The allure of Oxford Street shops is undeniable, but even the most dedicated shopaholic gets weary of pushing through the crowds and trying to find a gem amongst all the mainstream brands on offer. That’s when the smart shoppers seek out St Christopher’s Place. Amble away from the traffic and the fumes of the Oxford Street shops and you’ll find a far more relaxed and surprising shopping experience awaits you.
Despite its central location, St Christopher’s Place is easy to bypass unless you accidentally venture into the impossibly narrow space between two buildings that leads out onto it. Unlike its frenetic High Street neighbour, St Christopher’s Place is all about slow browsing and chilled-out al fresco dining. Its rows of densely built, pastel-painted Georgian blocks are home to shiny boutiques and tempting eateries.
Among the more recognisable designer labels, like Mulberry and Kurt Geiger, lesser known brands vie for your attention. These boutiques are a real feast for the senses. The cosmetics store Rituals draws you into a world of sensual and refreshing oriental scents. Jasmine candles and sweet almond gels, inspired by Indian, Japanese, and Turkish beauty traditions, transport you to exotic destinations.
Further down the road, the Amber Centre grabs your attention with its rich palette of orange and yellow hues. Every shape and type of amber adorns the shelves in the form of dainty earrings, heavy beaded necklaces, and painstakingly carved figurines. After trying on some bracelets, you pop in next door and run your fingers over the textured paper at Il Papiro. These Italian artisans use ancient methods to produce stationery, and their exquisite hand-painted postcards and notebooks come in beautiful, vibrant colours.
You realise you’ve been looking at accessories and gifts for far too long when what you really want is a new outfit. The day promises to turn into a head-to-toe shopping spree as you sample exquisite Italian lingerie at Intimissimi and try on leather loafers at Jones Bootmaker. Phase Eight offers the ladies stylish evening gowns and floral dresses, while T Burrows promises the guys cool, colourful, and casual attire. Most of the shops are owned by Italian and British designers so you get the best of both worlds, and a chance to experiment with style.
Once you’ve picked out an outfit, it’s time for a well-earned break, and you’re spoiled for choice by all the Mediterranean, French, and Asian cafés and restaurants here. For lunch, take your pick from the sweet and savoury crepes at Café Creperie, located right around the corner on nearby James Street. For dinner, try hearty Turkish tapas at Sofra and later wash them down with a pint at the Lamb & Flag. All that fantastic shopping deserves to be celebrated!