Christmas Shopping in London - Top Tips

By Vanessa Teo

Looking to do some Christmas shopping in London? Find out where our favourite spots are below.

Whether you're a planner or a last-minute-scrambler, Christmas shopping in London can seem a little daunting. With shops on every corner and crowds filling the streets, it can be difficult to tick things off your shopping list. But there's no need to panic, we've whittled down our top 5 shopping spots where you can find something for everyone at every budget!

Oxford Street

An old London faithful, Oxford Street is one of London's most visited shopping neighbourhoods and lines up flagship store after flagship store on a bustling stretch. It's always beautifully decorated around this time of year and feature heavyweights like H&M, Debenhams, Sports Direct and more, meaning there's a gift for everyone on Oxford Street. If you're visiting London and looking for souvenirs to take him, there's a number of small souvenir shops scattered about the area but be warned about the marked up prices. The only problem with Oxford Street is that you'll have too many options, which isn't such a bad situation to be in.

Westfield London

Beat the cold weather and slip indoors at Westfield Shopping Centre. With two locations in Stratford City and Shepherd's Bush and over 250 shops apiece, it's a mesh of luxury labels like Prada and more wallet-friendly brands like Primark to cover every budget. Once you've exhausted your credit card, there's cinemas, casinos, bowling alleys and an international food court to round off your day of hard work. Tip: London Pass holders can head to the concierge desk to acquire a V.I.P. Westfield pass, which includes discounts to over 80 of Westfield's retailers and restaurants.

London Beatles Store

Want to really make your loved ones twist and shout this Christmas? The London Beatles store over on Baker Street is overflowing with quintessential memorabilia, whether you're looking for a groovy Beatles-themed lava lamp for a casual fan or an autograph for the real die-hards. Located over on Baker Street, it's also right across the road from It's Only Rock and Roll where there's a feature Beatles gallery amongst other bands such as The Who, Led Zeppelin and others. Tip: London Pass holders who spend more than £5 also get an exclusive goody bag with their gift.

Shoreditch

Out with the old, in with the old. Shoreditch is home to many amazing vintage stores, ideal for finding a one-of-a-kind-piece that the fashion forward will eat up. Dotted around the street art and bagel bakeries are a number of places sure to catch your eye: Rokit Vintage and Beyond Retro are beloved stores with multiple branches across London and the sprawling converted warehouse East End Thrift Store is worth a visit, if you have the patience to comb through the racks.

Foyles Bookshop

Give the gift of knowledge this Christmas with a novel from Foyles Bookshop, a family-run independent bookstore which has seen London through the years. After revamping their flagship Charing Cross location, the store now stocks over 200,000 books and has evolved beyond a simple bookstore with a jazz cafe and art gallery introduced in recent times. With a selection that spans over 4 miles of shelving, you'll be hard-pressed to find something your friend and family won't love. Tip: London Pass holders who make purchases over £25 receive a free copy of London Unfurled by Matteo Pericoli upon presenting their pass and receipt at the Charing Cross branch.

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How to find your way around London

Covering a total of 607 sq miles, London can be a daunting city to try to navigate – for locals and tourists alike. It’s so big that no one could begin to see all of it, not even if they lived there their whole life. With attractions spread far and wide, you’ll need a calm head, good shoes and a reliable companion to help you find your way. And we don’t mean your partner. From mobile apps to maps, there are plenty of ways to come prepared. Here are the best ways of finding your way around: Mobile App Luckily there are a number of mobile apps that have been created to help you find your way around the city, from tips to the best eateries and the rich history of streets you’re walking around. LondonPass App is the perfect resource for a fact-packed and useful guide to the city. Discover London by area or by attraction, explore the underground with the tube map and plan a fun day out with the detailed itineraries. A-Z Maps If you prefer something a bit more traditional and don’t have a smartphone, you can’t go wrong with a simple A-Z London City map. A staple in most Londoner’s handbags, the A-Z is the bible to London with every nook and cranny detailed in this portable map. The perfect option if you can’t rely on your phone battery and great for indulging in a bit of old-fashioned exploring. Tube Map Carrying a small Tube map around in your pocket may not help you find your way above ground, but it will certainly help you navigate London’s extensive underground system. With colour coded routes, the map is a handy helper to explore the city below pavement level. If you prefer things the digital way, why not download a tube map to your smartphone to help you track real-time tubes and plan your journey duration; even allowing you to avoid certain stops. If you need more information, any ticket desk at the tube stations will provide free maps and helpful tube wardens are always keen to point you in the right direction. Google Maps Need to get from A to Z but not quite sure how long it will take? Use Google Maps to help you plan a dynamic route around London. Whether you want to rent a bike, walk or catch the bus, Google Maps can tell you the quickest routes and even let you know what time the public transport is running. If you want to visualise where you’re going to end up, use Street View to get an idea of where you’re heading. Great for those who struggle with a sense of direction! Ask a local Contrary to popular opinion, not all Londoners are unfriendly! Although Londoners may lead a fast-paced life and prefer a quiet tube journey, don't be afraid to stop to ask a local for help – they will probably be able to let you in on short cut and great places to go off the beaten track. With the London Pass here’s plenty to see and do; from top London attractions like Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London, to unique experiences like a Thames River Cruise and the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle. Get free and fast track entry into 60 of the best sites in and around the city, as well as a free guidebook and travelcard. To find out more, click here.
Go City Expert
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Halloween in London 2019

