London Shopping Tips by Elena_007
London Shopping: 1,049 reviews and 1,403 photos
Marble Display Board (Click for awesome detail!)
I basically wandered around window shopping, and if something looked interesting, I went inside to further investigate. I had fun just looking in some of the fancy shops that I knew I could not afford. I thought of it as 'wishful dream' shopping.
What to buy: Of all the things I could bring back from England, my best friend collects marbles! I found this marble dispay board for her that is ancient, and beautiful (for only 2GBP!) The shop owners thought I was surely daft, asking them if they might have any antique marbles! Some even said they lost their marbles, years ago! I actually found this Solotaire board at the car boot sale in Wisbech, but I wasn't about to show you a pic of some marbles. My best friend has found marbles worth up to $1000.00!!! She just thinks they are pretty, and her unique, new antique ceramic display board is now one of her most treasured possessions.(New Antique ... An oxymoron!)
Going through airport security, I had this item wrapped up in a few towels and shirts to protect it in my carry - on baggage. Right next to it was a small ancient Harrod's tin I found that I filled with antique and precious marbles. Apparently, it appeared 'suspicious' going through the X-ray, as I had to send it through twice more! Finally, I had to take it out to prove it was no threat to anyone, and certainly not a bomb!
What to pay: You will be pleasantly surprised at the prices at the charity shops, and especially at a car boot sale. You could even haggle with them, although not really necessary, as I found that many times, they would offer a better price, or say, "Make me an offer" if they thought you were interested, but walking away from a sale.
Address: ANY City Centre
Treasures from England
Although I didn't really do much shopping in London, apart from a few trees worth of postcards, and a souvenirs for friends and family, (myself included, I am a part of my family), Most people that travel to London, also venture out into other cities, as well. So, this may be of interest ...
I like to frequent the Charity shops, mostly. I can buy new things in America, so the thought of shopping at a department store in England did not excite me. Instead, the thought of finding someone's lost treasure donated to a worthy cause was a thrill for me. I only wish I could remember the names of all the shops, but alas, I didn't think I would be writing to tell the world of my adventures in England. Cancer Research and The British Red Cross are the only ones I can think of. Anyway, there are many of these charity shops in most of the city town centres and worth a look around, just to get a different kind of glimpse of history. I am sure there are several in London, and I will be searching for them on my next visit, but time was limited, and knew I would be shopping in England for weeks, but only had two days to discover London.
Elsewhere in England, I was constantly on a treasure hunt, while donating to a worthy cause. I did also visit a few department stores, like John Lewis, Thorton's (Mmm, CHOCOLATE!), and others, but my main interest was 'used goods'. You may wonder? Thorton's, (A department store?) Well, Chocolate, That's my department! Thorton's are everywhere in England, and suitable for any taste! Try the bite sized chocolate caramel biscuit treats. Reasonably priced, and incredibly delicious! On a rather funny note, I also saw souvenir items from America in some of these shops.
What to buy: Anything and everything! It is like a treasure hunt through time. You may find antiques, collectibles, books, jewelry, odds and ends, (bits and bobs), paintings, fine bone China, (made in England, of course!), and even marbles!
This beautiful teapot and sugar bowl was on it's way to a charity shop, but ended up as a gift to me from a friend in England. A real treasure, indeed. Another one of my greatest finds was a little atomizer perfume sprayer from Greece, with intricate details of the Romans, painted in black laquer, trimmed in gold, and very beautiful, for ONLY 50pence! I ended up giving it as a gift to my neice, who is studying to be an aromatherapist, because she fell in love with it.
What to pay: Next to nothing!!! It will, however take some effort to find a worthy prize to accompany you back home. Remember the weight limit restrictions because the cost is astronomical if you go beyond their set limit.
Address: Any City Centre
Most Londoners think that souvenir stalls are tacky, and the merchandise is cheap. Although this is mostly true, there are a few items I think are worthy of a tourist, such as myself. Of all the souvenir items pictured here, the England bear is most precious, because someone won it for me from one of those 'grab it' machines. (Not exactly an easy thing to do!) Thanks, David.
What to buy: Mostly I was shopping for a few trees worth of postcards to bring home, and I found many bargains on those, some were only 10 for 1GBP. I just had to have one of those double decker bus metal coin banks and two flags. (one Union Jack and one of England) I found a wonderful fridge magnet with a great photo of the London Eye, which shows the temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit and it is one of my favorite (favourite) items because I actually find it to be useful everyday.
I found several tour books as well, some at the actual sites (London Eye, Windsor) but many are available without visiting them and paying the sometimes astronomical entrance fees, and most have gift shops to browse and shop, regardless of whether or not you decide to opt for the full tour. I found the tour books very informative, and a worthy keepsake in my opinion. I think they are nice to browse through long after you return from your trip, especially because you can share your experience with friends and family, with beautiful photographs and a bit of history about the place as well. I couldn't remember all that commentary from a live or audio guide, so I am glad I brought home the books.
What to pay: If you want souvenirs from London, shop around to find the best prices. DO NOT buy them from the airports, or fancy shops, unless you want to spend more for the same item you can find at the many street venders.
Directions: Everywhere in London!
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