As the evenings get chillier and you find yourself reaching for your box of tinsel and stocking up on mince pies, it might be time to tackle your Christmas shopping.
If you are planning a trip to The Chilworth Hotel Paddington this month specifically to shop for your loved ones this Christmas, we have compiled the ultimate guide to the best places to shop in London for everyone on your list. Load up your Oyster card, and whatever you do – don’t save it until Christmas Eve to get started.
Best places to shop for… your mum
- Gift your mum with an experience to remember by taking her out for a scrumptious meal where you can catch up, relax and spend some quality time together. A festive-themed afternoon tea near Paddington Station complete with gingerbread men and sparkling prosecco is an experience that will remind her how special she is.
- Speaking of food, after years of being fed by your mum – show your thanks by taking home a hamper of festive goodies that will keep her going until the Easter bank holiday! Christmas is definitely when you see the finest range of hampers and Fortnum & Mason has the monopoly on the business. They have a whole department dedicated to gift hampers – covering savouries, preserves, biscuits, tea and wine; the whole works!
- Some of the most unique gift items to be bought in London can be found in the Greenwich Market. If you want to buy your mum something quirky to open beneath the tree – factor in a visit to east London. You can choose between local art prints, rustic home furnishings, botanical print textiles and hand-crafted photo frames, to name but a few of the wares available.
- Finally, before you head to your family home for Christmas, pay a visit to the Colombia Road Flower Market where you can handpick a bunch of your mum’s favourite flowers. The market is open every Sunday morning.
Best places to shop for… your dad
- If you want to treat your dad this year, humble socks aren’t going to cut it – unless they’re stocking filler. Think of something practical that he can get some use out of. A pair of quality sunglasses will prove invaluable to him – whether he’s the type of dad who spends his weekends in the garden, likes to take the family on long road trips or enjoys an outdoor sport. Sunglass Hut is the go-to store for sunglasses in London. With branches across the city, they stock designer brands to cover all budgets and needs. Oakley Covent Garden is a great place to find sunglasses suited specifically to outdoor pursuits, including winter sports whilst Selfridges also carry an impressive range.
- Dads delight in a bit of nostalgia and one of the most typical childhood memories which we all share is that of light-hearted competition over a board game during the Christmas break and family holidays. London has a couple of shops dedicated to board games where you can pick up one of your dad’s favourites, or find something new to discover this Christmas. Village Games (Camden Market) is the place to go for your classics, as well as jigsaws, puzzles and magic tricks.
Best places to shop for… your other half
- Treat your loved one this Christmas by booking them a special activity in London. Choose something to enjoy during the festive period or look ahead to what’s on in the New Year. Whether you buy them tickets to see the show they’ve been dreaming about since your first date or surprise them with the new exhibition of their favourite artist’s work, a tailor-made experience that you can share will make their Christmas wishes come true! You could pair your trip to London with a relaxing visit to a spa near Paddington and share a couple’s massage and access to a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
- For a memorable gift to open, a specially selected watch is a ‘timeless’ gift to present to your beloved. Visit Links of London (Oxford Street) to peruse a collection of women and men’s quality, British designs which will they can treasure forever.
Best places to shop for… your sister
- Covent Garden is a haven for beautiful boutiques which sell jewellery designed and crafted by local London designers as well as hip international names. You can find something suited to all types of personality among these cobbled streets. Notable stores to browse for unique statement or sentimental pieces include Olivia Burton, Monica Vinader and The Alkemistry. If you’re worried about choosing the perfect item, suggest that she joins you to pick something out – and whilst you’re in town break up the shopping excursion with an Indian afternoon tea for two to accompany her stocking filler.
- Besides jewellery boutiques, Covent Garden is the best place in London to pick up some funky cosmetics. Check out ALBIVA for vegan, cruelty-free products which are completely free from chemicals, synthetic compounds and fillers, even plain water! Another store to bear in mind is DECIEM. Known for their innovative beauty products and extremely wallet-friendly price tags, this means that if your sister likes what you choose she can easily adopt the products into her daily beauty regime!
Best places to shop for… your brother
- If your brother wants to take Christmas as the opportunity to refresh his wardrobe, shop for pieces he will be proud to wear. Head to Shoreditch and browse the edgy boutiques that make up the pop-up mall made up entirely of disused shipping containers, Boxpark. Find vintage that’s affordable at Love Shack vintage, stand-out shirts at Friday on My Mind or wardrobe staples with a modern twist at HYMN.
- Aspinal of London carries a range of different products that are suited to the contemporary-minded man. They stock elegant notebooks, journals and diaries, as well as leather wallets of all shapes and sizes which have been crafted using precision and traditional style. Other accessories include cufflinks, messenger bags and gloves. It is possible to personalise certain items in their stock, which will make a special gift for your brother.
