Ah, London! The glamour, the lights, the restaurants, the theatres – it’s all so vibrant and classy. All, that is, apart from that grimy, dirty tube that we travel through to get around.
Yes, it may be the world’s largest and oldest underground transport system, but it’s also the grubbiest and most unreliable. But then again, when it takes you to some of the globe’s most fashionable locations, who really cares? So here is a little guide to some of the most essential tube stops to head to during your shopping spree in London. Wear something trendy and, of course, make sure you mind the gap.
1. Camden Town, Northern Line – Old-School London
If London has a spiritual home then it has to be Camden. This is where the cool music comes from, this where the artists hang out and this is where the punk-loving fashionistas set-up shop. If you prefer leather to silk, or spikes to ribbons then this is the place for you.
Full to the brim with independent stores selling alternative fashion and accessories from the world over. There is nowhere on earth that has so much jammed into such a small space and, even if you aren’t into alternative fashion, you’re guaranteed a good time.
Camden Must See: Camden Lock Market is one of the best global food markets in London and if you love street food, this is the place to get it. And the best part of all is that it only costs about £5 for a full portion. That means you’ll have more money to spend at one of the small hand-made jewellery stalls or to buy an indie punk t-shirts!
2. Shoreditch High Street, East London Line – Hipster Territory
For those living the hipster lifestyle, there really isn’t a better place to hang out or go shopping. This style, which is almost exclusively synonymous with North Londoners was developed right here in the streets of Shoreditch. A unique blend of well-known brands and up and coming independent labels can be found crammed together in one spot. You’ll also enjoy walking around the colourful streets, which look like alternative fashion catwalks.
Shoreditch Must See: Spitalfields Market
Ideal for those dark and wintery evenings in London, Spitalfields has it all. It’s as if the coolest person in town got all of his friends to open a stall or two in once place. Then, when they got hungry, they invited the coolest restaurants and cafes to open up in the market. Music pumps out of every stall and edgy trend setters fill the walkways. It’s heaven.
Boxpark is ideal for a totally unique shopping experience. It’s created out of old re-fitted shipping containers, and looks like no other part of London. Although the brands on offer are fairly familiar, there is always something new to see. The roof is also one of the trendiest places to chill in the sun and have lunch with the rest of the hipsters. It’s also fairly cheap!
3. Oxford Circus, Bakerloo/Central/Victoria Line
When you think of London, you are basically thinking of Oxford Street. It’s full of iconic haunts and local legends, all waiting for you to discover. It’s not the cheapest pace on earth to shop, but it could very well be one of the best.
Oxford Must See: For those that prefer London’s finer side, Oxford Street is a brand-snob’s dream. Stores are full to the brim with brands like Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Gucci. And naturally, the rich and famous flock here to empty their pockets and pick up something to wear for the evening. Once you’ve discovered Oxford Street and the likes of Selfridges, take a stroll down to Carnaby Street for something a little different. The prestige brands become alternative brands and big department stores turn to urban outfitters and American Apparels. It’s everything you imagine it to be, and more.
4. Victoria, District & Circle Lines – The Future
I know what you’re thinking; none of the guide books say anything about Victoria being a good spot for shopping. But let me let you in on a little secret – Cardinal Place will benefit from a two billion pound makeover in the New Year. This has already attracted the likes of Tom Ford (who make James Bond’s suits), Jimmy Choo and Burberry. It’s up and coming, in every which way.
When Ben Holbrook isn’t shopping around London you’ll find him blogging for Miinto online fashion store, where you can find outfit inspiration and more.