- Cruel fate has decreed that as soon as the “compulsory buying stuff period” is over, everything goes down in price. Of course there’s logic to this, and seeing as you’re probably a little out of pocket from buying things you don’t want for people you rarely see, the sales are a great way to give yourself the treats you walked enviably past in December whilst weeping at having to part with £50 for a toy that will be obsolete in six months.
- London is, as everyone knows, one of the top three shopping locations on the planet. Conveniently, it’s also one of the most incredible and historic cities in the world. So where better to splash out on those well deserved goodies than here?
- So if you’ve come from abroad to spend your Christmas money (especially with the pound being so cheap), with the amount you’ll save in these generous sales, you can virtually stay for nothing!
- Below is our handy guide on what’s best, and where:
The centre of town is arguably the most famous shopping hotspot in the capital, with key areas being Oxford Street and Bond Street. For high end shoppers, the little alleys and boutiques around Bond Street are for you but unlikely to offer January sales, but on Oxford Street, shops have sales of 50% (and more in some cases), and they have the leading high street brands as well as independent retailers.
The two London Westfield West and Stratford centres (Stratford and Shepherds Bush) are offering huge savings in their January sales, often with up to 50% off in shops like The Kooples. Many of the restaurants there also offer discounted meals. TravelStay have a large number of discounted accommodations in and around Stratford, so a shopping trip in Stratford in January could end up being one of the least expensive holidays you could go on!
As well as the quirky little boutiques and wholesale merchants of London Bridge (many of whom do January offers, such as Vinopolis offering 50% off on their extensive range of wines and other beverages), it’s sometimes a nice idea to get out of town.
If you’re flying into Gatwick to do some shopping, you could do just as well (perhaps even better) as London by taking the shorter journey to Croydon, which has the Whitgift Centre (with over 140 retailers including Topshop, Superdry, a three-level Marks & Spencer and many more) and the Centrale Centre (with a House of Fraser and Zara) as well as an extensive high street collection and many fine restaurants. They’ll all be offering large January sales so there’s no excuse to miss out, and with a host of hotels a short walk away, all at discounted prices, you’ll have a comfy bed to retreat to afterwards. Being a large town in-and-of itself, Croydon also has a lot to offer by way of bars and leisure activities for the unwilling tagalong.
And if the centre doesn't fill all your requirements, you could head even further out of town to the Bluewater by getting the train from Charing Cross Gravesend in Kent. This is also a great way to get to see some of the “Garden of England” whilst fulfilling your shopping needs.
For the quirkier-minded people, the discounts on various stalls that start on Boxing Day can bring the world to your doorstep. With a host of hotels in the vicinity, you’re a short journey from the eclectic world market that’s famous the world over. As the majority of shops within the market are independent retailers, it’s difficult to know which are offering sales ahead of going there. However this does have the advantage of enabling the sopping-savvy person to practise their haggling.
Sometimes it’s lovely to find yourself the deal of a lifetime by wondering around the more artisan areas of London, where you’ll find craft shops selling a wide variety of interesting clothing and goods. By far and away the best area for this is the trendy Shoreditch in the East End of London. These are almost exclusively independent, so any sales that are on will be a discovery, however they will offer January sales! The area is also full of trendy cafés and bars, so there’s plenty of time to been seen looking cool in between shops hopping.
Similar but more expensive boutique shops can be found on the Kings Road in Chelsea and on the surrounding streets. Quirky and antique-related goods can be bought in Crystal Palace with their extensive markets, and discounted items are on sale (although there generally aren’t January sales).
While markets don’t typically go in for January sales, they do jump on the mass-consumer bandwagon, and lots will be chucking out bag-fulls of free samples as well as trying to shift a lot of unsold Christmas stock at discounted rates. Some may also do favourable rates if you buy in bulk.
Depending on what tickles your fancy, London’s got a market for you. The most popular markets for food are Borough Market near London Bridge, Spitalfields Market near the Barbican and Billingsgate Market (the largest fish market in the UK) near Canary Wharf, however there are hundreds of others.
Markets of the crafty kind can be found all over the capital. Covent Garden has its own, slightly pricey but nonetheless arty market. There’s a beautifully situated craft market in Greenwich, and on Piccadilly, at St. James’ Church, there’s another stunningly located jewellery and arts market. Further outside of London are slightly bigger markets, such as Merton Abbey Mills (with shop fronts rather than stalls) and Acton in west London.
Choose locations wisely – everywhere is within a commutable distance, so being on the doorstep of Oxford Street really isn’t necessary if you want to shop there. In fact, with both Oxford Street and Stratford being on the central line, you could stay in Stratford, make the most of Westfield one day, then head to the West End the next without much fuss. Similarly, if there are one or two bespoke items you’d like from central London but would prefer the convenience of being close to a shopping centre and Gatwick airport and so opt to stay in Croydon, the train from East Croydon only takes 13 minutes to London Bridge.
With these deals, you've got a lot to choose from. And that’s before you've even got to the shops!