Looking for a London gift or souvenir? Londoners know the best places in town for special trinkets. And these days we’re often first in line for London-themed presents too. Because the London souvenir business has become seriously stylish. Here’s our guide to the best buys in London for everyone – including you! Revised and updated 2023
I’ve lived in London all my adult life and I still discover something new whenever I go to the shops. So I’ve put together a selection of the best buys in London for all the family. No matter whether you live here, love to visit or are planning your first trip, these are the souvenirs and gifts with distinctive London flair. And just in case you need an instant London fix you can click on the links to buy online too.
This post contains affiliate links, this means that I may receive a commission at no cost to you if you click a link and make a purchase.
Where to find the best London gifts
You can easily pick up a fistful of plastic keyrings and fridge magnets from stalls near famous landmarks. And why not! Because sometimes the cheapest keyring can be the most loved.
But search more carefully and you’ll light upon beautifully designed and well-priced pieces that Londoners frequently snap up for themselves.
- Museum shops London’s free museums and galleries are a rich source of good quality London souvenirs.
- Heritage shops Check out famous and enduring names like Fortnum and Mason, Liberty London and Floris.
- Department stores From Oxford Street’s Selfridges to UK favourites like John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.
- Supermarkets Up-market grocery store Waitrose has some great foodie London gifts.
- Independent shops and boutiques In every London neighbourhood you’ll find smaller independent shops that can be a great source of original and stylish London souvenirs.
- London’s street markets Portobello Road, Borough, Brick Lane and Camden Town all have shops and stalls – with cheap keyrings as well as inspiring buys!
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Top 10 Best Buys in London
If you’re in a hurry, here are my current favourite things to buy from London, with flavours, scents or styles to remind you of this unique city once you get home. Add some of these stores to your London itinerary.
- Signature stripe scarf from Paul Smith
- Customised shot candle from Jo Loves (the founder of Jo Malone London)
- Bottle of artisanal London gin
- Fortnum and Mason tote bag with a tin or two of Fortnum’s coffee and tea
- Bottle of scent from Penhaligon or Floris
- Liberty print journal, scarf or pyjamas
- An antique find from a market stall: sets of spoons are easy to pack!
- A child’s jumper from Trotters
- London-themed Christmas ornaments: from many stores (see below)
- An art poster, antique London print or map
London gifts for her: mums, sisters, best friends
Where to start? I could write a list as long as the Kings Road of little London luxuries. But I’ve edited it down to a small selection of save or splurge treats.
Best fragrance gifts from London
A bottle of scent is easy to pack and will bring back memories of your London vacation for months to come. London is home to world-class fragrance brands, including heritage names Penhaligon and Floris and contemporary favourites like Jo Malone, Miller Harris and Roja Dove.
Penhaligon‘s Bluebell is said to have been a fave of Princess Diana as well as Kate Moss. But check out their discovery sets too, they are a lovely way to explore the fragrances without too much outlay. While the handy travel atomisers are easily packable gifts.
Floris has been on Jermyn Street since 1730 and is the only perfumer to hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen. Winston Churchill shopped here and so did Marilyn Monroe who chose their Rose Geranium fragrance. As well as scents you’ll find gifts like Rosa Centifolia hand treatment cream or their range of lovely lidded candles: Cinnamon and Tangerine smells just like Christmas.
Jo Loves Jo Malone sold her first fragrance brand, Jo Malone London, to Estee Lauder Companies and left in 2006. Her latest project, based in lovely Elizabeth Street in Belgravia, is Jo Loves, a scent, bath, body and candle collection. Pop in for a complimentary 30 minute consultation or design your own ‘shot candle’ for a personalised room fragrance.
Roja Parfums Perfumer Roja Dove puts quality and craftsmanship first. Find a fragrance that’ll become an extension of your personality at his boutique in the Burlington Arcade Piccadilly.
