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Great London Shops – Burberry in Regent Street

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Location Burberry, 121 Regent Street, London, W1B 4TB

When Burberry open their flagship at 121 Regent Street in 2012 it was considered the most technologically advanced high fashion store in Britain. Covering four floors, the store is the biggest Burberry branch in the world using technology  including a 22ft-high screen, 500 hidden speakers and a hydraulic stage.
The shop is in Westmoreland House, which was built in 1820 for the Prince Regent, the property has had a interesting history having previously used as a livery stable, church, art gallery and cinema. Burberry have restored the original projection suite which will allow the shop floor to be turned into a venue for bands, talks and screenings.

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The store covers an area of 44,000 sq ft, has 17 fitting rooms, 260 employees and has over 24,000 individual pieces for sale.

Burberry is a British luxury fashion house which sells outerwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. It is known for its distinctive tartan pattern and its trench coat, which was designed by founder Thomas Burberry. The firm was founded by Thomas Burberry, a  draper’s apprentice in 1856 and developed a range of outdoor jackets. The brand was especially popular with arctic explorers Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton and in 1914 the War office asked Burburry to redesign its officer’s coats. The design the “trench coat” became very popular not just with the military but also civilians after the war.

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Known as a quintessential British brand, Burberry have in the 21st century become a global brand with more than 500 stores in over 50 countries.

Opening Times
Monday
10:00-22:00

Tuesday
10:00-22:00

Wednesday
10:00-22:00

Thursday
10:00-22:00

Friday
10:00-22:00

Saturday
10:00-22:00

Sunday
11:30-18:00

If you would like to find out more about Burberry, visit the website here

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Great London Shops – Hatchards

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187 Piccadilly, St James’s, W1J 9LE

Hatchards is one of the oldest bookshops in the United Kingdom, It was founded by John Hatchard in 1797 in Piccadilly  where it still stands today.

His portrait still hangs in pride in the shop, and it has  a reputation for attracting high-profile authors and holds three Royal Warrants.

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Over the years many famous authors have signed at Hatchards including more recently J.K Rowling, , Peter Ackroyd,  Lauren Bacall, , Alec Guinness, ,Hilary Mantel and Sebastian Faulks..

There are a number of  antiquarian books  sold usually related to  Winston Churchill, with a small section to Royalty. Other specialist sections include Gardening, Food & Drink, Biography,  and Art.

Hatchard’s  regularly host literary events and book signings in the shop.

Next to  Fortnum and Mason, Hatchards offers old fashioned charm which has attracted a wide range of customers to its store.

If you want further information about Hatchards , visit their website here

Great London Shops – Daunt Books

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Location – 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW

Daunt Books is a chain of bookshops in London, founded by James Daunt. It traditionally specialised in travel books and in 2010  began to publishing its own books.
Unlike many shops on our top ten list, Daunt Books is relatively modern being formed in 1990 however its Marylebone High Street branch is housed in a former Edwardian bookshop with long oak galleries, generous skylights and antique prints.

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Daunts quickly made its reputation by its travel books and the way they arranged their travel sections geographically with guides, phrase books, travel writing, history and fiction grouped by their relevant country. Another major aspect of the bookshops success was the friendly and knowledgeable staff.

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As well as the usual author signings, Daunt Books also organises talks by authors which are followed by discussions and the odd glass of wine.

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The company has expanded in recent years and now have branches in Chelsea, Holland Park, Cheapside, Hampstead and Belsize Park.

Opening hours:
Monday – Saturday 9.00 – 19.30
Sunday 11.00 – 18.00
Branches: 51 South End Road, NW3 2QB , 193 Haverstock Hill, NW3 4QL , 112-114 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA , 158-164 Fuham Road, SW10 9PR

For more information about Daunt Books, visit their website here

Great London Shops – Floris

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Location – Floris, 89 Jermyn Street, SW1

Floris is one the oldest English retailer of toiletries and perfumes, it origins lie in the same shop it occupies today. Back in 1730 the shop was opened by Juan Famenias Floris, a native of the Island of Menorca but who left his home to make his fortune in England. When he opened his shop it was as a barber and combmaker.
However he also developed a number of fragrances and soon became a favourite amongst the generally wealthy partons of St James.
The shop gained Royal recognition with a Royal Warrant in 1820 and collected many more over the years. Built on the foundations of quality and service the shop attracted the rich and famous in the 19th century including Florence Nightingale, Mary Shelley and the great dandy of Piccadilly Beau Brummell.

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Trading out of the original shop even the large mahogany counter still used in the store has historical presence being  purchased directly from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 1851.

Floris have created bespoke perfumes and fragrances from the early days of the shop, and up to 1970s  all the fragrances were made up to order downstairs below the shop in Jermyn Street. However now, all the shops fragrances and products are made in their factory in Devon.

The shop offers a range of products geared to the individual rather than mass production and this makes the shop very popular amongst the discerning shopper.

One of the quaint traditions the shop carries on is that it gives change to the customer on a velvet pad; it was considered vulgar in the 18th Century to touch another’s hand.

