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London's Famous and Oldest Department Stores

Updated: April 16, 2023
 By Margaret

London is a world-class destination for shoppers from all across the globe with hundreds if not thousands of places to buy something to take home.

Shopping in London is a real treat with plenty of venues to choose from.

London's markets are incredible and we have a list of them here: London's Best Markets.

But for the best of London retail shops, you'll need to head to one of London's historic and iconic department stores.


Harrods is, undoubtedly, London's most famous department store, known the world over.

Why is Harrods so famous? Partly because of its age as Harrods was founded in 1834.

Partly, also, because of its size as Harrods spans a 5-acre site and holds over one million square feet of selling space – with over 330 different departments located inside.

Photo by Lorenzo G CC 2.0

It is also well known for being the most beautiful store in London with stunning art nouveau windows, Egyptian-style architecture, and towering baroque domes.

It also contains over 20 cafes, restaurants, and bars, including one of the best afternoon teas in London.

And during Christmas, the Harrods Christmas Shop can't be beaten! If you want to visit Harrods, make sure to read our Shopper's Guide for all the tips you'll need.

Harrods is also just a stone's throw from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park!

Address: 87 - 135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 - 21:00 | Sundays 11:30 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Knightsbridge

Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason is famous for its incredible Christmas Shop but is a worthy shopping destination all year round.

Fortnum & Mason is London's oldest department store, founded in 1707 by William Fortnum & Hugh Mason. 

Originally founded as a grocery store, today the shop sells both consumable goods as well as housewares, furnishings, stationery, and more. 

Fortnum & Mason boasts a Royal Warrant which means they provide goods to the Royal Family and the Fortnum & Mason afternoon tea is one of the best in the city.

The highlight is their ground floor where you will find all sorts of delicious hand-made treats as well as specially made teas and coffees.

Their honey is even made by bees that live in an apiary on the roof!

F&M is easy to access from the finish point of our Mayfair: Tiaras and Ferraris Tour as well as the beginning of our Westminster and All in One Tours.

Or explore the neighbourhood yourself with our guides to Mayfair and Piccadilly.

Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 - 20:00 | Sundays 11:30 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Piccadilly Circus and Green Park


Known as Liberty of London, or Liberty's, Liberty has been located in London's West End since 1875.

One of London's luxury department stores, Liberty focuses on beauty, homeward, and fashion.

The shop is known for its support of up-and-coming designers as well as well-known luxury fashion labels.

The building itself is considered iconic: made from the wood of an old ship and repurposed into a mock-tumor black and white design.

Perhaps one of London's most beautiful department stores, Liberty is well worth a visit, even if you don't have the budget for London's poshest shops!

You'll find Liberty on the edge of Soho making it one of London's most centrally-located department stores and easy to visit after going on our Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Chinatown Tour as well as our Rock n Roll Tour!

Address: Regent Street, London W1B 5AH

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 - 20:00 | Sundays 11:30 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Oxford Circus


One of the flagship department stores on Oxford Street, Selfridges opened in 1908 by American retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge.

Selfridges is a chain of high-end department stores and the London location is probably one of the best-known London department stores.

With a focus on luxury fashion labels, the six-story building also boasts a food hall, a sprawling beauty department, a luxury jewellery department (think Rolex, Cartier, and Tiffany), and a cutting-edge technology department.

However, what makes Selfridges so popular is its dedicated shoe department which is one of the largest in the world.

With over 5,000 different pairs of women's shoes on display, and an inventory estimated to be around 100,000, this is, without a doubt, the best place to buy shoes in London!

Worth a visit any time, during Christmas, their window displays and Christmas lights are visited by Londoners and visitors alike.

It's also the meeting point for our Mayfair: Tiaras and Ferraris Walking Tour!

Address: 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB

Hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 - 22:00 | Saturday 10:00 - 21:00 | Sunday 11:30 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Bond Street and Marble Arch

John Lewis

Another one of London's department stores on Oxford Street, John Lewis is often touted as Britain's favourite Department Store.

There are multiple John Lewis locations around the UK there is also a John Lewis at Westfield White City and Stratford City in London.

This store has everything: clothes, furnishings, home goods, beauty counters, children's gifts, toys, furniture, outdoor goods, technology, and food.

Although it is considered an upscale, John Lewis is the most affordable department store on our list.

There are also FOUR separate places to eat inside! And the John Lewis Christmas decorations are always worth a peek.

Address: 300 Oxford Street, London W1C 1DX

Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday 10:00 | Thursdays 10:00 - 21:00 | Sundays 12:00 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Oxford Circus

Harvey Nichols

One of London's oldest department stores, Harvey Nichols was founded in 1831 and is undoubtedly one of London's most luxurious shopping destinations.

With a focus on fashion and beauty, Harvey Nichols - known as Harvey Nicks - also sells beauty products as well as fine wines and luxury foods.

Photo by Jordiferrer CC 4.0

There are numerous Harvey Nichols locations in the UK but Harvey Nicks Knightsbridge is a must-visit destination for those who love posh shops!

Located within walking distance to both Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, it is also a short stroll and easy to get from Harvey Nichols to Harrods.

Address: 109 - 125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ

Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 - 20:00 | Sundays 11:30 - 18:00 (Browsing only from 11:30 - 12:00)

Nearest Underground Station: Knightsbridge

And if you're looking for ideas on which area you'd like to shop in, check out our post here: Where is the Best Shopping in London?

Or, to find the best souvenirs in London, check out our post HERE: Best London Souvenirs and Gifts.

About The Author


An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: April 16th, 2023
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