London Shopping with a Difference: Off the Beaten Track
Any visit to the capital wouldn’t be complete without a spot of retail therapy and it doesn’t just have to be focussed on Oxford Street and the department stores, either. In fact, there’s some downright weird shops in the city that are ready for a visit – the diversity is astounding!
If you find yourself in the Big Smoke for a day or two, you can book rooms in central London at low rates so that you don’t find yourself out of pocket before you even start shopping. An affordable room will make an ideal base for you trip, while giving you plenty of space to store your purchases. All you have to worry about then is how to get them all back home on the train! The trick is to put smaller bags in bigger bags to make carrying them all easier.
So, where do you go? If you’re a sucker for the quirkier things in life, there’s a load of fun and alternative shops off the beaten track. Here’s some of the best:
Perfect if you have a bit of a sweet tooth and fancy a bit of nostalgia. Remember Willy Wonka’s Nerds and boxes of Lucky Charms that would fill your cereal bowl with sugar-topped marshmallows before the UK supermarkets stopped selling them? You can find them in this fantastic retro and American sweet shop that imports all the good stuff so you don’t have to pay the customs bill. From Reese’s Cups to Marshmallow Fluff and fizzy Vanilla Coke to original Mountain Dew, there’s plenty to satisfy even the sweetest of palates.
Combine that with wacky flavours and vintage gumball machines and you’ll have a field day in here!
Fancy yourself as a bit of a crafter? Whatever your stamping needs, this is the place to go. With stamps in all shapes and sizes, and ink pads in every colour you could possibly think of, you can improve your stamping collection in no time.
Anything you could possibly need for your handcrafted cards can be found here, so there’s nothing stopping you giving it a go!
The Moomin Shop
Not everyone was a fan of these ‘loveable’ Finnish children’s characters, but for those that were, there’s a whole store dedicated to them in the Covent Garden Market Building. It’s amazing how much merchandise and paraphernalia is based on these hippo-troll-creature things and a visit transports you into Moomin Valley and the surrounding Moomin-scapes.
Little Shop of Horrors
Perfect for those who love the weird and wonderful world of the macabre, Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors is half shop, half museum and has plenty of weird stuff on display, including shrunken heads, taxidermy animals and a two-headed fruit bat.
You can find it on Mare Street, Hackney, and is open every Saturday or by appointment at other times.