Stylish Shops & Tea

London’s oldest shopping arcades

London is home to some of the oldest shopping arcades in the world. Similar to mega malls and department stores, these arcades feature multiple shops under one roof protected from the elements.

Here’s a path to see four of the most iconic ones followed by afternoon tea:

Piccadilly Arcade (1909) — Designed by Architect George Thrale Jell, Piccadilly Arcade is a Grade II listed building that opened in 1909. After it sustained damage in World War II, it was restored in 1957. Today, it is home to 28 shops, including jewelry, shoe shops and tailors.

The Princes Arcade — Originally designed by Edward Robert Robson for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1883, the site of the former Prince's Hotel is the youngest of the arcades. It suffered bomb damage in 1940 during World War II and reopened in 1948. The Grade-II-listed building was renovated in 1983 and today is home to boutiques, chocolatiers*, hat and shoe shops, and tailors.
Note : Prestat - Chocolatier to Queen Elizabeth II and Roald Dahl’s favourite shop
Burlington Arcade (1819) — The Regency-style building designed by architect Samuel Ware was opened in 1819 and is the longest and the second oldest of the arcades. Originally, it was erected by the Cavendish family to prevent members of the public from throwing oyster shells over the wall to their home. It also provided privacy and rental income.

Following multiple fires and World War II damage, the arcade underwent restoration in 1952 in anticipation of Queen Elizabeth's coronation procession passing by the building the following year. It received significant refurbishment in 2019 and today houses a mix of high-end retailers, including Manolo Blahnik, Chanel and La Perla.

The famous Beadles, a private police force that still wears traditional uniforms and top hats, patrols the Arcade enforcing rules (including no singing, humming, hurrying).

The Royal Arcade
(1879)— Originally known as The Arcade, it was designed by Thomas Archer and Arthur Green and is the only surviving Victorian arcade. It was renamed ‘The Royal Arcade’ in 1882 when shirt maker H.W. Bretell received royal patronage by Queen Victoria and other customers included Dukes, Duchesses, Princes, a Czar and Sir Winston Churchill. Today, The Royal Arcade is home to Royal Warrant holder chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker along with stores specializing in antiques, art, glasses, jewelry, perfume and shoes. 2074 954882
4 Royal Arcade, London W1S 4BT

Savile Row (1733) — Although not an arcade, this famous street is known for bespoke (suit cut by hand) tailoring for men. It is said the term ‘bespoke’ originated here. Famous customers include Charles III, Winston Churchill, Judd Law, and Napoleon III. The rooftop of 3 Savile Row is famous for an impromptu performance by the Beatles in 1969, which ended up being the group’s final live performance together.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars London
(1932) — For the ultimate window-shopping, take a look at the Rolls-Royce showroom on Berkeley Street in Mayfair, which has been open since 1932.  The entry-level Ghost starts at £255K and the top-of-the-line Phantom starts at £369K. 2031 994660
15 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6EG

Afternoon Tea
Fait Maison
 — Enjoy a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired afternoon tea by Executive Chef Yvonne Osman of sandwiches, homemade scones, clotted cream, jam, and mini desserts served with choice of tea in an Instagram-worthy space.
Starts at £35 / person 2045 399224
13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU

Even if it is just for window-shopping — a visit to these historic arcades is worth the trip!

Southbank London Eye Views

With the weather finally warming up and sunshine on the way, visit these spaces with views before they get too busy:

National Theatre The Royal National Theatre Garden public terrace on level 3 boasts both London Eye and river views. Entry is free and everyone (with or without a ticket) is welcome Monday - Saturday. Bonus : There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the building, public toilets and baby changing stations.

On your way back to the inside, head to the left. There is a bench located at the corner of the building that provides a view of London Eye and the Golden Jubilee Bridge, an award-winning foot bridge completed in 2002 to commemorate the 50th anniversary reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
National Theatre, South Bank, London SE1 9PX

Southbank Centre — Located on the top floor, The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden features 250+ species plants from Britain and around the world.  The garden is maintained by Grounded Ecotherapy staff and volunteers who have experienced homelessness.  The garden is open Wednesday - Sunday Noon - dusk.  Note: It may be closed due to inclement weather and for private events.

The space also features a bar and cafe that is open Wednesday - Friday 4 pm -
dusk, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays Noon - Dusk.  There are tables and chairs just to the right of the Bar & Kitchen that have a picture-perfect views of London Eye and Big Ben. 

Better to check these out sooner rather than later!