Day and January sales.