What to buy in London

What to buy in London? – Souvenirs England

What is best to buy in London and England and what are the best souvenirs of English craftsmanship to bring home? During your tour it will be easy to come across shopping streets , but also artisan shops that offer the best of craftsmanship, the result of the history of this country and its cultural influences , also coming from all over the world . Let’s find out together what to buy in London and during your trip to England, bringing home an authentic souvenir for yourself or for a special person.

English Craftsmanship

Local craftsmanship has ancient origins, which date back to the history of England, in the Anglo-Saxon era. Over the centuries, local artisans have produced fine fabrics, ceramics and furniture. Thanks to the guild system during the Middle Ages , associations of craftsmen, such as the Oxford weavers in 1100 , were guaranteed quality. With the introduction of new technologies and the industrial revolution , English craftsmanship experienced a decline, no longer able to compete with mass production. It was from the 19th century that interest in artisans arose again in England, thanks also to the Arts & Crafts movement .

Born in 1880 to counteract the terrible products created by the industries, especially for carpets, furniture, fabrics and metals. Today, English craftsmanship is more active than ever, also thanks to the demand for high quality products. Reflecting the culture and traditions of the United Kingdom . In addition to the usual souvenirs that you can buy in London and throughout England, such as mugs and magnets , don’t miss the most typical products that are worth buying. In fact, there are many objects that you will find during your trip to England, bringing home the best souvenirs from London, for yourself or as a special gift.

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Top 10 – What to buy in London and England

If you are wondering what is absolutely worth buying in London and England, there is in fact a vast choice of souvenirs to take home, coming from English craftsmanship. Thanks to its tradition, the art and the quality of the materials present, you will find unique objects, generated by the various historical influences in the country, or brought here from its colonial past . It won’t be difficult to find what is worth buying in England, bringing home a unique souvenir from your trip . This way, you can remember your experience forever or give a gift to a special person.

Here are our recommendations on the 10 best souvenirs from England !

1. Tea service

Among the most famous traditions of English culture, don’t miss stopping to enjoy five o’clock tea during your trip . A real ritual dating back to the 17th century , when from an oriental medical drink it became a fashion for the nobles of the time at court. Green tea, with the addition of milk – and never lemon! – it is still served as at the time with tasty sweet or savory snacks , in refined and wonderful porcelain . These tea sets became a status of the aristocracy , symbols of abundance and wealth. Among the things that are worth buying in England, and in London, during your trip as a souvenir, the result of fine English craftsmanship, do not miss a wonderful and unique tea set!

In this way, even once you return home, you can enjoy five o’clock tea, or at any time of the day, like the English aristocrats. At the time, tradition had it that these porcelains came from China, while those from Faenza or the Netherlands were less valuable. Furthermore, from this noble tradition, various rituals developed in England, such as High tea , a complete meal, Afternoon tea , the classic 5 o’clock tea, the Club man tea or the refined Victorian tea parties . Today, Chinese porcelain is no longer as widespread as it once was, but everywhere there are refined, eye-catching and decorated tea sets on white and blue-dyed porcelain . Complete with teapot, cup, coaster and serving plates.

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Porcelain tea set

2. English tea

As we have seen, the tea ritual in the West was the idea of ​​the Duchess of Bedford, Anne Mary Stanhope , lady of Queen Victoria . The idea was to have a snack between lunch, served early, and dinner, served late, in 1841 . Also very present in English literature , as in the works of Jane Austen , the ritual became a daily event for rich ladies , who exchanged advice and gossip while sipping tea. Today, English tea is still a much loved drink, which arrived in the country thanks to its colonial past , especially brought from Sri Lanka, and is an excellent souvenir that is worth buying in London, and in England, to bring back a memory of English craftsmanship . For the English, tea is a serious subject .

Different types of tea are used, but the locals’ favorite is undoubtedly Earl Grey . To prepare it perfectly, the water must boil , pouring the loose tea to infuse for about 5 minutes , removing it with a strainer and adding the sugar, in lumps ! A true Afternoon tea sees the addition of milk , which according to the British Standards Institution’s must be placed before the tea in the empty cup. Furthermore, for its preparation, tap water should not be used, but natural bottled water and porcelain services are used for its ability to keep the aromas of the tea intact . Absolutely a unique souvenir from England sold in cute boxes .

English tea boxes portobello road
Typical tea boxes in Portobello Road

3. Harry Potter Souvenir

Among the things that are worth buying in London, during your trip to England, to bring home a unique souvenir, if you love the saga of the most famous wizard in the world, don’t miss the Harry Potter gadgets. In London, in fact, there are many shops where you can buy these products from the film saga also set in England, as well as in Scotland and Ireland. The first place we recommend is obviously platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station in London, the departure point of the Hogwarts Express . Here, you can even have your photo taken while pushing the trolley across the magic track! Additionally, the shop is inspired by Ollivander’s wand shop .