Miller Harris has two stores in Covent Garden where you can explore the collection. Three fragrances, Lost, Wander and Dance are inspired by the scents and tastes of the green spaces of London.
Fashion best buys in London
Liberty London on Regent Street is always worth a visit for the Tudor revival store itself. And it gathers an intoxicating edit of fashion and furnishing from all over the world. The Liberty Collections include desirable fashion gifts such as silk scarves in re-imagined prints from their archives. Or pick stylish pyjamas like these in an Art Nouveau design: Jonquil Tana Lawn cotton short pyjama set.
But you can also slip one of Liberty’s signature prints into your handbag or onto your desk by way of their pretty cotton-covered journals or pocket notebooks.
A Burberry trench coat is probably the most iconic item of London fashion you can choose as a souvenir. Persuade yourself you need it in case it rains! This is an investment buy – which you can enjoy making in one of its glamorous London stores.
A hat London has lots of temptations if you’re a hat person. The historic option is Locks & Co. London’s oldest hat shop in refined St James’s Street. You’ll want a summer panama, a cute collapsible sunhat or an elegant fedora. Philip Treacy in Elizabeth St is the milliner for a modern couture or ready to wear design. Or pop into a department store in the West End for suitable headwear for Ascot or a wedding.
A handbag is a luxury London gift. Browse Anya Hindmarch’s cool, quirky style or the modern vintage chic of Aspinal of London’s Midi Mayfair, carried by several Royals.
The London Map dressing gown by One Hundred Stars became an overnight hit when TV cook Nigella Lawson wore it on screen. It now features in the Wallace Collection’s gifts. See if you can spot the gallery in the design.
Charm bracelets that you can add to year by year are thoughtful gifts. Several London jewellers offer landmark charms: try Links of London, or Pandora’s sterling silver London Big Ben dangle charm and Union Jack enamelled heart dangle.
Umbrellas Everyone needs an umbrella, and cynics might say especially so in London. Every single London gift guide you read will send you to James Smith & Sons on New Oxford Street to buy an umbrella. This is a historic London store worth seeing and it sells beautiful, handmade brollies. But I have a couple of caveats: stick umbrellas don’t fold; and umbrellas have a habit of getting lost!
Instead I’m going to recommend Fulton umbrellas, they’re significantly cheaper and they’re Royal Warrant holders thanks to Queen Elizabeth II. Fulton is a well-known, reliable umbrella brand so this will be a gift that’ll keep on giving. Our Royal Family favour the dome-shaped see-through Birdcage style. This one provides your own London skyline too, wherever you are in the world.
Personally I prefer an umbrella that folds into a handbag size while still being wind-resistant. Check out Fulton Umbrellas online or head to a branch of John Lewis for a good selection.
Patriotic London gifts
On the subject of Royalty…. the official Buckingham Palace shops have splendid London gifts. From crystal tiaras and freshwater pearls, to fine bone china and, my favourite, the Union flag merino wool blanket £165. These are good quality traditional London souvenirs.
The shelves betray a particularly British sense of humour too. A packet of Handbag Shortbread: For Emergencies is a snip at £2.95. Or you can elevate a bathroom with a fluffy white hand towel embossed with a Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace crest, £15.95.
DISCOVER MORE ABOUT LONDON click here for our teen-approved guide to 105 things to do in the capital
Food and Drink: Best Buys in London
London’s supermarkets have a great range of British snacks and foodstuffs that you might not find elsewhere. And delis and food markets like Borough Market will tempt you with treats from all round the world. But these heritage London stores are famous for their reliably pretty and tasty gifts to take home with you.
Tea and coffee gifts from London
Afternoon tea might be a must-do for visitors to London, but a basic cuppa is an everyday staple for most Brits. You can pick up regular boxes of Twinings at the supermarket, or shop the full range and taste the flavours, at the historic Twinings shop in the Strand.
If tea isn’t your drink then Whittards of Chelsea also offer coffees and special edition hot chocolates in attractive packaging.
