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U.K. Girlfriends Share London Shopping Secrets

 

I Knit London...

This shop is not only a fabulous knitting shop, it's a sanctuary as well. Run by Gerard and Craig who both knit, Gerard has written his own knitting book, fab it is too. The shop stocks some of the most unusual yarns and general knitting supplies and has comfy sofas and work tables. The expectation is that you knit, chat, buy, stay and meet lots of other knitters too. It has its own following on Twitter @iknitlondon

Address: 106 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AB
Closest tube: Southwark
Website: www.iknit.org.uk/
Bio: Jacqueline Taylor is a serial entrepreneur, specialising in Cloud Computing & Tableau Analytics , loves people, pilates and knitting
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/jacquitaylorfb

 

Daunt Books...

Marylebone High Street, is a smart, well managed, thoroughfare just north of busy, touristy, Oxford Street. There are lots of wonderful little shops selling ribbons, cashmere and handmade chocolates, but my favourite by far is Daunt Books. The front of the large building is a regular bookshop, with interestingly displayed, unusual hardbacks on every subject, but the real treasure is to be found at the back. The three storey, wooden galleried, travel section is crammed with more travel books than you could read in a lifetime. Their unusual shelving means that travel guides sit next to novels set in the destination, travel stories and reference books. So if you are visiting Laos, you can pick up the Lonely Planet at the same time as a Lao cookery book written by a former chef to the King. And the Rough Guide to Egypt is next to Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet and Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. The atmosphere is one of quiet contemplation, with people spending hours leafing through the coffee table books displayed in the middle. It’s a beautiful temple to travel books.

Address: 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW.
Nearest tube: Bond Street or Baker Street.
Website: http://www.dauntbooks.co.uk
Bio: Victoria Wallop is a lifelong Londoner who is planning a round the world trip with her husband and three small children. She blogs about travelling with children and life in London at It's a small world after all.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/vwallop

 

John Lewis Department Store...

OK, not technically just a small London store but it is one of my favorite places to shop in London. I’ve shopped at John Lewis on Oxford Street for over 20 years and it’s my department store of choice. The fact the pricing is not hiked up because it’s a ‘nice store’ means I can shop there instead of more crowded and less pleasant places. Staff are well-known for the level of service offered. I shop here for clothes, books, toys, kitchen equipment, birthday cards, craft items, fabric, and much more. If I want electrical advice I ask here. If I want to get interior design ideas I come here. The basement Food Hall is a good rival to Selfridge’s so it’s worth popping down there too. And if I’m in the area but not shopping I know the toilets here are clean which for women shoppers is another great bonus.

Address: 300 Oxford Street, London W1A 1EX
Closest tube station: Oxford Circus
Website: http://www.johnlewis.com/
Bio: Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel website and has done since it started back in 2006. She also has a London Travel Blog.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/AboutLondon

 

Tea Palace...

I’ve never been a coffee drinker so the current trend to turn coffee-making into a mad scientist’s laboratory is passing me by. But I’ve always loved tea and have been thrilled to discover how many different types there are in this world. To make this discovery I’ve not needed to travel the globe but simply go to Tea Palace in Covent Garden. I like the fact it feels welcoming and the staff are knowledgeable. The large tins of tea behind the counter remind me of sweet jars from the olden days but this is not for children. This is elegant shopping in an historic location but is surprisingly affordable offering all you need to enjoy tea including lovely cups and tea accessories. Look out for the single cups with infusers that make tea drinking a treat for you alone and not something you have to share by making a pot. I love the teas brewing downstairs for tasting and regularly stop by to check recommendations.

Address: 12 Covent Garden Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RF
Closest tube station: Covent Garden
Website: www.teapalace.co.uk
Bio: Laura Porter writes the About.com London Travel website and has done since it started back in 2006. She also has a London Travel Blog.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/AboutLondon

 

Irregular Choice...

I believe that Irregular Choice is a shoe shop with designs like no other. Stepping into an Irregular Choice store means stepping away from the norm. You won’t find any flat, black pumps in here. Oh no. In fact, you’ll find the complete opposite. And I love it. London’s Irregular Choice store is located on Carnaby Street, one of London’s most fashionable shopping hubs since the 60’s, and still going strong. Imagination is key in the creation of these shoes, the wilder the idea the more likely you’ll find it on the shop floor. Think crazy colours, unique decoration and well, words just can’t describe the designs you’ll see in here… so you’ll have to take a look at their website instead. I’m definitely a shoe over handbag type of girl, and am up for wearing most styles of standout shoe, in fact, I’ve bought many a pair from this funky shop. But even I have to admit that some of the designs are too much for me – will you be brave enough?

Address: 35 Carnaby Street, London, W1 (Currently 39, but moving imminently)
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Website: http://www.irregularchoice.com/
Bio: Katie Silcox is a London based travel journalist, specialising in producing multimedia content and available for freelance contributions. Find out more at Katie’s travel website.
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/katie_silcox

 

Clarke's Restaurant, Bakery, Shop...

This is a fab place to eat and buy supplies to take home. Perfect for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. The food is English fare locally sourced and changes with the seasons. The Bakery on site produces the most wonderful bread which you can sample when you eat at Clarke's restaurant and also buy to take home. P.S. If you want to do more than tourist shopping look around the area (i.e.) shop where we who live here love to shop. Enjoy, everybody!

Address: 106 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AB
Closest tube: Southwark
Website: www.iknit.org.uk/
Bio: Jacqueline Taylor is a serial entrepreneur, specialising in Cloud Computing & Tableau Analytics , loves people, pilates and knitting
Twitter address: http://twitter.com/jacquitaylorfb

 

Bonus -- The Travel Bookstore

The Travel Bookshop was founded in 1979 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009. Nestled between the local art galleries, Indigo.caeateries and the many retro and avant-garde boutiques of Notting Hill, it offers a cornucopia of delights -- a complete reading experience of every country in the world. Open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. Guaranteed you'll always find someone to chat travel with as you browse their stacks. P.S. Check their website for their scheduled talks by world famous authors.

P.S. Looking for something for the kiddies? Ask the sales staff about, 'This is London' by Maurice Sasek. First published in 1959, this delightfully illustrated book serves up typical London scenes from London Zoo to the Underground and the Houses of Parliament. The perfect gift for a young traveller to London.

Address: 13-15 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2EE
Closest tube: Nottinghill Gate
Website: www.thetravelbookshop.com

 

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