Although I’ve lived in Sydney for seven years, I always enjoy a trip home to the UK and can’t resist the magic and inspiration of shopping in London. Expedia’s Kiwi travellers love spending a few days in the city too – 3 days is plenty of time to explore. Few cities have more design and interiors hotspots – I’ve picked five of my favourites to share with you.
Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
West Elm, on the historic Tottenham Court Road, is more than just a furniture and homewares store, it’s a lovely experience AND they have coffee. Another reason to visit is that the American brand’s store is a stone’s throw from British competitors Heal’s and Habitat so you can make an afternoon of your browsing. It’s the favourite West Elm space I’ve ever visited (sorry Sydney, Melbourne and New York stores) and is set over two floors and 12,000 square feet (yes feet, it’s in England!). The staff are great, as is the coffee, and there’s a Design Lab where you can get in-store advice from stylists. In true West Elm style, a corner of the shop features artwork by locals and there’s a seriously impressive green living wall too. Well worth an extended browse. 209 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PN.
Atelier Abigail Ahern
Nearest tube: Angel or Highbury & Islington
Now to something totally independent, unique and very British in its quirkiness. This shop is run by interiors queen Abigail Ahern, who is known for breaking all the decorating rules and a love of dark-coloured walls. She’s also surprisingly popular with Aussies. A couple of years ago, there was talk of her opening a shop in Sydney and I wonder whether it might just happen one day. Shop here at this teeny store for striking one-offs or just brave décor inspiration. 137 Upper Street, London N1 1QP
The Design Museum
Nearest tube: Tower Hill or London Bridge
This is a seriously cool little (it is small!) museum on all things design; including fashion, architecture, furniture, graphics, products, transport and digital. They have some great temporary exhibitions (a fantastic Paul Smith one when I was there last year). You can visit the nice cafe and fab shop (with proceeds going towards the museum) without paying to go into the actual museum. Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD.