In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea.
- John Osborne
You could spend days pouring over the antiques spread over four floors of stalls in Marylebone. You'll find everything from classic cocktail shakers to Victorian jewelry, Art Deco furniture, old steamer trunks, and vintage clothing.
The striking flagship shop consists of interconnected townhouses and a covered atrium. The collections are shown in small rooms that are gracefully linked. Of special note are the old books and prints.
A sprawling maze of food stalls for eating and shopping located from Thames River to Borough High Street along Stoney Street and Cathedral Street. It gets packed with food tourists on weekend afternoons. Here's a map.
Built in 1819, this was England's first shopping arcade, so think of it as the proto-mall. A mix of antiques, jewlery shops, and modern luxury brands like Penhaligon's, Vilebrequin, and Larduree. (Here's a map.) The grand shopping continues across the street at Piccadilly Arcade.
The short shopping strip is sleepy or closed early in the week, and thriving from Thursday to Sunday. Charming shops sell antiques, housewares, jewelry, and garden gear, most notably Vintage Heaven (#82), Far (#124), and Three Letter Man (#146). Yes, there are galleries, too, and watering holes like Campania Gastronomia. On Sundays, the bustling Flower Market lining the street makes it a lively, boho destination.
Daunt has branches throughout London, but the two-storefront Edwardian location in Marylebone is the one to visit for the skylights, endless oak shelves, three floors, atrium, stained glass windows, and, yes, books, including a vast travel section.
Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo's retail concept includes six floors of well-known and emerging designers. An edgy sensibility is evident in all the clothes, accessories, and products. There's a lovely cafe on the top floor.
The 300-year-old food emporium recently had a revamp, but remains a gorgeous, rococco time capsule. There are five restaurants on the premises, and afternoon tea is legendary. Charming touch: The honey comes from London bees.
The massive, legendary, and always crowded department store stocks everything, and it's all pretty over the top. The Food Hall is especially impressive.
Old and new England meet in the Tudor-style building, which make this more charming than any of the Oxford Street department stores nearby. New designers and beauty products sell as well as the classic dressmaking fabrics and haberdashery.
Online, it's a platform for emerging men's and women's fashion, music, and books. In the physical world, the recently refurbished edgy Dalston shop is a boutique, a record store, a performance space, a library, and a club. They like to keep it loose at the Late Night Chameleon Cafe. Entry is by appointment only and is easy to arrange by phone or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It opened in 1876 as an underground storage facility for the wealthy. Over time, the families moved out and the silver dealers moved in. In addition to silver, the collections include Old Sheffield Plate, modern silver, jewelry, and watches.
Overpriced antiques are just the beginning. Portobello Road and the surrounding streets are crammed with shops and stalls for food, fashion, and goods. The shops are open daily; the stalls, on Saturdays. Want to plan your trip? Here's a map.
Much more than a record store, it's a center for discovering new and alternative music from all over the world. Its history can be traced to the influential label of the same name, though now the focus is retail, with listening stations, in-store gigs, books, movies, gadgets, and a cafe.
Devotees of the cheap and chic label might want to check in with the flagship, which is massive, packed, busy, and touristy.