Shopping in London
Fed up with the high street and want something a little more original? We’ve handpicked some of the most interesting and specialist shops. Get on a train to London and check them out…
Join the fashionistas at The Cross
A familiar haunt for many celebs and fashion editors – its owner seeks out and showcases new designers. But don't worry – it also stock favourite designers too. There's also homeware, gifts and kidswear on offer.
Where is it? The Cross, 45- 141 Portland Road, W11 4LR
Shop at style icon Paul Smith
Unmistakable Englishness with an unexpected twist is how Paul Smith explains his style. The shop sells one off antiques as well as clothes and accessories. His women's and children's lines may not be quite as well known as his men's, but this flagship store showcases the best of the brand.
Where is it? Paul Smith, 9 Albemarle St, W1S 4HH
Delve into a dressing up box of high end vintage fashion at Blackout II
Find something different for that special occasion from cocktail gowns and evening wear. Or find your inner flapper or mod with daywear choices from the 1920s to the 1980s. Men aren't left out with suits, morning coats and dinner suits.
Where is it? Blackout II, 51 Endell Street, WC2H 9AJ
Come up smelling of roses (or lime, basil and mandarin) at Jo Malone
Set in a Georgian townhouse, buying perfume here feels like a luxury experience in itself. Kate Beckinsale, Sienna Miller, Katie Holmes and Gerard Butler are all said to be fans. Candles, bath and body products and room sprays are all likely to please the recipient.
Where is it? Jo Malone, 52 Gloucester Place, W1U 8HQ
Buy artisan chocolate and Marmite truffles at Paul A Young
Handmade chocolates to die for. Creative touches and interesting ingredients have pushed Paul Young to a rank among the world's top chocolatiers. Seasonal specials and old favourites will tempt even the most conservative sweet tooth.
Where is it? Paul A Young, 43 Wardour Street, W1F 8WA
Home and interiors
A blast from the past Alfies Antiques Market
Serious collectors head for Alfies to trawl through a treasure trove of homewares and furniture over four floors. There's 100 dealers trading in everything from advertising to watches. Take home some ceramics, a chandelier or some silver grape scissors. Getting a sideboard on the train going back might be more difficult, mind.
Where is it? Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church Street, NW8 8DT
Make your home more lovely at Pentreath and Hall
If you like to surround yourself with beautiful and functional things you can get wooden-handled dish or shoe brushes, folding mirrors and stunning sofa cushions. It's a little bit different thanks to the creative owners, interior designer Ben Pentreath and Bridie Hall, a decorative artist.
Where is it? Pentreath & Hall, 17 Rugby Street, WC1N 3QT
Food and drink
Track down that elusive cocktail ingredient
As well as hard-to-find spirits like Pisco, absinthe and Japanese whisky you can also buy bitters and trendy small batch gin. You might also find tourists aiming to restock their hotel fridges on the cheap with miniatures. The shop is stocked to the rafters with the best booze, including wines, from around the world and there's always something open to taste.
Where is it? Gerry's Wines and Spirits, 74 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UW
Get a taste of Persia in Peckham at Persepolis
The corner shop that sparked a best-selling cookery book. You'll find everything to help create your favourite middle-eastern dishes plus pickles, sweet treats and even the odd pack of Cheetos. You won't even have to stuff your own vines leaves – you can get them ready made.
Where is it? Persepolis, 28-30 Peckham High Street, SE15 5DT
Quirky and specialist
Get ready to set sail at Arthur Beale
Arthur Beale is a sailor's dream – it's an old-fashioned yacht chandlers. If you've got your own boat you can find all sorts of useful supplies from rope and life jackets to paints and varnishes plus all kinds of equipment for safe seagoing like weather stations and ships radios. The company is at least 400 years old and has been based in Shaftesbury Avenue for over 120 years.
Where: Arthur Beale, 194 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JP
Be stylish in the rain thanks to James Smith & Sons
It's worth going just to see the beautiful building and original fittings, but if you want a craftsman made umbrella this is the go-to shop. Mary Poppins famously had a parrot head umbrella and you can get one here, or simply the classic city gent style. Just don't lend yours to a friend unless you know you’ll get it back.
Where is it? James Smith & Sons, 453 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1BL
Ready to shop 'til you drop? Book train tickets to London now