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Where to shop

If you want to shop - then you've come to one of the best cities in the world! Here’s our irreverent guide to London’s main retail centres old and new.

The UK’s economic climate may not be at its best, but that hasn’t stopped a plethora of new shopping centres from opening up in the capital. Here’s our irreverent guide to London’s main retail centres old and new.

As the oldest shopping centre in London, you’d think Whiteleys would be passé, especially since courtyards are the new gleaming retail districts (see St. Martin’s Courtyard below). But it’s had a confidence boost thanks to its Odeon cinema, or more accurately thanks to The Lounge, a new eatery with menus devised by Rowley Leigh of Le Café Anglais fame. The possibility of chowing down on steak sliders, goat’s cheese on hazelnut toast and comforting desserts while watching movies has attracted new custom.
Shop here if: You’re after the basics, as there are branches of Zara, Gap and Muji; or you have a tendency to get peckish at the movies.

Westfield Shepherds Bush and Stratford City
The Australian group’s first London project was in Shepherds Bush, and the colossal mall (Europe’s largest at the time), was the talking point of both small businesses on Uxbridge Road who feared for their future, and BBC employees who hoped for somewhere new to go for lunch. Opening in late 2008 was a masterstroke, as despite the recession it encouraged potential Christmas shoppers to pay a visit and part with their cash. The second, even bigger Westfield opened in Stratford in 2011, neatly tying in with the area’s revamp in time for the Olympics. High street shops, a designer village and food chains make up the outlets at both centres. The group is now in talks to develop a third mall in Croydon.
Shop here if: You like Americanised shopping malls and the idea of having as many shops as possible under one roof.

St. Martin’s Courtyard
Tucked away in a courtyard between Covent Garden and Leicester Square lies this new amalgamation of upmarket shops, where you’ll find Massimo Dutti, Jaeger and The White Company among others. Was this really necessary given that branches of Massimo Dutti and Jaeger exist not far away, on Long Acre and Regent Street respectively? At least the restaurants offer something new, particularly Bombay café Dishoom and Thai eatery Suda.
Shop here if: You want to tell everyone where you’ve been shopping, as this one is not yet a household name.

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