Top 10 Unique Stores
1. Thornback & Peel
This quirky collaboration between founders Juliet Thornback and Delia Peel quickly grew from a small studio in Cockpit Arts in 2006 to a self-sustaining shop in Bloomsbury. Drawing inspiration from Victoriana, Mrs Beeton’s household management, Mr McGregor’s garden, 17th century microscope imagery of the natural world, Norfolk and Devon, their goods celebrate quirkiness, fun and artistry.
For more information please visit www.thornbackandpeel.co.uk
Somewhat of a legend in Camden’s history, and a big tourist attraction, Cyberdog is an experience to remember. With music that (almost) never stops, glow-in-the-dark- well – everything, and lively staff that always dances and never seems to sleep, Cyberdog is an endless celebration of futuristic rave.
For more information please visit www.cyberdog.net
3. Cornelissen & Sons
Quite the opposite atmosphere can be found in this little Victorian art shop, which stocks everything from quills to rows of paint brushes, calligraphy equipment, pigments, pastels and even a small selection of books.
For more information please visit www.cornelissen.com
4. James Smith & Sons
Anyone who has ever travelled on the 55 bus has seen this shop. Located just past Tottenham Court Road Station, this shop takes you back in time to when young, dashing lads still bought walking sticks. Folding sticks, country sticks, sticks covered in python skin: you name it, they have it. Established in 1830, this is the place to go if you pursue craftsmanship – or a glimpse of the past.
For more information please visit james-smith.co.uk
5. Arthur Beale
An odd apparition on the end of Shaftsbury avenue, stuck between bookshops, guitar seller and fish and chips vendors, this yacht chandlery sells everything boat-y: from any type of rope imaginable to radios, lamps, wind meters, fittings, paints and engine equipment. With a history going back as far as the 16th century, this authentic shop is surprisingly modern and useful for boat owners.
For more information please visit arthurbeale.co.uk
6. The Moomin Shop
We all love the Moomins. The Moomin shop in Covent Garden is the place to be for your Moomin memorabilia, selling everything from Moomin books to Moomin toys, Moomin prints and Moomin cups, all displayed in customized blue Moomin houses.
For more information please visit www.themoominshop.com
Even if you’re not into acrobatics or juggling, Oddballs is still worth a visit if only for the amazing colours and trinkets it displays. Hoops in all the colours of the rainbow, glow-in-the-dark diabolos, and unicycles: Oddballs has it all.
For more information please visit www.oddballs.co.uk
8. Magma Books
Our editor’s favourite bookshop asks an important question: what is a shop? According to Magma’s founders, it is a “common experience, a series of more or less successful attempts at communicating ideas, needs, interests, passions, obsessions, dreams.” As such, Magma continues to defy definition: they sell books, but also totes, games (Bird Bingo, anyone?) and stationary. Their new flagship store can be found in Covent Garden.
For more information please visit magma-shop.com
9. Ray Man
Ray Man’s music store was established in 1972 and hosts one of the largest collections of instruments from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America in Europe. Welcome to the wonderfully weird history of music!
For more information please visit www.raymaneasternmusic.co.uk
10. Drink, Shop, Do
Is it a shop? Is it a bar? Is it a plane? DrinkShopDo in Kings Cross is everything rolled into one (except maybe a plane). Its KC location serves tea and treats during the day, and turns into a bar by night. Asides from this they host games like Trump vs. Clinton Clay Play, date nights (Jenga Dating), a temporary tattoo parlour and several workshops. Oh and you can buy everything you see.
For more information please visit drinkshopdo.com