Any shopaholic worth their salt knows that the capital city is a great place to indulge in some retail therapy. With a number of different shopping districts, each offering their own unique style and flavour, there is much to see and do in London. That said, if you fancy something a little different next time you are visiting the city then luckily London is also home to a variety of weird and wonderful shops which cater for almost every unique taste imaginable.
As is the case with many of London’s quirks, no matter where your accommodation in London is situated you are sure to only be a short walking distance away from some truly magnificent independent stores which offer something a little different for their clientele. So whether you want to take a break from some heavy duty shopping with a visit to somewhere a bit more diverse, or you want to spend the whole of your break in the city uncovering the delights of London’s most unique shops, here are our 10 top picks:-
James Smith & Sons
Want an entire shop dedicated to umbrellas? Then look no further. Britain has a well known reputation for being a wet place to live, and James Smith & Sons have clearly taken that to heart. Situated on New Oxford Street in the West End, they have been hand-crafting umbrellas for over 170 years; which might explain the hefty price tag.
Aside from umbrellas you can also purchase ‘seatsticks’; walking sticks with a folding component which transforms them into a stool if you are feeling a bit weary and need a quick pit stop!
Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors
If you’ve ever wanted to see what a 17th century curiosity shop looked like, then you won’t be disappointed with a visit to Viktor Wynd’s. From taxidermy to fossils, old medial equipment to a Fijian ‘mermaid’ (a taxidermied monkey sewn onto half a fish) there is plenty of the weird and wonderful going on here.
This incredibly pink shop is surely the thing of dreams for little fans of the magical world. From extravagant fancy dress costumes to fairy dust, this Hampstead store knows how to entice the small people of the world. Don’t be fooled by the pink exterior however, it doesn’t just cater for fans of fairies but also has plenty of items relating to pirates and knights as well.
Alice Through The Looking Glass
A shop dedicated entirely to selling Alice in Wonderland themed items, this shop which is located near Charing Cross Station is a real treasure trove of unique creations including Victorian top hats, early editions of the Lewis Carroll book and beautifully crafted chessboards. You may never look at the story in the same way again after a visit here.
The Viking Store
One of Europe’s largest wholesales of replica Nordic and Viking Memorabilia, this Walthamstow store has almost every fantasy item you can think of including many inspired by Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. You can also buy outfits and items for Live Action Roleplaying (otherwise known as LARPing). If you’ve ever wanted to dress up in pagan or historic costume and stage a battle reenactment then this shop is a must visit. Just be sure to remove your costume before heading back to your accommodation in London, to avoid giving anyone an unnecessary fright!
Hoxton Street Monster Supplies
Ever wondered where monsters do their shopping? Well, look no further than this Shoreditch shop. Selling everything from tinned fear to neck bolt tighteners, this shop has everything you can think of to make your monster dreams come true. Interestingly, all profits from the sale of the items here go to supporting creative writing programs in local schools, so it’s really worth a visit; if you can stomach pocketing some cubes of ear wax that is.
This fantastic store has been called London’s biggest entertainment centre and there is so much to see and do here from bumper cars to bowling and karaoke. Located next to the London Eye it’s a great way to burn off some adrenaline after you’ve taken to the skies in one of the Eye’s pods.
Drink, Shop & Do
By day this is an eccentric tea shop, by night a fun bar. If you visit during the day you can have a pot of tea, a spot of lunch, and enjoy playing some of the board games on offer with your friends. If you are feeling in the party mood then be sure to visit on Friday or Saturday night to indulge in some old school music.
One for the bookworms out there; Daunt Books is everything a bookshop should be. Situated in an Edwardian building, from the minute you step through the doors you are transported to another time.
Oak columns and skylights lend themselves to the authenticity of this shop, and if you are a true lover of books, then be sure to set aside a couple of hours to browse this amazing shop and investigate all that is on offer here.
For luxury and bespoke perfumes, bathing oils and scented candles look no further than the candle-lit perfumery of Ormonde Jayne. All of the essential oils used in the products created at Ormonde Jayne are sourced from exotic locations such as Morocco and Madagascar before being used in their London laboratory. Visiting here is like stepping back in time, and you could easily imagine yourself to not be on the bustling streets of London but instead in a Parisian parfum.