Knightsbridge, Kensington & Chelsea
Harrods, on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, first opened in 1849 as a humble grocery store. Today, it's a lavish department store – probably Britain's most famous.
It spans seven floors. Although it stocks practically everything – from pianos and fine jewellery, to cigars and humidors – food is still at its heart.
The Food Hall is known for its exotic range of foodstuffs, the quality of the produce and the extravagant way in which it's displayed.
On the lower ground, at the base of the Egyptian escalator, is the Memorial to Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed, son of the stores' Egyptian owner Mohammed Al Fayed. Thousands of visitors come here to pay their respects to the couple who tragically died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
The shrine features photographs of the couple. It's the only place in Harrods where visitors are allowed to take pictures.
Harrods's summer sale is legendary – an annual ritual of frenzied bargain-hunting. During the sale, prices are truly slashed.
The department store has a strict dress code which was introduced in 1989 and bans unsuitable attire. Dress sensibly; you may be escorted out of the building by the security guards if you don't.
Address: 87 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7730 1234.
Wedged between Knightsbridge and Sloane Street is Harvey Nichols, which began in 1813 when Benjamin Harvey opened a linen shop. In 1820, in partnership with Colonel Nichols, the shop began trading in Oriental carpets, silks and luxury goods.
Over time "Harvey Nicks", as it is fashionably called, has turned into a full-merchandise department store, visited for its food hall and crowd-stopping window displays. These feature creative works by artists and graphic designers exploring themes as diverse as Egyptian cinema posters, environment and architecture.
Patrons also go to Harvey Nicks because it's a showcase for many hip designer labels, the likes of Paul Smith, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen and Comme des Garçons.
Address: 109-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7235 5000.
Sloane Street and King's Road
For more exclusive retail therapy walk down Sloane Street, towards the south. It houses haute couture from many of the classics, such as Christian Lacroix, Hermes and Dior as well as younger labels such as MaxMara and Prada.
Sloane Street comes to an end at Sloane Square and the legendary King's Road, in Chelsea, the centre of daring fashion in the 60s. It was here, from her boutique Bazaar, that designer Mary Quant revolutionised fashion by launching the mini skirt and bold, sexy cosmetics.
The punk rock movement was also launched on King's Road, from a shop called Sex run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. McLaren became the manager of the punk rock band Sex Pistols, which in 1977 created an alternative National Anthem. It said, "God Save the Queen, the fascist regime…"
Westwood still has a shop on 430 King's Road. It's called World's End and its backward spinning clock has become something of an icon in London's fashion scene.
Address: Vivienne Westwood's World's End. 430 King's Road, SW10. Tel: +44 (0) 207 352 6551.
Tube: Sloane Square.
This very long road is still the epitome of hip London. Celebrities and ordinary people flock to its many restaurants, bars and trendy boutiques.
Address: King's Road, SW3.
Tube: Sloane Square
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