It goes without saying that Fortnum and Mason, Royal Warrant holders, (see below) are also a go-to for gifts of teas and coffees. I really like their Sandringham coffee blend in its smart green and gold tin.
Best London biscuits
A cup of tea is even better with a biscuit! It’s pretty much a cliché to suggest you head to Fortnum and Mason, the venerable grocers on Piccadilly. And Fortnum’s ground floor is very much a gift shop these days, but the tins are stylish. Their Musical Piccadilly Biscuit Tin £14.95, is inspired by the storefront itself. Check out the decorative sets of Tall Tins, or pick the traditional Clotted Cream Digestives in a Fortnum’s signature eau de nil coloured canister.
The prize for best decorated London biscuits has to go to the Biscuiteers. Their gorgeous London Calling keepsake tin, filled with 16 hand-iced London landmark biscuits, can be delivered anywhere in the world. Whilst the London Guards letterbox biscuits, do just that – they fit through a letterbox. Learn some of the Biscuiteers’ secrets with this enticing book:
Chocolate souvenirs from London
Lovers of British chocolate can pick up bars of Cadburys or boxes of Bendicks of Mayfair mints (with their Royal Warranty!) at any supermarket. Or take it up a peg and visit Melt in Notting Hill for fresh, luxury chocs handmade in London.
For traditional luxury visit Old Bond Street and the beautiful Royal Arcade. Here is the famous Charbonnel et Walker shop with its deliciously posh chocolates. One of London’s first chocolatiers it has a Royal Warrant (of course) and a fine array of be-ribboned boxes. If you’re in London at Christmas time then this is a must-visit, if just to enjoy window-shopping in the arcade.
London gift hampers
Back to Fortnum’s for more foodie gifts from London. Their wicker hampers are legendary and the F&M stamped basket is as much a part of the gift as the contents. Obviously they go into overdrive at Christmas and deliver all over the world. The Piccadilly Hamper is a good taster of F&M’s wares.
Fortnums do have some very desirable tableware and good picnic kit too. The cooler tote in eau de nil is a very useful London souvenir and their signature plastic-free jute and cotton tote bags will be your go-to for grocery shopping.
A gift of London gin
Gin is an obvious contender for any London gift guide. The recent rise of independent distillers in the capital has given gin a fresh spin with a profusion of new flavours. But a London Dry is the classic style: Portobello Road is a modern gin, traditionally made and distilled in Notting Hill too.
London gifts for him: dads, boyfriends, grown-up sons
Accessories with a modern twist from a luxe or heritage store are a safe bet for a lot of men. Pick up a scarf or wallet featuring the signature stripe at Paul Smith, or a limited edition tee from his exclusive collaboration with the Rolling Stones, from October 2023.
Or pop into Liberty London on Regent Street for a bottle of JACK eau de parfum. Created by actor Richard E Grant of Withnail and I fame, it’s going to be a London classic. Uplifting, happy-go-luck, citrussy, spicy – and unisex so you can wear it too.
If you know his size get him a pair of classic Chelsea boots, a swinging Sixties style named for the area. For an affordable version try Marks & Spencer, branches all over town.
Or be inspired by the style of Peaky Blinders and buy him a flat cap from Christys’ London. This heritage company is now based in St Christopher’s Place off Oxford Street. They made Indiana Jones’ fedora and The Godfather’s homburg. They also handcraft a mean pork pie hat. If he’s a hat wearer then this is your London souvenir sorted.
If you’re happy to splash out, take a stroll along Jermyn Street in Mayfair. It is home to some of London’s finest shirtmakers, tailors and purveyors of men’s accessories. Or spring for a custom-made suit in Savile Row where rock (and real) royalty go shopping!
For a fun souvenir The Tower of London Shop has nailed the ‘gift for the man who has everything’. For what male would not appreciate a Henry VIII armour apron? The original armour, on display in the Tower, conveys the King’s ‘power, majesty and wealth’. Perfect for Christmas Day, £14.99.
