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You can’t deny that even if you need to eat lunch in London under £5 to make it to the end of the month, there’s something the city has, and it’s incredible shops.
Whether you’re just spending a day in London or are living here, window shopping, and actually bringing home a new matte lipstick or a brand new pair of Dr Martens shoes always feels very, very satisfying.
I thought we’d talk a bit about proper British shops and lifestyle brands here today, of the kind you can find on Oxford Street, Soho or Carnaby Street.
You’ll discover here one of the best department stores in London, as well as some calm, clean British streetwear brands and other tea and jewelry shops.
10 British Shops in London To Buy Proper UK Lifestyle Brands
In this guide, I’ll share cheap shopping places as well as independent jewelry shops, proper British shoe brands and whatnot.
All you’ll need if you’re looking for good British clothing brands, places that you don’t have in your city or your country.
For instance, I know that in Troyes, my French hometown, I would never see places like Maya Magal or Oliver Bonas – and that’s part of what makes London so charming!
Best British Shops in London: Maya Magal, King’s Cross
Maya Magal is probably one of the best jewelry shops in London, and her pieces revolve around quiet luxury and minimalism – there’s really no other way to describe this brand.
Established by Maya Magal Petersen, a goldsmith and jewelry designer or Israeli and Scandinavian heritage, the brand has a few shops around London.
Very geometric, pure, with hammered pieces made of gold and silver, the Maya Magal jewelry lines are perfect for anyone who doesn’t like to be too out there.
And one of her jewelry pieces is definitely a great way to remember the city, especially when your trip to London comes to an end and you’re afraid you’ll never be able to enjoy its atmosphere again.
In my opinion, Maya Magal is one of the true British shops in London, which embody the sophisticated vibe of posh mews and places like Knightsbridge, Regent Street and Mayfair.
Best British Shops in London: Dr Martens, Carnaby Street
When thinking of proper British shops in London for shoes, I have to admit my mind would jump to Clarks straight away, but that’s only because I worked in hospitality for so long when I first moved to London.
Well, you can’t think of English shoe brands without including Dr Martens, now can you?
The Carnaby Street store is their flagship, although there are other Dr Martens shops in London that also include Oxford Street and the Stables Market in Camden.
Gone are the days when you’d only go to Dr Martens for their classic 1461 shoes (the ones I’ve had for over 5 years now!).
Their leather bags, backpacks, hats, cute socks and shoe care products are all high-quality, and all translate edgy Britishness.
Definitely not the shop where you’ll spend £10 for shoes (hi, Primark!), but Dr Martens is one of the most popular clothing brands in the UK – and with good reason.
Best British Shops in London: Liberty of London, Carnaby Street
Liberty of London is one of the oldest and biggest department stores in London – it was built in the 1920s, and as such, is older than both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
The outside of Liberty of London makes for one of the prettiest photo spots in London, but when the weather is angrier, the countless rooms and racks are what will make you happy.
Great French makeup brands are available there, from Chanel to Guerlain, as well as the famous Liberty prints and luxury homeware.
My beloved Penhaligon’s perfumes too, if I may.
Even if you’re not planning to go shopping, the Liberty of London building is one of the most beautiful buildings in London, with Tudor-style timber framing, wooden staircases and stunning balconies.
It’s simple, aside from the luxury candles and high-end jewelry brands, you’d almost feel at home treading the Liberty floors.
Best British Shops in London: Oliver Bonas, Tottenham Court Road
Now, I have to say that one of my favorite British shops in London is Oliver Bonas, which actually owns branches from Finchley Road (near West Hampstead) to Tottenham Court Road.
Trying to recommend the best things to buy in London can get quite difficult, especially since every single person has different tastes.
However, it just so seems that whether you’re looking for branded notebooks and journals or quiet luxury candles, Oliver Bonas is the place to visit.
It mixes a bit of edgy in their pretty books and stationery with a bit of poshness in their clothes – it is, after all, one of the most famous high-street British clothing brands.
Some of the prices are actually quite affordable, and even with about £10 to £15, you’re bound to find great souvenirs there.
Best British Shops in London: Penhaligon’s, Regent Street
I have had my fair share of Penhaligon’s perfumes over the years, and my signature scent is their Babylon perfume.
If you’re looking for British perfume brands, it’s going to be tough to come across something as exquisite as a Penhaligon’s fragrance.
From bespoke fragrances to classic collections, you have at Penhaligon’s scents that revolves around the delicateness of floral notes or the spicy notes of oud.
The Portraits collection retails for more than the classic fragrances, with The Bewitching Yasmine perfume being first on my wishlist this year.
It just so happens that Penhaligon’s is not only one of the best British shops in London, but also a must-visit shop on Regent Street before going for brunch in a cute pink cafe like Sketch.
