It’s no secret that more and more of us are choosing to shop online, and indeed many of us see Christmas Shopping as a stressful experience and even an unwelcome chore. But there is so much more to a day or two of Christmas shopping than just pushing through the crowds and parting with your cash.
London is a magical place at Christmas, with miles of twinkling lights and endless festive treats to give you that warm glow inside. And with a little preparation and planning it can be one of the most delightful destinations to complete your holiday shopping.
We want you to enjoy the season, and treat yourself in the process. So here’s your survival guide to Christmas shopping in London, with special thanks to Regent Street for sharing some of their helpful shopping tips.
Comfort vs Style
There’s no question right? It has to be comfort. Of course you’ll be parading up and down the streets of London – remember Oxford Street alone is 1 and a half miles long, meaning you’ll burn around 120 calories before you’ve even bought anything – so you’ll need to be in comfortable clothes and sensible shoes. But do pay a thought to this: when you look good, you feel good, so as well as being comfortable, wear something you feel confident in so you can start the day feeling positive and prepared for anything.
Inevitably you’ll be going from hot to cold and back again as you move in and out of shops. Make sure you stay warm outside by layering up, but remember to wear light jackets rather than chunky knitwear so that it’s easy enough to carry if you get too hot indoors.
With all that walking around you’ll need something hearty for breakfast to set you up for the day ahead. Avoid sugary breakfast cereals and opt for whole grains, fruit and protein to keep your energy levels up until lunchtime.
One great way to ease the stress of Christmas shopping in the city is to avoid peak times, so get to the shops as soon as they open. Why not set out early and enjoy breakfast in the heart of it all. Head to the Duck and Waffle and see London from a new perspective, or enjoy a spot of tranquility at the Lido Café in Hyde Park before heading onto the bustle of Oxford Street.
Preparation is key to surviving the shops in London. Set your budget and write a list. It’s good to have a rough idea what gifts you want to buy people, so you can plan your route around the shops accordingly.
Once you’ve made your list (and checked it twice!) plan where you want to go. There are thousands of shops in London with world famous streets like Oxford Street and Regent Street, as well as popular malls like Westfield Shopping Centre, and department stores like Harrods, House of Fraser and Selfridges. In your search for well -known brands, don’t forget to visit some of London’s quirkier independent shops, markets and second hand stores, where you can pick up unique gifts.
When you know where you want to go, work out how to get there and where your favourite shops are. It’s a good idea to download some apps to help you out. Tube map – London Underground will help you get around the city, whilst apps like Regent Street can offer you a more personalised shopping experience, letting you know about events and restaurants in the area as well as exclusive offers.
Queues are inevitable, especially during peak shopping times, but you can find quieter tills in larger stores. Menswear and childrenswear can often be quieter and are likely to having shorter queuing time.
Let someone else do the hard work and take advantage of one of London’s many personal shoppers – in Selfridges for example.
Save time when you get home and have your gifts professionally gift wrapped – in Harrods for example.
Stay Hydrated and take a break
We can often forget just how much energy we’re burning when we’re shopping. Time can run away with us. We’re least productive when we’re hungry, tired or fed up, so remember to refuel in one of the many restaurants in amongst the shops. Or why not treat yourself while you’re treating them and enjoy Afternoon Tea. Regent Street’s Sketch, Langham and Ham Yard Hotel all provide a delicious selection of sandwiches, cakes and tea to revive the senses.
Make a weekend of it
Relieve the stress even further and split your shopping over a couple of days. With so many distinct areas to shop in you could spend day 1 browsing Oxford Street’s department stores, and then venture out to the designer boutiques in Knightsbridge and Mayfair.
Get your own base in heart of the city and feel right at home in one of hundreds of serviced apartments throughout London. Central London Apartments have properties right in the heart of it all and further out of the city.
Above all, remember to enjoy it. It is after all the most wonderful time of the year, and you are in one of the most wonderful cities in the world. Take a break from shopping to enjoy the festive atmosphere, take in the sights and experience the spirit of Christmas in London.
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<p>How to Survive Christmas Shopping in London – An infographic by the team at <a href=”https://www.central-london-apartments.com/” target=”_blank”>Central London Apartments</a></p>