One of the most essential experiences you have to enjoy when you’re visiting London has to be the classic ritual of afternoon tea. Usually comprised of various forms of teas and other drinks, and a dainty collection of sweet and savoury snacks, the meal has its origins in the 19th century, when the cream of British society found themselves peckish in that interval between lunch and dinner.
While a traditional afternoon tea usually comprises of freshly brewed tea, served alongside scones with cream and jam, as well as various finger sandwiches, you can now also enjoy a variety of takes on the tradition, including Indian afternoon tea, designer-inspired versions, and even healthier options. But whatever you choose, every moment of afternoon tea should be savoured, so you should certainly dress up for the occasion.
If you’re staying at the Chilworth Hotel Paddington, you’re in good luck, as you’ll have some of the best shopping in the city, just a short walk or Tube ride away. Whatever your style, you’re bound to find the perfect outfit here. Read on for tips on where to revamp your wardrobe, in time for afternoon tea.
For a luxury shopping experience, head to Bond Street
If you’re keen to make an impact at afternoon tea, you’ll want to check out some of the best designer boutiques in London. Located a short Tube ride away near Bond Street station, the nearby area is lined with the world’s leading designer brands, where you’ll find top labels showcasing the latest trends.
You’ll find something for everyone here, as the calibre of designer shopping is exceptionally high in this area of London. Choose the perfect piece from the latest collection of menswear and women’s wear, as well as accessories and jewellery from leading brand names. Fans of suiting can also find the perfect tailor-made outfit on Savile Row – but be prepared to plan in advance, as the perfect suit can often take months to create.
If you’re looking for a cute outfit for children or pets, you’ll even find plenty of those on offer here – check out some of the more upmarket children’s boutiques in the area, where you can find mini-me versions of current designer pieces, as well as adorable outfits for your favourite furry friend.
While it’s only half a mile long, the area is packed with stores and can be hard work, so treat yourself to a relaxing session in a spa near Paddington, after your shopping spree.
If fast fashion is your preference, check out Oxford Street
For those who love the latest high street looks and want great style on a more affordable budget, London’s Oxford Street is the global mecca for fast fashion lovers. You’ll find giant flagship stores dedicated to some of the biggest and best brand names around for sportswear, women’s fashion, menswear and more.
Oxford Street can be hectic and busy, so if you’re planning a serious shopping session, it’s worth organising yourself in advance. Try to head out either earlier or later in the day, when it gets a little quieter. Most shops are open until late in the evening, so there’s no risk of missing out, but it can help you avoid long queues to pay, as well as the busier crowds in-store.
Oxford Street is also full of plenty of places to eat and snack, including most well known fast food outlets, and local street food vendors. But if you’re in need for something a little more substantial and relaxing after a hectic day of shopping, book yourself in for an afternoon tea near Paddington Station, where you can relax and unwind in relative calmness.
Discover vintage gems in Notting Hill
For those who love to dress in something a little more distinctive and unique, the gorgeous vintage boutiques in Notting Hill might be right up your street. A short train ride away from the Chilworth Hotel Paddington, Notting Hill is well worth visiting any time of the week, but especially at the weekend, where Portobello Road is transformed into one of the biggest street markets in the city. While the market runs for most of the week selling various goods and items, at the weekend, you might just pick up the vintage outfit of your dreams.
If you don’t find your perfect vintage piece on the stalls though, don’t worry. You’ll also find some great boutiques and vintage shops off the smaller streets in the area. It’s well worth taking your time to explore the neighbourhood, to be rewarded with a truly one of a kind outfit.
Head east for something more unique
If you’re a keen fashionista who loves staying ahead of the current trends, skip the high street stores and big brand names and opt for something more quirky instead. Head towards East London, towards Shoreditch and Hackney, where you’ll discover a vast array of independent designers and local brands, as well as incredible vintage markets.
Check out Spitalfield Market, which is packed with local artists and designers showcasing unique items, including clothing, accessories and jewellery, and take a walk to the nearby Brick Lane, where you’ll find some of London’s best vintage sellers. It’s the perfect place for anyone who loves creating a unique and more personal look, and you’re bound to find the outfit you’ve been dreaming of here.
Spoil yourself in Knightsbridge
For those who truly love the finer things in life, the sumptuous neighbourhood of Knightsbridge is hard to beat. Home to one of the city’s most legendary department stores, Harrods, you’ll find seven floors of exquisite pieces, including luxurious fashion and fine jewellery. As well as Harrods, you’ll also find tiny boutiques for some of the city’s oldest and most illustrious independent designers, where you’ll find the perfect handbag, hat or piece of jewellery, often made to your own preferences. If you’re looking for an outfit for a truly memorable occasion, you’d be hard-pressed not to find it here.