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
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
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
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
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".
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
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.
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
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
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