You’re about to head to London - what should you buy? What are the best London souvenirs? We’ve got answers.
Let’s face it – for some of us, shopping is the best thing about travelling.
If you love buying souvenirs for your loved ones (and yourself) while on vacation, this is the post for you.
There’s a reason why London souvenirs are some of the most iconic and sought-after in the world.
From speciality teas to stunning artwork and everything in between, there is a London souvenir for every budget and taste.
Best of all – you don’t need to lug them around. You can actually get a lot of these London souvenirs online!
That will make your bags a lot lighter.
We’ve rounded up a list of the best things to buy in London. What’s your favourite? Tell us in the comment section.
1. Harry Potter Magic Money from Colin Narbeth and Son Ltd
Every Potterhead heads to Platform 9 ¾ for great souvenirs featuring Hedwig, Hermione, Ron, and the professors.
But for something really unique, walk down magical Cecil Court, rumoured to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
There, you’ll find Colin Narbeth & Son, a shop for people who collect rare coins and money.
They’ve printed two wonderful sets of magic money, a truly special way to remember your time in magical London.
Join us on our Harry Potter walking tour and we will take you here.
2. A Book from the Word on the Water – The Canal Boat Bookshop
Usually moored at Coal Drops Yard, just behind King’s Cross and St Pancras Station, the Word on the Water Canal Boat Bookshop sells a wide selection of classic literature, counter-culture gems, and travel guides.
If you love bookshops, London doesn’t disappoint. Check out Foyle’s, Daunt Books, and Hatchard’s.
3. A Stuffed Corgi from the Royal Collection Shop
We all know that Queen Elizabeth II was a huge dog lover – there wasn’t a dry eye in England when her beloved corgis were brought out to see her funeral procession go past.
These plush toys are a great gift for anyone who admired the Queen and loves dogs.
In addition, the Royal Collection Shop has loads of other limited-edition gifts and souvenirs.
You can find this shop at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, among other places.
4. The Cockney Rhyming Slang Dictionary from the Museum of London
Don’t trip as you go down the apples and pears! Would you like a cup of Rosie Lee? Did you pay the Duke of Kent?
Confused? I just used Cockney rhyming slang for stairs, tea, and rent – and there are more than 6000 more traditional East End slang terms in this dictionary.
You’ll find this and more at the Museum of London.
5. A Box of Spices from Spice Mountain at Borough Market
The UK is a multicultural society with love for foods from around the world. After all, the unofficial national dish is Chicken Tikka Masala!
Cook gorgeous curries and more when you get back home with a sample box of spices from Spice Mountain at the legendary Borough Market.
While you’re here, make sure you sample the world cuisines and grab foodie souvenirs.
6. Jewellery from the Victoria and Albert Museum
The V&A is world-renowned for its fashion and design collection spanning centuries and continents.
Their jewellery is absolutely stunning, drawing influence from antiquities, renaissance art, art nouveau, and the arts and crafts movement.
While some of the pieces are an investment, there are plenty of options at all price points.
7. A Map of London from Stanfords
Stanfords, located in in Covent Garden since 1853, is the biggest map and travel bookshop in the world.
Pick up a vintage or contemporary map of London so you can always remember your trip.
You can also grab a travel guide for the next city on your itinerary.
8. Tea and Biscuits from Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason is alegendary London department store that specialises only in food and tableware.
They’re known for their afternoon tea and enviable wine cellar.
Best of all, they sell wonderful British biscuits (cookies) and different varieties of tea, all in attractive boxes.
9. A Hat from Last Stop for the Curious
The Last Stop for the Curious is a stall in Spitalfields Market that sells wonderful hats of all kinds, from top hats to fedoras and everything in between.
The owner, Colin Rosie, is a dapper chap who is always dressed to the nines.
He’s happy to offer advice and suggestions for the best hat for your needs!
10. Liberty Print Fabric
Liberty, a Tudor revival department store located a few metres from Oxford Circus in Soho, attracts fashionistas and Londoners with good taste.
They’re famous for their Arts & Crafts William Morris-inspired prints, which feature on fabric, books, dinnerware, bags, and so much more.
11. Vintage duds from Brick Lane
Of course, London is a very old city. So why not get in the spirit with some vintage clothing?
The ever-eclectic Brick Lane is home to many famous vintage shops, including Blitz, Beyond Retro, the Backyard Market, Atika, and Hunky Dory.
Every Saturday, Portobello Road in Notting Hill transforms into a massive street market selling every type of antique you can imagine.
12. Antiques from Portobello Road Market
Vintage food tins, rare coins, knick-knacks and collectables, furniture, and so much more. You’re going to need a bigger suitcase…
13. Chocolate from Dark Sugars
Dark Sugars, with locations on Brick Lane and in Greenwich, is run by Ghanian British chocolatier Nyanga and her business partner John the Chocolate Man.
They specialise in gorgeous truffles and decadent hot chocolate, made from shavings of milk, white, and dark chocolate.
Don’t miss the liquid sea salt caramel truffle – it's a bestseller for a reason.
14. A Tea Set from Twinings Tea Shop
Twinings Tea Shop has been located on Strand since 1706, and it just keeps getting better and better.
They sell a wide variety of tea gifts, as well as lovely London-themed teacups, teapots, and saucers.
