31 Exclusive and Unusual Things to Buy in London, and 15 Gifts from London to Avoid

Looking for the best things to buy in London? This city has so much to offer for shoppers wanting to take home souvenirs and gifts from London.

But – and there’s a BIG BUT – most “souvenirs” from London are absolute tat (that’s cheap crap, to my American friends).

There are some great exceptions, you just have to know where to look. From classic British treats to unique finds, I’ll show you the best souvenirs in London (from someone who actually lives here).

Whether you’re looking for gifts for loved ones back home or simply want to treat yourself, read on to discover the best souvenirs from London.

Let’s look at the best things to buy in London, and exactly what to avoid.

The Best Souvenirs from London 

1. Gourmet Foods from Borough Market 

Image of the produce stalls at ancient Borough Market. You can take home many shelf-stable foods that make great gifts from london.
Borough Market is the perfect place to find unique souvenirs from London!

Borough Market is an incredible – and ancient – gourmet food market with stalls upon stalls of produce, cheese, butchers, vintners, bakeries, cookware and more. So many cool things to buy in London are right here in one place!

Pick up a unique souvenir here like a posh pot of jam, a bottle of wine, nice tableware, or a cookbook. 

2. A Bottle of London Dry Gin, Distilled in the City

Image of Sipsmith Gin on Waitrose shelves. Sipsmith Gin is a popular gift from London with pretty bottle designs and unique flavors.
Sipsmith is a signature British brand that comes in lots of great flavors. Find it at local grocers.

The gin craze of the 18th century left its lasting mark on London, and we have some of the world’s best gin distilleries right in the heart of the city.

Take a distillery tour and purchase a bottle of your favorite at the end, or find them at your local liquor or grocery store. Kew Organic, Sipsmith, and Beefeater are some of the most classic things to buy in London to take home with you.

I think Sipsmith is one of the coolest gifts from London with their pretty bottles and premium flavors. The bottles in the photo are pictured on the shelves at Waitrose – a high-end supermarket that’s everywhere.

3. Durable and Timeless British Clothing from Barbour, Burberry, Joules, or Anywhere on Savile Row 

Some of the world’s most iconic clothing came from right here in England.

If you’re looking for something bespoke (tailored just for you), iconic Savile Row is the place to go. But there’s also plenty of affordable high street clothing unique to Britain, including outerwear by Barbour and Joules.

Or invest in a posh Burberry trench that will be a staple in your closet forever. You can also pick up iconic fabric from Liberty and take it home to make what you wish. Fabric from Liberty is one of the poshest gifts from London for the home decor junkie in your life.

4. An Umbrella from James Smith & Sons

iconic gifts from London: image of James Smith & Sons Umbrella shop, est 1830. These handmade umbrellas and canes are one of the poshest and most unique gifts from London.

One of the most famous things to buy in London is a bespoke umbrella from this very old shop.

James Smith and Sons has been producing their iconic, durable umbrellas since 1830. Have one made just for you, or browse their incredible selection of umbrellas and walking sticks made from local materials. This shop has some of the most unique and timeless gifts from London.

5. A Piece of London Street Art, Directly from the Artist

Walking through London, you’ll frequently see artists hawking their pieces on the streets, and so many of them have incredible talent. Purchase directly from them to support local art, and go home with a unique piece you can enjoy forever. 

Clusters of artists can be found in markets in Covent Garden, Spitalfields, Borough, and more. Original art is one of the the most unique and timeless things to buy in London.

6. Vintage Bus & Underground Signs

Image of the iconic London Underground Roundel over a subway entrance. London Underground signs are one of the  signature gifts from London.

The Underground roundel never goes out of style! Purchase very cool home decor items from the London Transport Museum (you’ll see them in other places, too, but these are the “official” ones) that will give a graphic art punch to your walls at home.

My favorite thing is actually the Underground socks, which feature the iconic seat fabric patterns for your feet. It’s a subtle nod to your time in London! But a classic underground sign is definitely one of the most iconic and recognizable gifts from London.

7. Anything from Fortnum & Mason 

Wondering what to buy in London as a gift for the pickiest person? Fortnum and Mason is where to go; a luxury British food & retail brand established in 1707.

You can have tea in their amazing tea rooms and browse the massive shop to find unique treats to take home.

Boxes of chocolates, tea, biscuits, candies, and so much more are available in cute and distinctive packaging. Fortnum & Mason is known all over the world as a posh food brand, and one of the best gifts from London for even the pickiest recipient.

teal background with graphic of London travel guide on ipad. Text says "Planning your london trip? The easiest way to do it is right here." Button graphic with "learn more"

8. A Personalized Wax Seal Stamp Set

Harkening back to the olden days when ladies of the manor would seal their correspondence in wax with their initials, this is a unique gift that is ultra cool. Personalize letters and invitations with your very own bespoke wax seal from the Little Blue Brush.

