Souvenirs from London Hero
London Souvenirs

21 Souvenirs from London that Don’t Suck

When it comes time to pack your bags for London, don’t forget one important thing: you need to leave room for souvenirs!

No matter how many times I’ve visited, I always bring home some souvenirs from London. Sometimes they’re small, other times I’ve saved up and invested, and still other times they’re a giant pile of British candies and cookies that make the folks at airport security give me a funny look. No matter which London souvenirs you choose to remember your trip, you can’t go wrong as long as you don’t choose a crappy, cheap item made in China emblazoned with a Union Jack and “LONDON” in big capital letters.

Below you’ll find my suggestions for London souvenirs and gifts that don’t fall into that category. Instead, these will make your home more beautiful, bring a smile to your face, or remind you of the amazing memories you made while exploring London – and hopefully all three. As long as you use that criteria, you really can’t go wrong in choosing souvenirs from London.

Fortnum & Mason Tea Set

Best Souvenirs from London - Fortnum & Mason Tea Set
Photo courtesy of Fortnum & Mason

When it comes to afternoon teas in London, Fortnum & Mason makes every list; some find them a bit overrated while others love the little splurge for an iconic London experience. But with a little foresight – and a decent budget, you can recreate the experience at home. To do this, you’ll need a proper tea set.

I’m partial to the Camellia design which includes a two-cup teapot, tea cups and saucers, sugar bowl, milk jug, plus large and small plates for biscuits and finger sandwiches (more on that below), and tea tray to serve it all on. They also offer a Camellia candle to set the scene, and mugs to round out the set. If that totally blows your budget, I love the Camellia one-person tea set as a more budget-friendly option.

Of course they have other designs too, and you can always look for less expensive tea sets from other London shops.

Where to Buy it in London:

Fortnum & Mason
181 Piccadilly
London W1A 1ER

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Fortnum & Mason website.

Twinings English Tea

You might expect me to recommend Fortnum & Mason tea to go with your tea set, but I’m actually partial to Twinings, another English tea company. Twinings was founded in 1706 by Thomas Twining; today they sell teas and other beverages and have a tiny but must-visit shop along Strand in Central London.

If you’ll be in London, be sure to visit and peruse the many types of tea – it’s a bit like Ollivander’s Wand Shop in Harry Potter where the right tea will call out to you! You can also find many Twinings teas online, which makes it easy to buy this when you’re missing London or as a gift.

Where to Buy it in London:

Twinings
216 Strand
London WC2R 1AP

Where to Buy it Online:

This 48-pack on Amazon offers a wide variety to allow you to try many of Twinings’ popular teas.

Harrod’s Biscuits

Now that you have tea and a tea set to serve it in, you need some other goods to make your own at-home afternoon tea. You can certainly make tea sandwiches (cucumber and butter is my favorite!) but it also helps to have some sweets to go with your savory bites, rich tea, and indulgent champagne (yes, you should absolutely splurge for champagne tea when you’re doing it yourself!).

Harrod’s is an iconic London store, but they also have a famous food hall and offer some edible goodies for take-away – including biscuits in a cute tin. You can pick up one in-store after browsing the budget-blow-out departments to bring home, or snag one online for yourself or as a gift from London.

Where to Buy it in London:

Harrod’s
87-135 Brompton Rd
London SW1X 7XL

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Harrod’s website.

Umbrella

Best Umbrellas for London Hero

I’ve mentioned many times how important it is to include an umbrella when packing for London, and have even made suggestions for the best travel-friendly umbrellas as well as London-made umbrellas to bring home as a souvenir.

While it might seem stereotypical to say that an umbrella is one of the best souvenirs from London, London has perfected the umbrella after centuries of reliable rain. Surely we can trust London umbrella makers to design ones that can handle the weather and live up to London’s fashionable standards.

If you’re looking to buy an umbrella in London, there are plenty of options, though perhaps James Smith & Sons is the most well-known. They literally offer “The London” umbrella for gents and I personally love “The Pencil” umbrella with a classy leather handle for ladies.

Where to Buy it in London:

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

Where to Buy it Online:

British Perfume

Best London Gifts - Perfume
Photo courtesy of Les Senteurs

There are a number of British perfumers, but Les Senteurs is London’s oldest independent perfumery. Located in Belgravia, they’re known for gorgeous seasonal and scent-inspired flower displays that adorn the storefront – it’s a good spot for an Instagram photo if you’re in the area.

