By Stefania K.
Of all the places in the world to be when Christmas shopping season rolls around, few can hold a festive candle to the city of London. Between a phenomenal selection of spectacular settings and a vibrant array of retail-therapy options, possibilities abound to indulge every taste and budget imaginable. Better yet, this magical capital—one that is already immensely beautiful—becomes all the more dazzling in the run up to Christmas, as London’s streets become increasingly decorated and twinkling.
While all of this is exciting to envision, there is of course a practical element to Christmas shopping in London. The city’s retail areas are vast, public transport options potentially heaving, and jam-packed shopping bags most certainly heavy! It is, of course, a delight to be able to shop in person once again—particularly after being limited to online shopping and lockdowns for the last two holiday seasons. However, it’s also important not to forget that big-city shopping calls for some logistical readiness!
Well, there’s not long to go until the big day, so it’s time to get your sugar-spiced battle plan in order. Let’s ensure that your holiday shopping experience is destined to be a jolly feast for the senses rather than a traumatic Christmas clash. We here at Broke in London are all about getting the best out of this city, so read on for our most merry tips for seeing the sights, stuffing those stocking, and soaking up London’s most exciting season effortlessly.
The Joy of Shopping In Person
We mentioned the senses, and in this regard, Christmas shopping in London never disappoints! As the city shimmers brightly in the crisp winter air, London’s streets fill with the sounds of iconic holiday tunes and the aroma of fragrantly spiced baked goods or perhaps—if you find yourself in the right spot—even the tempting scent of mulled wine.
Londoners are certainly making the most of being able to soak up these sights, sounds, and smells in person this year, after the rather un-spirited trials and tribulations brought about by Covid-19. In fact, since the Christmas lights were ceremoniously switched on in November, the West End has been even busier than it was in pre-pandemic Yuletide seasons. If you are keen to embrace this sensory opportunity and get fully immersed in 2021’s London Christmas shopping extravaganza, it’s time to decide where to shop. So, what are your options?
The Best Places for Christmas Shopping in London
When weighing up the ideal destination for sourcing every Christmas present called for, it helps to consider the beneficiaries of your gift-buying efforts, their tastes, and your target expenditure. If either time or purse strings are tight, it’s undoubtedly seasonally savvy to make a list of ideas ahead of your shopping excursions, and perhaps also delve into the discount shopping deals that we so enjoy dutifully compiling!
If you’re in the market for this year’s best electronics deals, high street retailers, and luxury brands under a single weather-proof roof, then there can be no better destination than the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre—an expansive mall with all the labels, eateries, and live holiday-themed entertainment that your heart might desire. If your preference is for something a little quainter, complete with boutiques, mulled-wine stands, and perhaps even a few carollers, then the place to be is the Covent Garden Christmas Village!
Those dreaming of pure decadence should certainly make their way to Kensington, and then perhaps on to Knightsbridge—to bask in the 12,000-light brilliance of the Harrods facade. Next, a stroll up angel-adorned Regents Street will carry you to Europe’s busiest retail mile, which awaits on thickly-thrumming Oxford Street. If you’d rather stay ahead of the crowds, hit this location earlier in the morning, stopping for a mince pie with your Christmas steals already secured, just as everyone else begins to arrive!
For shoppers hoping to find some second-hand, vintage, or artisanal goodies—often in quite budget-friendly form—a trip to Carnaby Street or Camden Lock is sure to tickle your fancy. Finally, for anyone who cannot resist the romance of an open-air Christmas market, an appropriate level of giddiness can be found at the annual Winter Wonderland market in Hyde Park, among the tree-shaded stalls in Leicester Square, or at the ever-gorgeous Greenwich Christmas Market.
Getting your Christmas Haul Ho-Ho-Home
Most Londoners will agree that the most responsible way to get about the city across much of the year is by hopping on the tube or a bus, but what does one do when overloaded with all of Santa’s trinkets and treasures? In this situation, you can use Ubeeqo, a fantastically nifty car-sharing service with pick-up and drop-off points right across the city. With Ubeeqo, you can enjoy 24/7 access to on-street vehicles, hiring them either by the hour or by the day. What could be better when you’ve got Christmas shopping to scoop up, and a festive cocktail or two waiting at home?
So, there you have it—go forth, Christmas shoppers, and conquer! Remember too, oh mighty London-dwellers, that Ubeeqo’s services will also be readily rendered when the January Sales arrive. Meanwhile, the Broke in London team will continue striving to bring you the very best ideas and tips for enjoying great value living in the Capital. From job hunting tips and budget accommodation through to retail therapy and budget entertainment, we’ve got you covered. For now, we’ll sign off by wishing you a merry Christmas, the happiest of Shopping, and a bright start to 2022!