Some artisans in markets like Covent Garden, Borough, and Spitalfields also sell these, and carve them right in front of your eyes. This is one of the most personal and unique gifts from London you can buy!

9. Antiques 

Looking for totally unique things to buy in London? Antique markets are everywhere, and you can actually own a piece of London history by browsing for totally one of a kind items.

My favorites are at Spitalfields Market and Camden Passage, but there are so many throughout the city that you’re bound to run into one on your travels. 

10. Silverware

When shopping for antiques on holiday, I always go for the silverware. Why? You can find quality, real vintage silverware that you will use forever. Also, it easily fits into your luggage.

To save some silver (forgive the pun), go for mis-matched sets: 3 forks here, a few spoons there. It’ll give your table a unique and eclectic vibe, and you’ll remember your trip every time you stir your tea. 

11. British Candy

Cadbury chocolate bars - a great gift from London - on grocery store shelves.

What to buy in London cheap? Candy.

Britain has so much excellent candy, and you don’t need to spend a fortune to bring gifts back to your loved ones. My favorite is anything by Cadbury. Find these in literally any grocery or corner store.

You should probably just sample all of Britain’s sweet treats to know which ones are the best! Candy is one of the best souvenirs from London because you can pick up a whole lot of it for cheap, and everyone loves seeing the treats that foreign countries enjoy.

Don’t forget to try the iconic Percy Pigs at M&S, and check out the vast array of Haribo available in the UK.

12. Anything from Harrods 

Image of the exterior of Harrods at Christmas. Harrods is a posh London department store, and anything in their iconic green bag will be a perfect gift from London.

The iconic posh department store in Knightsbridge has a wide array of gifts for every price range, and you’ll take your goods home in the distinctive green and gold bag that is recognizable all over the world. 

Want a posh gift from London? Harrods is the place.

13. Tea 

Tea is a great souvenir from London. Pictured: Teapigs, a British brand known for their quality, stacked on grocery shelves.
Teapigs is a nice UK brand that makes a great London souvenir.

No, I’m not talking Tetley. London has a huge selection of really excellent teas, and you can find them anywhere.

Teapigs is a great British brand that has a wide variety of flavors, but places like Fortnum & Mason and Harrods also have their own lines of teas that make great gifts. 

Tea is one of the best souvenirs from london because it packs easily, it’s affordable, and London is known for it.

14. Biscuits 

One of the most common and popular things to buy in London is the old standard: biscuits!

You could easily go for the grocery store digestives, but similar to teas, each shop has their own distinctive biscuits that are delicious and super easy to transport home. Plus, many of them come in cool tins and cute packaging. 

Biscuits make really affordable gifts from London, and they’re great for stocking stuffers.

15. Tote Bags  

You need something to carry your gifts around in anyway, so why not purchase a cute London tote bag that doubles as a souvenir?

Bookshops like Daunt Books have iconic tote bags, but pretty much anywhere that you visit will have one. Pick the one you like best and use it forever.

16. A Gift from Cult-Favorite Bookshops

exterior of the London Review Bookshop; one of the best places to shop for books and gifts in london

There’s a huge array of wildly popular independent bookstore in London, including Daunt Books in Marylebone, Foyles near Tottenham Court Road, and the iconic London Review Bookshop near the British Museum (pictured above).

Not only can you pick up a great read for your flight home, but you can browse their endless array of unique and thoughtful gifts and souvenirs.

17. Pimms

The classic British drink is a treat to take home to have a toast with friends. Though it’s gotten more popular all over the world recently, there’s nothing like taking home the classic British version. Pimms is always a cheap and cheerful gift from London!

18. A Fascinator or Hat

Stop by classic British milliner to pick up either a special occasion fascinator, or a posh British take on something to just keep the sun out of your eyes. Christy’s in Marylebone is a favorite of the Duchess of Cornwall.

19. Chocolate Mints with the Royal Seal of Approval

Bendicks of Mayfair has been making mint chocolates for the Royal Family for 90 years, and they were the Queen’s favorite for a reason. You can find these luxury – and easy to pack – chocolate boxes at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose.

20. A Scented Candle

Price’s Candles supplies all of the candles to the Royal household – including Buckingham Palace – and you can take one home for a fiver! Find these scented or unscented candles at Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

Easy to pack, and they come in lovely (but not overpowering) scents that the Royal family loves.