And finally, socks don’t need to be boring! These Tube inspired socks are a snip from the Museum of London Docklands. Whilst the London Transport Museum sells a fine gift pack of socks inspired by the moquette fabric used to upholster train carriage seats.
London gifts for children – and the whole family
London board games
Board games and jigsaws make a great London souvenir and the whole family can enjoy them. We’ve accumulated a stock of the best London board games over the years. Here are our 3 favourites:
Monopoly The best known board game of them all is, of course, based on the streets of London. The classic Monopoly is a fail-safe choice, The London Underground edition is a good find if you want to test your knowledge of the transport system.
Scotland Yard We got this when the boys were in their early teens. It’s a strategy board game in which players team up as detectives to hunt Mr X around London by tube, bus and taxi. A fun game for 8 years and upwards that takes less than an hour.
221B Baker Street a Sherlock Holmes themed board game is another family favourite. This is one for teens and parents rather than younger children. Players compete to collect clues to solve one of Sherlock’s intriguing cases. It works for two players as well as up to 6.
Put a big jigsaw out on a table at Christmastime and everyone will saunter over to have a go at some point.
Or test your knowledge of London’s highways and byways with the nostalgic (and fiendish) A-Z Street map of London, 1000 piece puzzle.
Chess players will enjoy the strikingly modern London skyline chess set, as they ponder their next move. Or the special edition London Vs New York skyline chess set for some inter-city rivalry!
Or how about a set of Isle of Lewis chessmen, as seen at the British Museum (and in Harry Potter).
Lego London landmarks
The Lego Architecture series is a great London themed gift. You’ll find it in department stores like John Lewis and Selfridges and also in the LEGO stores in Leicester Square, Westfield and Stratford. These models of London’s historic places are sought-after and their detailed builds can keep teens absorbed for days. The London Skyline set features replicas of all the major landmarks and can be matched with the compatible Briksmax LED lighting kit for London Skyline . The two together make a great London souvenir gift.
And I can’t leave Lego without mentioning the LEGO Aston Martin DB5 James Bond replica car, since Mr Bond is so inextricably linked to London town!
Find more DIY landmarks at The Tower Bridge Shop like the Build-It 3D Tower Bridge puzzle, If you can’t make it to the shop this Ravensburger 3D 206 piece jigsaw puzzle looks suitably perplexing!
Harry Potter shop in London
Hogwarts may be a train ride away, and so is the London Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio tour, but you can still shop for Potter memorabilia in central London. The Harry Potter store is at King’s Cross station right next to the trolley-through-the-wall photo opportunity.
A Harry Potter fan will appreciate a gift from the fascinating world of the House of MinaLima in Soho. Graphic designers for the franchise, they sell prop replicas, art prints, books, journals and tee-shirts.
Paddington Bear shop in London
Paddington is an enduring British icon who’s enjoying new fame right now. In fact he has his own shop at Paddington Station as well as a life-size bronze statue. You can choose from a wide range of bears here, as well as books, lunch boxes, tee-shirts etc.
London souvenirs for football supporters
A football scarf or replica kit from a favourite team will go down well with supporters. As well as regular sports kit, Lillywhites in Piccadilly has a big selection of authentic kit for Premier League teams, as well as fan merchandise from scarves and lunch boxes to blankets, duvet covers and baseball caps. A Chelsea home shirt like this will be treasured by a fan.
For fans in London, clubs offer stadium tours and experiences which make a great London gift.
The Tottenham Hotspur stadium takes things a step further, literally, with the Dare Skywalk Experience, where adventurers buckle up into safety gear and scale the stadium to the glass walkway 46 metres above the pitch.
