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Shopping guide to the UK

Shopping in UK
© London and Partners/Michael Heffernan

The UK has long been looked to as an international fashion capital – and it’s certainly come a long way since tweed and tartan. These days, its multi-billion-dollar fashion industry produces some of the most coveted designs in the world, attracting devoted fashionistas from all over the globe in pursuit of the hottest new styles. London’s abundance of iconic department stores, exclusive labels, trendy boutiques, and excellent high street brands offer an enormous range, while Manchester’s stock continues to rise with a growing number of luxury department stores.

The exterior of Harrods in London

Iconic department stores

The world-famous dominates Oxford Street, with an elaborate rotation of window displays and a pillared white facade that’s illuminated by night. Inside, the grandeur continues – the latest designer collections, a specialty food hall, and the Wonder Room’s collection of fine jewelry all vie for attention. From the outside, ’s Tudor-inspired facade suggests stuffiness, but the historic department store boasts avant-garde labels like Maison Margiela and Comme des Garçons. Iconic institution has been selling fashionable goods to London’s elite since the 19th century and it still reigns supreme when it comes to luxury. The 330 departments stock everything from the latest handbags to bridal trousseau over a staggering space of one million square feet.

Penhaligon's
Credit: Penhaligon's

The best boutiques on Camden Passage

Tucked away in leafy Islington, Camden Passage’s narrow streets are home to some of the chicest boutiques in London. Start your leisurely afternoon at , a lifestyle store that stocks a curated selection of French products covering fashion, beauty, household, stationery, and kids. Asian furniture, ceramics, and art from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century can be found at while contemporary homeware, soft furnishings, and fashion accessories are on-hand at the stylish . Nearby luxury perfume house sells some of the capital’s sweetest scents, with a range of fragrances, grooming products, beauty goods, and candles clad in dainty packaging.

Rigby & Peller
Credit: Rigby & Peller

The best boutiques on the King’s Road

Famed British lingerie brand , founded in 1939 by two female corsetieres, combines frothy pieces of underwear with the no-nonsense professionalism of staff determined to find the best fit. Head on to French cashmere expert to peruse the gorgeously soft cardigans, coats and scarves, or stop by , another French label known for its nonchalant clothing in earthy colours. Beauty addicts should head straight to for an international selection of highly desirable cosmetics, skincare products, and fragrances.

Credit: Margaret Howell

Quintessential British designers

British designers have long flown the flag for local fashion on an international stage, with British style synonymous with its own brand of gentle eccentricity. ’s flagship store on Albemarle Street is the first stop for aspiring British gentlemen in search of a signature, floral-print shirt or a dapper suit. Award-winning accessories designer excels at melding kitschy with covetable in her handbag line – stop by for beautifully crafted leather pieces that can be embossed with personal messages in your own handwriting. At ’s elegant store on Wigmore Street, references to her nation’s sartorial tradition – from wool to Irish linen – promise stoic British style without any of the trend-led seasonal gimmicks.

The Goodhood Store

Hipster heaven

Head to East London for some of the city’s hippest boutiques. Start a day of shopping at , a directional clothing line for men and women with a fondness for androgynous silhouettes. From there, head on to , a clothing and interiors label that brings a contemporary spin to British traditions. Think velvet lampshades, dark floral prints, and fine bone china, with much of the designs produced in the UK by family-run businesses. When your senses become totally overloaded, walk on to for a sleek selection of lifestyle pieces, avant-garde designer labels, and streetwear brands. Tired out from all that retail therapy? Grab a cappuccino from their in-house cafe.

Credit: Dover Street Market

Fashion-forward favourites

Industry favourite is a department-store-meets-art-space that curates dramatic installations alongside its clothing collections. With Balenciaga and Chalayan amongst the labels sold, expect fashion-forward pieces at eye-watering prices. is another legendary destination for its well-heeled clientele, with the luxe glamour of Valentino sitting alongside ‘anti-fashion’ brand Vetements. For the seriously hip, head to the appointment-only boutique in trendy Dalston. Its futuristic decor sets the stage for an ultra-cool lineup of brands that range from Acne to Rick Owens.

Food and fashion market

Food and fashion markets

Some of London’s best fashion can be found in the street stalls and markets that populate the capital. The 350-year-old is protected from fickle weather by a glass canopy, allowing shoppers to browse the stalls of fashion, food, and art, come rain or shine. Regular free events – from tea dances to film screenings – are held there so keep an eye on their schedule. Nearby is another favourite for its of second-hand furniture, trendy boutiques, and vintage clothing stores. Stop by at the weekend to find thirty stalls of international food in the Old Truman Brewery. In West London, ’s eclectic antiques market is the world’s largest – but fashionistas can also find vintage clothing, new fashion labels, and unusual jewelry.

