Knightsbridge and Kensington Crown London's Rich Shopping Offers

From Harrods to Harvey Nichols, from Portobello Road to Kensington market, from Church Street to Sloane Square; Kensington is a shopping mecca for London. This is where the capital's brightest best, and richest tend to gather. Don't be surprised if you rub shoulders with Jemima Khan or Sienna Miller, or various other British and American starlets. This is where they like to shop, along with the ladies who lunch, the dowagers of Hyde Park, and just about everyone else who wants to feel just a little bit like them for a few hours. But never fear, the borough also has some of the best high street stores too, from Marks and Spencers, to H and M to Top Shop, Warehouse, Oasis and Monsoon, so you can find a bit of everything here. Knightsbridge is where you will find the big department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nic's, High Street Kensington and the King's Road have lots of the upper end of the chain stores, and a smattering of designer boutiques too. On Sloane St, Sloane Square and the Fulham Road, things get even more upmarket. If you want a London based designer, pop in to the Conran Shop, and if you can't afford the home wares, perhaps you can stop for a coffee in the adjoining restaurant. Enjoy, you won't want to stop.


Portobello is a shopping mecca, but the presence of antiques, particularly from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries is why many people flock to the market when they are in London. There is a broad range of goods, with prices to match. The antiques market is held on Saturdays, when you'll also find an abundant array of fashion; the surrounding shops and restaurants are open Monday-Saturday, and vendors congregate to sell everything from produce to clothing. Be warned it can be packed, and as with any market, not everything is always as it seems, so be careful and make sure you know your stuff if you think you've found something rare. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Portobello and Kensington markets are great places to spend hours browsing and take home something fun and original.

Emma's expert tip: Portobello road is a shopping mecca in London, everything from vintage and antiques, food to current fashions.

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The Conran shop has London roots, and has become a byword for lifestyle design around the world. Set up by Sir Terence Conran, this, his flagship store in the old Michelin Building in Kensington is all cool elegance and covetable design. He sells you furniture, cutlery, tableware, lighting and the food to go in the house so that you too can emulate his lifestyle, and feel just as stylish as the ladies who lunch in this part of town. If you have to decorate a new house, this is the perfect place to come, even just for ideas, as everything is beautifully laid out and totally covetable. TUBE: South Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: The Conran Shop has been a destination place in the borough since the sixties, brilliant and stylish.

Emma's expert tip: Even if you don't like shopping, visit this building anyway for a great art deco experience and eat in the delicious Bluebird restaurant next door.

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This cool, clean store offers can't-miss gifts to enhance comfort. Fine bed linens, handmade blankets, every bath accessory you can imagine, a great selection of plush bathrobes and towels, and sweet-smelling beauty products such as orange flower shampoo are all artfully arranged in bookcases. Service is friendly, and bedroom displays look so fresh and comfortable you'll want to lie down and sleep or at least make a few purchases to recreate the look at home. This is the perfect place to come for the most beautiful bedrooms and bathrooms in your home, or to get presents for all your friends and family. TUBE: High Street Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Cologne and Cotton is a tranquil place to shop and perfectly compliments the other places in Kensington.

Emma's expert tip: Cologne and Cotton provide all your stylish bath and bed linen needs.

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Barkers used to be a beautiful and popular department store, it has been through many incarnations since then, including housing a big Marks and Spencers, but now has a great Whole Foods store inside this amazing Art Deco-inspired building. Whole Foods might come from the States, and you can literally spend hours in this emporium feeling like you are a Hollywood star, buying your favourite tiny healthy nibbles, but never fear, there are plenty of delicious treats in here too, squidgy brownies made with fair trade chocolate and free range eggs, fresh salads, crunchy crackers and all the ingredients from around the world, you could ever wish for. TUBE: High Street Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Whole Foods in the beautiful Barkers building will meet all your food needs in this great borough.

Emma's expert tip: Whole Foods is a perfect one stop shop for all your food needs in London.

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Andrew Nebbett Antiques

The shop hits the nail firmly on the head when it describes itself as a purveyor of the decorative and the unexpected from 1780 to 1960. Every bit as satisfying as the product range is the experience: this is everything you might imagine from a visit to an English antique house that's run by a discreet English gent. Spend as much time browsing the goodies as you wish, and there's no pressure to make a purchase. Andrew Nebbett antiques specialises in classic 20th century design and industrial furniture. Their clients are everyone from interior designers, to rock stars and royalty they say, and "they all come looking for the same thing, the Wow factor".

