Best British department stores in London for Christmas shopping

November 24, 2023

Whatever your budget is this holiday season this list of best British department stores in London for Christmas shopping will have you covered. If your holiday season shopping list has everything from Christmas dinner and festive beverages to decorations, stocking stuffers and gifts to go under the tree then look no further than these department stores in London, England.

London is the capital city of luxury department stores. For centuries the British public (and the Royal Family) have turned to our beloved English department stores to do our Christmas shopping. Some of the department stores within this list are so iconic that their highly anticipated Christmas adverts have the nation in tears every year. They even have the power to determine what songs will top the Christmas chart! 

Are you planning on going to London to do your Christmas gift shopping? Perhaps you’ve not long moved to England and you want to know which stores to go to to prep for your first holiday season in the UK? Maybe you’re just looking to spruce up your festive décor? 

Whatever your reason, this list of best British department stores in London for Christmas shopping will help you prepare for the holidays.

John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis has been a household name and one of the nation’s favourite department stores for over 150 years. 

To Brits their annual festive campaigns have become synonymous with the arrival of Christmas and the holiday season. Those stubborn enough to not decorate as early as the 1st of November consider the premiere (yes premiere) of the John Lewis Christmas advert to be an official indication that it is now an acceptable time to hang decorations and listen to Christmas hits. 

The power of the John Lewis Christmas ad (IYKYK what I did there) has even sent one of its featured songs to Christmas number 1 in the UK Singles Chart.

Specialising in homeware, electrical, fashion and beauty, John Lewis is one of the more affordable department stores on this list of best British department stores in London for Christmas shopping. Their fashion departments for women, men and children stock mid-range to high-end high street labels and aren’t necessarily known for being fashion-forward. That’s not to say that you can’t find a beautiful, stylish outfit from John Lewis though!

What Christmas shopping is John Lewis best for?

Kitchenware and home décor. John Lewis has some of the most gorgeous and affordable homeware.

Whether you’re looking for items to dress up your Christmas tablescape, cute festive mugs for enjoying hot chocolates whilst watching Christmas movies or gifts for loved ones to enjoy, you will not be disappointed by the selection John Lewis has to offer.

They also have a great electrical department ranging from gadgets and games to computers and televisions.

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Where is John Lewis in London?

There are John Lewis department stores all over London (and the UK). The biggest one is at 300 Oxford Street. It is the flagship store with 6 floors. It is between Bond St and Oxford Circus tube stations but is closer to the latter.

Marks & Spencer

From humble beginnings in the late 1880s when Marks & Spencer began as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds, England to the now major multinational retailer, M&S is more than a household name. It’s a staple, it’s a home comfort, it’s a classic.

Marks and Spencer is a very British department store that sells homeware, food, beauty and clothing for every age.

Sure M&S clothing isn’t exactly pushing the boundaries of style and contemporary fashion the way it used to back in the 50s and 60s but it has never failed to be the place where you can find a gorgeous knit, a lovely tailored trouser or a classically cut wool coat at very affordable prices. If a gentleman needs a velvet tuxedo jacket for under £100, the children need new school uniform essentials or granny needs a comfy pair of slippers and a warm night gowN, M&S has got your back.

Even vintage M&S clothing, under the name St Michael, is highly sought after. If you’re lucky enough to find a St Michael garment it could sell for more than you’d think. 

If you have a moment I implore you to watch some of these vintage M&S advertisements, they’re absolutely divine!

Friends who have visited me when I was living in London have instantly fallen in love with M&S. If you’re looking for a classic, easy, affordable and very British gift then M&S is the place to go.

What Christmas shopping is Marks & Spencer best for?

Without a doubt M&S is best for food. This is not just a department store food hall, this is an M&S food hall.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your Christmas dinner spread or simply for boxes of chocolate biscuits and festive bottles of gin.

No Christmas is complete without a bag of Percy Pig Festive Helpers in the bottom of a stocking.

Of course, the clothing departments too. You can pick a very gorgeous set of Christmas pyjamas for the whole family!

Where is Marks & Spencer in London?

There are Marks & Spencer department stores all over London (and the UK). The flagship store is at 458 Oxford Street and can be found between Bond St and Marble Arch tube stations.

Selfridges

Despite being only a century old, Selfridges is one of the most contemporary British department stores for doing your Christmas shopping. If you know Selfridges history you see how this tracks. 

