If you're planning on spending some time in London during your travels, you are bound to want to uncover some of the city's more interesting shops and markets. Read our guide to find out how you can sidestep the high street chains and discover something new.
If you love graphic novels, comics or basically anything science-fiction related, Forbidden Planet is the shop for you. Located at 179 Shaftesbury Avenue in Soho, it sells DVDs, action figures, collectors' items and a huge array of books - as well as plenty else - from all over the world. Head here to treat yourself to impressive memorabilia, or books or graphic novels you may struggle to find elsewhere.
The world of fashion in London often seems to be dominated by high-end designers and chain staples, such as Topshop and Zara, but once you get away from these there is a whole hidden world of unique boutiques to find. If you like your clothes to be as individual as possible and really eco-friendly, Junky Styling is an excellent place to go to.
You will find it on Dray Walk on Brick Lane. Unlike most other clothing stores, Junky Styling creates all its products from second-hand clothes, which means anything you buy here will be unique and help to recycle unwanted materials. Alternatively, if you are tired of some of your own clothes, you can ask the designers to give them a revamp.
London Review Bookshop
If you're something of a bookworm, the London Review Bookshop is a real gem. Situated in Pier Bull Yard in west London - although the main point of entry is actually on Bury Place - this store sells a great range of books. It is also here that you will find the London Review Cake Shop, which is connected to the bookstore via a passageway tucked into the history section. Once you have treated yourself to a book or two, be equally nice to your taste buds by tucking into a cake and speciality tea.
Perhaps a little less sophisticated but no less exciting, Cybercandy is sheer joy for anyone with a sweet tooth. This Covent Garden store sells chocolate bars and all kinds of other confectionary from across the globe. Discover Cadbury chocolate you never knew existed and Jelly Beans in almost every flavour you can think of. This is a particularly good place to come if you became hooked on a certain treat during your travels, because you are likely to find it here.
Another alternative shopping option is to swap shops for stalls by visiting one or two of the city's fantastic markets. Foodies should opt for Borough Market, which has a reputation for its fresh produce and delicious baked goods, while anyone searching for a more eclectic shopping experience will not be disappointed by Old Spitalfields Market.
Situated near Brick Lane, this is one of the city's most historic markets and sells everything from clothes and jewellery to antiques and food, so there is certainly a lot to browse.
No matter how long you plan to stay in the capital, don't forget to look for cheap London accommodation to stay in. Cutting down on the cost of hotels and such is a simple way to save on your trip, so it is well worth taking the time to find a good deal.