Bond Street
© Pawel Libera/London and Partners

Bond Street bling

Bond Street’s wealth of luxury labels will satisfy any designer junkie in search of a fashion fix. Start at British stalwart , which has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years for its posh leather handbags, wallets, and travel bags. From there, head to for its collection of achingly elegant shoes and handbags. Jewelry fanatics should schedule in time at to peruse their dazzling diamonds, fine watches, and fabulous couture jewels. Once you’ve stocked up on diamonds and desirable handbags, stop by to purchase one of its signature monogrammed pieces of luggage – after all, you need to get your new treats back home in style.

Manchester

The city’s best department stores

It used to be that you’d travel to London for exclusive labels, but Manchester now proudly boasts two department stores imported straight from the capital. ’ glass-fronted façade hides the world’s best luxury labels, electronics, and beauty brands while nearby, in a sleek, silver building, stocks an international range of designers from Isabel Marant to Missoni and Moschino. After shopping, enjoy a decidedly British tradition at the second-floor brasserie: afternoon tea, complete with bite-sized cucumber sandwiches, homemade scones and clotted cream, and miniature cakes.

Manchester Affleck's Palace

Affleck's Palace

Put on your punkiest clothes, assume a spiky attitude and head to , a beacon of defiant individualism amidst Manchester’s sea of metrosexuality. Inside the red-brick emporium, browse the huge range of indie shops, from fancy dress to vintage and skater apparel – or make a more permanent purchase at the in-house tattoo parlor. The spiritually-inclined should seek out Freak Boutique for a tarot card reading while all sorts of sticky little sugary treats can be found at the charming Chocolate Ape Retro Sweet Shop.

Northern Quarter
Credit: Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Highlights from the Northern Quarter

A characterful downtown district, the North Quarter is home to some of the best independent boutiques in the city. At the , snap up ceramics, textiles, jewelry and more from regional designers; if your interest is piqued, sign up for one of their monthly events that explore the creative process of a resident artist. Continue such high-brow browsing at the , which showcases Chinese culture in its two gallery spaces. Its adjoining shop stocks an interesting selection of crafts, jewelry, and stationery. Homeware enthusiasts should walk on to furniture store Urbansuite, which sells contemporary European pieces in sophisticated designs and colours.

 

Manchester’s mega-mall Trafford Centre

Manchester’s mega-malls

Throw Baroque architecture together with Egyptian Revival and you get the – a vast shopping mall whose decorative pillars, pastel hues, and caramel-coloured slabs of marble would make Liberace proud. Attracting more than 35 million visits annually, the Trafford Centre houses hundreds of shops and a central food hall modeled after a 1930s ocean liner. For those reluctant to venture outside of central Manchester, the is a stalwart on the retail scene, its 200-plus shops selling all the best high street fashion since the ‘70s. For a more upmarket experience, hosts Mulberry, DKNY, Brooks Brothers and more, as well as an art gallery, a cocktail bar, and a number of bustling restaurants.

A rack of vintage clothes
Credit: Pop Boutique

The city’s best vintage boltholes

Ensure one-of-a-kind style at , a local clothing company selling vintage items alongside its unique “re-made in England” range that reworks used clothing into modern pieces. Bright colours abound at , easily identified by its robin egg blue exterior; inside, the riotous palette continues with curated womenswear pieces and trinkets. is another local favourite for its eclectic collection of menswear and womenswear. Around since the ‘80s, the shop’s humble origins started in the back of a van and has grown to include outposts across England and a label of vintage-inspired goods.

Barbour
Credit: Barbour

Quintessentially British style

Admired far and wide, Britain’s style is best achieved by melding the traditional tailored tweeds of aristocracy with the plethora of styles fermented by various sub-cultures. Start at , a bastion of Britishness best known for its no-nonsense waxed coats. Now suitably equipped for even the soggiest weather, wander on to , a contemporary clothing brand that dresses dapper young men and women in crew-neck jumpers and branded sweatshirts. Incorporate an element of subversiveness at , the eponymous label – launched by a world-renowned tennis player – whose cotton polo shirts have been a symbol of British subcultures since the Mods started wearing them in the ‘60s.