Since Selfridges opened in 1909 it has been challenging the boundaries of a basic shopping experience. They supported the Suffragettes by creating in-store restaurants where women could dine unchaperoned, they’ve had singing lift attendants and cabaret on the escalators, they’ve signed the climate pledge and launched their Project Ocean and Project Earth initiatives. Selfridges was also the first department store to open a cinema – it’s sensational by the way, the best cinema I’ve been to.

The Selfridges yellow bag is as synonymous in the world of shopping-bag-prestige as the Bloomingdales brown bag. Take a stroll down Oxford St and you’ll never not see someone proudly sporting a yellow Selfridges bag. People will purchase just from the food court to get one of these iconic bags. 

There are two sides to a shopping experience in Selfridges. On the one hand you can go to just about any designer fashion label and shop as though you are in their very own store – don’t expect yellow bags from these fashion house icons. On the other hand you could do your more relatable Christmas shopping like buying books, stationery, gadgets, accessories and more. 

Find the Selfridges Christmas Shop on the lower ground floor where you can buy all sorts of festive delights. Selfridges has their own Christmas line which features baubles of their yellow shopping bags and their highly sought after advent calendar featuring all the leading beauty bands.

If you’re in London, don’t miss their Christmas window displays. Each of their windows are dressed to the nines with elaborate designs from sponsored brands. Find Selfridges along with a few others on this list on my self-guided walking tour of Christmas lights in London. 

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What Christmas shopping is Selfridges best for?

Find everything in Selfridges from high street brands to haute couture.

If you’re looking for an iconic London stocking stuffer then I highly recommend the Selfridges umbrella for under £20. It’s compact, the lightest umbrella you’ll ever own, easy to spot if you put it down anywhere and instantly elevates your rainy day outfit. We have three of them!

Where is Selfridges in London?

Selfridges has four stores across England. The London Selfridges can be found at 400 Oxford St, in between Bond St and Marble Arch tube stations.

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum and Mason is a luxurious department store with exceptionally high standards. 

They might not be as frequently mentioned as say Selfridges or Harrods but Fortnum’s should absolutely be on your list of British stores in London for Christmas shopping.

For over 300 years this 18th century store has been making some of the most exquisite biscuits, teas, preserves and more.

There have been strong ties between Fortnum & Mason and the British Royal Family since the store was established back in 1707. Serving many monarchs starting with Queen Anne, they were eventually granted a Royal Warrant in 1910.

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Fortnum & Mason’s iconic tea, Royal Blend, is a blend of some of the finest Assam from India and Flowery Pekoe from Sri Lanka. It was created in 1902 specially at the request of King Edward VII for “the finest tea in all of the land”.  It remains one of Fortnum’s best selling products and is on the list of their 10 favourite things. Also on this list is the cult classic Chocolossus biscuits.

On this list of iconic British stores in London for Christmas shopping, Fortnum & Masons is where you should go to elevate your Christmas dining experience. Why have boring jam, tea or butter when you can have Sweet Orange, Bergamot & Lemon Marmalade, Christmas Green Tea or Champagne Butter. 

Bring home a little jar of something very proper and outrageously British to loved ones for the holidays from Fortnum’s this Christmas.

Fortnum & Mason also has a spectacular kitchenware floor where you could purchase beautiful chinaware or a delightful tea towel. There are some clothing departments too.

Tired form all your Christmas shopping? Why not take a break at the Jubilee Tea Rooms, opened by the late Queen of England along with the present Queen Consort and future Queen of England. Reward yourself with a cream tea, it is giving season after all.

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What Christmas shopping is Fortnum & Mason best for?

Fortnum’s is best for buying holiday hampers. Whether you’re choosing the contents or ordering a pre-existing hamper it is sure to delight the recipient. Fortnum & Mason offers a variety of food and drink hampers in different sizes and price ranges – I’m talking from under £100 – £6k! 

I have both gifted and received Fortnum & Mason hampers and I can confirm it’s a really memorable, quintessential English Christmas gift.

Where is Fortnum & Mason in London?

The original Fortnum & Mason store is at 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London. 

They also have stores in St Pancras International train station (you don’t need to be travelling via St Pancras to enter this store), The Royal Exchange and in Heathrow Terminal 5.

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Liberty London

Found on Regent St, very close to Oxford Circus, Liberty London is instantly recognisable with it’s Tudor-Revival architecture.

