Perfect Presents

Penreath & Hall shop

1. Pentreath & Hall

What to buy the design enthusiast with the perennially cluttered desk? One of Bridie Hall’s iconic alphabet brush pots from Pentreath & Hall covers both bases – a great looking container to stash their pens and pencils. Alternatively, the shop sells prints by the likes of Eric Ravilioius and fine art by David Mitchell and Howard Phipps, alongside a range of unique homewares including seagrass rugs, maps and decoupage.

Pentreath & Hall, 17 Rugby St, London WC1N 3QT

Maggine Owen shop exterior with a jewellery window display

2. Maggie Owen

In 2006, inspired by the jewellery of Frenchman Philippe Ferrandis, Maggie Owen set up her own costume jewellery store in a converted dairy on the historic Rugby Street (directly opposite the house where Ted Hughes was living when he wooed Sylvia Plath). Here, she sells jewellery by a host of leading European designers including Madrid-based Anton Heunis, Christina Brampti from Athens and Parisian, Samuel Coraux – they’re the perfect jewels for adding a splash of excitement to any outfit.

Maggie Owen London, 13 Rugby St, London WC1N 3QT

Beas of Bloomsbury store

3. Bea’s of Bloomsbury

Not only is Bea’s a great destination for brunch or afternoon tea – think clotted cream scones, meringues and macarons with a glass or two of Champagne – it also sells some of the most delicious cakes in London to take home with you. Bea’s wheat-free chocolate cakes and vegan cupcakes have become especially popular and it’s easy to see why. All the baking takes place in the cafe’s open-plan kitchen, so the place smells as good as the cakes taste.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury, Aria House, Newton Street, London

Folk clothing shop

4. Folk Men’s

Brand of the moment Folk specialises in luxurious men’s and women’s basics. As well as beautifully made clothes you’ll also find leather pouches and wallets, caps and hats, and quilted wool blankets that make great gifts. Prices are reasonably high, but it’s worth it for the undeniable cool factor.  

Folk, 49 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NG

L Cornelissen & Son shop

5. L Cornelissen & Son

Treat the artist in your life to some supplies from the same shop Turner bought his materials. Selecting the right pigment, gouache, paper or brushes can prove difficult, especially when faced with what seems like the endless options at L. Cornelissen & Son, so make life easy for yourself and buy them one of the shop’s beautiful leather accessories – pencil cases, bound sketch pads, tool rolls and aprons – little luxuries often overlooked by the artist themselves.

L. Cornelissen & Son, 105A Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B

The exterior of James Smith & Sons

6. James Smith & Sons

If you can trust yourself to not leave your brolly on the bus, then James Smith & Sons has a vast catalogue of exquisite wooden-handled umbrellas that should last a lifetime. Ash, oak, cane, and maple handles are carved into ducks, dinosaurs, parrots and pugs (among others) that can be attached to city umbrellas for gents or parasols for ladies (or vice versa). The shop’s tropical hardwood walking sticks are just as elegant, especially those made from rare South American snakewood.

James Smith & Sons, 53 New Oxford St, London WC1A 1BL

Aesop store

7. Aesop

One of (if not) Australia’s leading cosmetics brand(s), Aesop has firmly cemented itself in the minds of the UK’s keenest pamperers, with more than a handful of shops around the capital. The store on Lambs Conduit Street, however, is arguably the finest. The design focuses on a series of copper shelves, sinks and taps that circulate running water around the shop – a nod to William Lamb’s 1577 conduit that brought water to the area. Pick up products for hair, skin, body and home – if nothing else, the Resurrection hand cream has become something of a cult favourite.

Aesop Lamb’s Conduit Street, 50 Lamb's Conduit St, London WC1N 3LH's-conduit-street

Fabled store

8. Fabled

A concept beauty store from monthly glossy Marie Claire, Fabled aims to create an ‘experiential customer journey’, using digital touch screens, spaces where customers can test different products, and an Edits area dedicated to seasonal recommendations from the magazine. There’s also a fragrance room, that stocks the likes of Tom Ford, Burberry and Miller Harris, and an entire mezzanine level for skincare products.

21 Tottenham Court Rd, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1BJ