If you’re staying near Piccadilly Circus, not only do you have a brag-worthy venue right on your doorstep in which to watch the world go by, but you’re also in the very centre of a West End hub jam-packed with a treasure trove of restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas and, yes, shops. There are few actual retail outlets in the ‘Circus’ itself, but in the surrounding area, your need for parting with your changed pounds will be well sated. And then some…
The street off Piccadilly Circus with which the latter shares part of its name is notable for a couple of major stores. The first is the legendarily elegant department store Fortnum and Mason, which is beloved for its afternoon teas, and the second is the Waterstones flagship store; spread across several floors, it’s Europe’s biggest book shop.
The most prestigious shopping street to filter directly out of Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street’s blessed with many retail giants whose stores boast gloriously sweeping mock-Georgian frontages. We’re talking one of the world’s most famous toy shops, Hamleys, as well as London’s Apple Store branch, designer fashion brands like Burberry, Guess, Barbour and Michael Kors and high street big beasts such as Zara, Mango and H&M. Perfect then if you’re staying at the Piccadilly London West End hotel.
Quite frankly, Coventry Street’s a thoroughfare that thousands of tourists stroll along, but whose name is unlikely to register with them. That’s because it’s the short street linking Piccadilly Circus with Leicester Square. It may not offer the very best of Piccadilly Circus shopping but it’s noteworthy for containing the Trocadero entertainment and shopping complex, as well as a plethora of souvenir shops (perfect for those Union Jack hats and mugs for family and friends back home) and reduced theatre ticket outlets.
Head north from Piccadilly Circus and before you reach Oxford Street you’ll find yourself in the fascinating, thrilling district that’s Soho. In addition to all its bars, pubs and restaurants, it offers an eccentric selection of independent stores (there’s even a shop for left-handed people – yes, really), while Berwick Street features a smattering of art-based outlets full of colourful coffee-table books.
Finally, stroll east from Soho and in a few minutes you’ll reach Covent Garden. A tourist-trap-and-a-half, in amongst all its pricey eateries and street performers, the piazza itself is home to a clutch of beautiful boutiques and family-friendly shops. Meanwhile, the surrounding Seven Dials area’s packed full of quirky independent outlets, then clustered around Covent Garden Tube station are a number of top high street retail options.