Though Liberty’s does sell clothing, jewellery, accessories and beauty lines this very British department store in London is best known for its luxury homeware department and globally recognised fabrics.

One of the most exciting floor to visit in Liberty’s around the holidays is the Christmas Shop.

The Liberty London Christmas shop found on the top floor of the department store is something out of a fairytale. Filled from floor to ceiling with just about every theme of baubles you can imagine there’s something for everyone no matter their colour scheme for the holidays.

What Christmas shopping is Liberty London best for?

The most wonderful gifts you could buy in Liberty London and those which are made from their own fabrics. 

If the person you are buying for is creative then Libertys have an entire department dedicated to their fabrics which you could buy them. There’s also a haberdashery that sells sewing boxes, crochet bags, pin cushions, tape measures and more in Liberty prints.

If your person is not crafty then perhaps a home furnishing, bag or item of clothing made from a Liberty printed fabric is the way to go.

Either way it will be an iconic gift from London.

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Where is Liberty London in London?

Liberty London is located on Regent St, very close to Oxford Circus tube station.

Harrods

Harrods is likely the most famous luxury department store in London. As the biggest store in London It is basically a London Landmark.

Located in the most upscale borough of London, Harrods is home to over 3,000 luxury brands including designer clothing, beauty, jewellery, watches, home decor and more. 

It’s your one-stop shop for all things opulent and expensive. This does however mean that it isn’t the most accessible store for all budgets. 

A visit to Harrods is worth it just to see its facade illuminated by 12,000 light bulbs at night. Be advised though, it’s not the most practical store for holiday gift shopping on a budget that doesn’t allow for designer purchases.

What Christmas shopping is Harrods best for?

If you want a really kitsch souvenir gift then a Harrods bear can do you no wrong. No kids? No problem. You can also purchase a mug, Christmas bauble or tote bag with the Harrods bear. 

Just a reminder that the annual Harrods bear is a collectors item and is embroidered with the year on his little foot.

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Where is Harrods in London?

Harrods is found at 87-135 Brompton Rd in Knightsbridge, London.

Harvey Nichols

For almost 2 centuries the fashionable department store, Harvey Nichols, has called Knightsbridge home.

Most of the stores on this list of best British stores in London for Christmas shopping are fashion forward. Harvey Nichols however is the most style focused of the group.

Yes, it’s a luxury department store but Harvey Nichols isn’t just selling designer fashion, Harvey Nichols is encouraging a sense of style. 

Unlike many luxury department stories in London Harvey Nichols isn’t particularly known for its food court, souvenirs or having its own line of products (that’s not to say they aren’t award-winning). They are however recognised by Vogue for “expertly edited fashion and beauty merchandise”.

What Christmas shopping is Harvey Nichols best for?

Inspiring and aspiring trendsetters.

Where is Harvey Nichols in London?

Harvey Nichols has departments in many major cities in England but their original and flagship store in London is 109 – 125 Knightsbridge.

Fenwick of Bond Street

Unlike many of the luxury department stores in London on this list, Fenwick did not originate in London. The first store opened in Manchester in 1882, the Fenwick of Bond Street didn’t open its doors until nine years later.

A smart move was made in 1891, when they opened their London store, as they chose New Bond Street. Now known as the home for every sought-after designer store and its highly affluent crowd queuing down the street for the opportunity to shop, Fenwick was the first fashion store on the street.

Also unlike most of the other luxury department stores on this list, Fenwick is family-owned. In fact it is the largest family-owned group of department stores in the United Kingdom. 

With many of the luxury department stores on this list being fashion forward, what makes Fenwick stand out is that they aren’t particularly focused on pushing high-end designer labels. Instead they stay true to their core values which is to help their “commitment to finding the perfect dress, jacket, trousers”.

The founder of Fenwick, John James Fenwick, originally opened Fenwick as Mantle Maker and Furrier (cloaks and fur). His focus was on uncompromising quality and style, not necessarily the fashion house behind it. I believe that is still, in part, true of Fenwick today.

What Christmas shopping is Fenwick of Bond Street best for?

Fenwick has a sublime accessories section with some of the most ornate hair clips and headbands you’ll ever see.

Their home fragrance collection is a very affordable slice of luxury.

Where is Fenwick in London?

The Fenwick of Bond Street store is located at 63 New Bond Street London.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season however you celebrate.

If you found this list of best British department stores in London for Christmas shopping helpful then please let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays, Gabriella

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