London is known for stunning landmarks, vibrant shows, and some of the world’s best museums. It also has some of the best shopping in the world with iconic department stores housing some of the best brands.
Loved by tourists and locals alike, London departments are centuries-old institutions. They offer multiple floors of retail space, food halls and sit-down dining options. Shop for the best clothing, beauty, technology, and good brands, use one of their fantastic services or grab a bite to eat.
Here are 7 of the best London department stores to visit when travelling to the capital.
Best Department Stores in London
Fortnum & Mason
Fortum & Mason is one of the most opulent London department stores, dating back to 1707. It sells luxury fare like teas, chocolates, and wine but it is best known for their hampers. These hampers became famous in 1911 when they were sent to suffragettes who were imprisoned for breaking windows. They also provided provisions for the very first British Everest expedition!
In the middle of Piccadilly, this 300-year-old, four storey store is filled with Georgian charm. There are two food halls with some of the world’s finest cuisines, including light macarons, world-class caviar, and decadent truffles. We also recommend grabbing tea at one of the store’s many restaurants.
The roof is a sanctuary for bees and home to gilded beehives; there’s also a famous mechanical clock with figures that move on the hour. Head up the elegant spiral staircase to find departments dedicated to clothes, jewellery, and beauty. The third floor houses the iconic Gentleman’s Department of stylish men’s clothing.
This department store mainly stocks boutique brands with mirror tables scattered around to encourage customers to interact with goods. There is also a small English countryside inspired spa in the Beauty Hall.
- Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER.
- Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am – 8pm, Sunday: 11:30- 6pm
- Departments: Foods, home, beauty, fashion
Harrods is one of the most famous and most-visited London department stores. The shop has become synonymous with luxury with a gorgeous Art Nouveau-inspired food hall and over 5,000 brands over seven floors of luxury. Enjoy 90,000 square metres and 330 different departments that cover fashion, home, and food.
Harrods started life as a humble groceries, and tea shop in 1849 and in 1898, became the first building in the world to contain an escalator. Located in Knightsbridge, this is more than a department store, it’s an intentional brand with its own opticians, bank and pharmacy.
If you don’t have time to wander around the many floors and departments, there is a Superbrands department on the first floor. This is home to 17 boutiques from some of the world’s top fashion and perfume brands. Another popular department is toys, which has some of the biggest stuffed animals and toys you can find anywhere in the world.
Harrods has been owned by the Al-Fayed family since 2010. Mohamed Al-Fayed is the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, who was with Princess Diana in Paris when the car they were riding in crashed and killed them both. In their honour, there is a memorial for the couple by the escalators.
If you’re not a fan of shopping, Harrods also has stunning architecture with Egyptian interior design, Art Nouveau windows and a baroque-style dome. During the Christmas period, Harrods is transformed into a wintry wonderland with stunning decorations, window displays and a Christmas grotto.
- Address: 87–135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge London SW1X 7XL
- Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10am–9pm, Sunday: 11.30am–6pm
- Departments: Clothing, beauty, food and drink, kids, furniture and jewellery
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Harvey Nichols is a quieter and more elegant London department store. This is probably because of the discerning crowd it attracts, mainly of whom head to the store for lunch, dinner, and to get their hair blow dried. The café was a famously a favourite spot for the late Princess Diana.
Harvey Nichols is home to in-store hairdressers, barbers, spa, alterations service and beauty concierge. They also carry designs from some of the best brands in the world as well as showcasing the best of emerging British talent.
There is a mix of affordable, everyday brands and cutting-edge high-end fashion here. The fifth-floor food hall is surprisingly affordable when compared to other department stores in London. This food hall features a selection of handpicked cheese, tea, smoked fish, spices, and cookies all in trademark elegant packaging.
The Fifth Floor, at the top of Harvey Nichols flagship store, has a popular café to enjoy afternoon tea in. There is also an outdoor terrace for al-fresco cocktails and coffee. There is also Burger & Lobster, Zelman Meats and Madhu’s Brasserie for dining options.
- Address: 109-125 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RJ
- Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am – 8pm, Sunday: 11.30am – 6pm
- Departments: Fashion, beauty, food and drink, cosmetic services and alterations.
John Lewis & Partners
The John Lewis department store located on Oxford Street is six floors of the best in fashion, beauty, home, giftware, technology and electrical items. John Lewis opened his flagship store on Oxford Street in 1864
This store is known for their huge beauty department which is home to 100s of the biggest brands across skincare, makeup and fragrance. You will also find an extensive selection of fashion and accessories from iconic British brands.
