If there is one place you can do some serious shopping, it’s London, but around all the main attractions you mainly find touristy souvenir shops with key chains and Royal Family masks. YAWN!
Every time I am in the city, I’m always on the look out for a bit more interesting shops that sell items that are actually great to give away or receive and I’ve finally combined them for you in a blog post!
This list will probably grow in the future, but for now, sit back and enjoy some of the best places for London souvenirs:
What we'll cover in this article
- BEST LONDON SOUVENIRS TO SHOP
- PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LONDON WITH THESE MUST-DO ACTIVITIES:
BEST LONDON SOUVENIRS TO SHOP
BLADE RUBBER STAMPS
This week I was exploring the area around the British Museum and then I happened to be in a side street at this cute stamp and craft shop!
Here they sell great stamps of just about everything that you can come up with – also other nice souvenirs with a London / UK theme, such as buttons, washi-tape, notebooks, tea towels, bags, cards and much more. Really recommend it!
Address: 12 Bury Pl, London WC1A 2JL [google maps]
This chain of stores started in West London in 1993 and sold vintage fabrics and other unique items. Since then, they have also started making their own prints and products and nowadays you will find lots of nice vintage stuff with a modern twist in their shops.
You will spot many flowers, polkadots and animals here, but they also always have a section with items inspired by London. You will find backpacks, aprons, luggage labels, umbrellas, wallets, glasses boxes, crockery and much more.
Address: 251 Tottenham Court Rd, Bloomsbury, London W1T 7RB [google maps] – also on other locations!
If you save all the city mugs from Starbucks, you will of course already know this tip, but if not, most places throughout London sell special mugs from the city, which are a perfect souvenir! They have large tea and coffee cups, but also small espresso cups (which we have, they are just big enough for one shot) and also plastic drinking bottles. You can also find other mugs in different cities around Great Britain.
Address: 5 Upper St Martin’s Ln, London WC2H 9EA [google maps] – throughout the city, really!
All museums in London (many of them are free) have their own gift shops, but here you can often find, in addition to items that have to do with the museum collection, very nice souvenirs or gifts from London itself. For example, a while ago at Tate Modern, I saw some nice books and clothing for children and special graphic posters of the city. Of course the collection changes regularly, so be sure to take a look!
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG [google maps]
LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM
Another museum that I definitely wanted to mention is the slightly less well-known London Transport Museum. Besides that this museum is really worth it (soon a review, I wish I had more than two hands!), I think this gift shop is one of the best in the city. Here you will find many products that have to do with the London bus and metro!
For example, there is a whole series of pillows, bags and pouffes made from the fabric you see in London’s public transport. Pricey, but very unique of course. Be sure to check out the poster collection on the top floor, here they have a very nice poster of the Underground of London, which I bought myself (check here).
Address: Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB [google maps]
WE BUILT THIS CITY
One of the stores that I always recommend to visitors to London never to skip is We Built This City on Carnaby Street in the Soho district. Here you will find lots of great items made by British designers. In addition, they have a good poster collection and there is often a lot to find in the basement that has to do with British musicians. Just the facade of the store, which changes regularly as you can see below, is worth a visit!
Address: 56b Carnaby St, Soho, London W1F 9QF [google maps]
Crazy about tea, like about 99.9% of all Britons? Then here is a tip for my favorite tea shop in town. Actually, the brand is Australian, but that does not mean that you enter a real tea heaven here. Everything loose-leaf and you can really find all the flavors here.
Of course for a souvenir, the tea “London Breakfast” is a great choice, but I also personally like the “Sydney Breakfast” and “Melbourne Breakfast”. They also sell everything related to tea drinking, from sieves and storage cans to tea sets and other crockery. I never leave empty handed here!
Address: 48-50 Redchurch St, London E2 7DP [google maps] – ook op andere locaties!
For me, a visit to London is synonymous to visiting a bookstore and the number 1 bookstore in London has to be Waterstones. You can find this mega-bookstore, that started in 1982 with founder Tim Waterstone, throughout the city. The flagship store is next to Piccadilly Circus.
It is the only remaining national bookstore chain in the country. Besides selling books, they also do signing sessions, workshops, coffee shops and they sell a large selection of other stationery at many stores. Especially the children’s books are amazing here!
Address:203-, 206 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1V 9LW [google maps] – ook op andere locaties!
LONDON REVIEW BOOK SHOP
When I visited the nice stamp shop that I mentioned first in this list, I saw that the London Review Book Shop was next door. This store opened in 2003 and they now have a selection of more than 20,000 titles ranging from classics to contemporary fiction and poetry. Next to the store is also a cozy cake shop, where you can relax with your new book with a coffee or more extensive lunch.