21. European Skincare & Sunscreen

European formulas are just plain superior for all things skincare. The sunscreens, creams, and retinoids are perfection, especially anything by Avene, La Roche Posay, and Vichy.

While you’re at it, grab all your French skincare faves which are also available in London, like A313, Biafine, and Caudalie. Need gifts from London for a teen? Go for skincare.

22. Anything from Museum Gift Shops

things to buy in london: go to a museum gift shop, like the one here at the iconic British Museum

London has some of the best museum gift shops in the world, and you can pick up incredible gifts from London while you’re visiting our stunning museums.

My favorites are at The British Museum, the V&A (which has some great art and design gifts), The National Gallery, and the London Transport Museum. These aren’t your typical gift shops filled with junk – there are actually incredible souvenirs here.

23. London-Themed Christmas Ornaments

I love shopping for Christmas ornaments on my travels because they’re easy to pack (just don’t get glass ones), and every year when you set up the tree it’s a delightful surprise memory of your trip.

Museum gift shops always have London-themed ornaments that are super cute and easy to fit in your suitcase!

24. Splurge on Bentley & Skinner

If I were to splurge on one thing in London, it would be jewelry from this Royal favorite shop near Green Park. They have so many unique and one-of-a-kind pieces you’ll wear forever.

25. Local, Original Pop Art from They Made This

They Made This is an art collective and gallery near Tottenham Court Road that sells art from local artists, and it’s all affordable! So much of the art here is cheerful, bright, and will always remind you of your time in this incredible city.

26. Merch from Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet’s Covent Garden megastore is a nerd’s dream: Manga, Anime, Marvel, music and film memorabilia, books & comics, and so much more is housed in this massive space.

This is a great place to shop with kids, teens and tweens, as they’re bound to have something that your kids are really into!

27. Toys from Hamley’s

If you’re visiting London with kids – or if you have kids in your life – Hamley’s is the place to go. The oldest and largest toy store in London, it’s seven massive floors of interactive play and toys.

Tip: Don’t go on the weekend; it gets really crowded.

28. Anything from Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas is one of those British chains that has a little bit of everything – think Anthropologie but at a lower price point. You can find unique jewelry, homeware, clothing, gifts, and accessories in any of the London locations. I’ve found some of my favorite necklaces and wallets here!

29. Shop Secondhand at London’s Charity Shops

what to buy in london: go charity shopping at a place like this: Cancer Research UK

Posh London women give away their Pradas like they’re a stick of gum, and you can be the lucky one who scoops them up for a song. Charity shopping in London is one of my favorite things to do: just pick a posh neighborhood, and browse favorites like Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, and Shelter for incredible deals on designer duds and accessories.

30. Score Deals at TK Maxx

If you’re from the US, you know that this is the same as TJ Maxx. The only difference? You’ll find European and British high street and designer brands here, for a fraction of the price.

My favorite is the biggest TK Maxx in London on Oxford Street, but chances are there’s one near you, too.

31. Get Your Christmas Shopping Done (or part of it!)

There’s nothing better than getting to-dos checked off your list, even while you’re on holiday. While visiting London you can find unique and exclusive Christmas gifts at a huge variety of shops. You’ll find really cool gifts that no one else will get them this year!

Souvenirs from London: The Absolute Worst & Tackiest Things to Buy 

1. Anything from a Souvenir Shop in Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, or Oxford Street

Image of Apple Market at Covent Garden with Pride Flags overhanging the rafters. Gifts from London don't get more unique than from local markets.
There are so many incredible markets to buy gifts, like Apple Market in Covent Garden. Go there instead of a terrible scam shop in a tourist trap!

These shops are notorious fronts for money laundering and other illicit activities. Plus, everything is overpriced garbage that they just bought on Amazon to resell. 

Stay away from these tourist traps! Junk like this from a place like this is one of the absolute worst things to buy in London.

2. Anything from a Candy Shop in a Tourist Trap 

Sure, they might have a cute Union Jack lollipop and Harry Potter-themed jelly beans, but your money is going directly to scammers. These are cheap things to buy in London, sure, but for what they are, it’s overpriced and a total rip off.

3. Union Jack Anything 

Sure, some of it is cute, but the Union Jack is pretty much the most unoriginal gift you can get.

A flag? C’mon. It’s one of the worst souvenirs from London.

4. Anything that says “Keep Calm and…” 

It was original the first time someone used the wartime phrase to make a cheeky pun. The 10,000th time? It’s just overplayed. 

5. Official Royal Merch 

Image of shopping district in Covent Garden with large floral decor overhanging the streets. Shop in covent garden for gifts from London; not souvenir shops.
Go to a pretty shopping district like Covent Garden; not the gift shop at Buckingham Palace.

