Christmas is a time of giving, or so they say. Unfortunately, before you can feasibly give that thing, you need to first find and procure said item, preferably without acquiring a stomach ulcer in the process. Roll on the Christmas shopping and the madness that ensues!
Mall shopping is decidedly overrated, with the same offerings from shopping centres as far apart as Exeter and Edinburgh. Undoubtedly the crowds will be large, queues will be long and tempers will be frayed, not to mention the obligatory fuming when you get home and find the same items for half the price available online.
If you want a somewhat different Christmas shopping experience this year, and crave shops that offer you more than the run of the mill, then head over to one of London’s most underrated shopping destinations – Chelsea. With big high street brands, designer stores and unique boutique shops, this is one area where you are sure to find that perfect gift. Christmas is a wonderful time to visit london and if you are planning to make a weekend of it, don’t leave it too late to book, as hotels in London get very busy during the festive season.
To find a great selection of truly individual gifts for your loved ones, Chelsea’s independent and quirky boutiques offer a real break from the norm. Take a look at our pick of the best and most unusual shopping destinations in the Royal Borough that you should definitely pay a visit to this Christmas.
World’s End430 Kings Road
A shop with an incredible history and a big name to boot. This boutique is owned and operated by Vivienne Westwood herself, and pledges to create “clothes for heroes”. The clothing is an eclectic mix of classic cuts, new Westwood designs, samples of specials and one off pieces. These have been created with wastefulness in mind, making use of leftover fabrics and off cuts from previous seasons to minimize the squandering of the earth’s resources. As such, quantities are produced based on what length of fabric is left. Garments are therefore produced in limited runs and some are unique.
The Shop at Bluebird350 Kings Road
One of the larger boutique stores in Chelsea, The Shop at Bluebird is a lifestyle boutique on a grand scale. With some of the most highly regarded buyers on their team, this friendly yet luxurious shop offers an ever evolving mix of products from big name designers to undiscovered newcomers. With an onsite spa in the shop you can make a real day out of it and indulge in a little Christmas present for yourself too.
Petits Bisous187 Kings Road
Made in Chelsea and inspired by France, this collection of sensual lingerie, swimwear and intimate accessories from Petit Bisous is ready to make someone’s day.
Kabiri182 Kings Road
Leading the way in designer jewellery and bespoke, contemporary pieces, this boutique shop was launched in 2004 by Nathalie Kabiri. From fashion jewellery to fine, high-end pieces, if it’s a unique bit of bling you’re after, Kabiri is the place to head to.
R.Soles109A Kings Road
An awkward named store when you say it out loud, this boutique has thankfully gone beyond the giggles of its creators and is now THE place in London to buy your cowboy boots. Established on the Kings Road almost 40 years ago, R.Soles continue to offer the very highest quality biker and cowboy boots for men and women in Chelsea.
London’s underground system makes it easy to get around town, or of course you can use one of London’s famous black cabs. So if you feel like venturing out of Chelsea here are two more wonderful boutiques we’d recommend.
Ananya196 Kensington Pk Road, Notting Hill Gate
Want something different? Visit Ananya, in nearby Notting Hill, for kaftans dripping in jewels and floaty, Indian inspired evening wear. Elegant and timeless, the creations from Ananya have been worn by the likes of Madonna, Kate Moss, Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham.
The Cross141 Portland Road, Holland Park
One of the original London lifestyle boutiques, The Cross has an exciting mix of home ware, fashion, kids’ stuff and gift items. Handpicked items are designed to delight and surprise the customers, so if its gift inspiration you want, this one should definitely be on the list.
The Draycott Hotel
There are many more unique gems to be discovered in Chelsea this Christmas. And after a long days shopping, there’s nowhere better to rest your weary head than in a cosy, peaceful hotel… The Draycott Hotel is one of the finest hotels in Chelsea oozing traditional Enlgish style and charm. It also has the ideal location, situated just off Sloane Square, this “home away from home” is the perfect luxury London hotel, ideal for a weekend of shopping till you drop in preparation for Christmas.
Photo credits: London At Christmas, Kathryn Burrington; R.Soles, Tim