Les Senteurs uses a color-coded system to help you narrow down your scent preferences and choose the perfect one; staff on hand can also help you properly test and smell different options to find one you love.

Since you’re specifically looking for London souvenirs or gifts, you might consider one like Royal Mayfair by Creed or Diamond Jubilee Bouquet by Grossmith London. You can always pop into their shop on your London trip to see if they have any other London-inspired scents too.

Where to Buy it in London:

Les Senteurs
71 Elizabeth St
London SW1W 9PJ

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Les Senteurs website.

London Notebook

Photo courtesy of Choosing & Keeping

If you love to keep notes of all your adventures, having a beautiful, inspiring notebook is a must-have. It can also be one of the best souvenirs from London, since you can start by filling it with stories from your time exploring the city.

Choosing Keeping in Seven Dials is the place to browse and find the perfect one. Their composition notebooks are sturdy thanks to their hard covers and each has an iconic, colorful design; most covers are original screen-printed silks or wallpapers salvaged and brought back to life to inspire your note-taking. I’m personally partial to this wallpaper design and this one with tarot cards on it.

Choosing Keeping also offers other stationary supplies if paper is your preferred art medium.

Where to Buy it in London:

Choosing Keeping
21 Tower Street
London WC2H 9NS

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Choosing Keeping website.

Harry Potter Souvenirs

Best Souvenirs from London - Kings Cross Station
Photo courtesy of The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾

London has had many iconic characters over the years, but none was perhaps so much of a phenomenon as Harry Potter – heck, it still is wildly popular to visit Harry Potter sites and film locations across London and make the journey to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden.

As such, bringing home something magical from the Wizarding World is a perfect London souvenir. I don’t have a specific recommendation as A) I don’t know what house you’re in (or whomever you’re buying this London gift for) and B) there are so many choices for what to buy, it’s impossible to choose.

What I will suggest is that you visit a number of different stores: the Harry Potter studio tour has its own gift shop, but you should also definitely swing by two other stores: The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾ (King’s Cross Station) and House of Spells in Central London. Be prepared to have a hard time choosing what to get!

Where to Buy Harry Potter souvenirs in London:

The Harry Potter Shop
Platform 9¾
King’s Cross Station
London N1 9AP

House of Spells
69-71 Charing Cross Rd
London WC2H 0NE

Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear is another London icon; this lovable childhood friend has been immortalized in children’s books as well as the recent – and surprisingly much-lauded – movies.

As you might guess, Paddington Bear hails from the part of London that shares his name: Paddington. There is (again unsurprisingly) a Paddington Store in Paddington Station, where you can find all kinds of Paddington goodies, including unspeaking Paddington Bear plushies to bring home as gifts from London for all the kids in your life. There are also collectibles and other items for those who aren’t children anymore – or children at heart.

Where to Buy it in London:

Paddington Store
The Lawn, Unit 4
Paddington Station
London W2 1HB

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Paddington Store website.

Beatles Memorabilia

When most people think of London’s icons, they imagine Big Ben, Tower Bridge, or the London Eye – but there are of course also cultural icons that we can’t ignore – like Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, and the Beatles. Though the Beatles didn’t hail from London originally, it’s no surprise that the British capital embraced the four blokes from Liverpool as their own – especially after that iconic Abbey Road album cover, putting London’s most famous music recording studio on the map, so to speak.

If you or someone you love is a Beatles fan, bringing home some memorabilia is definitely one of the best souvenirs from London. There’s a London Beatles Store not far from 221b Baker Street – home to famous, fictional detective Sherlock Holmes (next on this list) – which is perfect if you want anything (or everything) Beatles.

Where to Buy it in London:

London Beatles Store
231-233 Baker St
London NW1 6XE

Where to Buy it Online:

On the London Beatles Store website – admittedly not the best web design in 2022, but it does the trick.

Sherlock Souvenirs

For one last pop culture icon, aspiring detectives and astute observers may want to bring home a souvenir from London honoring their favorite fictional detective. Sherlock Holmes has been embraced by London, and the consulting detective’s home address – 221b Baker Street – is now a Sherlock Holmes Museum and Gift Shop. This is a great spot to pick up unusual gifts like magnifying glasses, deerstalker caps, and keepsake smoking pipes. There are also more traditional Sherlockian gifts, like collectable copies of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, bookmarks, tees, and even a Sherlock teddy for the kids.

If you’re looking for another option, consider popping into the Sherlock Holmes (10 Northumberland St). This pub honors the detective in both name and style; inside you’ll find a preserved replica of the detective’s sitting room that you can snap photos with for a different kind of souvenir from London.

