London is one of the best shopping destinations in Europe, offering everything from cheap high street fashion to the catwalk collections of luxury labels. Whether you’re a local or visiting from further afield, an afternoon spent shopping on the streets of London is always an exciting and tempting experience.
On the other hand, if you’d rather avoid double decker buses, the crowds, and most of all the British weather – which has a high chance of leaving you frizzy-haired and damp-footed – there is of course an alternative.
Why not visit one of London’s shopping centres? Everything you need can be found under one roof so you can shop to your heart’s content in comfort and convenience, even on the rainiest of days.
Which is the best London shopping centre? It’s hard to choose just one, but here’s our pick of ten of the best:
1. Westfield London
Westfield operates two large shopping centres in London. The Westfield in Stratford City currently holds the crown for being the largest urban shopping centre in Europe by square footage, but the branch in Shepherd’s Bush actually has more retailers and with 361 shops (including over 40 luxury retail outlets) it will certainly keep you busy for the day.
As well as hundreds of fashion retailers and restaurants, this shopping centre also contains a 17-screen cinema, gym, and even a library.
Ariel Way, London W12 7GF
Opened in 2011, Boxpark is a hip “pop-up mall” that is home to a range of independent boutiques selling fashion, jewellery, housewares and food and drink out of refitted shipping containers.
The complex is located below Shoreditch High Street Overground station and although it’s technically outdoors, it is covered in winter and outdoor heaters help to keep the shopping environment comfortable.
2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6GY
3. St Martin’s Courtyard
Covent Garden has always been a great shopping location but the arrival of this open-air shopping centre in 2010 made it even better. Fashion retailers include Banana Republic, Jaeger and Twenty8Twelve alongside independent boutiques and al fresco cafes, making it a great meeting spot for lunch and shopping with friends.
Slingsby Pl, London WC2E 9AB
4. Burlington Arcade
Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade is Britain’s oldest shopping arcade and retailers have traded here since 1819. The covered shopping arcade concept was dreamed up by Lord Cavendish to stop people from throwing rubbish onto his property and you can still see guards wearing traditional Edwardian dress here, employed to keep the ruffians out!
These days you can enjoy the ambience while shopping at elegant boutiques for jewellery, perfume and luxury accessories. The arcade is particularly beautiful at Christmas time and is a great location for window-shopping at any time of the year.
51 Piccadilly, London W1J 0QJ
5. Brent Cross Shopping Centre
Brent Cross was one of Britain’s first modern enclosed shopping centres and opened in 1976. There are now over 120 shops at Brent Cross, covering most of the high street staples and it’s a great no-frills shopping location if you’re in north London.
Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, London, NW4 3FP
Whiteleys is one of London’s oldest retailers and one of its most beautiful, built in 1911 as a luxury department store. The building was converted into a shopping centre in 1989 and these days you can find a selection of high street fashion stores, an 8-screen cinema, bowling alley and various coffee shops and restaurants.
Queensway, London W2 4YN
7. One New Change
One New Change offers a satisfying mix of high street and more upmarket retailers in a modern shopping environment opposite St Paul’s Cathedral. It contains 60 shops and restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa steak restaurant.
1 New Change, London EC4M 9AF
8. Angel Central
Formerly the N1 Shopping Centre, Angel Central is Islington’s premier shopping location offering a small but comprehensive selection of high street fashion brands, housewares, lifestyle products, dining and entertainment.
21 Parkfield St, London N1 0PS
9. London Designer Outlet
If you’re after designer fashion brands at discount prices, head to Wembley’s London Designer Outlet where you can shop 70 brands at discounts of up to 70%. The complex also houses a wide selection of restaurants and a 9-screen cinema.
Wembley Park Blvd, Wembley, Greater London HA9 0QL
10. Kingly Court
Kingly Court is a popular shopping and dining location in London’s West End and, as you might expect from its Carnaby Street location, it houses mostly independent fashion boutiques, vintage stores and funky gift shops.
Kingly St, London W1B 5PW