Still a family business, Floris is more than a shop it is a little piece of history, it can probably be said it is the oldest Perfume shop in the world still open for business.

For more information visit the Floris  website here

Great London Shops – Hamleys

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Location – 188-196 Regent Street, London, W1B 5BT

Hamleys is one of the oldest and largest toy shop in the world, it was founded by William Hamley as “Noah’s Ark” in High Holborn, London, in 1760, with a branch opening in Regent Street in 1881.
For a long time a family business, the shop almost disappeared for ever in the 1930s but was bought by Walter Lines, the Chairman of the Tri-Ang company who restored its reputation as one of London’s main retail attractions. It is estimated it attracts around five million visitors a year.
The Regent Street flagship store has a 7 floors with an estimated 50,000 toys.

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The shop is also known for its inventive window displays and the staff who wander around the shop playing and demonstrating some of the products.

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London had a large number of toy shops in the 19th and early 20th century, as well as toys sold in the street, however the advance of online shopping as severely cut the number of toyshops with Hamleys one of the very few old style Toyshops to survive.

The ground floor is traditionally for soft toys and decked out with a bewildering array of stuffed animals, from regular teddy bears to enormous life-sized giraffes and elephants.

Opening Times
Monday    10:00- 20:00
Tuesday   10:00 -20:00
Wednesday 10:00- 20:00
Thursday  10:00- 21:00
Friday    10:00- 21:00
Saturday  09:30- 21:00
Sunday    12:00- 18:00

 If you want to find out more about Hamleys  , visit their website here

 

John Lewis celebrates 150 years of Retail Business at Oxford Street Store

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Photo John Lewis

John Lewis has announced plans to mark its 150th anniversary with a series of commemorative events which will celebrate a business that has grown from a humble draper’s shop opened in 1864, to the £4 billion international, award-winning business it is today.
The centrepiece of the celebrations will be an interactive exhibition in the retailer’s flagship shop on Oxford Street
From the cobbled streets of Victorian London, visitors will open a door into the retailer’s past via the draper’s shop where it all began on 2nd May 1864. Following a dimly lit corridor past the original book that includes the first day’s takings, guests will find themselves in John Spedan Lewis’ office, the setting for the birth of the John Lewis Partnership. Visitors will get an insight into the man Spedan was and his revolutionary idea that all workers should be co-owners and share in the success of his company.
After a installation which tells the story of how a WWII bomb threatened the future of the company, the exhibition proceeds to explain how the “craft of shopkeeping” and a passion for customer service has guided the business ever since. The work of many celebrated designers and brands is recognised, as well as the retailer’s own textile mill, Herbert Parkinson, where a bespoke weave will fill the exhibition floor and run over the ceiling. Visitors will exit the exhibition with a glimpse into how we will shop, live and look in the future, through a unique collaboration with the Royal College of Art.
In a first for the retailer, the Oxford Street flagship will also open its roof to London. Working with Tony Woods, Royal Horticultural Society National Young Designer of the Year, and the Partnership’s own gardeners from the Longstock estate, one of the capital’s largest urban rooftops will be transformed into a tranquil space that boasts some of the best views in town.
Across the country John Lewis shops will be joining the celebrations, which start on 3rd May, with a whole host of regional activities and, working in partnership with Barnardos, each shop will be supporting local charity initiatives.

The Old Shopping Arcades of Piccadilly

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Away from the crowds of Regent and Oxford Street, Piccadilly offers a upmarket more personal shopping experience. Amongst the high quality shops like Hatchard’s and Fortnum and Mason is a number of 19th century shopping arcades which were the origins of the Grand shopping gallery and the modern shopping arcades.

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One of the oldest arcades is also the longest, the Burlington Arcade was opened in 1819 and was built by the Lord George Cavendish, younger brother of the 5th Duke of Devonshire, who had inherited the nearby Burlington House.

The arcade enabled shoppers to walk along protected from the weather to peruse the 72 small shops, the arcade also had its own security with its Guard or Beadle patrolling the walkway and keeping out undesirables. This tradition is still maintained today when the shops are fewer but probably more exclusive.

Present tenants include a wide range of clothing, footwear and accessory shops, there is also a number of  Art dealers, jewellers and dealers in antique silver.

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The Royal Arcade built in 1879 is  smaller than the Burlington Arcade and but provides a connecting walkway between  Old Bond Street with  Albemarle Street. This arcade was originally known as just the ‘Arcade’ but one of the shops was patronised by Queen Victoria it became the Royal arcade.

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The speciality shops in this arcade  sell fine silverware, art, bespoke shoes and high-end chocolate.

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The other two arcades in the area were opened in the 20th century ,Princes Arcade forms part of Princes House which was originally built to house the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1883. The Arcade itself was opened in 1933.

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The Piccadilly Arcade in opened in 1910 and quickly gained a reputation for high quality retail outlets.

All these arcades catered for the high number of rich and well to do patrons that lived in the nearby Mayfair and St James and to some extent they still do, however regardless of your spending power it is worth visiting the arcades for a slightly different shopping experience.