London: Best Shopping in the World's Shopping Capital

London is expensive, sprawling and crowded. Many of the high streets across the capital can look like identikit retail experiences rolled out to order. But despite all of this, it is still voted amongst the best, if not the best, shopping city in the world, which comes down to one thing: it simply has everything you could want.


The Globe Shopper City Index notes that London outstrips all other European cities in terms of the quality of the shops and the availability of international and local brands. Whether you go to one of the many excellent department stores (in this, London really excels) or hit up the high streets (Oxford Street and High Street Kensington are the most famous), it’s unlikely there’s a global brand you can’t find.


As with any major capital, shopping here is an opportunity to be steeped in the city’s history, whether it’s the arcades of famous Covent Garden, with Eliza Doolittle singing prettily in your head, or the swinging sixties headquarters of Carnaby Street.


But London’s best treasures are its most esoteric: the multicultural local markets in every corner of the city and the backstreet one-off boutiques. This list covers the full range of shopping experiences available in London, from mainstream to independent.


Carnaby Street


This was the epicentre of London's swinging sixties fashion, with designers such as Mary Quant opening up boutiques here and bands like the Who and the Rolling Stones hanging out and performing at nearby music venues. While for many years it...  Read More



Located inside a nondescript warehouse building in Dalston, the interiors of this absurdly trendy store are described as 'red dwarf sci fi meets art exhibition'. Set designer and art director Gary Card is to thank for those, but people would...  Read More



The Oxford Circus flagship Topshop is one of the largest high street shops in the world. There are five floors in this sartorial goliath, including men and women's fashion and accessories, a Wah Nails bar, tailoring service, hair salon, EAT cafe...  Read More



The Old Truman Brewery is at the heart of Brick Lane life. Once one of the largest brewers in the world, it closed in 1989 and the original site was bought up by developers. Back then Brick Lane was still a rough and ready place, where many...  Read More

East End


Any music lover should pay homage to the legendary Rough Trade. They have been supporting independent music since 1976, when they championed new genres like punk, reggae and new wave. They went on to launch a record label, and signed the likes...  Read More



It began with Shoreditch House, East London's branch of international media hub Soho House, opening up around the corner, followed by Sir Terence Conran's Boundary hotel, restaurant and cafe, and quickly the fashion world started paying...  Read More



Such has been the success of Selfridges & Co., you can now find them in Birmingham and Manchester, but the flagship London store is by far the most impressive when it comes to content. Housed in a grand building opened in 1909, the...  Read More



Combine London's love of markets with a cutting edge aesthetic and luxury fashion, and you'll come close to Dover Street Market. In simple terms DSM is a six floor, 1200 square metres department store in Mayfair, with Mayfair prices to match....  Read More



Three times a week, Portobello Road becomes packed with market traders selling everything from 19th century silver candelabras to retro seventies platforms, or first edition Charles Dickens tomes to cheaply made logo tees. Starting at the...  Read More

Regent Street


The distinctive timbered façade of Liberty has fooled many visitors thinking the building is far older, but the Tudor Revival style was popular in 1920s Britain. This historic department store was started by entrepreneur Arthur Liberty in 1875,...  Read More


Meet Tyler Wetherall

Tyler Wetherall is a freelance writer specialising in travel, food & drink, covering topics as varied as narcs in the Colombian jungle to cocktail drinking in Cuba. Tyler has lived in London...  More About Tyler