If you are seeking a quintessentially British retail experience in London, the choice of where to start can be bewildering. From one end of Oxford Street to the other you can experience every high street shop in the land. If it’s designer labels that are calling you, then take the first taxi to Knightsbridge. If however it is authenticity you are looking for, then confine yourself to what has to be the most densely packed historic shopping district in London, that is St James.
Since Charles II gave permission to build around the royal palace of St James’s in the 17th century the area became one of London’s grandest, a magnet for fashion and high society. A surprising number of shops remain unchanged since those days.
Around this crosshatched layout of ancient streets in London’s SW1 postcode is a concentration of some of the most authentic retailers in Great Britain. These shops are some of the great success stories of British retail that have stood the test of time, many over more than a century since they were first established, and often on the same premises where they first set up. The heritage and quality appeal of their products combines with the unique experience visiting their premises, whether a multi-floored emporium or a single unit shop.