Best British Shops in London: Superdrug, The Strand
Superdrug is one of my favorite makeup stores in London, and probably one of the most famous if you don’t count Boots and TK Maxx.
Clearly, as an ex-makeup artist, the bigger the cosmetics shop, the better.
There are two amazing branches of Superdrug in London; one in Marble Arch, facing Primark and River Island, and one on The Strand, close to Trafalgar Square.
If you’re looking for proper British shops in Central London, you can hardly do better than Superdrug.
There, brands like Rimmel, Maybelline, MUA Makeup Academy, and even some items as cheap as the Barry M lip liners are all available.
Perfect if you’re a broke student in London, a freelancer or a digital nomad who still needs health and beauty products, and even prescription medication!
Best British Shops in London: Stussy, Soho
Stüssy is one of the most famous streetwear brands in London, and their shop is located right in the heart of Soho, not too far from Elan Cafe on Wardour Street.
I can’t express just how stylish the Stüssy clothes are, which are a strong reminder of urban, graphic, bold fashion with a touch of grime style.
At this point, Stüssy is one of the most popular British shops in London, and there’s often a long queue of people waiting to get the newest drops, from jackets to oversize pants and patterned tees.
Stüssy is community.
It’s art, it’s fashion, it’s the future and if you’re the kind of person who absolutely loves discovering London streetwear fashion shops, that’s a place to visit.
As are Palace, StockX and Supreme, three other landmarks of British fashion right in the heart of Soho.
Best British Food Shops in London: Marks & Spencer, Oxford Street
I first discovered Marks and Spencer (M&S) the first time I trode Oxford Street, and whoever is looking for true British shops in London should not overlook a visit there.
Marks and Spencer is really famous for being a delicate, exquisite, fresh food shop in London but obviously, the prices follow.
If you’re used to visiting budget shops quite often and do manage to set some budget aside for really good set dinners you can make at home easily, Marks and Spencer is the guy for you.
There are a few makeup brands at Marks and Spencer you probably haven’t seen anywhere before, like Autograph and their really cool lipsticks and highlighters.
Cheap homeware is not what you’ll find at M&S, and neither is affordable clothing, but everything you can get from this proper British shop can be summed up with one word: quality.
Best Luxury Department Stores in London: Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Fortnum & Mason is one of the most famous and oldest department stores in London – it was established in 1707, about a century before my beloved Harrods!
If you’re looking for places to go cheap shopping in London, that’s not the place.
Actually, the very location of Fortnum & Mason shows what kind of prices you can expect there, but just like Marks & Spencer, every single item you can find there is premium quality.
From one of the best tea rooms in London to incredible macarons and high-end perfume brands, Fortnum & Mason offers freshness blended with tradition and quiet luxury.
Nearby, you have Maison Assouline and Hatchards, two of the most beautiful bookshops in London, as well as Piccadilly Circus a stone’s throw away, perfect for photos.
If I may, though, I still think one of the best things to buy in London is their macaron range before walking around pretty shopping arcades like Burlington Arcade.
After all, hey, I’m French – I love sophistication, even if I’ve always kind of been a hipster kind of person.
Which is why I can definitely recommend Fortnum & Mason for a visit, even if all you want to do is find pretty Christmas shop windows during winter…
Best British Shops in London: Whittard of Chelsea, Oxford Street
If you ever ask me where to find the best hot chocolate in London, chances are I’ll tell you all about Dark Sugars in Brick Lane…
Or Brand Academy in Southbank.
In Brand Academy, a super duper cool gift shop, you’ll find Coffee Academy with their incredible hot chocolate and Crosstown Doughnuts.
You’ll find several of these proper British shops in London, including the Apple Market at Covent Garden, but my favorite branch is the one on Oxford Street.
Whittard of Chelsea often offers samples of their delicious, premium teas, hot chocolate and coffee – especially during that harsh London winter.
I love all kinds of reminders of Alice in Wonderland in London, and the Whittard of London Tea Party mugs and tea sets are an incredible souvenir to buy.
10 British Shops in London To Buy Proper UK Lifestyle Brands
There you have them, all the best British shops in London, from the oh-too-underrated Maya Magal shop to Dr Martens and Whittard of Chelsea for incredible hot chocolate!
Hopefully, if you’re looking for true-blue British brands, you’ll have caught a glimpse of all the goodness you can find while roaming around Central London’s pretty streets.
The shops on Carnaby Street and Soho are some of my favorites, even if Irregular Choice, who used to trade on Carnaby Street with their quirky designs, has since then closed.
Liberty of London and Penhaligon’s are two favorites if you love luxury shopping, and for more incredible international fashion, pop by Mayfair’s shops!
Until next time!
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