Shopping in the UK – Department Stores

Posted on February 16, 2017

If you are relocating to the UK and not sure where you’ll be able to purchase all those essential items you’ll need once you get here, you might want to head to one of our department stores:


The self appointed “Nation’s Favourite” Debenhams has 178 stores across the UK and Ireland and a website where you can order online and get your items delivered.  Debenhams has fashion at affordable prices and is renowned for its Home department which sells everything from bath towels to cutlery.  Like most department stores, there isn’t much it doesn’t sell, from fashion to furniture – it has it all.  Debenhams’ flagship store on Oxford Street offers additional services such as a free personal shopper.

John Lewis

The famous guarantee “never knowingly undersold” means that at John Lewis’ prices are always competitive.  Stocking everything from housewares to haberdashery and clothes, John Lewis probably has whatever it is you are looking for. Their customer service is second to none with staff all owning a share of the company and calling themselves ‘partners’, many have worked for the company for years and have specialist knowledge and experience.  If you’re not sure which model of TV you want, or whether to buy a coffee machine, or not, head to John Lewis to find out.

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer, known colloquially as “Marks and Sparks”, or “M&S”, made its reputation in the early 20th century with a policy of only selling British-made goods.  They sell food through 942 UK stores, including 383 Simply Food stores.  They also sell furniture, clothes, make-up, etc, but their real forte, the thing their have a fabulous reputation for is good quality, reasonably priced underwear.  So if you’re looking for some new knickers, look no further.  M&S is the place for you!

Fenwick and Bentalls

With fewer stores than the others (Fenwick are a group of 9 stores of which Bentalls forms a part) and no online shopping website, it might be easy to overlook Fenwick The Bond Street store, established in 1891 as a hair accessories boutique, Fenwick is now home to five floors of luxury retail on one of London’s chicest streets. Choose from designer clothing, home wares, bags, shoes, fashion, jewellery and more. The cosmetic department is an oasis of exclusive products and Carluccio’s café is the ideal place to relax and unwind.  Bentalls has a couple of stores in Kingston and Bracknell.

House of Fraser

Over 60 stores in the UK, and one of the best known names on Oxford Street, House of Fraser is renowned for its designer brands and exclusive collections – it’s the place to go for a little bit of luxury, whatever your budget. Browse through top brands including DKNY, Cath Kidson and Ted Baker then relax in the Clarins Spa. And don’t miss the Cafe Zest restaurant.

Fortnum and Mason

Just the one store in Piccadilly, London, which was founded in 1707, when its shelves were only filled with displays of delicious foods. Today the store sells luxury goods of all descriptions, from fine crystal and porcelain to linen and bath accessories. Look out for the clock above the entrance that was added in 1964. On the strike of every hour, four foot high mechanical replicas of the original Mr. Fortnum and Mr. Mason pop out and bow to each other to the sound of chimes and authentic 18th century music.


A handful of stores in Birmingham, Manchester and London.  Home to everything from Gucci bags to household gadgets and bed linen, and the largest perfumery in Europe. The Oxford Street branch also boasts the best food hall in London and a shoe hall to die for.  British food may be much maligned but there are many specialities that are well worth sampling here, such as teas, cheeses, chocolates, biscuits and preserves.


Just one store famously in Knightsbridge  – established in 1849 as a humble grocery store, today Harrods offers everything from food to fashion, furniture to sportswear plus 24 restaurants and over 50 specialist services including customised bed linen and piano tuning. Sights include the Egyptian Hall and the Pet Department. At night, the store is illuminated by 11,500 light bulbs.  Although there is still only one Harrods department store, there are outlets selling Harrods branded products in airports throughout the world proving just how covetable the Harrods brand is.

Harvey Nichols

With one London store, which is a must for any fashionista, Harvey Nichols brings together an impressive range of designers from around the world and supplies an elite clientele with fine clothes, accessories, cosmetics, food and shoes. D&G, John Galliano, Space NK, Burberry and Jimmy Choo are just a few of the high-end labels you can find here.  The 5th floor restaurant is a must, and there’s an express lift to take you up there if you want to avoid spending any money on the way!


One store which opened in 1875, Liberty is one of London’s most traditional stores, but venture inside and you’ll find a whole host of cutting-edge ranges. Designers include Vivienne Westwood, Chloé and Dries Van Noten, plus there’s an impressive beauty hall. Celebrating fine design, jaw-dropping craftsmanship and the famous liberty print, Liberty is a shoppers’ paradise.  Silk scarves and accessories are Liberty’s specialities.

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