You’re no doubt aware the UK capital’s one of the most visited metropolises on Planet Earth and, to that end, it should come as no shock that there’s a never-ending supply of stores throughout the city selling supreme souvenirs to tourists. But where to guy – and, indeed, what to buy – for that more unique, unusual and, well, more personalised gift and/ or self-indulgent item that, away from all the postcards or London bus teapots, will sate your souvenir-hunting appetite…?
If you like your tea on the gourmet side then the aristocratic department store Fortnum & Mason’s where to head. Are you a fancy royal blend enthusiast or a scented herbal cuppa person? Either way, you’ll this place – where HM The Queen buys her tea, don’t you know – right up your street, no doubt – and their coffees, hampers and other nibbles are far from shabby either.
Fab Four memorabilia
One of the most resonant cities in the world for fans of the Fab Four – aside from their hometown of Liverpool, of course – London is a hotbed for Beatles-related pilgrimage sites, not least the absolutely iconic pedestrian crossing on Abbey Road. However, for items of marvellous Fab Four memorabilia and rare collectibles, your best bet is to head to the official Beatles Store on Baker Street.
East India Company cuisine
Dip into British colonial – and cuisine – history at Mayfair’s East India Company shop (located in Conduit Street, just off Regent Street in the heart of the West End), where you can find the very finest coffees, teas, jams and so very much more… and all of it of unimpeachable quality.
Give artisan gin a go
Sure, Gordons and Tanqueray are reliable, high-quality gin makes and no mistake, but for something with a little more originality in the gin stakes, why not head off to Borough Market (it’s very easy to reach should have decided to make your stay’s base somewhere in the Square Mile, like accommodation London City, such as, say, The Montcalm At The Brewery London City)? Here you’ll find – and perhaps be able to sample – a wide variety of taste-tastic sloe gin concoctions, as well as the likes of small batch whiskeys. And the staff’ll doubtless be only to happy to help to ensure what you take home with you you’re entirely satisfied with.
Get your vintage kicks at Portobello Market
A fantastic source for hidden finds, with so much on sale – from clothing to homeware and everything in between – Notting Hill’s Portobello Market is a must visit for London-centric souvenirs, no question. Whatever you’re after you’re bound to walk away with something terrific here – and something you totally didn’t intend to purchase like, say, a brass bookend of a cool denim jacket; such is the diversity and breadth on offer at Portobello Market.
Pick up a toy purchase at Hamleys
Having been open for centuries now, Hamleys is officially the oldest toy shop in the world and remains one of its greatest – and most magical and marvellous. It comprises a vast array of popular, bizarre, classic and must-have latest toys (everything from Star Wars merch to six-foot-tall plush giraffes). Whatever tickles your fancy – or that of a little one with you – you’ll find it in Hamleys.