Moving to Soho , to discover Harry Potter-themed English craftsmanship, we find the House of Minalima , an art gallery inspired by the magical universe of the films. The owners of the place have also worked on designs from the saga, such as the Daily Prophet or the chocolate frogs . If you are looking for a truly magical souvenir from England, also in Soho we find the House of Spells . Decorated with a Diagon Alley theme . here we find wands, uniforms, statuettes, sweets, games and magic books from the films. Finally, by visiting the Warner Bros Studios , at the end of the tour you will find the souvenir shop with the official merch: a must for Potterheads!

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The Harry Potter Shop, al binario 9 ¾

4. Football team shirt

From cinema we move on to sport to look for what is best to buy in England, or in London, catering to all tastes and looking for the perfect souvenir. In fact , if you ask a football fan who invented this sport, the answer will be: the English. The Premier League is one of the most followed and loved leagues in the world, featuring 20 teams in the Football Association and Manchester United as the record winners. But the Premier League is also the championship of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea , as well as the historic Aston Villa , Millwall and Newcastle . The shirts of these teams and their champions, as well as all the merch around them, have become real collector’s items for fans .

For a fan, these objects are absolutely among the things that are worth buying in England or to bring a souvenir to a true fan. During your trip, if you are in Manchester , don’t miss a visit to the Etihad Stadium , home of Manchester City, or Old Trafford , home of Manchester United Football. Here, in their shops, you will surely find everything you want. Furthermore, even if a match is not taking place, at Old Trafford in Manchester, which is one of the main attractions, it is also possible to visit its museum , to discover the history of the team, visit the changing rooms, the VIP and press room.

Manchester United stadio
Old Trafford, Manchester United’s historic stadium

5. Vinyls

Some of the pop music stars who became famous worldwide were born in England . The Beatles , the Rolling Stones, David Bowie , Queen , Amy Winehouse , Elton John , Adele and many others… There are many English artists who have changed music. In the past, to stay up to date on new releases, it was essential to go to London and buy a turntable and some vinyl . Even today, vinyl records in the UK are a true cult object . Whether old, second-hand or new, their sales are at very high levels, as confirmed by the British Phonographic Industry . Among the things that are worth buying in London, or in England, to bring home a unique souvenir of English craftsmanship, for enthusiasts and collectors. Therefore, you cannot miss a vinyl to carefully pack in your suitcase.

One of the most popular vinyl shops in England, where it is convenient to buy your vinyl, is located in Liverpool . Probe Records has been open since 1971 and famous musicians have also worked here. In Manchester , however, buy your musical souvenirs in England from Piccadilly Records and Rubber Soul Records , famous for 70s vinyl. If you are wondering where to buy vinyl in London , however, this is a true mecca for historic vinyl , still resisting digital. Popular shops include Brill, in Clerkenwell , and Casbah Records, in Greenwich .

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A collection of Jazz vinyls

6. Artisan Gin

Among the things that are worth buying in England during your trip, as in London, we find gin, the fruit of English craftsmanship. An English spirit distilled from unmalted barley and with added juniper berries , herbs and cardamom. Among the most loved spirits in the world, its alcohol content varies between 43 and 47°C . Among the best types of artisanal gin to buy in London, as a souvenir from a trip to England and an English artisanal product, we find the Tanqueray Nº 10 , the most loved for the Gin Tonic , with citrus aromas, the Hayman 1850 Riserva , of the Victoriana is among the best.

But also Hendricks and Bloom . Among the activities not to be missed in England, to discover the ancient English craftsmanship in this regard, experience a tour of the gin distilleries . Furthermore, today the United Kingdom is among the world’s largest exporters of gin and there are many craft distilleries open to the public in the country, thus delving into its incredible culture. Among the most famous, we find the Chase Distillery , in the Herefordshire countryside . In London, however, we find The City of London Distillery and the Beefeater’s Home of Gin, the oldest in the city where you can buy your gin.

English gin
Selection of English Gin

7. Christmas decorations

Besides tea, and the Royal Family , there is another topic that is taken very seriously in England: Christmas decorations! This holiday, in fact, is particularly heartfelt and is also reflected in English craftsmanship and in the souvenirs that are worth buying in England and London. Among the most popular traditions for Christmas, we find in every English city that of turning on the tree lights , but also the Advent calendar and the typical Christmas sweaters . Experiencing Christmas or New Year in London is certainly a magical event, but if you don’t have the opportunity to do so, bringing home a Christmas souvenir from England will make you feel a bit of this magic.

