London is the second-most visited city in the world, thus it is not surprising to see numerous shops and street markets sell London souvenirs to tourists. But the question is, what to buy in London? Many of us snap up the usual souvenir trinkets like keychains and fridge magnets.
Keen to buy some authentic items that really represent this unique and vibrant city for a change? To help you with your shopping experience, we’ve put together eight great things to buy when travelling to London.
What to Buy in London
Tea and Biscuits
Tea is a national drink in Britain, and the British have turned tea into an art form. You can buy a selection of quality tea in London, some of the popular brands are Whittard, Fortnum & Mason and Twinings. Apart from tea bags, you can also consider tea strainers, teapots, and tea towels as well to suit your cuppa.
Twinings tea/CC by 3.0/Jennifer Tan
The British always drink tea with biscuits, and the typical biscuits are custard creams, Digestives, and Jaffa cakes. Those biscuits are very cheap, and you can easily find them at Marks & Spencer or John Lewis stores.
Tea and biscuits/Image source: @artdunoir
If you like all things royal particularly the British Royals, Buckingham Palace is definitely worth a visit when travelling in London during the summer. Besides discovering the palace, you can browse for royal-inspired gifts and souvenirs in the Royal Collection Shop – the palace gift shop. You can get fluffy hand-towels embroidered with the royal emblem, crown pencils and gold key chains that have a classy and elegant feel to it.
Sometimes, they release limited editiion pieces that commemorate a special event. Those are extra special.
Buckingham Palace Shop / CC by 3.0 / Linda Peall
Harry Potter Merchandise
Even if you don’t care much for the British Royals, we bet that you love Harry Potter films and a visit to Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden outside London is an absolute must for Potter fans! The Studio Tour is a permanent exhibit showing the making of Harry Potter films, giving you a glimpse into the Wizarding World. There is so much Potter merchandise that you can get your hands on here. A personalized Hogwarts acceptance letter, wands, Quidditch jerseys, house scarves just to name a few.
Primark, which is a must if you like cheap shopping, also sells a Harry Potter range, like kids socks etc.
Harry Potter merchandise / CC by 3.0 / eggry
The Studio Tour’s nearest railway station is Watford Junction, a twenty-minute train ride from London’s Euston. Regular shuttle buses run from Watford Junction to the Studio Tour. However, if you have limited time to travel outside London, just get a printed picture of yourself at Platform 9 ¾!
Alternative and Funky Items from Camden
If you’re into alternative, retro and funky items, go to Camden Market which is the haven for original and unusual merchandise. Camden Town is lined with cobbler shops, leatherwork, vinyl, and designer-makers. You can also get Harry Potter merchandise at Camden Market, along with Games of Thrones and Doctor Who.
T-shirts / CC by 3.0 / Adele Claire
Camden Town is Londoner’s favourite hangout spot. That’s why the area is heaving with crowds during the weekends, with Sunday being the busiest. Camden Town has a vibrant nightlife scene as well with pubs, clubs, and bars all over the area.
Camden Town / Pixabay
England is a treasure trove for unique vintage and antique gifts ranging from trinkets to historic artefacts. Old Spitalfields Market has a wide selection of these vintage goods for you to choose from. The market stalls range from vintage fashion and bespoke children’s toys to home interiors. If you spend enough time in the market, you are bound to discover something that will catch your eye.
Old Spitalfields Market / CC by 3.0 / Kotomi_
The market is also surrounded by eateries offering deli-style dishes, artisan loaves of bread, organic and fair-trade products. Even if you’re not into vintage items, you can still come to Old Spitalfields Market for a gastronomic experience.
For those who love the natural products of Lush, their store on Oxford Street is the largest Lush store in the world. The Oxford Street store consists of three floors where you can indulge and immerse in the colours and smells of their products, and try out new samples. Although you can find Lush stores in your own city, the products are more affordable in London.
Lush products / @j_dianka
Your trip to London won’t be complete without a visit to the museum.
The great thing about London museums is that they have unique souvenirs. For instance, the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum are known for commissioning pieces of accessories and homeware that based on their exhibits. Before you leave any museum, visit the gift shop and you could get replicas or prints of your favourite pieces that impressed you that day. Bring home some art for your walls, or printed mugs, aprons and such with masterpieces on them rather than your usual i <3 london stuff.
Also makes for unique souvenirs for your history-buff friends back home.
British Museum /IPixabay
Uhm, guilty. In the end, we can’t get enough of the usual British keepsakes – Union Jacks, Big Ben, London buses and fridge magnets. They are easy to buy and not too expensive. Even if you already have some of those items at home, it’s almost addictive to get more of them. After all, they are so quintessentially British!