Best places to shop for… your best friend
- Show your best friend how much they mean to you by treating them to a pampering session in the capital. Choose a spa near Paddingtonwhich is set just outside of the busy centre of town where they can wind down with a treatment such as a massage or rejuvenating facial experience from a trained professional. The best thing about this gift is that you could join them too!
- If you do embark on a spa day with your bestie, top it all off withafternoon tea– there are lots of options near Paddington where you can sit down and have a heart to heart over tea for two. The best, though, is here at The Chilworth, of course!
- If you want to gift them with a keepsake, everyone loves a beautifully-scented home and London is home to some luxury candle shops which make for a timeless gift. Diptyque have boutiques in Covent Garden, Mayfair and the Spitalfields Market and sell Christmas-scented candles. Or try Rachel Vosper’s Belgravia boutique where you can create a bespoke blend that your best friend will love!
Best places to shop for… your nan
- Find her something as unique as she is! The Portobello Road Market is a treasure trove of antique furnishings which you can explore Monday through Saturday in London. Friday is the special day for antiques, with stalls open 9am – 7pm as well as Saturday which is the main day for trading across all categories (9am – 7pm). You will find the antiques at Chepstow Villas / Elgin Crescent, which is close to Notting Hill Underground station and only a short bus or tube journey from The Chilworth, Paddington. Expect to find a widely eclectic array fn antiques dating from antiquity through to the 1960s on offer. Highlights include glass and crystal, silverware, rare books and many other collectables – there will be something sure to impress and delight your nan!
- Another alternative for your nan is the luxury department store of Liberty London, located on Regent Street. Depending on your nan’s tastes, you can choose between beautiful clothing, stylish homewares and sumptuous beauty products. Choose between a Merino wool sweater or cardigan to keep her warm and stylish this winter, a designer scarf she can wear year-round or explore the home department where you can find throws, vases and kitchenware. Whatever her style is, you will find something perfect.
Best places to shop for… your grandpa
- If your grandpa is the musical kind, have a rummage in one of the vinyl shops in central London to find an album or vintage record from his favourite artist. Check out Brill (Clerkenwell) for jazz, blues, folk and rock, If Music (Soho) for jazz or Sister Ray (Soho) for pretty much any genre that he might like!
- Alternatively, if your grandad loves to read, have a roam in the antique and second-hand bookshops along Charing Cross Road where you can find first and limited editions, rare books and beautifully illustrated tomes. You can find the golden triangle of Quinto Bookshop, Any Amount of Books and Henry Pordes just moments from Leicester Square Underground station. Try to track down his favourite childhood read, or a book published in his year of birth or get creative and surprise him with something you think he will appreciate.
Best places to shop for… your young nieces and nephews
- Look no further than Hamleys! The colossal Regent Street flagship is the largest toy shop in the world, and boasts seven storeys which are bursting at the seams with all the toys under the sun! There are crafts, Lego sets, dolls, puzzles, outdoor games and vehicles. Hamleys is also a lot of fun to shop in – the staff take their responsibility of entertaining their customers very seriously are often kitted out in costumes and demonstrating various toys. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your trip to Hamleys – and you might want to have an Indian Afternoon Tea reservation lined up for afterwards, you’ll be hungry after all the playing antics!
- London is fortunate to be blessed with a network of independent children’s bookshops. Expert staff handpick the latest releases from bestselling and hotly-anticipated debut writers as well as keep the shelves stocked with childhood classics, special editions and you can even find signed copies. The Children’s Bookshop (Muswell Hill), Tales on Moon Lane (Herne Hill) and The Alligator’s Mouth (Richmond) are a small selection of some of the best children’s bookshops. Of course, if you are strapped for time – in the centre of the city you can find branches of leading book chain Waterstones which also stock ample supplies of children’s books. See if there are any book signings scheduled whilst you’re in town – a dedicated book would be something they can treasure forever.
Best places to shop for… babies
- If you have a newborn to buy for this year, there are plenty of boutiques in London where you find adorable baby clothes, plushes and gifts suitable for even the tiniest bundle of joy. Trotters Childrenswear and Accessories have six stores located in London, including King’s Road Chelsea and Kensington. Their clothing range comprises of everything from woollen booties, animal onesies and classic smocks to cute dungarees. You can also personalise some of their collection, such as Christmas stockings for the fireplace. Their collection veers on the traditional side and you can be assured that everything in stock is top quality. In addition to babywear, they cater to children up until the age of 12.
- Another special place to shop for babies is the boutique Sasti, at 281 Portobello Road. The collection includes quirky, contemporary animal prints, as well as kitsch retro-inspired patterns. Think corduroy, gingham and cosy duffle coats. Sasti is the place to shop for parents who embrace a folksy look for their little ones. They also sell cool dinosaur soft toys and snuggly knitted animals.