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Best Tips and Shopping Places In London

If spending money on a vacation is not enough to satisfy your appetite for fun, then shopping in London should do the trick. Here are some of the best places to shop in London and tips to get the most for your money, so don't worry if window shopping is all you can afford to do when you first arrive. Looking around for the best deals is a smart idea if you are traveling with a family or shopping for one.

 

Wembley Market

Yes, that's right, market. Shopping does not always have to be inside to be important. As mentioned earlier, bargain shopping may be the best idea for larger families on a budget. It is also a great place to buy “green” products that help the environment and fresh produce from local farmers. Flea markets may be a reminder of home (whether your home is in America or some other country), but no flea market is the same. In fact, Wembley Market is the largest Sunday market in the UK and has been open for over 30 years. Vendors from many cultures sell a variety of clothes, jewelry, produce, and music. Speaking of music, there are even charismatic vendors who provide live entertainment such as rap, singing and dancing to demonstrate their products. Its location is on the famous Wembley Football Stadium and is open every Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

Wembley Market

 

Burlington Arcade

If you are looking for quite the opposite of a flea market, then the Burlington Arcade offers a peaceful, chic and luxurious shopping experience. Unlike the Burlington Stores in some places, London's Burlington is very grand and very expensive. Like many luxury shopping centers, many famous faces, including the Queen, have patronized there. The walk through definitely can give you a regal feeling. Although it has a variety of indoor vendors in a modern-looking environment, this mall will take you back 200 years! As one of London's first and finest malls, the Burlington is also one of the most unique shopping venues in the world. One reason is because the staff guards, called “beadles”, still wear top hats and coats and enforce very strict rules for shoppers, just like in an old village. Rules include , “No singing” and “No whistling”. The “No whistling” rule is carried out specifically to eliminate codes given by potential pickpockets.

It also fittingly holds antique shops, shoe shine services as well as jewelry and clothing stores. So, before you leave Burlington, get a feel of the Old World atmosphere by getting your shoes shined by one of their popular shoeshine men!

This Arcade is located in Mayfair, London just walking distances away from the subway station and many other tourist spots in Piccadilly Circus, which also has a variety of shops. Speaking of Piccadilly, its Arcade is also one of my favorites, but we'll save that pick for last!

Opening hours are weekdays at 10am-7pm; Saturdays at 9am-6:30pm and Sundays at 11am-5pm.

Burlington Arcade

 

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is a great place to shop and congregate. Saying the name was a challenge, but spending most of  your day there shopping can be as easy as 1-2-3. Well, with as many people that flood this place, you are never alone. If you have never heard of or seen Trafalgar Square before, it is a large square in the center of London which celebrates the victory of Lord Heratio Nelson against Napolean at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is a far cry from seeing it being used as a beautiful Sun Art Installation for Tropicana, which gave it the illusion of  sunrise and sunset even in the middle of winter. The square is surrounded by statues of four lions and a beautiful fountain and street entertainment.

In this square, you will find a variety of shopping centers and eating places just s walking distance away. It is also a wonderful place to congregate and meet other tourists and locals. It is also the site of festivals, ice skating and lots of photo opportunities. Climb one of the four lions to sit underneath, and you will have a timeless, fairytale picture to share!

To get to Trafalgar Square, take the Charing Cross subway (also known as the tube) on the Northern and Waterloo Lines.

Trafalgar Square

 

Harrod's

This enormous and luxurious store is like a shopper's heaven. Everything you could possibly want is located right here at Harrod's. There have even been beautiful, black writing pens on display at what looks to be a jewelry counter! The pens were trimmed in gold, so they obviously belong behind the jewelry counter.

In addition to writing tools and jewelry, Harrod's houses men's, women's and children's clothing, home décor, wine, restaurants and spas.

Harrod's is open Mondays through Saturdays 10am-8pm and Sundays 11:30am to 6pm. You can also stop by the food courts Mondays through Saturdays 9am-9pm and Sundays at 11:30am-6pm.

Harrods

 

Piccadilly Arcade

As promised, Piccadilly is definitely on the list of  London's best shopping venues and is one of many tourists' favorites. Located in London's fashionable West End, just across the street from the Burlington, Piccadilly Arcade is a name that speaks for itself because of the road and Circus station that shares its namesake. It runs between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street and has been open since 1909.

Piccadilly provides a unique blend of shops that specialize in art,  fashion & jewelry, health & beauty and various antiques. One of the beauties of the Arcade is the open entrance that guides you from the sidewalk straight through the corridor to view the variety of shops, which are also beautifully encased for window shopping.

For you singers, a visit through the Piccadilly Arcade is less restrictive than the previous Arcade mentioned and seems to provide a more relaxed atmosphere without losing its elegance.

Opening times are Monday-Saturday at 8am-6pm, and Sunday at 11am-5pm.

Piccadilly Arcade

 

Safety Tips

- While attending shopping venues, especially flea markets, a word of caution is to beware of fake goods being sold. Always examine the items before purchase. If it is music, ask the vendor if he or she can play the cd to check for scratches on the disk.

- Beware of bootleggers, especially those who sell burned, copyrighted music. Some laws can be universal when it comes to intellectual property, regardless of the country.

- At flea markets, bid lower than the listed price. The vendor will sometimes give you a better deal than you expect, but there are some vendors who will try to sell you anything, regardless of its condition, especially if you are a foreigner, so try not to look out of place.

- Never try to purchase alone. It's better to travel with someone, especially if you are female. Not only will you have a second opinion, but it's just physically safer.

- Watch for pickpockets. Always keep purses strapped across the front of your body instead of over your shoulder. Watch out for people who bump into you. This could be a distraction. Keep pouches to store your money pinned under your clothes, and never store all your money in one place. Credit cards and large amounts of cash should be kept in your hotel safe.

- Remember that the more luxurious shopping venues are wonderful places to splurge, if you can afford it. Of course, it can still be just as easy to splurge with what you have (credit cards), if you cannot afford it, so spend wisely.

As long as you use these precautions everywhere you go, you will have a fun-filled vacation with great experiences.

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