Spitalfields Market, E1
From Tuesday to Friday and Sundays, the market at Spitalfields is crammed with stalls selling quirky jewellery and accessories, original pieces of art and photography, second-hand books and products for the home. Lining the walls of this covered market are plenty of independent stores such as wine experts Bedales and quality chocolatiers Montezuma’s.
Brushfield Street, E1 6AA
Tube: Liverpool Street
Westfield Stratford City, E20
Yes, there are chains here, but you’ll also find many international retailers that have only recently reached UK shores. It’s also got pretty much everything, so if you want to blitz the present-buying in one day, this is where to go. The best places to hit up for foodie gifts are the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket and L’orchidee, which sells beautiful macarons. Also hit up Dwell for quirky interiors, Getty Images for photography, Thomas Sabo for off-the-wall jewellery and watches and clothing stockists Base for some men’s gift inspiration.
2 Stratford Place, E20 1EJ
There are some chains in the N1 shopping centre for the more standard gifts. For the harder to buy for, Upper Street is dotted with some of the best shops in London for quirky presents. Head to Cyber Candy, which sells sugary treats from around the world. Camden Passage also has reasonably priced vintage shops and stalls, shabby-chic homeware boutiques and antique stores such as Eccentricities. There’s also Ki Mantra urban spa, which sells treatment vouchers.
Southbank Centre Xmas Market, SE1
Traditional German markets are one of the best parts of yule, so get down to the South Bank for unusual hand-crafted toys, jewellery, Christmas tree ornaments and homeware. The best part is the food – you’ll find Bratwurst, gingerbread, roasted almonds and sweets to take home and wrap up, if you don’t scoff them all first, that is.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Greenwich Market has Ben’s Paintings for personalised graffiti-style pieces, Arty Globe for quirky British gifts, Rudeshirtz for witty tees and Clajy, which specialises in items made from old magazines, newspapers, sheet music and maps. Venture outside on to the leafy streets for clothing shops and more arty boutiques that cater for the fussiest recipients. Also check out the stock in the character-filled bookshops like Halcyon Books and Greenwich Book Time.