London gifts for babies, toddlers and under 10s
Favourite London soft toys
You’ll find guardsman and policeman teddies in most central London souvenir shops. But you can also source the London-themed plush toys on Amazon here:
Dinosaurs aren’t strictly speaking a London treat, but the Natural History Museum is pretty much synonymous with them. And this is where you’ll find a cuddly T. Rex in a Christmas jumper. In fact the NHM can cater for all your paleontological needs from dino onesies to a Dinosaur edition of the Guess Who game, £20, exclusive to NHM.
The Houses of Parliament Shop also has some creative souvenirs, referencing the history and workings of the home of British government. I love the handsomely dressed and handmade Mr Speaker teddy bear, £19.95.
The classic London teddy bear is the Harrods Christmas bear with the year embroidered on a paw. But Paddington is currently also a hot contender for favourite London bear!
Wooden toys with a London theme
If you know any train mad littles, make space in your bag for The City of London wooden train set from the London Transport museum. It’s compatible with Brio and Big Jigs and includes Tower Bridge and other landmarks.
For a similar set that includes lots of landmarks and vehicles though not Tower Bridge, try this one on Amazon:
Also compatible with wooden tracks is this set of typical London vehicles. These seven wooden models are for ages 3+ here, £20.
Rubber duck collectors can find appropriate birds at nearly every landmark. The Tower Bridge Shop sells several including Big Ben and royal crown ducks. Whilst the Dickens Museum shop stocks Charles Duckens, dickensmuseum.com.
Childrenswear gifts from London
London has some fab stores dedicated to children’s clothing.
Trotters on Kensington High Street, the King’s Road and other branches, is perfect for under 11s quality clothing. Their stylish and timeless jumpers and shoes are often spotted on the young Royal family too. And you can pick up quality styles in their Heritage range to love and pass down like this girls’ classic burgundy wool coat with velvet trim on collar and buttons.
Jo Jo Maman Bebe has several inviting stores in London for affordable maternity clothes and childrenswear for under 6s. Play I Spy with a Spotted in London t-shirt embroidered with all the major sights. Try the Kids’ London Bus top, £15, with doors that open! Or this Fair Isle inspired knit jumper £23, with a guardsman intarsia pattern, that’s sure to be one you’ll save to pass down.
The White Company is a well known British brand with London roots. Their London collection scatters stylish London prints across children’s nightwear and bedlinen. The London Band bed linen in 200 thread count cotton percale, with sketches of iconic London sights is the perfect souvenir designed to last. It comes in cot bed and single sizes.
Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity which looks after six of London’s landmarks including The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.
They haven’t missed the excellent dressing up opportunities of London’s royal heritage either. The Medieval Queen dressing up costume in red and gold with a faux fur trim is gorgeous and perfect for World Book Day.
London gifts for the home
Christmas ornament souvenirs
Ornaments for the tree make great London souvenirs. Every year when you bring them out they’ll remind you of your visit. It’s also a chance to buy something a little bit kitsch that you won’t get tired of! As an added bonus many are made of fabric that won’t break in your suitcase.
Find classic London baubles that you’ll treasure for years at Historic Royal Palaces Shops, Royal Collections Shops and Harrods. Marks and Spencer branches have some pretty ones which you can snap up if you’re in London during winter in the lead up to Christmas.
Local’s Tip The absolutely best collection of Advent calendars in London can be found at the Medici Gallery in Thurloe Street, South Kensington.
For gardeners, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew have a world famous plant collection and the floral-inspired Kew Gardens Shop. You can buy plants and seeds here to establish your own mini-Kew at home. I like the Bee Friendly box with six varieties including Cowslips, Pot Marigolds and Larkspur. (But check the small print as they can’t be delivered to many countries outside Europe).
This tabletop or wall-mounted London Underground roundel lightbox has a selection of 10 inserts including Mind the Gap, London, Angel and Victoria. It’s officially licensed by Transport for London too.
Head to Parliament for some stationery. To help you keep order in the house, an official looking green and gilt-edged House of Commons notebook, could be just the thing. Or lend some gravitas to the proceedings with a red embossed House of Lords journal.
