The Local’s London Guide
These spots are the kind of places that make it into many a Londoner’s daily and weekly routine—meaning they’re equal parts great and essential (and good for visitors, too).
Harvey Nichols109-125 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge | +44.20.7235.5000
Shopping the Harvey Nichols flagship is one of life's great pleasures as it's often quiet and crowdless. Beyond having the most well-curated selection of contemporary lines in London and a shoe department that is never disappointing, the seasonal sales are legendary. As if that weren't enough to make you want to move in forever, there are also salons, spas, and the Fifth Floor—a sort of high-end cafeteria with great food and cocktails.
Summerill & Bishop100 Portland Rd., Holland Park | +44.20.7221.4566
Born out of a friendship between June Summerill and the late Bernadette Bishop, their store is one of Holland Park's hidden gems, worth venturing a few minutes out of Notting Hill to visit. With an eye for hand-crafted home goods - June & Bernadette forged relationships with many international ceramicists, textile artists and glassblowers - and merchandise their goods in their own style. The best hand painted tablecloths, in an array of patterns all designed in their in house studio, handblown glassware, plus essential kitchenware round out the offerings. This is a dreamy, beautiful store that is 24 years strong. They've also recently opened a second store in Belgravia at 58 Elizabeth Street, and sell internationally through their website summerillandbishop.com
Labour & Wait85 Redchurch St., Shoreditch | +44.20.7729.6253
Even the wooden brooms are carefully selected to fit in with the artfully stark aesthetic at Labour and Wait. Come for striped sailing shirts, Japanese enamelware, hand-forged gardening tools, leather satchels, and polka-dot primary-color handkerchiefs. In sum, a slightly random selection of household goods that come together beautifully.
Whistles1 Thayer Street, Marylebone | +44.20.7629.7437
Britain's high street—marked most notably by Topshop—will always be a siren song for travelers (and fashion editors), but as is the way of global shopping, much of it is now available everywhere. Whistles, on the other hand, is still almost exclusively available in Europe, and in London in particular (they do have a small presence in Bloomingdales in New York). The pieces are streamlined, well-made, and trend-averse.
Toast44 Marylebone High St., Marylebone | +44.20.7486.9272
With more than 11 stores in London, this English staple is a great place to pick up kitchen and picnic materials (though their mens and womens collections are also worth a look). Their streamlined and affordably priced homewares include utilitarian blankets, rustic terracotta bowls, enamel-dipped cutlery, and more. If you're hoping to impress friends from home with seemingly simple basics they can't get at home, this is your spot.
Matches87 Marylebone High St., Marylebone | +44.20.7487.5400
Matches is one of the best shopping destinations in London thanks to the fact that they have some of the best buyers in London. You'll always find a great selection of key pieces from designers like Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Isabel Marant.
Tucked away in a two story Belgravia mews house—appropriately upmarket for the luxe e-tailer's second brick-and-mortar outpost—M’oda’s London showroom is decked out by design legend, Fran Hickman. The space is polished and feminine, with just enough pomp to impress but still let the merch shine (it's an ever-evolving assortment of Delpozo gowns, Aquazzura heels, fine jewelry and more). This is a by-invitation-only operation, so call ahead for an appointment.
The Shop at BluebirdCarriage Hall, 29 Floral St., Covent Garden | +44.20.7351.3873
Chelsea staple Bluebird has recently relocated to Covent Garden, into a stunningly outfitted former coach house no less. The fashion emporium is fittingly upscale for its surroundings, but, in a relaxed, casual, spend-an-entire-Sunday-here sort of way. They stock a great mix of under-the-radar brands along with all the staples like Peter Pilotto, Marni, and Ganni. Pop across to Balthazar for lunch afterwards.
Pentreath & Hall17 Rugby St., Bloomsbury | +44.20.7430.2526
Located in a tiny Victorian shopfront in the heart of Bloomsbury, Pentreath & Hall sells carefully chosen homewares and an ever-changing variety of unusual delights. Many of the objects for sale here satisfy the "looks great under a glass cloche" category requirement. Photo: Simon Bevan
Egg36 Kinnerton St., Belgravia | +44.20.7235.9315
Hidden in a mews house on a noncommercial street, Egg is a total gem of a store, selling simply cut yet luxurious pieces that make for great casualwear. It's hard to find any fault with its clean, airy aesthetic.
Coco de Mer23 Monmouth St., Covent Garden | +44.20.7836.8882
Fancy, high-tech sex toys, beautiful apothecary items, lingerie, and general erotica (there's a small but mighty selection of dirty books) is all on offer at this tasteful shop. The lingerie runs the gamut from tame (Stella McCartney, Paloma Casile) to risqué (the house line of intimates is pretty heavy on the latex), and includes a good range of bridal.
Persephone Books59 Lamb's Conduit St., Bloomsbury | +44.20.7242.9292
The books here are by women, about women, and for busy women who don't have time to wade through bigger chains in search of that perfect book. The collection contains 96 beautiful, unique and intelligent books, which make wonderful gifts for the women in your life. The beautiful reprints all feature a custom Persephone grey jacket, the same color as the shop's façade, which remains virtually unchanged since its construction in 1702.
Cabbages and Roses121-123 Sydney St., Chelsea | +44.20.3696.1310
With its subtle florals, washed-out colors, antique furniture, and loose, billowy fashion line, Cabbages and Roses feels very English countryside (in the best possible way). Owner Christina Strutt's store started as a line of fabrics for interiors (and they remain the backbone of her business), and she brings the same vintage-inspired aesthetic to the homewares, accessories, and clothing in her cozy Chelsea boutique.
Duke Street Emporium55 Duke St., Mayfair | +44.20.7042.2770
When British basics brand Jigsaw opened their new Duke Street location, they called in excellent bedfellows: beloved coffee shop Fernandez & Wells and clothing boutique The Shop at Bluebird. They’ll entice you in for a snack at Fernandez & Wells, send you on a quick whirl through the bijoux Bluebird with pieces from Carven and Maison Kitsuné, and send you home with a well-priced T-shirt or dress from Jigsaw. Smart.