Royal merch is not unique to London; it’s all over the UK, all over Amazon, all over everywhere. There are so many unique and cool gifts to bring home from London that don’t involve the Palace!

6. Marmite

I will get hate for this, but here goes: Marmite is gross. And if it breaks inside your luggage, you will never get the yeasty smell out.

Plus, it’s widely available across the world and not unique to London. What to buy in a London supermarket instead? Candy, tea, or biscuits, for a start.

7. T-shirts 

Unpopular opinion: graphic t-shirts are terrible. Graphic tees or sweatshirts that say “London” or “England” and aren’t repping a football team? Terrible. Save your money.

8. Street Market Stuff

It’s one thing if you’re in need of some winter gloves or an emergency spare suitcase and quickly buy off the street. It’s another if you’re aiming for an original and cool gift and end up with some junk the seller bought in bulk from Alibaba. 

Cheap things to buy in London are in street markets everywhere; it doesn’t mean they’re good gifts. DO support these hardworking sellers, but maybe not with purchasing gifts from London.

9. Corgi Stuff 

The Queen is gone, and her corgis were gone long before that. If you want to get a cute stuffed animal for your niece who loves puppies, have at it. But the corgi merch is overplayed and unoriginal. It’s also a really sad reminder for the royalists who really miss Queen Lizzie. 

Somehow there are still corgi things to buy in London everywhere. Why?

10. Anything with a Crown. 

Somehow these people print a crown on a shot glass and call it a London souvenir. It’s tacky and silly and you can do so much better! Try to find cool gifts from London; not I-forgot-and-shopped-at-the-airport gifts.

11. Tea Cups or Tea Sets. 

These are really impractical things to buy in London. Unless you’re investing in Wedgwood bone china or a very cool vintage tea set, there’s nothing here in the UK that you can’t get elsewhere.

It’ll break, it’ll take up too much space in your luggage, or you’ll spend a fortune shipping it home. There are many lovely Etsy sellers who can ship fragile gifts from London directly to you.

12. Trinkets and Tchotchkes

Image of lovely Chinatown in London with red paper lanterns overhanging the whole of the street. Chinatown is great for eating and has amazing sights, but gifts from London? Not so much.
If you’re in a touristy place like here in Chinatown, avoid the shops selling junk and hunt down local gift shops or markets instead.

Bobbleheads, shot glasses, a mini Tower Bridge– these things are a dime a dozen. You’ll spend £20 on a tiny red phone booth that will just sit on your shelf collecting dust for years. You can do better! 

13. Shortbread 

You’ll see tins and boxes of this everywhere, but shortbread isn’t actually a very popular thing in London. It actually originated in Scotland.

It’s cheap to produce, tastes terrible and dry, and these companies make a fortune pumping it out for tourists to bring home to relatives.

If you want some really tasty shortbread, go to Fortnum and Mason or Waitrose, and they make nice flavors, too.

14. Anything from M&M World 

Leicester Square is bad enough; why does this place have to exist inside of it? I really don’t know.

M&M’s are not unique to London, or even to England. It’s a big fat terrible chocolate tourist trap. Stay away. 

15. Masks 

Why do paper masks with Royal and celebrity faces on them exist? It’s as big a mystery as M&M world.

Save your money for something you can use and that will last and isn’t a gift from London that doubles as a tacky party favor. 

Final Thoughts on Gifts from London

There are so many things you could spend your hard earned money on in London, why not be a little picky and get something that’s really worth buying? Especially if it’s for a loved one, it’s not difficult to find unique and cool gifts from London that they’ll love forever.

Avoid the tourist traps and seek out places and gifts that are truly unique to London and England. But the best souvenirs of all? Photos and memories of what you did here. That’s what’s really worth investing in. 

More on Shopping in London 

Shopping at Battersea Power Station: Everything You Need to Know

What are All the Shops on Oxford Street? A Super Simple Guide (2024)

15 of the best Christmas Shops in London, from Budget to Luxe 

The Best Thrift Shops in London: 7 Areas to Score the Best Second Hand Bargains

Where’s the Biggest & Best TK Maxx in London? 

Grocery Shopping in the US vs UK: 5 Important Differences You Need to Know 

21 of the Best Korean Shops in London for K-Pop, K-Beauty & More

More on Visiting London: 

London Hotels for Family: 10 Great Values to Book Now

Your Ultimate Guide to a Family Trip to London on a Budget

33 Best Non-Touristy Things to Do in London

Printable London Packing List to Save you Money 

London 1 Day Itinerary 

Itinerary for 3 Epic Days in London: An Insider’s Guide

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