Souvenir Shopping in London18 September, 2009
One of the must-do activities during London weekends is to visit the various types of markets selling all sorts of knick-knacks and enjoy interesting performances by buskers around these markets.
However be prepared for huge crowds everywhere, especially at Tube stations (see picture below). Also check train service availability before leaving your accommodation – some Tube lines are closed for maintenance during weekends.
The Camden Market is quite a good place to look for fashionable clothing. Just across the street lies Inverness Street Market – a smaller market selling a mish-mash of souvenirs, clothes, food, fruits. You can get to Camden by tube on the Northern line. On weekends, it might be better to alight at Chalk Farm or take a bus to avoid the crowds.
There are over 200 stalls in narrow alley-ways of the Camden Market. It was originally known as Buck Street Market and is one of several markets off the Camden High Street/Chalk Farm Road. You can shop for items such as clubwear, jeans, t-shirts, jewellery, fashion accessories, alternative clothing and footwear here. It is open from Monday to Sunday (9.30am to 6pm).
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One other must-go area during weekends is Covent Garden. Again, be prepared for long queues and jams even within the Covent Garden Tube Station. To avoid this, you can get off a stop earlier (e.g. Leicester Square) and take a short walk over.
There are over 120 stores in Covent Garden’s Jubilee Arts and Crafts Market Hall, selling original handmade arts and crafts, ceramics, hand made knitwear, pottery, hand made house plaques & house signs, doll houses, cardigans and coats, soft toys and dolls and lots more.
Another popular part of Covent Garden market is Apple Market, a small subsection of the main market. It sells intricate artworks, beautiful photographs of London landscapes, movie posters and other kinds of art-related materials.
Covent Garden is the only part of London licensed for street entertainment with performers having to undertake auditions for the Market’s management and representatives of the performers’ union and signing up to timetabled slots.
Currently performers operate in a number of venues around the market, including the North Hall, West Piazza, and South Hall Courtyard. There are street performances at Covent Garden Market every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Shows run throughout the day and are 30–40 minutes in length. The following are some of the “static” displays outside Covent Garden – unscheduled performances. 🙂
If you want a luxurious and grand shopping experience, go to Harrods at Knightsbridge. You will find almost anything there – clothes, food, toys, Harrods souvenirs, books. There is a smaller branch of Harrods in the Heathrow Airport for you to buy some souvenirs and get the coveted Green Harrods bag. Apparently it is quite a fashion statement to carry one in Singapore – according to Caroline. 🙂
For tacky London souvenirs e.g. Red telephone boxes pencil sharpener, Big Ben magnets, try souvenir shops around Piccadilly Circus – you find a whole variety of souvenirs at reasonable prices here.
You know you are in Piccadilly Circus when you see these colorful electronic billboards.