I just got back from a quick four day trip to London with my husband. It was our first time visiting and it was just us, no kids. How exciting, right! Our trip was short but action packed and I’m having a hard time coming up with the right way to approach this post about it. My blog is mostly about fashion and a little bit about lifestyle (so far). To be perfectly honest, my outfits from those four days are not all that inspiring. My priorities were comfort for a full day of walking and for the chilly weather.
Originally I was going to write a chronological account of my trip but quickly realized how boring that would be! Who wants to look at countless pictures of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Yes, we get it, you went to London and took pictures in front of all the sights!
So instead I will share what impressed me, what stood out to me as interesting and different. And since I have my priorities straight I will start with:
I was in heaven! I have to insert here that I lived in New York City for six years and continue to frequently visit so I’m used to wonderful shopping opportunities and big flagship stores. In my mind, London blew Manhattan out of the water. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to NYC that it has ceased to impress me the way it would a new visitor. But in London it seemed like there was an enormous concentration of high end designer brands in a small area. There is Old and New Bond Street, similar to Madison Avenue in Manhattan where all high end designer brands are represented.
In addition to Bond Street, there are a number of department stores – Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Liberty. And of course Harrods! A historic landmark of London and an absolute sight to behold, inside and out! As it’s previous owner Mohamed Al-Fayed put it when talking about why Harrods is not for sale: “It is a special place that gives people pleasure. There is only one Mecca.” Ironically he sold the store to the State of Qatar shortly after he made that statement. There may be only one Mecca but Harrods comes as a close second to those like me enamored by designer clothes and accessories. Walking through the departments and seeing all the shining objects in person was almost dizzying to me!
Harrods is historic and unique and is a must see just for that reason. I read in quite a few places that the other department stores in London are better for one reason or another. And maybe no Londoner would ever go shopping there just like I wouldn’t be caught dead in Macy’s on 34th street. But for a first time visitor like me, the crowds were totally worth dealing with for this amazing experience.
If Harrods is like Macy’s on 34th street on steroids, I liken Harvey Nichols to Barneys New York. Very high end and but without the tourist crowds. Here are some of the things that caught my eye there:
It is worth mentioning that with the current exchange rate for British pounds and provided you get a VAT refund (that’s the local sales tax), it is waaaay cheaper to buy in England than the US.
You’re probably wondering what I bought with all that shopping. Not a whole lot. I had a Gucci leather belt on my list which was very hard to find in the US so I snatched it while I was there. And I picked up a couple of things from Zara which you will be seeing in upcoming posts. I have to say I like Zara in Europe much better. It’s a Spanish company after all and very well represented with clean and organized stores highlighting their beautiful items. The same can’t be always said about the US stores, just saying!
Coming soon: LONDON PUBS AND FOOD
Read about: AFTERNOON TEA AT HARRODS