Our last day in London a few of us set out for some shopping at Covent Garden Market and Soho. I had no idea these areas existed until I started researching London before this trip, so I was really excited to go explore these areas that aren’t usually too high on most tourists’ to-do lists.
I instantly fell in love with Covent Garden, as it reminded me so much of Chelsea Market in NYC. A large market full of cute restaurants and boutiques, it was easy to roam without a plan. Flea markets on one side and more commercial stores on the other also surrounded it. Like the rest of London, it was all decorated for Christmas already, including a giant Christmas tree!
I ended up getting separated from the friends I went with and took the opportunity to explore the city by myself. Had this been a country where I didn’t speak the language I probably wouldn’t have done this, but I felt like it was okay here. I got lost in a few more boutiques and did some major souvenir shopping the rest of the morning. I’m not one to buy generic gifts for people, so the minute I see something that reminds me of someone I have to buy it. I hope everyone is going to love their Christmas presents!
I took the Tube down just a few stops to Oxford Street, where I found a map and figured out how to get to Soho, wanting to avoid the giant TopShop and H&M before me. I stumbled right onto Carnaby Street, the brightly colored mini shopping district. A mix of eclectic boutiques and restaurants as well as popular chains, I got lost in its alleys while wandering in the rain, stopping to buy myself a gorgeous necklace, which I couldn’t resist after shopping for so many other people earlier! However, I did manage to refrain from buy another faux fur jacket, so I was proud of myself for that.
I was all too depressed to have to go back to the hotel to gather my stuff to head to the airport at 1:00, as I really did not want to go back to Florence. Four and a half days were just not enough!
London was the perfect mix of American comforts, like Reese’s peanut butter cups, with across-the-sea authenticity. I will definitely be looking to go back ASAP. I’m completely pasta-ed out.
- If you’re in the mood to shop, avoid Oxford Street, which is full of giant stores that you can probably shop at home or online.
- Take the time to explore Covent Garden, it’s by far my new favorite area of the city.
- While the storefronts in Covent Garden can reach a price point as high as Chanel, the surrounding boutiques and flea markets are really cheap. Make sure not to miss those!
- Getting separated from the group actually turned out to be a great thing. I loved having the whole morning to myself, and encourage it for anyone who thinks they have a good grasp on how to get around in London.