Highlights of Halloween in London 2019, including... A chance to play detective A cursed cruise through a mysterious Victorian canal tunnel A private party at a secret, spooky location A month of events, talks and performances on London’s dead And more Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum You’ve been solving case after case from the comfort of your armchair, but do you have what it takes to solve a case in real life? Well, in person at least. This immersive evening of detective work will have you scouring the Natural History Museum for evidence and examining what you find in a lab. A priceless stone has been stolen from the museum and there are two dead bodies. The killer is still on the loose. It’s your job to eliminate suspects and bring the perpetrator to justice. Forensic experts are on hand to assist in the investigation, but you’ll have to piece together your findings. Unlike with most of the events on this list, this isn’t a strictly Halloween related happening. But it’s one of the most atmospheric and involved places to spend your Halloween in London. Well, November 1st, actually. And the (recommended) dress code is trousers and flat shoes. You know, detective stuff. 4th October, 1st November 18.30-22.30 [caption id="attachment_5323" align="alignnone" width="1000"] nhm.ac.uk[/caption] Jägermeister Cursed Canal Cruise Jägermeister have teamed up with bar chain Ladies & Gents to put on a number of spooky cocktail cruises around Halloween this year. On a boat named The Dark Spirit, you’ll be handed two free cocktails, expertly knocked up by the Ladies & Gents bar staff. Setting off twice an evening from Camden, the cruises take a two hour route along Regent’s Canal, including the creepy 1km Victorian Islington Tunnel. 23rd October - 3rd November 2019. Cruises leave at 18.30 and 20.30. Halloween Ball at the Mansion If you’re looking to party this Halloween in London, you may as well go big. And events put on at The Mansion are as big, as dazzling and as decadent as any you’ll find in the capital. Set across three dancefloors, an art room and 2 socialising lounges—all decked out in spooky, quirky decor—the Halloween Ball at the Mansion is an immersive, hedonistic playground. There’s street food on offer, live fire performers, 3 DJs, live music and even a real graveyard in the back. Fancy dress is mandatory. And there’s good reason to take it seriously: winners of the best costume award win flights to NYC. Ticket buyers will be sent the address 48 hours in advance. Saturday 26th October 2019, 21.00 - 4.00 [caption id="attachment_5324" align="alignnone" width="1000"] themansionlondon.com[/caption] Drink Along with Lost Boys Lost Boys Pizza live for this time of year, so it’s a great place to spend your Halloween in London. Famed for their black charcoal pizza bases, this bar and restaurant are vampire-themed year round, but there’s no better time to visit than Halloween. This year, they’re putting on screenings of the horror film that gave them their name and style, The Lost Boys. With the whole place covered in Halloween dress-up, it’s an absorbing environment to soak up the atmosphere of the classic 80s vampire movie. The admission price includes a pizza and bottomless beer, wine or Prosecco whilst the film’s playing. From Monday 28th October - Friday 1st November 2019, 19.30 - 21.45 and 22.00 - 00.00 Pumpkin Carvings at Fortnum’s - Adult Session If you’re looking for a gentler way of spending your Halloween in London, try the Fortnum & Mason pumpkin carving session on Thursday 27th October. The two hour class will have you cutting out great chunks of flesh (from a pumpkin) in a bid to win the Best Pumpkin Prize. Thursday 27th October, 18.30 - 20.00 London Month of the Dead This October, choose from 42 different events that examine the way London has treated, mythologised and been influenced by its dead. Run to benefit London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries, the diverse programme of events include taxidermy workshops, walking tours of cemeteries, and live talks on topics such as the apocalypse, post mortem photography, vampires, the folklore of evil and a hell of a lot more. Some after-hours performances in London’s cemeteries are among the most popular events, and include a vampire opera, a magic lantern slide show and ghost story telling. Book ASAP to avoid disappointment. Various events, venues and times throughout October. Check their website for details of individual events Trapped in Wonderland: Halloween Experience Spend this Halloween in London, trapped in a fantastical world gone wrong. Alice is locked up in Wonderland and has lost her mind. The happy creatures of the book have gone mad and turned evil. The tea party is a bloody mess. But Evil Alice is throwing a party, and it’s the place to be this Halloween in London. Turn up (in compulsory fancy dress) around 21.00 for the Mad Hatter’s Welcome Cocktail Tea Party...then step into a playground of the macabre. Top DJs spinning house, club and hip-hop classics, a confetti shower, a midnight doughnut giveaway...this is a big, scary party with a big, scary personality. Thursday 31st October, 21.00 - 4.00 [caption id="attachment_5325" align="alignnone" width="1000"] theo2.co.uk[/caption] Halloween Fright Night Cinema at the Rivoli Ballroom From 28th October until the 31st, Rivoli Ballroom cinema are putting on a fiendishly good selection of horror and creepy classics. Across four nights in the lead up to Halloween, choose from screenings of Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Shining. One of London’s last remaining ballrooms, Rivoli will be dressed up for the occasion. And there’s always been something creepy about old glamour. The stories, the people, the long nights of the past. Expect themed cocktails and cinema snacks. Every night from 28th October to 31st October 2019. 20.00 - 23.00
Matthew Pearson

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