If you’re after a winter trip to get you in the festive mood, there’s no better city to head than bustling and bright London. However the Christmas season can be a shopping nightmare – so many people, so little time! Put the fun and frivolity back into your gift search with our top tips on how best to survive shopping in London at Christmas time.
Try to avoid Oxford Street
Although many people come to London at Christmas time specially for world-famous Oxford Street shopping, London has so much more to offer. Avoid the crowds and save yourself an entire festive season worth of stress by heading somewhere outside of Zone 1 – yes it exists! Islington is a safe bet for independent boutiques and unique gifts, as is Muswell Hill and nearby Church Street in Stoke Newington. At the other end of London, Ealing has all the high street names without the crowds.
Head to a Christmas market
Get out in the fresh air and into the festive spirit with a wander round one of London’s Christmas markets. Head to the Southbank for traditional German-style wooden huts lining the river or see Covent Garden transformed into a myriad of pretty lights and jolly stalls. The ever-popular and ever-enchanting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park also offers ice skating and a magical ice kingdom – so when you’ve finished treating other people, treat yourself!
Make department stores your friend
This year, treat shopping more like a supermarket because the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser have the potential to be one-stop shops for all your Christmas needs. Catering to the young, the old and everything in between, you’re just as likely to find something for your brother’s wife as your boyfriend’s dad. If you’re feeling like your giftees only deserve the best, Harrods, Selfridges or Liberty will also do the trick.
Utilise late night opening times
As an early Christmas present, shop owners do like to be kind to their customers and offer us super late night opening hours. Thursday is usually the golden day for this, with many shops open until 8pm or even 9pm and, as the days draw closer to Christmas, this is extended to 10pm. Look out for individual store times, as many shops often have a one-off late event, staying open until midnight.
No queuing, no fighting to find the right size in the clothes piled haphazardly on the floor, and you can even do it at 3am when you can’t sleep – shopping at online stores such as Miinto can solve all your problems. You won’t get that warm festive feeling of trawling round the shops surrounding by twinkling Christmas lights but it’ll sure save you some hassle. Just remember to leave enough time for your order to arrive; no one will believe that Santa’s sleigh has broken down.
Author: When Josie isn’t hunting down the best ways to spend Christmas in the capital, you’ll find her blogging for Miinto where you can find festive gift inspiration and clothing.