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Andrew Nebbett for purveyors of fine taste, just like the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Emma's expert tip: Clients are encouraged to decorate their homes across periods, and at this shop you can blend the 1750s with the 1950s if you so desire.

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In stylish Chelsea, the most stylish women, including lots of models, buy their slinky evening clothes from Amanda Wakely. She herself was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College, like many of the women that buy her designs, this is the female equivalent of Eton for the British Upper Classes. Classic designer fashions have been available here for generations. Lots of sheer fabrics and beading distinguish the apparel, and elegant accessories add even more glitz. Kaftans can be good for the cruises or beach wear, and dressing up a day look to evening. An ideal shop for special occasions such as weddings or formal parties. TUBE: South Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Amanda Wakeley sort of embodies Kensington glamour and elegance, come here for special occasions, including weddings.

Emma's expert tip: Amanda Wakely is also stocked in Harvey Nichols, and its flagship store is on the Fulham Road.

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Alfie's Antique Market is the biggest covered market for antiques in London. It hosts numerous stall holders who sell antiques and collectables from a variety of eras. The place is frequented by interior designers, collectors, and set designers for theatre and television. You can get vintage clothes, and vintage China, including designers from the twenties like the English designer Clarice Cliff, famous for her brightly coloured geometric inspired designs. If Victorian charm bracelets are your thing, then this is the place to come, a perfect place to while away a whole day dreaming about how you'd fit out one of the beautiful neighbouring town house if you owned one, or picking up some great outfits for a fancy dress party or club night.

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Alfie's antiques market is one of many great antiques shops in this borough for nostalgic stylish shopping.

Emma's expert tip: Great for gifts and things for your house and wardrobe.

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Chelsea first leapt to prominence in the '60s, thanks to designer boutiques and trend-seeking shoppers. That aspect continues, and the neighborhood remains well-to-do, but antique shops and home decor venues have now been added to the mix. King's Road - once a private road for King Charles II - is the main thoroughfare, lined with boutiques, cafes and other upscale establishments. You can follow it all the way from Peter Jones in Sloane Square to Stamford Bridge at the other end and Chelsea football club. Although shopping is top-notch, don't neglect the people-watching opportunities too as this is where the Sloane Rangers like to cruise, browse, shop, talk, chat and party. There's always plenty to see, day and night, and at Christmas, the street really comes into its own.TUBE: Sloane Square or South Kensington

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: The King's Rd is one of the best places to shop in Kensington and Chelsea as it has a bit of everything and is very long.

Emma's expert tip: The King's Road is just one of many great shopping spots in Chelsea, but its mix of top notch designer boutiques, antiques, home stores, and the higher class chain offers something for everyone.

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Favored especially by fashion-conscious folks, this well-regarded department store is known for its propensity towards designer labels. Begun in 1813, the enterprise offers a wealth of men's and women's apparel, not to mention a strong home furnishings section and fantastic beauty department. Personal shopping services and a salon allow customers to be pampered even further, and a restaurant, cafe and bar on the top floor provide welcome respite in the midst of busy shopping sprees. The restaurant serves amazing food now, as it has all been recently revamped, and just outside is a food hall where you can pick up not only luxury food, but lovely kitchen ware to try and recreate the feel of the place at home too. TUBE: Knightsbridge

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: Harvey Nichols is world famous and fun, great goods, beautifully displayed.

Emma's expert tip: Harvey Nichols featured heavily in the TV show "absolutely fabulous" and it really is a fabulous store. Again, Christmas is a great time to go, with lights, sparkle and gifts a plenty.

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London's world-famous department store, Harrods has been a city fixture since it opened in 1849. Impeccable service and a wonderful, diverse selection have earned the store a place in the hearts of Londoners. Although prices are somewhat steep, they're attached to quality merchandise, including apparel, toys, home furnishings and groceries. Plus, twice-yearly sales make things more accessible to budget-minded shoppers. Cultivating a bit of spectacle in Harrods are the Egyptian Room and a memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, owner Mohammed's son. It gets busy at Christmas but is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in London at that time of year, as it's Christmas tree and window displays are a delight. TUBE: Knightsbridge

Recommended for Kensington's Best Shopping because: On a list of Kensington's best shopping spots, Harrods has to come number one.

Emma's expert tip: Harrods is London's most famous store, and not to be missed on any shopping itinerary, even if you just pop in and buy a jar of marmalade to take home.

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Meet Emma Wallis

London gives Emma a warm fuzzy feeling every time she gets back to her home city. As a writer and broadcaster she travels extensively round Europe and the world, but is always happy to return to...  More About Emma