Christmas shopping in London can be quite daunting, given the manic crowds, the bargain shoppers and the actual gift-hunting. Sometimes it can seem easier to just do your Christmas shopping online. And yes, we've essentially done the hard work for you with our Christmas gift guides. We've rounded up everything from gifts for men to budget (but brilliant) Secret Santa ideas to luxury presents. But there's something about Christmas shopping in the flesh that just can't be re-created online. The streets of London are so festive this time of year, and if you know where to head, there are extra treats to be had…
(Secret) In-Store Shopping Benefits
Head over to the L'Occitane flagship store on Regent Street and you'll find the L'Occitane Lounge, where you can have a moment to chill out, enjoy hot beverages and Pierre Hermè macarons. There's also pampering available, including personalised facial treatments to meet your skincare needs, plus hand and arm massages that come complete with a complimentary glass of champagne.
Whilst you're out shopping, snap a selfie alongside one of the iconic Chanel No. 5 bottles. To celebrate the (temporary) red redesign of the fragrance, Chanel has planted five supersized replicas around the city just waiting to be Instagrammed. Whilst you're there, head in store to pick up a limited edition 100-millilitre red flacons, too. Find the 2.5-meter bottles at the following locations throughout the festive period and be sure to share your pics using the hashtag #ChanelNo5RedLondon:
■ Spitalfields: Now until 27 December
■ Duke of York Square: 3–16 December
■ Covent Garden: 9–23 December
■ Chanel Bond Street: Till 30 December
Nothing makes us feel more festive than Christmas shopping at Liberty. But Liberty London offers so much more than baubles and beauty. Did you know there are treatment rooms located inside where you can have bespoke facials from brands like Sisley, Skin Laundry and Omorovicza, pedicures from the legendary Margaret Dabbs and piercings from Maria Tash? Book online first to avoid disappointment.
If you're shopping around SW London, it's worth heading over to the La Prairie Saatchi pop-up. From 5 to 7 December, La Prairie will stage a full-scale installation in two rooms of the Saatchi gallery. During the three-day exhibition, guests will be able to experience the brand's exclusive Art of Indulgence treatments, including a luxurious 15-minute rejuvenating facial. Treatments are available on a first come, first serve basis. Naturally, there will be champagne and caviar.
Buying makeup is always easier in-store, and if you head to any Space NK nationwide and book in for a makeup appointment, the in-store makeup artists will create a look suitable for any occasion. The best part is that they're totally free.
Head down to the boutiques in Covent Garden and there are tons of offers you can claim in store. Within the Tom Ford one and only beauty store, you can experience everything from makeup master classes (the price of which are redeemable on products after) or (our favourite) a complimentary Private Blend fragrance session. Head to the Covent Garden website for details.
The Harvey Nichols flagship in Knightsbridge is pretty much your one-stop beauty shop thanks to in-store beauty salons. In a rush? Book in for the Express Beauty Package (£50). In under an hour, you'll be treated to a Nails Inc. In-N-Out Manicure and a Hershesons 15-minute blow-dry. Plus, for an extra £10, you can upgrade your mani for gel.
Head to the Global Flagship Boutique on Regents Street and get exclusive fragrances, engravings and embossing. You can book in for a scented experience or a hand and arm massage, too.
Topshop is getting the party started early, offering personalised makeovers with partners House of Lady Muck, Blink Brow Bar, Blue Tit and Hershesons at Topshop Oxford Circus from 6–9 December. With savings of 40% when booked together, head here to book your makeover appointment.