Wednesday, 5 January 2011 12:00 AM
London is the most visited city in the world, but there are still many parts of the capital that have yet to be discovered by tourists and Londoners alike. Cat Hughes will take you down London's less travelled paths to show you its secrets and some of the more unusual things to do in Ye Olde London Town:
It is now 2011, and the first thing many people will do after the hangover has gone is go shopping! Yes, the yearly ritual of battling with sharp-elbowed women is here, but you don't have to lose your inhibitions (and sense of decorum) to get that elusive bargain.
The sales this year may not be as good as ones in January's gone by, most shops have only slashed their prices by 50 per cent, and very few have gone down to 70 per cent, but that does not mean you cannot find a bargain and have a stress-free time if you know where to look.
For a stress-free January sales experience, you need to leave Oxford Street and Westfield and head down the side-streets. Just south of Oxford Street, heading towards Piccadilly, is Dover Street – on this unassuming road is a discreet fashion market. Dover Street Market is not really a market, more like a department store that has been designed to within an inch of its life. There are no stalls but rather concessions sporting the most influential brands in fashion.
Yes, girls and boys, forget Selfridges – here you can get 30 per cent off Yves Saint Laurent and Celine, and up to 50 per cent off Commes Des GarÃ§ons, without having to queue for the dressing room and then queue again to pay for it. Dover Street Market also has a shoe and bag space with up to 50 per cent off brands like Charlotte Olympia. This funky place not just for the girls either, the 'market' has plenty of brands for the boys with similar discounts, and once you are done buying your bargains, head up to the fourth floor and enjoy a coffee in the cafÃ©.
For more stress-free bargains head to Kings Road, where Chelsea boutiques such as Blue Velvet, my favourite place for ballet flats, have slashed their prices by 50 per cent. A local secret, The Shop at Bluebirds, which stocks brands like Peter Jensen and Henry Holland's latest collaboration with Roxy, is having a massive sale with up to 50 per cent off some items.
One of my favourite stores on this road is Anthropologie. It's a delightful place full of pretty things, I could easily spend a lot of money here! It has a home, book and clothing section. The clothes are chic and unique; you won't find these designs or brands on your typical high street, and they have some of the best discounts I've seen – up to 70 per cent off some items of clothing!
The home section too will give any department store a run for its money; in the sales you can get hand-painted plates for Â£5, scented candles for Â£10 and coffee table books for half price – like "The World In Vogue: People Parties, Places" was Â£55.00 and is now Â£24.95. Anthropologie also has a welcoming atmosphere and the water feature in the centre of the store makes for a relaxed shopping atmosphere, which helps when concentrating on getting a bargain.
By Cat Hughes
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