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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.

London Department Stores – Fenwick of Bond Street

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Location – 63 New Bond Street  London W1S 1RQ

Fenwick  is a small chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. The store’s founder, John James Fenwick was born in Yorkshire and opened the original Fenwick store in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882.

Originally a type of drapers shop, it did not become a department store until John’s son Fred joined the business in 1890.

Unusually in modern retail, the company is still owned by members  of the founder’s family and has eleven branches in the UK.

In 1891 it opened a store in Bond Street which has expanded and been remodelled up to the present day.

MON-WED 10.00am – 7.00pm

THUR 10.00am – 8.00pm

FRI-SAT 10.00am – 7.00pm

SUN 12 noon – 6.00pm

Quick Store Guide

Floor 3

Weekend Collections, Swimwear, Personal Shopping Suite, Personal Beauty Studio, Affogato Coffee Bar, Ladies Powder Room, Customer Services, Public Telephones, Office Trainers, Baby Changing Facilities, Disabled Toilets,

Floor 2

Designer Collections, Bond & Brook Restaurant, Clarins Skin Spa, Chantecaille Healing Spa, Pure Massage,

Floor 1

International Collections, Agnes b, Joseph, LK Bennett Shoes and Fashion, Kurt Geiger Shoes,

Ground Floor

Lingerie, Handbags, Belts, Hats, Sunglasses, Scarves and Gloves, Jewellery, Hosiery, Gielly Green Hair Bar, Cosmetics and Fragrance, Nails Inc Bar, Blink Brow Bar,

Lower Ground Floor

Childrens, Babywear and Toys, Cards and Wrap, Menswear, Kurt Geiger Men’s Shoes, Carluccio’s Restaurant and Food Shop, Men’s Cloakroom, Disabled Toilets,

London Department Stores – Harvey Nichols

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Harvey Nichols

Location – 109 – 125 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RJ

Harvey Nichols is a luxury department store in Knightsbridge, the origin of the company began when Benjamin Harvey opened a small linen shop on the corner od Knightsbridge and Sloane Street.

In 1835 the shop was extended, in 1841 Harvey employed James Nichols who became a manager in the company. When Harvey died in 1850, his wife went into partnership with Nichols and the company was renamed Harvey Nichols and Co.

In the late 19th century the original shops were demolished to build a new purpose built department store.

In the late 20th century  Harvey Nichols became known for its luxury items and award winning restaurants. Harvey Nichols has a small amount of stores in the UK and overseas, and in  1996  launched its first stand-alone restaurant in London, the OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar, and Brassiere.

Opening Times

Mon – Sat: 10am – 8pm

Sun: 11:30am* – 6pm (*browsing only between 11:30am – 12 noon)

Store Guide

Floor 5

Foodmarket & Restaurants  Foodmarket, Wine Shop, Fifth Floor Restaurant, Bar & Café, Yo! Sushi, Outdoor Cafe Terrace

Floor 4

Womenswear, Lifestyle & Beauty Services Contemporary Collections, Sneaker Wall, Accessories, Daniel Hersheson Salon, Beyond MediSpa, Customer Services

Floor 3

WOMENSWEAR  Leisurewear, Contemporary Collections, Denim Gallery, Lingerie, Hosiery, Swimwear, Shoes, Click + Collect, Style Advisors

Floor 2

WOMENSWEAR  Designer Collections, Childrenswear and Children’s Shoes, Personal Shopping

Floor 1

WOMENSWEAR  International Collections, Contemporary Collections, Designer Shoes, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin

Ground Floor

BEAUTY & ACCESSORIES Beauty, Perfumery, Beyond Beauty, International Handbags, Contemporary Handbags, Accessories, Jewellery, Sunglasses, Blink Brow Bar, Champagne Nail Bar

Lower Ground Floor

MENSWEAR  International Collections, Casualwear, Formalwear, Shirts, Ties, Accessories, Shoes, Wagamama Restaurant

Lower Ground Floor 2

MENSWEAR  Contemporary Collections, Denim, T-Shirt and Sneaker Galleries,

London Department Stores – Harrods

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Harrods

Location – 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1RT

Harrods is one of the most famous department stores in the world, it is located in Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. The store occupies a 5 acre site and has over a million square feet of selling space in over 330 departments, it is the largest department store in Europe.

Harrods was founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod who had run a number of businesses all over London.

In 1849 he relocated to Brompton and took over a small shop on the site of the present store. Harrod’s son Charles Digby Harrod developed the business selling medicines, perfumes, stationary, fruit and vegetables. The great success of the store enables the store to expand as adjoining buildings were acquired. However the success was dampened by a fire in 1883 when the store burnt down, however this did not deter Charles Harrod who made sure all his orders were fulfilled on time.

A new building was built on the site and the store gained a reputation for being the local shop for the rich and famous. The store was the site of the first moving staircase or escalator in London 1898 although it was not an instant success as many customers were scared to use it.

In 1959 Harrods was bought by the House of Fraser group, and in 1985 the Fayed brothers bought the store.

From 1985 to 2010 Mohamed Al Fayed worked hard to consolidate Harrods position as one of the most famous stores in the world and make good its boast that it will provide the customer will almost any service for a price.