Address: 14-16 Bury Pl, Bloomsbury, London WC1A 2JL [google maps]
Ok, ok, I love bookstores and there are hundreds in London, but there is one that I really wanted to specifically mention and that is Daunt Books in the lively Marylebone district. This is the travel bookstore of the city (founded in 1990) and it is located in a beautiful Edwardian building on Marylebone High Street. Especially the wooden interior is worth a visit!
In addition to travel books, you will also find many other types of books, both fiction as non-fiction, as well as presentations and other events in this location. The canvas bag of this store has a bit of a cult status in the city, so just that would be a nice souvenir to take home!
Address: 84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW [google maps]
If you are a fan of everything that has to do with Scotland and the Scottish tartan, then you cannot skip the Highland Store when you go shopping! The store below is located next to the British Museum and sells items such as scarves, bags, blankets and gloves and of course real Scottish Kilts. Things here are pricey, but of high quality.
Address: 66 Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3BN [google maps] – ook in Notting Hill!
The ‘furniture boulevard’ of London can be found on Tottenham Court Road and although you might not be looking for a new couch during your weekend in London (Easyjet sees you coming over at check-in!), but many of the interior design shops in this street also sell unique items that do well as gifts or souvenirs for yourself. The Habitat has a whole collection of posters from local artists in the basement.
Address: 196-199, Tottenham Court Rd, Bloomsbury, London W1T 7PJ [google maps] – ook op andere locaties!
Another store on the same street as the Habitat above is the West Elm, and here you can also find unique items from local artists from England. Prints, but also other design items such as tea towels and bathroom products. The collection changes regularly, so be sure to check for new arrivals when you’re around.
Address: 209 Tottenham Court Rd, Fitzrovia, London W1T 7PN [google maps]
This store is a mix between a clothing store and a home store (which you see a lot at shops in the city) and here you will occasionally find some nice things that also double as great souvenirs. If you are lucky, they sell items with a London theme, like the matchbox holder that I came across a while ago. They also sell separate books and more general souvenirs, such as jewelery and other fashion accessories.
Address: 147 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB [google maps] – ook op andere locaties!
TO HOME FROM LONDON
Although I never visited this shop with handmade things myself (until this week, when I visited their little stall on Camden Market!), I recently came across their incredibly fun underground cutting board that you can see at the top right of the photo. After a quick Google and I found out that this is a shop of a Brazilian and Argentinian couple who once started as a blog to keep in touch with our friends and family. Of course I can only support them!
They make handmade souvenirs with their own original designs made in their studio in London. They have a store in Camden Market and are at the Spitalfields and Portobello Markets every weekend.
Address: Unit 504, Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, Camden Town, London NW1 8AH [google maps]
MARKS & SPENCER
After a small, independent shop, a complete change to a big shop giant, but I recently bought a bag here after shopping (in the middle below) and then I realized that sometimes souvenirs could be as simple as this. The Marks & Spencer (M & S) regularly sells uniquely designed shopping bags and often has fun items in the store with the British flag or London icons on it. Always worth to check it out.
Address: 173 Oxford St, Soho, London W1D 2JR [google maps] – ook op andere locaties!
BENJAMIN POLLOCK’S TOY SHOP
I end this list with a tip from my mother (because the best ideas always come from your mother, it’s just true). Every time she comes to London she always wants to have a peek at Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop in Covent Garden and I cannot blame her. This incredibly cute (and tiny) shop has been selling incredibly cool paper theaters and other vintage toys for years.
Now I recently found out that apart from this store, there is also the Pollock’s Toy Museum (near Tottenham Court Road station), where you can see all the old theaters for just 7 pounds, or browse through the shop with more modern toys for free. Again not really cheap, but anyway, a souvenir from one of these shops is certainly special!
Address: 44 The Market, London WC2E 8RF [google maps]
I hope that with this guide you have gained a lot of nice ideas for original souvenirs when you go shopping in London! But, if you still don’t know, or if you are just curious, then you can always go to one of the many super-touristy shops that you can find throughout the city. There is of course nothing wrong with that … where else do you get your Prince Harry mask? Just sayin’!
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LONDON WITH THESE MUST-DO ACTIVITIES:
- London Visitor Oyster Card > > get special discounts for overseas visitors
- The London Pass > > get access to 80+ attractions around London
- Theater Passport > > see the top London West End shows with 40% discount
- London Map > > never get lost with this detailed city map (all sights marked!)
- London Eye (+ River Cruise) > > save up to 25% when you book your tickets in advance online
- Afternoon Tea in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater > > book this themed afternoon tea and don’t miss out!
- Tower of London > > save up to 25% on individual prices with a family ticket
- St. Paul’s Cathedral > > save nearly 10% on tickets compared to buying on the day