Dreaming of a unique Christmas? Keep things quirky and cool with our guide to off-the-beaten-track boutiques.
High streets all over the world are lined with familiar brands, similar stores and global chains – sometimes it makes tracking down unique, authentic Christmas gifts a little tricky. Luckily, London is home to hundreds of independent shops and brands. Venture into festively-lit side streets to find rickety book shops selling leather-bound first editions, or happen upon a jewel-like boutique offering vintage jewellery and unusual trinkets. All you have to do is follow our guide to the best kept secrets in the London Christmas shopping directory…
Curated with love, the oddities and original artefacts in Brixi will have you open mouthed and reaching for your purse. Set in the hustle and bustle of Brixton Village Market, Brixi presents a treasure trove emporium of beautifully made trinkets and surprises, all precariously stacked on the shop’s many shelves and platforms. Owner Emy Gray supports local craftsman, artists and graduates, as well as travelling the world in search of rare and unparalleled goodies.
For all its acclaim and fashion renown, Tatty Devine is still as quirky as the day it was founded. Priding itself on freshness and originality, the fun and funky jewellery brand packs its Bricklane store full of colourful handmade jewellery, statement necklaces, wearable Perspex lettering and some more delicate (albeit no less traffic stopping) creations. They also have a huge range of Christmas-inspired pieces, from sparkling stars to tree brooches, snowman earrings and more. If you’re looking for gifts and feel spoiled for choice, though, plump for one of the signature Tatty Devine ‘name’ necklaces.
Tove Jansson’s mysterious, milky and enchanting little creations are beloved by adults and children alike. They’re about as classy as kids’ characters come, and the accompanying range of homewares and toys are a must have for any fan of elegant mugs and adorable animals. Covent Garden is home to London’s only Moomin Shop, where the Moomin’s themselves come to life in original story books, napkins, figurines and much, much more. Do pick up some of the Christmas themed numbers, which include festive dinnerware and such stories as Moominland Midwinter.
Fee Fee La Fou
You can’t miss Fee Fee’s colourful shopfront in Stoke Newington, and once you get in, feel free to shop everything you lay eyes on – everything in the emporium is for sale, furniture included. The raucous circus theme has led over the years to an artful mismatch of curiosities – a kaleidoscope of fun and colour. From homewares and original prints to jewellery and clown-inspired chandeliers, very few places in London do unique as well as Fee Fee La Fou. Look out for art installations and original pieces by local and emerging artists, too.
G Baldwin and Co
A Walworth Road institution since 1844, Baldwin is an old-fashioned apothecary specialising in keeping things natural. Expect a dramatic, royal-red shop front and rows of tiny glass draws inside. From their own balms and creams to fresh herbs and all manner of natural health remedies, Baldwin keeps things traditional and healthy at the same time, with a wonderfully inspiring old-world atmosphere – you’re bound to find an exciting gift. Health tinctures sit alongside barks and flower remedies, plus soap-making kits (including Baldwins own bases) can be snapped up for anyone who might like to create their own perfumed gels, shampoos and creams.
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