Big Ben, Nelson's Column, the local independent kids shop... all of these places should be on your list of must-visits in the capital.
Of course London isn't without its large chain stores brimming with goodies for kids, but what about if you want to find something a little off beat. Something that no other child will have – that's when you'll have to go independent...
Supporting independent stores in a post-coronavirus world has never been more important. These smaller stores will be reliant on people like you to ensure their business can survive and flourish – but it's about more than just that. Shopping independently is about investing in your local economy and supporting someone's initiatives to start their own business. You can also expect highly engaged staff who are passionate about their products and what they do; it's a win-win situation for everyone! Independents work hard to seek out little-known brands and as-yet-unknown ranges so you can ensure your little one is less cookie cutter and more cutting edge. Plus, they seriously value your loyalty and have a reputation for going that extra mile. Many customers will rave about the personal touch and bespoke service they receive from their favourite independent store. And while you may pay a little more for some items, the pay off is better quality, better service and the knowledge that your money is going towards helping a small business thrive.
Unsurprisingly, London is a hot bed of independent stores aimed at mini consumers. Kidadl has rounded up the best top ten for you to try on your next shopping trip. Happy browsing!
Essex Road, N1 2SL
What They Sell: Interiors, toys, clothing, gifts.
Why We Love Them: This fab independent store is led by design, so anything you pick up will be seriously Insta-worthy. Hot tickets include the midi locker in mustard while the linen rompers are seriously cute. It's usually open seven days a week so it's great for last minute present ideas too. Items do come with a higher-than-usual price tag, but for both quality and uniqueness we think it's worth every penny. Brands stocked include Bonjour Little, Olli Ella and Mimi and Lula. The physical store is currently closed due to COVID-19 but plans to reopen soon - in the meantime you can shop online and have items delivered or collect from the store.
Brockley, SE4 2RS
What They Sell: Shoes, clothes and toys.
Why We Love Them: Though Gently Elephant stocks tonnes of toys and clothes (including brands like Mini A Ture, Mini Rodini and Barts), it's the shoe collection that customers love this independent for the most. There's shoes and boots from Bobux, lots of choices from Geox and the seriously stylish Saltwater sandals. The store's ethos is to only sell what they'd want to buy themselves, and it's definitely a winning formula.
The Baby Cot Shop
Chelsea, SW10 0LJ
What They Sell: High quality nursery furniture.
Why We Love Them: Because who wouldn't want their beloved child to sleep in a fantasy hot air balloon bed? This furniture is seriously swoon-worthy and every piece is custom made for you. That being said, if you can't delve too deep into pockets then the furniture might be out of your price range – but there's a range of nursery accessories and baby gifts which are reasonably priced and of the same high quality. The team also offers an interior design service which can even be done virtually.
Chelsea, SW3 4UD
What They Sell: Toys, books, gifts, shoes, clothes.
Why We Love Them: Not only was Trotters the first store dedicated solely to kids but all of the clothing here is exclusive to Trotters too, so you won't find it anywhere else. The Lily Rose dresses are particularly adorable while boys will look stylish in the cute line of Thomas Brown knitwear. This one-stop shop also boasts its own hair salon - the huge fish tank is a welcome distraction for haircut haters. Plus there's expert shoe fitting and great collection of footwear.
East Dulwich, SE22 8DR
What They Sell: Toys.
Why We Love Them: This family-run store is the place to go if you're after new toys! There's everything from the latest must-haves through to gadgets and art kits. Most importantly of all your little ones are actively encouraged to explore everything on sale – so no more purchases that fall flat when you get back home. The wooden toy selection is ample, but you can also find action figures, garden games, puzzles and books.
The Nursery Window
Chelsea, SW3 2HP
What They Sell: Bedding, blankets, toys, furniture, clothing.
Why We Love Them: Channel that Kate Middleton vibe with a visit to this lovely shop (currently by appointment only due to COVID-19). You'll find a range of merino shawls from G. H. Hurt & Son – the very same brand that the Duchess used to don Prince George in for his first public appearance. The printed fabrics used in products are all designed by the company and printed in the UK too. Although the majority of items are aimed at babies, the company has also carefully curated a thoughtful stock of gifts for older siblings so they don't feel left out.
The Children's Bookshop
Muswell Hill, N10 3HP
What They Sell: Books.
Why We Love Them: You'll be hard pushed to find a more passionate bunch than the staff here. They live and breathe books and have an innate ability to pair children with books. In the past they've had visits from top notch authors like Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, and Malorie Blackman. If you're not in London the store also runs a bespoke delivery service for book-loving kids. You can fill out a form to supply some information about the intended recipient and the shop will do the rest, delivering a new book every month.
Oh Baby London
Brick Lane, W9 2HH
What They Sell: Clothes.
Why We Love Them: If you don't want to dress your kid in identikit clothes then this is the place to shop. If you're tired of sugary, pastel shades then come and enjoy the fresh of breath air that is Oh Baby London. Cool monotone looks with slogans like 'Been Inside For Nine Months', 'Breaking Dad' and 'Worth The Wait' are on offer – trust us, your kid will thank you for it when they look back at old photos!
Bush Babes Baby Store
Cheshunt, EN8 0BS
What They Sell: Everything baby.
Why We Love Them: This baby mega-store is located on the outskirts of London but it's well worth a visit – preferably with a car to bring your haul home. There are three floors covering 6000 square feet and inside you can literally find everything you may possibly need for your parenting journey. There are prams and pushchairs to road test, car seats to trial and high chairs, furniture and bath accessories to coo over too. Run by two parents, they really have thought of everything here and the friendly staff have plenty of advice to share.
Crouch End, N8 8PR
What They Sell: Toys, clothes, arts and crafts, decor.
Why We Love Them: The ethos behind Niddle Noddle is one-off finds and vintage inspired buys. The two mums running the show here don't believe in mass production and have carefully selected small brands that haven't yet reached the mass market, along with a small, ever-changing selection of vintage buys. Shopping here can be a nostalgic experience for parents! There's also a good selection of pocket money toys for children to splash their hard-earned money on – starting from under £1.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
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Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
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