The best Christmas shops in London 2023
By Helen Wright
November and December in London is always joyful, with cobblestones and Christmas lights making the city look like a Hallmark movie as soon as the clocks go back. Christmas shopping in London always gets me into the festive spirit (with a mince pie and a hot chocolate for lunch, of course). So if you’re planning to make like Santa and come to town – see what I did there – here are my favourite Christmas shops in London to pick up some cool gifts and festive cheer:
Cover image: passportstamps.uk/Helen Wright. This post contains affiliate links
The best Christmas shops in London
Fortnum and Mason
It’s my favourite and the best of all the Christmas shops in London. Nothing says ‘jolly old Chrimbo’ like the Queen’s grocer. It’s the closest supermarket to Buckingham Palace, did you know? Our new King Charles III, who granted Fortnum and Mason a Royal Warrant of Tea Merchants and Grocers while he was the Prince of Wales, is also a fan, along with Kate and William.
It’s fairly unlikely you’ll bump into the royals out Christmas shopping in London, but ‘Fortnums’ as us locals call it, is the poshest place to go for Christmas cheer, beautiful decorations and quintessentially London Christmas gifts. And, of course, be treated to spectacular Christmas window displays at the same time. For 2023, the entire building has been decorated as a giant Advent calendar and the famous Fortnum windows are as joyful as ever.
Inside, you can shop for iconic hampers (if you have the cash) or for smaller items that make great little presents and London souvenirs. I really like that you can still have a Fortnum and Mason shopping experience without maxing out the credit card. My Fortnum’s Christmas list always includes the famous Burlington Breakfast Marmalade, £5.95, (made from a 16th Century recipe and still unrivalled) to have on Boxing Day, a tin of fancy biscuits, £6.95, and a Christmas tree ornament to keep for years to come, from £8.
Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER
When to go: End of November or first thing in the morning. The Christmas and Food Halls get very busy in December.
What to buy: The Musical Piccadilly Biscuit Tin, £19.95 is collectable and the cookies are delicious.
Burlington Arcade (for the fanciest Christmas shops in London)
You may not be buying much from the Christmas shops in London’s Burlington Arcade, unless you’re in the market for a vintage Cartier engagement ring, that is. However, just across the road from Fortnum and Mason is a beautiful passageway that is London Christmas personified. This beautiful Victorian promenade is London’s oldest shopping mall and even without its elegant Christmas decorations, the Regency architecture is timeless. Unless you’ve got a few mil in the bank, window shopping is the primary activity here, but there are some shops that may be ideal for Christmas gifts, including Ladurée and Roja Parfums (they sell travel sets of their luxury fragrances for £45).
If you’re heading to Fortnum and Mason, definitely go for a wander through Burlington Arcade. At the north end of the mall, you will emerge close to New Bond Street and Savile Row for more Christmas shops in London that are perfect for window shopping.
Address: 51 Piccadilly, London W1J 0QJ
When to go: All year.
What to buy: Vintage jewellery (if you can afford it) or a Burlington Gold Brew coffee from the Noxy Brothers coffee shop in the arcade.
The best Christmas shops in London for 2023
Eataly at Liverpool Street
The Dolci Italiani market at Eataly Liverpool Street is one of my favourite Christmas shops in London for sweets, treats and sumptuous foods to take home for the holidays. As well as the Christmas classics like Panettone, gingerbread and fruit cake, you can also get cute little stocking fillers, foodie gifts and specialty drinks.
The best reason to visit Eataly at Christmas is for the magical décor, which is like an indoor winter wonderland. Browse the tunnel of fairy lights as festive music plays and I defy you not to feel excited for the big day.
Eataly has a choice of restaurants and bars, but my favourite is the coffee and cake café in the centre of the main lounge. The coffee is good but just wait until you try the chocolate croissant. Oh my.
Address: 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3YD
When to go: All year.
What to buy: Gift-wrapped Panettone, Pistachio truffles and Leone Gianjudujotti
Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop
Mostly everything in Covent Garden is ‘touristy’ as some would say, but even as a Londoner, I think Covent Garden is one of the most magical places to go for Christmas in London. This area has all the big-name stores (Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, Urban Outfitters), but tucked inside some of the mega brands are small, independent shops and stalls that are perfect for unique London Christmas presents and fun secret Santa gifts.
