Vacation in London: Budget Friendly Shopping

Hi folks, welcome to my series on London, United Kingdom! Having lived as a student in London from 2011-12 and visited it multiple times, I’m sharing my knowledge of this wonderful city. I plan to post content every week. The content will largely focus on my recent trip there in June-July 2018, but there’ll also be some gems from the past. If you’d like to know more, please follow my blog.

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Shopping certainly makes me happy!

London is a haven for shopaholics! Despite the unfavorable exchange rate and generally high price tags, it’s possible to shop on a budget. The best time to shop is during the summer (starting mid-June) and winter (post Christmas) sales. December 26, Boxing Day is the best day to shop at throwaway prices, but one must be prepared for excessive crowds and general disorder (skirmishes and even stabbings have been reported in the past!). The sales are unbelievable with prices slashed down 80-90%.

In this post, I highlight the best places to shop area-wise, so you can make the most of your time while on a short trip.

WESTFIELD MALL, SHEPHERD’S BUSH:

This mall offers multiple Designer and high street brands under one roof. Shepherd’s Bush is centrally located but there’s another branch of this mall in Stratford City.

You’ll be spoilt for choice with many food courts and standalone restaurants. There is a Kidzania enclosure to keep children occupied, as well as a cinema and baby play area. The cloak room is ideal for stowing away shopping bags. Nursing rooms and family facilities are generously placed throughout.

Timings: Monday- Saturday 10 a.m. -10 p.m.

Sundays: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Address: Ariel Way, White City, London W12 7GF, UK

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Shepherd’s Bush’ and ‘White City’ on the Central Line.

‘Wood Lane’ and ‘Shepherd’s Bush Market’ on the Hammersmith & City Line

Bus stops: White City Bus Station: 31, 49, 148, 207, 237, 260, 607 and C1

                  Shepherd’s Bush: 72, 94, 95, 220, 272, 283, 295 and N207

Parking is available for a charge and taxis have an easy drop-off and pick-up point

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Picture courtesy: http://www.cityam.com

OXFORD STREET:

This is the place to visit if you like the hustle bustle of big cities. The best high street stores are located on one long straight road. Turn off the main road to Regent Street for some kid-friendly shopping and Bond Street for high end designer goods. Marble Arch at one end of Oxford Street, houses the largest Primark store- extremely popular with budget shoppers.

In the balmy summer months, many part-time vendors occupy the street crossings with delicious waffles, ice-creams and other fast food. For a sit-down meal with plenty of character, look for St. Christopher’s Place, which is a street with various restaurant options.

Timings: Monday – Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sundays: 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops:

Bond Street: Operating the Central Line & Jubilee Line
Marble Arch: Operating the Central Line
Oxford Circus: Operating the Bakerloo Line & Central Line & Victoria Line
Piccadilly Circus: Operating the Bakerloo Line & Piccadilly Line
Tottenham Court Road: Operating the Central Line & Northern Line

The London Underground now operates a 24HR service on the Central and Victoria line on Fridays and Saturdays.

Bus Stops: 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 23, 25, 53, 73, 88, 94, 98, 113, 137, 139 & 159.

Parking is difficult but taxis are an easy option.

Primark-Oxford-Street

Picture courtesy: http://www.city-walks.info

NOTTING HILL MARKET:

This cute market is known for selling kitschy tourist goods, but one can also score cheap export surplus clothes and shoes. Shop for gorgeous antiques and vintage clothes on weekends when the market extends down the length of Portobello Road.

The neighborhood has many restaurants to eat at, as well as Starbucks and a Bubble Tea joint.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Ladbroke Grove’ and ‘Westbourne Park’ on the Circle and Hammersmith & City line

‘Notting Hill Gate’ on the Circle, District and Central line

Bus Lines: 7,12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70, 94, 328 & 452

Parking is scarce but taxis are an easy option

Portobello-Road

Picture courtesy: http://www.vincenthouselondon.com

COVENT GARDEN MARKET:

This quaint cobblestoned market has all the romance and charm you expect on a European vacation. There are various crafts and handmade goods on offer, and plenty of places to eat at. If you’re with children, definitely stop at the Transport Museum.

Timings: Everyday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Covent Garden’, ‘Leicester Square’, ‘Holborn’, ‘Charing Cross’, ‘Embankment’

Parking is a problem so use taxis if needed

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Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

CAMDEN TOWN MARKET:

Looking to attend a street party that involves shopping? Camden Town is your answer. With plenty of lively restaurants, multiple events and lovely boat rides on a cute little river, it’s a great place to spend an entire day.

Timings: Everyday 10:00 a.m. till late

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: Camden Town, Chalk Farm, Camden Road

Bus Lines: 214, 24, 274, 393

Parking is a problem so use taxis if needed

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Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

NEIGHBOURHOOD MARKETS:

London’s neighborhoods are replete with well-stocked markets. Certain areas like Kensington and Angel Islington have high streets dedicated to shopping, while smaller places have hidden boutiques, where you can often find a good deal on unique products. Keep your eye out wherever you’re staying!

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Cute little independent boutiques like this one can be found throughout London

KNIGHTSBRIDGE SHOPPING AREA

Knightsbridge houses exclusive and expensive department stores like Harrods, Harvey Nichols etc. Shop here during sales if you’re on a budget, or just visit for some Desi- celebrity spotting. I’ve run into the Bachchans and Kareena Kapoor on separate occasions!

Enjoy a cup of coffee and delicious eats at Harrods, and pick up fantastic English chocolate from Fortnum & Mason‘s.

If you fancy a bit of culture, step in to the various museums located close by- the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum.

Timings: (Roughly) Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Knightsbridge’, ‘Sloane Square’

Parking is available nearby as are taxis

harrods_2267186b

Picture courtesy: http://www.thetelegraph.co.uk

SLOANE SQUARE 

This lovely little square is very popular with locals for its massive Peter Jones store. The Duke of York Square (just off Sloane Square), is the ideal to shop the high street, enjoy a lovely light lunch and explore the beautiful Saatchi Gallery.

Timings: Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday: 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

How to Get There:

Nearest Tube Stops: ‘Sloane Square’ on the District & Circle Lines

Parking is available through app ParkJockey, but taxis are an easy option too

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Picture courtesy: http://www.visitlondon.com

EXTRA TIPS TO GET FANTASTIC DEALS:

  1. Like an item but think it’s overpriced even in the sales? Ask the salesperson to check the final price in their system. I’ve often picked things with phenomenal price slashes even the shopkeepers weren’t aware of!
  2. Students get 10-15% extra over sale price and general price in most stores by showing ID cards. This applies to public transportation and sightseeing tickets as well.
  3. Love buying makeup? Boots and Superdrug often have 3 items for the price of 2 schemes on makeup and toiletries across brands (with a few exceptions). It’s the best way to stock up on essentials and try new things.
  4. Most stores offer memberships through which you can collect redeemable points as well as be the first to know about discounts and sales.
  5. If there’s a little stain or tear on an item, the shopkeeper will gladly mark down the price further.
  6. Sign up for the Groupon newsletter, where you’ll receive daily updates on shopping deals in London. (https://www.groupon.co.uk/)

Signing off here for this post, but there’ll be a follow up post on must-see specialty markets. Do follow my blog for updates.

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Enjoying a post shopping meal at Ping Pong, Westfield Mall

If you like this post, you might like these too:

5 Museums to Visit with Your Children in London

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Shopping at the India International Trade Fair

Diwali Shopping in Delhi

The Blind School Diwali Mela Delhi

The Sunday Market at Bikaner House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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