The staff is friendly and always excited to give you a tasting tour through the world of tea history.
15. A Christmas Ornament from Selfridges
Selfridges is one of London’s most famous department stores, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s filled to the brim with a mix of luxury goods and affordable brands, with a sumptuous food floor in the basement.
They do Christmas right – the store is decked in lovely decorations, which you can buy for your own tree at home.
They even carry a small selection all year round.
16. A London Underground Cushion from the London Transport Museum
The fabrics on the London Underground are much-loved, instantly evoking the history of the world’s largest subway system.
The patterns, printed on moquette (thick, durable fabric), are available at the London Transport Museum in all kinds of quirky souvenirs, including sofa cushions.
Opt for a more traditional fabric for things like neckties, socks, baby bibs, umbrellas, and a lot more.
17. Paddington Merch from the Paddington Station Shop
After the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee appearance with Paddington Bear, we’ll never look at the loveable Peruvian bear the same.
Now, he’s a symbol of the public’s love of the late Queen and of London in general.
You can get all kinds of Paddington merchandise from the dedicated shop at – where else – Paddington Station. Books, stuffed animals, clothing, and a lot more.
18. British Riding Clothing from Barbour
Do you want to evoke the effortless country appeal of the British Nobility?
Head to Barbour on Regent Street for waxed jackets, tweed, and outdoor attire that will have you looking ready for a fox hunt on an ancestral estate.
Coats, hats, boots, riding gear – you’ll fit right in.
19. An Umbrella from James Smith & Sons
London has an (often undeserved) reputation as a very rainy city.
So, what better way to commemorate your visit than with a beautifully crafted umbrella?
Sure, you can grab a cheap and cheerful Union Flag umbrella from any souvenir shop, but James Smith & Sons is a world-class shop that has been making and selling them since 1830.
Even better, they come with a lifetime guarantee. This is one umbrella you won’t want to leave on the tube!
20. Toys and Games from Hamleys
Hamleys is a wonderland for children (or the young at heart). With seven floors loaded with more than 50,000 different toys for sale, you can wander around for hours.
The store is staffed by delightful toy lovers who demo the products, magic tricks, and games, getting everyone involved.
Be sure to visit at Christmas – their window displays are next level.
Where to go shopping in London?
When it comes to deciding where to go shopping in London, the choices are nearly endless.
Whether you want rare collectables, classic London souvenirs, or edible gifts, there really is something for everyone!
Of course, you can buy the classic London souvenirs nearly everywhere.
If you’re in the market for a Union Jack keychain, a Big Ben shot glass, or a double-decker bus magnet, they’re everywhere.
But what do Londoners actually buy? Where do they spend their money, and where do they think you should spend yours?
And finally, what do they recommend you take home as a meaningful gift from their great city?
Read ahead to find out more.
- You’ll find tons of cheap souvenir shops around Chinatown and Piccadilly Circus
- Funky vintage markets and hipster must-haves in Shoreditch and Spitalfields
- Luxury department stores like Harvey Nichols and Harrod’s in Knightsbridge
- Cool boutiques in Covent Garden and Soho
- Shoes and Cosmetics on Carnaby Street
- Famous bookshops along Charing Cross Road
- Punk and goth clothing (and a lot more) in Camden Town
- Excellent quality souvenirs at the museum gift shops
- Children’s toys at Hamleys on Regent Street
- Haute couture on Bond Street
- Chain stores galore on Oxford Street and at Westfield Stratford and Westfield Shepherd’s Bush shopping centres
Famous Department Stores in London
As tour guides, here is another question we get asked regularly: “What are the most famous stores in London?”
Here are some of London’s favourite places to shop – even if sometimes we’re just window shopping!
- Hamleys – The iconic 7-story toy store on Regent Street that will delight children of all ages
- Liberty – Stunning department store in a beautiful mock-Tudor building near Carnaby Street, famous for their fabric patterns
- Selfridges – Grandeur and deluxe shopping on Oxford Street, with a delicious food hall in the basement
- Harrods – Where the richest of the rich do their shopping, also known for their food hall
- Harvey Nichols – Another iconic Knightsbridge department store known for fashion and luxury, with a mix of established brands and indie labels
- Heal’s – Housewares and furniture since 1810 at this Tottenham Court Road stalwart
- Fortnum and Mason – A department store filled to the brim with luxury food items and edible gifts (and a top choice for afternoon tea)
- John Lewis – Solidly middle class, this is a sensible choice with high-quality products
- Marks & Spencer – These days, M&S is more known for their food halls, but this is still a favourite British place to buy underpants, bedsheets, and other practicalities
- Fenwick – Located on Bond Street, this Northern department store chain now has only a few flagship stores left in the country
What do you think about our list of famous places to shop in London? What would you add – what did we miss? Leave your comments below.
Remember to share this article with anyone visiting London in the future – it’s the perfect hint for them to bring you back a great souvenir!
Why trust us?
As tour guides, we spend a lot of time researching the best London souvenirs. That said, we’re locals. As a result, we don’t always see the world the same way tourists do.
That’s why we’ve reached out to our London Travel Tips Facebook group for suggestions and guidance.
It has more than 50K members and is growing every day. So, you don’t have to take our word for it!
These are the unique and special things that visitors to London love to buy.