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Camden- London coolest neigbourhood

Alternative shopping destinations in London

London is the retail capital of the UK, but it’s not all about Oxford Street, Westfield and Harrods. If you’re a discerning gift-giver in search of a little inspiration, sometimes stepping off the High Street can be a smart move. If you’re off for a last-minute dash here are five alternative shopping destinations in London…

Old Spitalfields Antique Market

Shopping in Spitalfields Market London

If you’re looking for something one of a kind and don’t mind investing a bit of time treasure hunting, a trip to Old Spitalfields Market on a Thursday for their weekly antique market could be just the ticket. Persistent pickers are sure to find a diamond in the rough as dealers from around the country descend on Spitalfields. If you’re after costume jewelry, vintage fashion, art or oddities, you’ve certainly come to the right place.

The Vintage Shops of Shoreditch

Brick Lane

Whether or not browsing the bric-a-brac in Spitalfields proved fruitful, it’s definitely worth taking a peek in Shoreditch’s most popular vintage boutiques while you’re in the area. Home of the ultra-hip, you’ll soon discover where all the fashionable guys and gals of east London pick up their style. Hunky Dory Vintage on Brick Lane is always a favourite, with two floors of carefully selected vintage clothing and accessories.

Camden Market

Camden- London coolest neigbourhood

If you’re seeking out gifts with a bit of edge, take a trip up north to Camden. This vast expanse of crafts, clothing and food stalls has something for everyone, while retaining the punk edge that’s unique to Camden. Saturdays can be a bit chaotic so try to hit the market mid-week to dodge the crowds. If a weekend trip is inescapable, take advantage of the opportunity to pop into the Electric Ballroom. By day, this venue becomes an indoor market featuring for some unique and unusual items from jewelry to art to vinyl.

Brixton Market

Brixton Market - alternative shopping streets in London

If you find yourself south of the river, a smaller and quieter alternative to the oft-times touristy Camden can be found in Brixton. Visit the market on a Friday for a selection of fabulous hot street food, along with eclectic crafts, retro goodies and knick-knacks. Saturday also sees the market come alive with a different theme each week, drawing in antique dealers and talented craftsmen alike.

Covent Garden’s Seven Dials

Seven Dials, Covent Garden - cool shopping streets in London

If you’re hoping to stay more central and still avoid the chaos of Oxford Street, the boutiques of Covent Garden are a perfect without being too far off the beaten path. Each of the roads branching off the famous Seven Dials intersection is a treasure trove for gift ideas.  Have an organic enthusiast on your gift list? Try Neal’s Yard Remedies for some all-natural beauty products.

Where to Stay

Although London can be expensive you can find a huge variety of accommodation in the city. If you’re on a budget try backpackers hostels such as the YHA and for mid-range try hotels like the Holiday Inn (which offer good rates if you book far enough in advance). If you have a bigger budget then they are plenty of excellent luxury and unique hotels in London.


Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

One Comment

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    27 December, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Great tips!
    I’ve planned Brixton for my next London trip and then only Shoreditch will be left unchecked (I’ll keep that for later;-)). I just love those specific London neighbourhoods. So much nicer to shop than Oxford Street!


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