Hervia Bazaar
Credit: Hervia Bazaar

Hervia Bazaar

Fashion folk, head straight to destination store . Stocked to the rafters with an intriguing selection of established and up-and-coming designers, this exclusive boutique aims to sell pieces treasured enough to become family heirlooms. Splash out on a piece by Alexander McQueen, safe in the justification that it’ll be enjoyed by generations to come.

The exterior of Harrods in London

Iconic department stores

The world-famous dominates Oxford Street, with an elaborate rotation of window displays and a pillared white facade that’s illuminated by night. Inside, the grandeur continues – the latest designer collections, a specialty food hall, and the Wonder Room’s collection of fine jewelry all vie for attention. From the outside, ’s Tudor-inspired facade suggests stuffiness, but the historic department store boasts avant-garde labels like Maison Margiela and Comme des Garçons. Iconic institution has been selling fashionable goods to London’s elite since the 19th century and it still reigns supreme when it comes to luxury. The 330 departments stock everything from the latest handbags to bridal trousseau over a staggering space of one million square feet.

Penhaligon's
Credit: Penhaligon's

The best boutiques on Camden Passage

Tucked away in leafy Islington, Camden Passage’s narrow streets are home to some of the chicest boutiques in London. Start your leisurely afternoon at , a lifestyle store that stocks a curated selection of French products covering fashion, beauty, household, stationery, and kids. Asian furniture, ceramics, and art from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century can be found at while contemporary homeware, soft furnishings, and fashion accessories are on-hand at the stylish . Nearby luxury perfume house sells some of the capital’s sweetest scents, with a range of fragrances, grooming products, beauty goods, and candles clad in dainty packaging.

Rigby & Peller
Credit: Rigby & Peller

The best boutiques on the King’s Road

Famed British lingerie brand , founded in 1939 by two female corsetieres, combines frothy pieces of underwear with the no-nonsense professionalism of staff determined to find the best fit. Head on to French cashmere expert to peruse the gorgeously soft cardigans, coats and scarves, or stop by , another French label known for its nonchalant clothing in earthy colours. Beauty addicts should head straight to for an international selection of highly desirable cosmetics, skincare products, and fragrances.

Credit: Margaret Howell

Quintessential British designers

British designers have long flown the flag for local fashion on an international stage, with British style synonymous with its own brand of gentle eccentricity. ’s flagship store on Albemarle Street is the first stop for aspiring British gentlemen in search of a signature, floral-print shirt or a dapper suit. Award-winning accessories designer excels at melding kitschy with covetable in her handbag line – stop by for beautifully crafted leather pieces that can be embossed with personal messages in your own handwriting. At ’s elegant store on Wigmore Street, references to her nation’s sartorial tradition – from wool to Irish linen – promise stoic British style without any of the trend-led seasonal gimmicks.

The Goodhood Store

Hipster heaven

Head to East London for some of the city’s hippest boutiques. Start a day of shopping at , a directional clothing line for men and women with a fondness for androgynous silhouettes. From there, head on to , a clothing and interiors label that brings a contemporary spin to British traditions. Think velvet lampshades, dark floral prints, and fine bone china, with much of the designs produced in the UK by family-run businesses. When your senses become totally overloaded, walk on to for a sleek selection of lifestyle pieces, avant-garde designer labels, and streetwear brands. Tired out from all that retail therapy? Grab a cappuccino from their in-house cafe.

Credit: Dover Street Market

Fashion-forward favourites

Industry favourite is a department-store-meets-art-space that curates dramatic installations alongside its clothing collections. With Balenciaga and Chalayan amongst the labels sold, expect fashion-forward pieces at eye-watering prices. is another legendary destination for its well-heeled clientele, with the luxe glamour of Valentino sitting alongside ‘anti-fashion’ brand Vetements. For the seriously hip, head to the appointment-only boutique in trendy Dalston. Its futuristic decor sets the stage for an ultra-cool lineup of brands that range from Acne to Rick Owens.

Food and fashion market

Food and fashion markets

Some of London’s best fashion can be found in the street stalls and markets that populate the capital. The 350-year-old is protected from fickle weather by a glass canopy, allowing shoppers to browse the stalls of fashion, food, and art, come rain or shine. Regular free events – from tea dances to film screenings – are held there so keep an eye on their schedule. Nearby is another favourite for its of second-hand furniture, trendy boutiques, and vintage clothing stores. Stop by at the weekend to find thirty stalls of international food in the Old Truman Brewery. In West London, ’s eclectic antiques market is the world’s largest – but fashionistas can also find vintage clothing, new fashion labels, and unusual jewelry.

