Paddington – Entrance to London’s Christmas Stores
I have been Christmas shopping to New York City on a couple of occasions and enjoyed picking up some unique gifts for the family back home in the UK. To return the favour here is a quick guide to doing that in reverse – travelling over from the US into London, it is easy to enter through Paddington, drop off your empty suitcases at a hotel in the area and follow this store guide.
Harrods and Knightsbridge
One of the most famous and exclusive stores in the UK capital, Harrods’ Christmas World opened in July this year! Situated in Knightsbridge – just a short walk across Hyde Park from Paddington – the department store may not sell so many elephants now (if that story was ever true), but is full of a host of other gifts. The Knightsbridge area as a whole is lined with high-end and unique shopping venues.
Not a single outlet, but the world-renowned Oxford Street offers a wide choice of the typical store brands of the UK. Familiar to locals, so by definition then; a great selection of unusual shops for the overseas Christmas shopper!
Running south from halfway along Oxford Street through to our next stop of Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street also has its fair share of quintessentially English retail stores. One of the highlights for a shopping list with children in mind must be Hamleys Toy Shop. The flagship store on Regent Street is the largest of its kind in the world – with 6 floors of delights – and this is a place where you can buy a life-sized elephant, if you can close the suitcase.
Just a short detour about a quarter of the way along Regent Street is Carnaby Street – still a brilliant example of “swinging London” today as it was in the sixties and with a new musical playing, still as influential as ever. Drop in to Liberty on the way – it’s conveniently located on route.
After stocking up on stocking fillers from the luxury end of the spectrum of London shopping, Piccadilly Circus has a wealth of fun souvenir style shops to raise a smile and revive a memory of your trip.
So, after trick or treating and Thanksgiving celebrations, check off the next holiday to do list with a Christmas shopping trip to London.
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