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Following on from last week’s post on best places in London to get your fashion fix, this week I hope I can help you discover some unique gifts and delve into some wonderful book stores.
Cath Kidston – various locations across London
Described as a “modern vintage” brand, Cath Kidston stocks a wide range of goods from womens and childrens wear to accessories and homewares in trademark floral and London prints.
Penhaligons – 10 locations across London
Penhaligon’s has been crafting unique fragrances from rare and unusual ingredients since its origins in the 19th century. Here you can buy gifts from a selection of candles, toiletries and of course fragrance to this day packaged in bottles of the same design from 135 years ago.
Fortnum and Masons – 181 Piccadilly, London
A British institution for over 300 years, Fortnum and Masons is the place to buy tea and other quintessentially British and special foodstuffs such as marmalade, gin truffles and shortbreads.
Chockywoccydoodah -30-32 Fouberts Place, London
This is a chocolate shop like no other. The chocolatiers at Chockywoccydoodah are true artists creating everything from chocolate dogs to angels and very very large freckles or jazzies as they are called in the UK. The shop is so much fun to browse and there is even a cafe. The chocolate is very tasty too.
Museum and Gallery shops – V&A, Science Museum, Tate Modern, National Gallery
British museums and galleries seem to have an endless supply of wonderful merchandise tailored to their permanent and temporary exhibits. It’s definitely worth spending a few minutes browsing their stores to that special souvenir or gift. Try the V&A, British Museum and Science Museum in particular.
Waterstones – 203/206 Piccadilly, London
I can’t recall being in a larger bookstore. Waterstones Piccadilly is truly mammoth stocking over 200,000 titles throughout 6 floors. You could easily spend several hours browsing the shelves with huge sections on history and art as well as a wonderful children’s section is wonderful. If you are looking for London themed gifts and books you will find a great selection here.
Hatchards -187 Piccadilly, London
For a more atmospheric book buying experience head to Hatchards, London’s oldest bookstore. The store is instantly recognisable along Piccadilly for its distinctive wood panelled exterior. I love to browse the titles as I meander around the creaky six floors of this eighteenth century building. Hatchards stocks special editions of many writers so if a first edition volume of T.S. Eliot’s prose is on your wish list you may very well find it here.
Daunt Books – 83 Marylebone High Street, London and 5 other locations
Daunts specialises in travel and literature titles. Housed in a beautiful Edwardian building with long oak galleries, wooden staircases and soaring stained glass windows, I always feel like I am in a very special kind of bookstore when I visit.