When it comes to London shopping guides, we know who the usual suspects are. Oxford Street, Bond Street, Kings Road, Camden Market, Knightsbridge and Kensington High Street make up some of those most desired areas to experience a spot of retail therapy.
The caveat? They’re packed! No matter the time of day. And you can multiply the number of people by 100 at this time of year when we gear up for the post-Christmas sales. You only need to look at the chaos at Selfridges and Harrods from years gone by. Punters queue from 4/5am just to be first in line for a 9am opening.
So what happens if you’re not enamoured by the idea of embracing ultimate chaos? After all, London is a city of almost nine million. Is anywhere really sacred from hordes of people looking for a deal in the sales?
The answer is yes. And if you’re reading this, we assume that, like us, you want to know where the quieter shopping areas reside in the capital. So, without further ado, here is an alternative shopping guide to London.
Central London detracts from the happenings over in Bayswater. It’s the perfect London shopping alternative and is hardly ever overcrowded. While everyone is busy losing their minds on Oxford Street and Bond Street looking for the best deal, Bayswater is left fairly untroubled.
But what shopping treats can you find in Bayswater? There's Whitleys Shopping Centre, an impressive 1930s building heavily inspired by the art deco era. Whitelys boasts a cinema, the usual retail favourites, and an excellent juice bar. Just in case all that shopping leaves you feeling somewhat parched.
Outside of the shopping centre, Queensway High Street features a somewhat technical flavour. There are a plethora of independent gadget shops where you can normally pick up items for cheaper than Bayswater’s West End neighbour.
Just in case you’re feeling peckish, the W2 postcode features an eclectic mix of restaurants, from Chinese to Brazilian. They're often authentic, too. Did someone say home-cooked Feijoada?
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Shoreditch is so 2017. If you’re cool and trendy, Hackney is where you want to be seen. The E8 postcode features a thriving art area, plus a selection of shops funkier than anything you will find in the traditional London spots.
Broadway Market is a particular favourite. Expect to find an atmosphere more serene than the West End, with an East London flavour to boot. You will find more than 100 stalls selling vintage clothing and handmade jewellery. There are plenty of fresh food and drink outlets too.
The market has been home to traders since 1890, and successfully combines a unique taste of cultures and styles. If you’re looking for the opposite of the commercial London shopping attractions, Broadway Market should be at the top of your list.
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If you had to curate a list of places in London bursting at the seams with people, Canary Wharf might top it. Of course, the high levels of crowds reflect the area during the working week. It can resemble a ghost town at the weekends and in the evenings.
What do you want to visit a ghost town for, right? A huge modern shopping centre with high-end fashion boutiques might be one reason. Fine dining restaurants could be another. To put it bluntly: Canary Wharf offers the same quality of shopping as Oxford Street but with less than half of the people.
While the residential side of Canary Wharf is picking up, it still doesn’t match London’s most popular shopping areas in terms of people traffic. That means you can browse at will without worrying about being accidentally shoved, pushed or barged. Sounds like bliss to us.
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While everyone is busy enjoying Greenwich’s maritime attractions, you can get one up on them by enjoying the local shopping delights. Let’s start with Greenwich Market. Here you will find London’s only market set within a World Heritage Site.
If shopping at Hugo Boss and Armani sends you running for the hills, you’ll love Greenwich Markets’ independent and boutique offerings. There are clothes shops, interior designers, and bookstores just waiting to be discovered at your leisure.
When you’re done with all that ‘shop ‘till you drop’ shenanigans, the culinary options will make foodies delight. From gastropubs to food markets, there are some great choices for those who have built up an appetite from shopping.
It’s not just the shopping experience in Greenwich that’s impressive; the rental properties more than hold their own too.
You’ve seen the alternative, witnessed the funky, and had a taste of modern. Now it’s time to go posh. Hampstead is known as the de facto London village area. But it just so happens to have a few high-street shops to boot.
The NW3 postcode has built its reputation on cobbled streets, artistic inhabitants, Hampstead Heath, quaint cafes and delicious patisseries. Yet it’s the independent boutiques and fashion favourites that give it the complete seal of approval.
If you’re looking for a stroll on the high street, going from shop to shop without much fuss, Hampstead is the place for you. Especially if you want to find a post-Xmas deal without the rush of central London. You can also expect to find a quaint antique shop on Flask Walk and Zana, otherwise known as Kate Moss’ favourite shop.
If village vibes are your thing, check out the latest Hampstead rental properties.
London and chill
From November to February, London becomes something akin to a salesathon. The result means overcrowding that can, at times, be unbearable. If you're not keen on queuing for five hours to buy socks in Primark, these alternatives will provide happy retail vibes.
Think we’ve missed any understated shopping areas in London? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be happy to add them to this post. Happy shopping, Londoners. Make sure your retail therapy is a soothing experience.
Main image credit: www.visitbritainshop.com