Where to Buy it in London:

Sherlock Holmes Museum
221b Baker St
London NW1 6XE

British Chocolate & Candies

I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but there’s something about British chocolate that I can’t resist… it’s probably the fact that they use a very different mixture of ingredients to create a smoother, richer flavor than what we enjoy here in the States.

In any case, I always end up bringing home a few Cadbury chocolate bars when I return from London (and enjoying a few while there, too!). These candy bars can be found in every major shop, including Tesco and other corner stores across the city.

If you want to go less mainstream, there are also craft chocolatiers like Land in East London which are committed to a higher standard of bean-to-bar. You can visit their chocolate factory (how cool would it be to work there?!) and find their bars at some vendors across the city.

Where to Buy it in London:

Land Chocolate
Arch 22A, Cudworth St
London E1 5QU

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Land Chocolate website.

Non-Perishable Ingredients from Borough Market

Everyone knows Borough Market is London’s best big market for foodstuffs; that means it’s also a great place for delicious London souvenirs – as long as they’re non-perishable and can be packed in your luggage.

I don’t have a specific recommendation here; instead I suggest wandering the stalls to see what catches your eye. For example, I brought home several bottles of truffled sauce, discovered my favorite Eastern European eggplant spread (ajvar), and stocked up on sweets as gifts for friends and family.

Don’t forget to check the fresh food stalls too – Borough Market is a great place for lunch and to stock up on dairy, produce, and other goods if you have access to a kitchen during your London trip.

Where to Buy it in London:

Borough Market
8 Southwark St
London SE1 1TL

Where to Buy it Online:

n/a – you gotta do this one in person, in London!

Gin or Pimms

If you tend toward enjoying a destination through its spirits (like my husband), this one’s for you. London has inspired many drinks, but none is perhaps so quintessentially British as gin, and – during the summer – its cousin Pimms.

Gin has been popular in Britain dating back to the ‘gin craze’ of the late 1600s; the history is actually pretty wild. Today, there are a number of craft gin distilleries to try, if you love this herbaceous spirit. You can find many of them even in corner shops like Tesco.

During the summer, you might also want to try – and bring home – a bottle of Pimm’s. A gin-based liqueur with quinine, Pimm’s goes great with a splash of seltzer or lemon-lime soda, and fresh fruit and mint added. You’ll see this advertised as a Pimm’s Cup across London’s pubs during the warm months, and when made right, it’s deliciously refreshing.

Where to Buy it in London:

You can try gin and Pimm’s at most pubs; you can buy it at basically all corner stores that sell alcohol including Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s.

Where to Buy it Online:

Many liquor stores carry these products; you can also order via Drizly for delivery.

A New Instagram Hat

Hats have seen a resurgence in fashion thanks to their proliferation on social media, but that doesn’t mean I suggest buying just any ol’ hat while you’re in London. Instead, head to Lock & Co Hatters. As the oldest hat shop in the world, they’re consummate professionals and won’t roll their eyes when you ask for a hat that will look good on the ‘gram. They’re also quite historic – it’s said that Lewis Carroll was inspired to create his Mad Hatter character in Alice Through the Looking Glass based on Lock & Co Hatters.

Where to Buy it in London:

Lock & Co Hatters
6 St James’s St
London SW1A 1EF

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Lock & Co Hatters website.

London Prints from Cath Kidston

Best Souvenirs from Lonon - Cath Kidston
Photo courtesy of Cath Kidston

I fell in love with Cath Kidston and her playful printed fabric during my time living in London; I’ll be honest, as a broke student I usually ended up buying knock-off versions from the vendors that you used to be able to find in certain parts of the city. I don’t see those vendors anymore, and thankfully my education paid off as I’m now able to buy Cath Kidston products properly.

They sell clothing, home goods, and bags – I personally have a wallet, skirt, and purse that I love and you might see me sporting in various photos across this site.

Some of my favorite prints are London-inspired, making them perfect souvenirs from London; these patterns come and go, so I recommend just popping into the flagship store on Piccadilly to browse whatever’s in season.

Where to Buy it in London:

Cath Kidston Flagship
178-180 Piccadilly
London, W1J 9ER

Where to Buy it Online:

On the Cath Kidston website.

