London has some of the most popular brand, authentic markets at lavish department stores you can find. Inside each department store, you will find a range of goods from high-quality food to gifts and clothes. For some people, even owing a shopping bag from one of these stores is enough. Here are the must-see department stores in London:
Charles Henry Harrod started selling tea and groceries from just one room in 1849. It only took 30 years to become an elite department store. In 2015, Harrods sold for a whopping £1.5 billion and has become world famous. Harrods, in Knightsbridge, claims that you can buy anything in the world and if they don’t have it, they will find it. Their motto is ‘Omnia Omnibus Ubique’, meaning ‘all things for all people, everywhere’.
A must do when you visit Harrods is to take a trip to the spectacular food hall, which has delicacies from all parts of the world to buy. You can even treat yourself to a luxury afternoon tea!
In 1875, £2000 was borrowed by Arthur Lasenby Liberty. He wanted to create an Eastern Bazaar in Regent Street in the hope of changing how British people went about buying clothes and homeware. After just 18 months he was able to repay the loan and increase his real estate.
From fashion to homeware, in-house furniture, and art objects, Liberty has things from across the globe. Adding to its uniqueness, inside is like a maze of rooms, hallways, and staircases rather than a department store.
Fortnum and Mason
Not only one of the most glamorous, but Fortnum and Mason is also the oldest department store in London. It was set up in 1705 by the landlord and tenant Hugh Mason and William Fortnum.
Fortnum was a royal footman, which might be why the store is fondly called ‘The Queen’s Grocers’. Part of its rich history is the invention of the Scotch Egg in 1738 and raising money for charity by selling the record ‘ Do They Know It’s Christmas’ in 1984. The more common reason for its fame is the marvelous selection of hampers, food and dining services.
Harvey Nichols had a humble beginning as a linen shop in 1831. When founder Benjamin Harvey died, he left the shop to his wife. She decided to partner up with James Nichols and this is how the store got its name.
The department store is home to 8 floors of fashion homeware and all you need to live a life of luxury. In 1996 the brand opened its first Oxo Tower Restaurant. There are now stores in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester, and another 8 international stores.
Even if you have never been, you have heard the name. In 1906 Harry Gordon Selfridge moved to London from Chicago. He had a dream of opening a supreme department store. 3 years later, Selfridges opened its doors.
Harry achieved his goal as Selfridges has been voted as the best department store in the World by the Global Department Store not once but three times! You can find almost anything in Selfridges, including clothes and delicious food in the food hall. It is also known for its homeware and even pet accessories.
While Fenwick now has a name as the world-famous department store in Bond Street, London, it wasn’t always so. Fenwick began in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England.
The setup costs for John James Fenwick were £181 and 4 shillings in 1882. The success of his store allowed him to buy 63 New Bond Street in London, which is still part of the store now. He developed his idea from department stores in Paris that catered to all the customer’s needs in one location. This suited the British and the store became a triumph.
Dover Street Market
The store simply knows as DMS is found on the street Dover Street Market and is the place to go if you are a fan of designer clothes. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons created the store with the idea of modern design for both the clothes on sale and the actual store. As well as the fashion displays changing, you will often notice that walls, doors, and hallways will be updated and changed.
The fashion is absolutely fantastic and it is a fascinating store to visit, just don’t expect the prices to be cheap. If you need a break from trying on the beautiful clothes, head to the Rose Bakery for a coffee and cake or a delicious soup.