London-themed prints and posters
Prints and posters are good travellers as long as you buy them rolled not framed. London’s galleries and museums have a wonderful choice. Tate Modern will customise and ship high quality prints, or you can choose from their off-the-peg collection. The paint chart-inspired Colours of London poster, cleverly celebrates London’s palette from Whitehall to Black Cab.
The London Transport museum has some crackers at excellent price points. Find your favourites amongst classic transport posters from the 1920s such as Rugby at Twickenham, or the thoughtful penguins in For the Zoo.
You can shop for work by local artists in London markets, or head to Graffik Gallery in Portobello Road, a street art gallery with prints and original artwork.
Antique prints and maps are an original London souvenir. Portobello Road market is a good place to look whilst you can’t miss the vivid yellow frontage of Grosvenor Prints in Covent Garden. It has a huge stock of antique prints with lots of fascinating images of London.
And don’t forget Cecil Court off Tottenham Court Road. As well as being the possible inspiration for Diagon Alley it’s a trove of antiquarian books, maps and curiosities.
London is a great source of British tableware whether you want to recreate a traditional afternoon tea or find a souvenir coffee mug for your desk. For traditional porcelain tea sets visit high end department stores like Selfridges or Fortnum & Mason. Or choose more homely styles:
For a proper cup of tea you need a teapot and The London Pottery Company makes everyday stoneware pots in globe and farmhouse styles. But I particularly love their modern teapots, like the Oval, which come in pretty satin pastel shades. You’ll spot them in cafes around London. If you’ve space in your suitcase they’re a fab gift from London.
Emma Bridgewater‘s stylish and nostalgic tableware has a band of avid collectors and can be spotted in many London kitchens. Visit the stores on the Fulham Road or Marylebone High Street to pick your favourites. The half pint mugs are lovely gifts. I like the pretty London at Christmas mug, £19.95, and the boxed pair of London by day and London at night, also available here:
London treats for pets
If your hound demands to be treated like royalty you can create some Holyroodhouse vibes in your own home with a dog bed in Hunting Stewart tartan from the Royal Collection Shop.
Source a Liberty print dog neckerchief or bow tie at Liberty London. And at the Tower Bridge Shop you’ll find the Love London dog collar, appropriately decorated with postboxes and lampposts amongst other London sights.
Last minute London gifts
Local’s tip Rather than waiting until you get to the airport where you’ll find a staid and over-priced selection, head to a good supermarket. Twinings tea, London gin, Bendicks and Charbonnel and Walker chocolates are all on the shelves in branches of Waitrose. Sainsburys has the tea and gin too. Marks and Spencer might also have London-themed products, especially if it’s Christmas time.
Best Buys in London FAQs
Supermarkets are a great source of iconic British brands at everyday prices. Find packets of Twinings tea, tins of Cadbury’s hot chocolate, boxes of Bendicks mints and bottles of Beefeater gin. And look out for the smallest mementoes on sale in London museum gift shops. You can pick up stylish pens and pencils, notebooks and coasters for under £5.
Lots of visitors love Harrods, the high end department store with a range of souvenirs in its distinctive green and gold branding. Fortnum & Mason is also very popular for tea, coffee and biscuit gifts in beautiful packaging, as well as its famous food hampers. But John Lewis, one of the UK’s favourite department stores, is also a great source of top London labels in fashion, homeware, toys and accessories.
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Visiting London in November or December? Don’t miss the Christmas at Kew Gardens light trail.
Looking for a drink or meal in Kensington? Guide to the best pubs near the Royal Albert Hall.
Planning a trip to Windsor? The Long Walk by the castle is a stunning landmark that’s free to enjoy.
After your walk take a break at one of Windsor’s historic old pubs.
About the author Nancy Roberts is a former women’s magazine editor and writer. She lives in London and is mum to two 20-something boys. In Map&Family she shares info and inspiration for curious travellers: singles and couples as well as families travelling with teens and young adults.