London-April 2023

OK, never mind Dublin for now, we are booked for London in April, 2023. Still exploring lodging options but have a department store question.
We like to visit department stores when traveling, see what the merchandise is like, maybe buy a few useful products.
In London Harrods is the one every one wants to see, and I am sure we will visit it, but where else do folks shop?
I did a little googling and John Lewis, Selfidge , Liberty London and a few others came up.
Any other recommendations? We have had a couple of nice lunches and afternoon teas in Barcelona and Paris department stores, so an onsite restaurant would be good too.

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Fortnum’s and Harvey Nichols could be added to your list for both grocery shopping for picnic in the room or souvenirs, and a place to sit and eat.


Thank you, will check those out.

The restaurant in the mezzanine at Fortnum & Mason is very good. Definitely worth visiting. More of a 5 storey food and wine emporium, but it has departments.

I like Harvey Nichols and Liberty more than Harrod’s.

I have had a nice meal at the bistro inside Harrod’s.

I like John Lewis for shopping, but it isn’t as unique as Harrod’s or Liberty.

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Not a typical department store but I find Hamleys to be a fascinating store. Back when I used to split my work life between London and NYC I used to go to Hamleys before my flight back to NYC to pick up toys that a guilty father who spent too much time away from his family would need to bring. I still recall the wonder I would have wandering through the store and playing with the toys myself. Despite my many attempts to find the perfect gift for a father who was away from home too much, I think the most cherished gift I brought back was a Wallace & Gromit tee shirt I grabbed at the last minute at the Heathrow airport. So much for over thinking gifts.


We don’t visit the capital for shopping but have, on occasions, made an exception for Fortnum’s - to buy a couple of Christmas “food treats”. We’ve never been to Liberty or Harvey Nicholls.

FWIW, John Lewis is a national upmarket department store chain. I have one within walking distance of home and occasionally buy kitchenware there. Something like Macy’s in America.


That t-shirt would of been a hit at our house too. We wore our W&G VHS tapes out till we could get the shows on CDs.
Will add Hamley’s to the list, thank you

Somehow I don’t often visit big department stores in London (compared to Paris for example where I love Bon Marche) but if I do it will usually be Liberty and Selfridges. I like these two plus it’s a convenient location for me. There are countless great restaurants nearby so no direct need to have lunch inside the stores.

From Selfridges it’s also an easy walk to the Marylebone High Street area with lots of small independent shops (art, food, restaurants, clothing).

If you are a fan of Wallace & Gromit, make sure to get some Wensleydale cheese. Wallace has a northern accent. Maybe he knows Harters. :crazy_face:


Unfortunately not. Although we are off to Wensleydale country for a few days quite shortly.

Wensleydale can be one of those disappointing cheeses. Supermarket versions produced by the big creameries can be very mild and uninteresting. Farmhouse versions can be very different. I particularly like Hawes Wensleydale. I buy it online from Neals Yard Dairy but visitors to London might like to pop in to their shop near Covent Garden or the one near Borough Market.


Besides Neal’s Yard, Paxton & Whitfield has been a cheesy treat for us.

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We know your fondness for Rules. What is your take on this historic name:


Can’t help with that one, Bone.

I know the name, of course, but it’s never been sufficiently on the radar to make a trip to the capital worthwhile. It was made famous from the early 1990s when it was opened by Terence Conran, as a very stylish upmarket place. I hadnt realised, until just now when I looked at its Wikipedia entry, that it had originally opened in the 1920s but closed in the 70s.

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Thank you. The photos drew us in, and we thought that like the National Portrait Gallery, it is one way of peering into British history.

1920s are a fascinating period in our social history. A period, for the middle and upper classes, of great frivolity after the many deaths during the Great War. It was a time, for young monied people, to look to America for new ways of enjoying themselves - dance and cocktails to name two. And, by the end of the decade, women fully had the vote. Not so great, of course, for ordinary working class folk.


I haven’t been to Quaglino’s.

If you’re interested in other restaurants that have historic charm, in terms of interior, I can recommend 45 Jermyn St, located under Fortnim & Mason.

I haven’t tried Wiltons, which is nearby.

J Sheekey also has some old fashioned charm.

I’ve enjoyed Simpsons in the Strand, and The Savoy Grill, as well, but it’s been a long time.

I think I’ll start a historic London thread for my next visit, once I’m able to make a plan for 2023 or 2024. I’m especially interested in historic cafes, coffee houses and tea rooms.

Moving a little further east of St James, The Strand and Covent Garden,
I don’t know if anyone mentioned the Culpeper Pub on the old London board. I haven’t been, but I’m thinking of staying in one of the rooms above the pub on a future visit. I know a couple from Canada who stayed there.

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Been a long time for a couple of those too. Still haven’t worked in:

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Adding it to my list. :uk:

Found this a timely read for our upcoming trip. The Chop House was already on our list and
there were a few others we plan to research. (Hope the NYT Share works)
12 Great Places to Drink Wine in London