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The best of London's gift shops – on-line!

London is home to the world’s greatest concentration of shops, museums and galleries. It may not be possible to visit them in person at the moment but their on-line shops allow us to browse through all of the galleries' and museums' wonderful products and even indulge in a little long-distance retail therapy.


The National Gallery

The National Gallery is the national collection of Western art from the thirteenth through to the twentieth century. The collection of over two thousand paintings takes in every major artist and artistic movement across that eight hundred-year time frame. The on-line shop also has a range of beautiful objects for art connoisseurs or people like me, who just like pretty pictures.

You can order a deckchair for £120, the canvas of which is printed with Van Gogh’s Wheatfield. If you don’t like Van Gogh then they have Constable, da Vinci or Monet, in fact a whole collection of different artists’ works.


How much prettier would this look in the garden than boring old red and white stripes like a tube of toothpaste?





可愛い (Kawaii) means loveable or cute. This £8.99 book teaches you how to draw anything and everything in this instantly recognisable Japanese pop culture style.

The National Gallery also stocks a full range of artists’ biographies and academic works on techniques, art history and interpretation as well as other gift ideas such as scarves, wrapping paper and bags.


If you are looking for a gift for an art lover, then look no further than the National Gallery on-line shop.




The Design Museum

The design museum has been showcasing industrial, graphic, fashion and product design to Londoners for over thirty years now. The on-line shop has a range of products searchable by price, material, colour, designer, brand and even which room of the house in which to pop it – from mugs, vases, lunchboxes, flannels, chairs and shoe-shaped cement plant pots.

It is never too young to get kids learning the difference between Brutalist and Weetabix, Palladian and Pinocchio. ‘Architecture for Babies’ (£5.99) is a wonderful little book introducing the built environment to tiny minds.

Do you think Richard Rogers’ mum just let him read ‘Roger Red Hat’, ‘Meg & Mog’ or ‘Green Eggs and Ham’?

No, she had him on books like this as soon as his eyes could focus! That's why he is an award winning architect today!

What could be more London than a bowler hat? Inspired by the work of Belgian surrealist René Magritte the Design Museum on-line shop has these fantastic 56 cm high Jeeves Bowler Hat table lamps.

Why not give your desk a touch of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ feel to it for £295?







London Transport Museum

Perhaps no other city has an identity that is so tied into its public transport. A red circle with a blue line through it, the black taxis, the patented typeface used on the tube, red double-decker buses; they immediately tell us ‘London’ without saying a word. Buy some of that design history for yourself from the London Transport Museum’s on-line shop.

Choo, choo! So, who does NOT want to own their very own vitreous enamel genuine tube sign from Liverpool Street station?

Almost seventy million people walked past this sign last year alone and now you can walk past it in your own home as many times as you like for just £2500. If you walked past it just seventy million times and paid yourself a penny each time you did so, then frankly the thing would pay for itself in no time. It's a no brainer.

London Underground is very proud of the fact that all of its seating is upholstered and deep down, so is every Londoner.

Buried in the bottom of our hearts there is a special fondness for the indestructible carpet-like moquette that cushions our bottoms on our tired commutes home, that brushes our legs on our trips to see friends, that cradles our backs after a night out on the town.

This little handbag might look cute but that moquette is built to last, so at £55 it’s basically an investment you deserve.








The Royal Collection

The Royal Collection is the charitable foundation that manages Her Majesty’s art collection, the largest private art collection in the world. Paintings, sculptures, clocks, dinner services, tapestries and carpets from the collection grace Her Majesty’s homes, the public areas of the royal palaces and are also lent out to museums across the country. As well as this they manage the public admission to the Queen’s two main residences, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The on-line shop has quite an addictive offering; tea cups, jams, slippers, aprons, cushions, earrings and biscuits, the best part of which is that once you have eaten them you still have the beautiful biscuit tin to keep afterwards.

Her Majesty does possess one of the world’s largest and most impressive collections of jewellery in the world and whilst no-one can compete, we can dream and we can try!

The Buckingham Palace Crystal Arch Tiara sets sparkling diamonds in a white gold-plated metal base.

£95 to feel like a queen. If you wear it every day for a year that’s just twenty-six pence a day. You are worth it!

Coffee! Coffee with breakfast, coffee before lunch, coffee with lunch, coffee after lunch, coffee in the afternoon, coffee in the evening, coffee in the bath, coffee on the go, coffee with friends, coffee with a book, coffee on the ‘phone, coffee in the garden! Now, wouldn’t that coffee be oh-so-much more special if it were served from a blush pink Imperial Russian Coffee pot?

Yes – it would! Don’t argue with me!

These are made in Stoke-on-Trent, the cradle of the English porcelain industry, following a two-hundred-year-old technique and are then hand-finished in 22-carat gold, so actually the £225 price tag is pretty reasonable


The Science Museum

Home to the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive, the Apollo 10 Command module and the first jet engine, the Science Museum attracts over three million visitors a year. The on-line shop stocks not only books on the permanent and temporary exhibitions but also children’s science kits, gadgets for grown-ups and cool gift ideas for anyone in possession of a brain and at least one of their senses. That includes you!

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe’ sang The Hollies to great commercial acclaim in 1974. They probably did not sing those words from any deep environmental conviction but we have learnt a lot in the last forty-eight years and we now know that the air that we breathe is very, very important.

This Flow air pollution sensor monitors the three main categories of pollutants with direct impact on our health. The accompanying app gives recommendations on how to reduce exposure to nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter.

Monitor your environmental health and walk around checking your surroundings like character from a sci-fi movie for £159, which is a much less than a trip to Mars would cost you!

I don’t know what kind of child you were like, but I loved anything ‘build-it-yourself’ and maybe you have grown up more than me, but I still love anything like that.

This built-it-yourself safe not only teaches you how to build it and set the combination but then how pick the lock again.

Perfect for aspiring locksmiths and bank robbers and only £50.




The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum manage two sites in London, south of the river the main building tells the story of worldwide conflicts since the twentieth century but around the corner from the Houses of Parliament they also run the Churchill War Rooms, the underground bunker complex from which Winston Churchill and his cabinet directed the country during the darkest days of the Second World War. The on-line shop has a large poster collection from the country’s propaganda drives during the two world wars as well as vintage fashions (airmen’s leather holdalls, children’s aviator jackets), an extensive collection of literature relating to the armed forces and the impact of conflict and probably the world’s best one-stop shop for the dedicated Winston Churchill fan.

This apron is emblazoned with a poster design from the First World War, encouraging the nation’s housewives to hasten the victory by fighting the war on waste in the kitchen.

Of course, it is the twenty-first century now so this apron can be worn by anyone sensible in the kitchen regardless of gender identity. Who doesn’t want a classic poster design apron for £18? It also come with a matching tea towel for £8.

One of the most distinctive aspects of Winston Churchill’s image (and he was a very image conscious man) were his spectacles. These tortoise-shell effect CW Dixey & Son Chartwell replica glasses are handmade in France and are the same model Gary Oldman wore (and won an Oscar in) when playing the great man in the 2017 film ‘The Darkest Hour’. They cost £340, so wear them all year and that is less than a pound a day to look like one of the greatest ever Englishmen.

 

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