Museum Souvenirs

While I don’t consider myself a big museum person, London has some incredible museums, and that also means there are some awesome museum gift shops to peruse for London souvenirs. While the goods you’ll find in each vary based on the museum’s focus, here are a few I recommend checking out:

Seriously though, whichever museum you visit, be sure to pop into the gift shop to see if anything truly unique catches your eye. These items often cost more than what you’ll find in corner souvenir shops, but are higher quality and even more meaningful souvenirs from London (or gifts if you’re splurging on someone else).

Football Fan Souvenirs

While Arsenal and Chelsea are the two biggest and most well-known football (soccer) teams in London, there are a number of other teams too – 17 in fact, including Crystal Palace, Queen’s Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United. All this to say: London loves its football, and if you do too, there are some great souvenirs from London for soccer/football fans.

You should, of course, look into getting a scarf from your favorite team; all teams have them and they are a great way to show pride on match days or just when strolling around the city on a chilly afternoon. Most teams also offer other gift packs; on my first London trip, I bought some that included a bar towel, coaster, and pint glass – perfect for celebrating a win at home.

Where to Buy it in London:

The best place to snag football souvenirs is at the local club or stadium, but you can also find gift packs in standard souvenir shops.

Where to Buy it Online:

Look up your favorite club online – almost all have online shops.

Shadow Boxes from Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

Souvenirs from London - Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop

While Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop may evoke memories of your favorite shop growing up – or perhaps that scene in Home Alone 2 where Kevin visits the amazing toy shop in New York City, this particular London souvenir is less about play and more about keepsake memories.

In particular, the shadow boxes from Benjamin Pollock’s are works of art, and harken back to a day where more attention and detail was paid to the stimulation we gave our children through their toys. Best of all, these require a bit of work to truly enjoy – you have to color and cut them yourself, making them a level up from the standard coloring book/activity.

I recommend just visiting the shop in person to behold the magic of these unique London gifts, as it’s hard to describe but truly compelling. Even better, the shop is located in Covent Garden, which is a great place to browse for other London souvenirs.

Where to Buy it in London:

Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop
44 The Market
London WC2E 8RF

London Christmas Ornaments

Is there any better feeling than reaching into your box of holiday decorations and pulling out an ornament that reminds you of a past adventure or experience? In our house, we buy new ornaments every year to mark our travels, and that means that we of course have several London ornaments by this point.

There are no specific places I recommend to buy ornaments, and this is generally a seasonal suggestion. You can certainly find ornaments for sale in most (cheesy/kitschy) souvenir shops but if you want higher quality and something meaningful, you’ll need to hold out and visit in the months leading up to the winter holiday season.

In terms of style, there is no specific rule here, though I’ve found that London ornament makers tend to create beautiful painted baubles that will look gorgeous and stand out on your tree.

Where to Buy it in London:

Seasonally, at London’s Christmas Markets like Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and Southbank Centre Winter Market.

Where to Buy it Online:

I purchased a set from London Pop Box; they offer this seasonally. There are lots of online vendors, but I recommend buying in person to give this London souvenir more meaning.

London Candles

London-Scented Candles Hero

I’ve written an entire list of London candles that serve as great London gifts or souvenirs; it seemed remiss to leave them off the list now. Admittedly many on that list are not made in London, but are instead designed to evoke the scents of London (in the best way possible, of course!).

While nobody’s captured that wonderful homecoming smell of the Piccadilly Line as you’re riding in from Heathrow, you can find London candles with scents like “Tea & Biscuits,” “London Fog,” and “AM in London.”

Click here for my full list of London candles and find one that will be a great London souvenir or gift.

Iconic Metal Keychains

Okay, I had to include at least one cheeseball London souvenir suggestion, and I only did because I actually have this one at home and love it. Many years ago, after moving back to the U.S. from London, I found a metal red double-decker bus keychain on the street and picked it up. It became my primary keychain and when it broke, my husband brought me a replacement one on his next trip across the pond.

Now these kitschy keychains are my favorite little London souvenir, and I can’t imagine not having a reminder of my favorite destination on my keys.

Luckily, you can find this budget-friendly souvenir at basically every souvenir shop across the city; this is a great one if you want something affordable and stereotypical but which will also bring a smile to your face every time you see it.

Where to Buy it in London:

At souvenir shops across London.

Where to Buy it Online:

Amazon has this London keychain four-pack; I’ve got both the phone booth and bus at home right now!

Which of these souvenirs from London will you be bringing home from your trip? Let me know any questions or comments below!

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    Valerie fell in love with London on her first trip to the city way back in 2011. Since then, she spent a year living in London and visits as often as she can. Join her to explore my favorite city on earth and learn everything you need to discover the best London has to offer!

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