ICYMI, I’m currently speeding around London like a puppy chasing its tail—the puppy being me, the tail, London’s beckoning shops.
A few weeks back, I made a pilgrimage to Piccadilly’s Fortnum & Mason, the store founded by a royal footman (& his landlord, natch) in the 1700s. I spent a good 20 minutes tracing dizzying circles around the ground floor (think mountains of tea and chocolate, shelves of pink-packaged champagne, shopping baskets in gleaming gold with robin’s egg handles, sticky sweets peeking out from beneath glass counters and tucked away in tiny bottles…). I cannot think of another instance when I have so regretted carrying such a poor excuse for a camera (iPhone 5, love you, but looking at you).
If sticker shock doesn’t set in on the ground floor, venture up a flight of stairs to check out their famous hampers. There are also counters dedicated to Roja Parfums and Cire Trudon, two brands I straight-up adore. For those requiring a quick olfactory primer, Roja Parfums makes a £75,000 perfume complete with 1,120 F color diamonds among other luxury accouterments (there’s one in the world, and it’s available by appointment at Harrods only, please don’t come waltzing in here asking for a sample) and a line of gorgeous scents at a slightly more palatable price point. Cire Trudon, on the other hand, has been crafting its candles since the 1600s, meaning a client list that includes names like Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte. Their Manon candle, redolent of linen, lavender and oranges, is a personal favorite.
There are plenty of other delights to peruse (and perhaps purchase), and if you enjoy looking at beautiful things as much as I do, you’ll be well-satisfied. I would never suggest an excursion without food nearby, though, and so I must point you in the direction of The Parlour, also located on this floor. They’re known for churning out decadent ice cream sundaes, but I went for the duo of scones: warm, fluffy, deliciously carb-y and nestled next to pots of strawberry jam and clotted cream.
And tea. This is London, after all.