For upmarket vintage and flea market discoveries, Angel’s Camden Passage is the place to head. Stop off at The Breakfast Club, where the cheerful playlists are an instant energy boost and pancakes are a must-try. Once you’ve ticked some stocking-fillers off your list, head to retro-chic Public House and sample the eclectic menu – everything we’ve tried has been delicious. Tucked behind the Tube station is Candid Café, where an inconspicuous doorway conceals a quirky café serving food and tasty smoothies (cucumber, mint and melon is a firm TSL favourite).
For those mingling with the mass shoppers in Central London during the run up to Christmas, Carnaby Street boasts great boutiques and high street staples. Try Mozzino, just off the beaten track. With Union Coffee and Italian-inspired sandwiches, it’s the ultimate in laid-back style.
Head underground to Spanish drinking den Sevilla Mia, which dishes up great small plates alongside traditional cocktails to keep you going. While high above, Paramount at the top of Centre Point is worth a visit just for the far-reaching views – it’s the perfect treat after a day exploring the bustling Oxford Street shops.
For those who adore pre-loved items, the vintage haven of East London is the place to take your shopping list. On Brick Lane is Full Stop, the quickest place for a pick-me-up – try its scrumptious avocado and sundried tomato sandwich. Once you arrive in trendy Shoreditch, check out Paper & Cup. As well as serving delicious locally baked cakes, this charity café trains former homeless people in barista skills. For something more substantial, head to Jaguar Shoes. With its themed cocktails and tasty pizza (from Due Sardi next door), you’ll soon wish you were local.
Brixton Village Market has grown a cult following among those on the look out for vintage gems and interesting boutiques. Head to Rosie’s for a coffee first. Watching her greet everyone by name will make you feel part of the community, and her brilliant coffee will get you ready for a day’s shopping. Once lunchtime comes around, delve into Mama Lan. Serving recipes from the market stalls of Beijing that have been passed down for over 40 years, it’s perfect for a rapid refuel. At the end of the day, TSL recommends the best burger we’ve maybe ever had, served with triple-cooked chips, all for under a tenner at Honest Burgers.
For upmarket gifts, Notting Hill and Portobello Market are the places to go. Kill two birds with one stone by checking out 202 – a café inside a boutique shop. The classical décor, tantalising menu and lovely items on sale are all so tempting. Negozio Classica is a slice of Italy in Notting Hill – it’s a fantastic place to stop for lunch and a glass of wine when shopping here. Once you’ve ticked off all the gift items on your list, head to Montgomery Place, a cocktail bar that pairs quality spirits and double-frozen “diamond” ice cubes with speakeasy style – it elevates an ordinary day out Christmas shopping to a new level.