In 2010 Harrods was sold to Qatar Holdings for an estimated 1.5 Billion pounds.

Harrods has been the victim of a bomb attack when six people died in 1983 and has a high security presence due to the luxury goods on the premises.

Up to 300,000 customers visit the store on busy days, they are served 5000 staff in 330 departments. There are 32 restaurants, personal shopping, a bank, a barbers shop, amongst numerous other services.

Opening Hours

Mon to Sat 10am-8pm

Sun 12pm-6pm

London Department Stores – Marks and Spencer

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Marks and Spencer

Location – Marble Arch ,458 Oxford Street,London,W1C 1AP

 Marks and Spencer is a major Department Store on Oxford Street, the origins of the Marks and Spencer company was a partnership between Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1894. They open their Penny Bazaar in Leeds before opening a number of stalls in markets in the North of England.

Eventually they built a number of stores all over the United Kingdom, they built a reputation by only selling British-made goods and by its generous returns policy, giving a full refund on goods regardless of when it was purchased. Working with British Manufacturers, the company became known for quality clothes and food sold under the St Michael and St Margaret brands. Women’s lingerie was especially popular and became an iconic part of M & S.

In the 1990s, facing fierce competition it was forced to abandon its British Goods only policy and change its returns policy. It was also hampered by its refusal to accept credit cards until 2001.

Although facing a relative decline, Marks and Spencer is still a major retailer with 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores spread across more than 40 countries.

General Opening Hours

Monday    08:00 – 21:00

Tuesday   08:00 – 21:00

Wednesday 08:00 – 21:00

Thursday  08:00 – 21:00

Friday    08:00 – 21:00

Saturday  08:00 – 21:00

Sunday    12:00 – 18:00

Products Women’s Clothing – Limited Collection, Women’s Clothing – Autograph, Women’s Clothing – per una, Women’s Clothing – Classic, Women’s Clothing – Portfolio, Women’s Clothing – Indigo, Lingerie and Sleepwear, Lingerie – Post Surgery Lingerie, Men’s Clothing – Blue Harbour, Men’s Clothing – Autograph, Men’s Clothing – Collezione, Men’s Clothing – North Coast, Men’s Clothing – Men’s Tailoring & Alterations, Kids – Clothing, Kids – Schoolwear, Food/Wine/Flowers – Bakery, Food/Wine/Flowers – Wine Adviser, Food/Wine/Flowers – Flower Wrapping, Home – Furniture, Home – Made to Order Curtains, Home – Homeware, Home – Fabric Swatches, Home – Made to Order Furniture, Home – Cards and Wrap, Beauty, Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing – Underwear, Babywear, Home – Kitchen, Women’s Clothing – Petite

Services Baby Changing Facilities, Bilingual Staff Available, Carry To Car, Customer Toilets, Leave It To Us – Food Ordering, Gift Cards, Disabled Toilets, Refunds & Exchange (excluding Outlet merchandise), Refunds & Exchange (Outlet merchandise only), Bra Fitting, Changing Rooms – Women’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Men’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Lingerie changing room, Ordering – Clothing Ordering & Collection, Ordering – Flower ordering, Money – M&S credit card validation, Money – Cash machine, Money – VAT back service, Places to Eat – Deli Bar, Places to Eat – Cafe, Places to Eat – Hot Food to Go, M&S Bank, M&S Bank – Bureau de Change

London Department Stores – Selfridges

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Selfridges

Location – 400 Oxford Street, London,W1H 6HB

Selfridges is a large department store on Oxford Street, it is the second largest store in the UK, Harrods being the largest.

Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge who was born in 1856 in Wisconsin, in 1879 he started work for Marshall Field and Company a famous Chicago retailer. In a rags to riches story he started as an errand boy before working his way up the ladder, he married into a wealthy Chicago family and amassed a fortune which he used to build his London store.

Using American building methods the store opened in 1909. Harry Selfridge bought over a number of American retail methods and added a few of his own, he is credited for putting the perfume counter at the front of the store which was copied by stores around the world.

He also believed shopping should be fun so used the store to highlight technologies of the day for example Louis Blériot’s monoplane of 1909 was exhibited at Selfridges, and the first public demonstration of television was by John Logie Baird from the first floor of Selfridges from 1 to 27 April 1925.

In the 20s and 30s the roof with its terraced gardens, cafes, a mini golf course was a popular meeting place. After the war these were closed down but have recently been revived.

Up to the Great Depression, Harry Selfridge retail wise could do no wrong, however in the years leading up to the Second World War he began to get in debt, partially attributed to his lavish life style. He was ousted from the Selfridges board in the 1941 and died practically penniless in Putney in 1947.

Selfridges is known for its wide range of luxury goods, numerous designer clothes, a extensive food hall and has a number of restaurants and bars.

General Opening Hours

MONDAY             9.30 – 21.00

TUESDAY             9.30 – 21.00

WEDNESDAY      9.30 – 21.00

THURSDAY         9.30 – 21.00

FRIDAY                9.30 – 21.00

SATURDAY         9.30 – 21.00

SUNDAY             11.30 – 18.15*