Relax and grab some food in one of the four different eateries throughout the store, from traditional Italian pizza at Rossopomodoro to English tea and a slice of cake at Benugo. There is also a stunning roof garden to share cocktails with friends in.
They also offer the personal touch with a range of services. They offer personal styling services like bra fitting, mens clothing fitting and a home design service. They also have unique experiences like children and babies finger printing jewellery.
- Address: 300 Oxford Street London W1C 1DX
- Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-8pm, Sunday: 12pm-6pm
- Departments: Technology, electrical, furniture, fashion, beauty, opticians and personal styling
Home of the iconic Liberty print, Liberty is the department store for fashion lovers. Recognizable for its distinctive Tudor façade, it has been charming customers since 1874. Although this is one of the most expensive department stores in London, there are lots of treats and gifts for a more modest budget if you want a keepsake.
On the ground floor, you’ll find a stunning atrium filled with designer bags, beauty products, and a jewellery. There also a section dedicated to Liberty branded accessories and a food room which is giftbox orientated.
Liberty is famous for its fine artefacts and beautiful fabrics. The first and second floor hosts womenswear that covers both designer and vintage. The second floor is more modern, with one of the biggest denim sections in London. The third floor is home extravagant and unusual furnishings and home accessories.
The fourth floor is where you can find children as well as furnishings. This floor is dedicated to Christmas during the festive season. Their brand Christmas baubles and decorations are world-face. This isn’t just a retail space, there is also a piercing parlour, brow bar, personal shopping service and barbershop. There is also a second-floor café if you need to relax in the middle of your shop.
- Address: Regent Street London, United Kingdom W1B 5AH
- Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm, Sunday: 12pm – 6pm
- Departments: Beauty, fashion, home, fabrics, food and drink.
Selfridges & Co is one of the biggest department stores in London and one of the most modern. Founds in 1909, their six floors have kept up to date with the modern customer, selling the best high street fashion, beauty, and technology.
This department store isn’t just about retail, it is also about the experience. There is a beauty concierge, a personal shopping experience and a cinema. Voted the World’s Best Department Store, this iconic landmark offers both affordable and premium brands.
The shoe department is a highlight for shoppers in Selfridges. Both the women’s and men’s department are among the largest in the world, with over 5000 pairs from 100 different brands for women and 3000 men’s shoes from 80 brands.
The Wonder Room is heaven for jewellery fans with a huge range of jewellery, watches and sunglasses from brands like Tiffany, Cartier and Rolex. The food hall is a little underwhelming compared to others on the list, but it’s still worth a visit, especially for the pastries.
- Address: 400 Oxford Street London W1A 1AB
- Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm, Sunday: 11.30am-6pm
- Departments: Fashion, beauty, home, tech, food and wine
Bond Street’s Fenwick is a retailer of upmarket clothing, as well as international beauty products and accessories. It was founded in 1891, making its name selling hair accessories and slowly evolving into one of the most fashionable stores in London.
Because it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly and Oxford Street, it’s a little quieter, less pretentious and not filled with tourists. The modest spot is a calm and cool oasis for people looking for a luxury shopping experience.
The beauty department is considered among the best in London. It’s more than just a clothing retailer, they also offer beauty treatments like facials, bra fitting and manicures. They recently launched an active, wellness and mindfulness space called The Studio.
Fenwick Kitchen on the second floor is a fantastic spot to enjoy afternoon tea or a modern British meal with wine. There is also a vibrant casual restaurant and an elegant Bond Street Kitchen.
- Address: 63 New Bond St, London W1S 1RQ
- Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-8pm, Sunday: 11.30am-6pm
- Departments: Beauty, fashion, home and tech, furniture and lighting, food and drink
Department Stores in London: FAQs
What Is London’s Largest Department Store?
Harrods is the largest department store in London. It has seven storeys and homes over 330 brands, spanning over 1.1 million square feet. At 540,000 square feet, Selfridge’s flagship Oxford Street store is also one of the largest in the world.
Is Harrods or Selfridges Older?
Harrods had been serving Londoners for 75 years when Harry Selfridge launched his Oxford Street store in 1909. Harrods was founded in 1824 as a general merchant’s shop for drapes, linens and wickers. The business was moved to their current location in 1849 where the son took over and transformed it into the business we know today.
What Is the Oldest London Department Store?
Although there are many old department stores in London, Fortum & Mason is by far the oldest. This department store was founded in 1707. William Fortnum was born in the court of Queen Anne and was a footman in the household. He used to collect old candles, melt them down and resell them.