One of the most widespread Christmas traditions in England, for example, is decorating the table with crackers . A decoration in the shape of a large candy with paper crowns, small objects or poems inside. This is pulled by two people from both sides until it cracks and breaks . Having become popular all over the world after the film Bridget Jones , where the protagonist wears a sweater with a reindeer at Christmas, Christmas sweaters have become very popular, also as a gift or souvenir from England, the result of English craftsmanship. Not just baubles or decorations for the Christmas tree, but there are many themed objects that are worth buying during your trip.

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Christmas decoration with Big Ben

8. Sweets and biscuit boxes

Among the souvenirs to bring home after your trip to England, which are best bought in London, don’t miss the delicious English butter biscuits . An ideal gift for those with a sweet tooth, the iconic biscuits in Harrods tins are a very popular souvenir to buy in London. But throughout the city you will find many shops that bake biscuits every day and then package them in beautiful tin boxes in multiple variations. In addition to the classic butter-flavoured English culinary craftsmanship, you will also find chocolate, pistachio or ginger varieties, finding something for all tastes .

Another much loved dessert in England is Welsh cake , also called Welsh cake, they originate from Wales and have been widespread since the 19th century . A historic sweet focaccia, simply cooked on the grill, with the addition of dried fruit and sugar. These are served cold or hot, dusted with icing sugar and are very reminiscent of scones , often serving them with jam or butter. Furthermore, among the other biscuits that are worth buying in England, we find Digestives , sold in 1800 in pharmacies, Jaffa Cakes and Shorbreads : Elizabeth II’s favorites.

Welsh cake Welsh English desserts - what to buy in England
Welsh cake

9. Teddy Bears at Harrod’s

If you are in London, you certainly cannot miss a visit to the historic exclusive shopping center in the Brompton Road area . Among the most loved souvenirs of England and which you should buy during your trip to London, in the department store we find his collection of Harrods soft toys and teddy bears , which have become a true institution among enthusiasts . These Teddy Bears are present in many variations, such as the Christmas one , the London ones and its annual version , for true collectors. Furthermore, among its most famous soft toys we also find Paddington : the traveling bear who became popular thanks to children’s books and films.

He wears the traditional duffel coat and his iconic red hat, not missing his briefcase in his hand and the logo embroidered on his paw. Other teddy bears represent the symbols of London, such as the Greenman London bear and the policeman, with the typical Bobby uniform . Originally, the teddy bear was also born from the Farnell company in 1906 . The first teddy bear was called Edward and was distributed by Harrods in 1921 , when Daphne bought a teddy bear for her son. No one could have predicted that years later this child would create one of the most famous sagas. The child was in fact Christopher Robin : the creator of Winnie the Pooh !

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I Teddy at Harrod’s

10. Merchandising della Royal Family

Finally, among the products that are worth buying in England and London, the result of English traditions and craftsmanship, as well as its history, is the Royal Family merch! If there is something that unites all the subjects of the crown it is the love they feel for the royal family which has always fascinated everyone, through newspapers, gossip and the events that revolve around this very famous family. During your visit to Buckingham Palace , go to her shop where you can buy numerous objects and souvenirs inspired by the royal family.

From household items, stationery, clothes, books and games, as well as tea sets, mugs, cutlery and much more, you’re sure to find something to bring home a unique souvenir of the British Crown. Furthermore, there is no shortage of tea boxes decorated with images of the Royal Family and in many shops throughout England you will find themed objects . Furthermore, as highlighted by recent studies, the English Crown is not only a true passion for its subjects, but also an economic income for the Kingdom, generating a large tourist income from travelers who go every year to visit Buckingham Palace or the museums related to the monarchy, thus also creating jobs . Today, in Piccadilly and everywhere in London the merchandising is mainly concentrated on King Charles III .

cuscino shop buckingham palace
Cushion at the Buckingham Palace shop

What to buy in England and London, the advice of Arché Travel

The main advice we want to give you if you don’t know what to buy in London and want to know what to buy in England among the best English souvenirs is to go to the most famous shopping streets . Among the best shopping places in London, where you can buy your souvenirs and English crafts, we find Regent Street for high fashion and renowned brands, Carnaby Street for independent fashion, Bond Street and Mayfair if you are looking for luxury. On Brompton Road , however, you will find the historic Harrods department store . If you are looking for the finest English craftsmanship , Covent Garden is the place you are looking for. Finally, vintage lovers cannot miss the Portobello Road market in Notting Hill : a street that has been the location of numerous films set in England , such as Bedknobs and Broomsticks .

How to Visit England?

After having an idea of ​​what is best to buy in London and England and having remembered to leave space for your souvenirs of English craftsmanship in your suitcase, you are ready for this wonderful trip!

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