The charming Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop is a tiny store inside the famous Covent Garden Apple Market. The entrance is tiny, so you might even walk past without noticing it. It’s the oldest toy shop in London, originally opening its doors in 1851. Up some cricked stairs, you’ll find a vintage Christmas wonderland of classic toys, ornate Christmas decorations and a sales lady happily singing away to herself with a beautifully operatic voice. No video games in sight, but instead toy Victorian shadow theatres and wooden games. Perhaps the best thing about this store is that despite its heritage and location, everything inside is not wildly overpriced. I picked up some London-themed Christmas decorations and beautiful hand-crafted cards for less than £10.
Address: 44 The Market Building, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RF
When to go: First thing in the morning of after 5pm.
What to buy: Beautiful hand-crafted Christmas cards
GOOD TO KNOW: This shop is not wheelchair accessible due to the small size and the narrow stairway entrance. You can shop online at pollocks-coventgarden.co.uk
Liberty of London
Okay, so when it comes to exquisite, London shops, Liberty of London tops all the list. As well as being an elegant department store inside, the exterior of Liberty is a Grade II listed building and an iconic landmark in central London. Enter through the flower shop for the most fragrant arrival and take the lift to the top floor for the most picturesque Christmas shop in London.
Browse colour-coded rows of fabulous decorations, wreaths and gift wrap and then check out a whole room of small gifts, stocking fillers and toys. This year’s selection is fantastic and I can guarantee you will leave with at least one Christmas ornament in the iconic purple bag.
Address: Regent St., Carnaby, London W1B 5AH
When to go: Anytime (avoid Black Friday).
What to buy: Christmas tree decorations or stationary.
Flying Tiger for the best bargain Christmas shops in London
It would be wild to skip this epic Christmas shop in London! The Scandinavian ‘penny store’ is brilliant for bargains all year round, but at Christmas this shop excels with budget gifts (this year’s movie projector is already almost sold out), festive décor and accessories, costumes, candles, cards and stocking fillers – you name it, and you can probably get it here. There are locations all over for this Christmas shop in London, but the biggest are on Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Leadenhall Market.
Address: 105-107 Oxford St, London W1D 2HQ
When to go: Anytime, but if you are about on Christmas Eve, absolutely everything is 50%, which is a great time to stock up for next year.
What to buy: The chocolate coins are made with really good quality chocolate and half the price charged at other places (eg: M&S)
This is my favourite bookshop in London and the largest travel and map store in the world. You should definitely plan a stop at Stanfords whenever you visit London (it’s close to Covent Garden and there is a small café inside too). At Christmas, I love this shop because it has great, well-curated displays to give me gift inspiration and I usually leave with a book or two for myself! This year, I even managed to nab a signed copy of Epic Train Journeys by Monisha Rajesh and there are often first-editions and author-signed scribes in-store.
There is also a lovely range of unique children’s books, with seasonal titles all displayed together in a festive corner. For adults, as well as the proper books, you can pick up fun joke books, Christmas-themed novels and even Christmas-themed crime books (who knew that was a theme?!). Those who want something extra special should go downstairs and peruse the fabulous globe collection, for an ‘out-of-this-world’ gift ranging from £80 to £5000!
Address: 7 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9FA
When to go: Anytime and you can also shop online at stanfords.co.uk/
What to buy: I got this beautiful advent book for my children. Instead of an Advent Calendar, they get a new poem each day in the run up to Christmas. How beautiful?
This toy shop needs no introduction, but I couldn’t really leave it off the list, could I? The seven-floor toy emporium is probably the most famous of all the Christmas shops in London and, of course, it has a Santa’s Grotto too! Hamleys stocks just about everything you need toy-wise for Christmas and beyond, with a whole Lego floor, a section devoted to Harry Potter and fun gifts for adults, like magic sets and collectables.
My favourite thing about Hamleys is the fun staff dotted around the store, demonstrating products and interacting with guests. It will be busy, it always is, but if you want a heavy dose of Christmas spirit, and to get all your kid gifts in one place, it’s worth the hustle.
Address: 188-196 Regent St., London W1B 5BT
When to go: End of October? (Joke). End of November, once the Christmas decorations are up, usually around the 12th, or first thing in the morning or towards closing time at night.
What to buy: Limited Edition Lego and Barbie, the Hamleys Teddy Bear with the date on his foot.
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