Bond Street
© Pawel Libera/London and Partners

Bond Street bling

Bond Street’s wealth of luxury labels will satisfy any designer junkie in search of a fashion fix. Start at British stalwart , which has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years for its posh leather handbags, wallets, and travel bags. From there, head to for its collection of achingly elegant shoes and handbags. Jewelry fanatics should schedule in time at to peruse their dazzling diamonds, fine watches, and fabulous couture jewels. Once you’ve stocked up on diamonds and desirable handbags, stop by to purchase one of its signature monogrammed pieces of luggage – after all, you need to get your new treats back home in style.

Manchester

The city’s best department stores

It used to be that you’d travel to London for exclusive labels, but Manchester now proudly boasts two department stores imported straight from the capital. ’ glass-fronted façade hides the world’s best luxury labels, electronics, and beauty brands while nearby, in a sleek, silver building, stocks an international range of designers from Isabel Marant to Missoni and Moschino. After shopping, enjoy a decidedly British tradition at the second-floor brasserie: afternoon tea, complete with bite-sized cucumber sandwiches, homemade scones and clotted cream, and miniature cakes.

Manchester Affleck's Palace

Affleck's Palace

Put on your punkiest clothes, assume a spiky attitude and head to , a beacon of defiant individualism amidst Manchester’s sea of metrosexuality. Inside the red-brick emporium, browse the huge range of indie shops, from fancy dress to vintage and skater apparel – or make a more permanent purchase at the in-house tattoo parlor. The spiritually-inclined should seek out Freak Boutique for a tarot card reading while all sorts of sticky little sugary treats can be found at the charming Chocolate Ape Retro Sweet Shop.

Northern Quarter
Credit: Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Highlights from the Northern Quarter

A characterful downtown district, the North Quarter is home to some of the best independent boutiques in the city. At the , snap up ceramics, textiles, jewelry and more from regional designers; if your interest is piqued, sign up for one of their monthly events that explore the creative process of a resident artist. Continue such high-brow browsing at the , which showcases Chinese culture in its two gallery spaces. Its adjoining shop stocks an interesting selection of crafts, jewelry, and stationery. Homeware enthusiasts should walk on to furniture store Urbansuite, which sells contemporary European pieces in sophisticated designs and colours.

 

Manchester’s mega-mall Trafford Centre

Manchester’s mega-malls

Throw Baroque architecture together with Egyptian Revival and you get the – a vast shopping mall whose decorative pillars, pastel hues, and caramel-coloured slabs of marble would make Liberace proud. Attracting more than 35 million visits annually, the Trafford Centre houses hundreds of shops and a central food hall modeled after a 1930s ocean liner. For those reluctant to venture outside of central Manchester, the is a stalwart on the retail scene, its 200-plus shops selling all the best high street fashion since the ‘70s. For a more upmarket experience, hosts Mulberry, DKNY, Brooks Brothers and more, as well as an art gallery, a cocktail bar, and a number of bustling restaurants.

A rack of vintage clothes
Credit: Pop Boutique

The city’s best vintage boltholes

Ensure one-of-a-kind style at , a local clothing company selling vintage items alongside its unique “re-made in England” range that reworks used clothing into modern pieces. Bright colours abound at , easily identified by its robin egg blue exterior; inside, the riotous palette continues with curated womenswear pieces and trinkets. is another local favourite for its eclectic collection of menswear and womenswear. Around since the ‘80s, the shop’s humble origins started in the back of a van and has grown to include outposts across England and a label of vintage-inspired goods.

Barbour
Credit: Barbour

Quintessentially British style

Admired far and wide, Britain’s style is best achieved by melding the traditional tailored tweeds of aristocracy with the plethora of styles fermented by various sub-cultures. Start at , a bastion of Britishness best known for its no-nonsense waxed coats. Now suitably equipped for even the soggiest weather, wander on to , a contemporary clothing brand that dresses dapper young men and women in crew-neck jumpers and branded sweatshirts. Incorporate an element of subversiveness at , the eponymous label – launched by a world-renowned tennis player – whose cotton polo shirts have been a symbol of British subcultures since the Mods started wearing them in the ‘60s.

Hervia Bazaar
Credit: Hervia Bazaar

Hervia Bazaar

Fashion folk, head straight to destination store . Stocked to the rafters with an intriguing selection of established and up-and-coming designers, this exclusive boutique aims to sell pieces treasured enough to become family heirlooms. Splash out on a piece by Alexander McQueen, safe in the justification that it’ll be enjoyed by generations to come.

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