(Please note: major updated version of this tour is now available here: I'm keeping the following online for archival purposes)
By Jamie Goode, www.wineanorak.com
London is a great place to shop for wine. So, on your next trip to the capital, why not take my tour of London wine shops? I've selected what I think are some of the more interesting wine shops and joined them together in a semi-logical sequence. You can use this guide either to plan a mega trawl of all the shops, or alternatively you can pick just one or two. Have fun, and remember, you really are a wine anorak if you gain pleasure (as I do) from browsing the shelves in wine shops!
The guide includes links to the relevant street maps, so all you need to do is print these out and bring them with you.
1. We begin at the traditional shopping heartland of London, Oxford Street. FromOxford Circus tube station, head West along Oxford Street, past John Lewis, until you reach Selfridges (400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB, Phone: 0207 629 1234). The food hall and wine departments both boast an impressive selection and are a must visit.
Map for Selfridges
2. Return to Oxford Circus tube station. Now you have two options. You can either walk down Regent Street to Piccadilly (5-10 minutes), or catch the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus station (one stop). From Piccadilly Circus station, take a right (westwards) along Piccadilly. Shortly you will come toFortnum and Mason (181 Picadilly, London W1A 1ER, Phone: 0207 7348040 Fax: 0207 437 3278, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.fortnumandmason.co.uk), which is on the south (opposite) side of the road. Turning left (westwards) out of Fortnum and Mason, the first major right turn is St James's St, rich in historical interest and the home to one of the UK's most traditional merchants Berry Bros & Rudd (3 St James's Street, London SW1A 1EG, Phone: 0207 396 9669, Fax: 0207 396 9611, E-mail: email@example.com, Website: www.bbr.co.uk).
Map for Fortnum & Mason, Berry Bros & Rudd
3. Return to Piccadilly Circus tube station, and take the Piccadilly line to Knightsbridge. Coming out of the Station, take the exit marked 'Harrods'. This will lead you to probably the famous department store of them all.Harrods (87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL, Phone: 0207 730 1234) is an experience in itself, and the wine department has some ethereal stuff, as you might expect.
Map for Harrods
4. Return to Knightsbridge tube station and take the Picadilly line to South Kensington (one stop). From here, head along the Old Brompton Road (in red on the map: don't confuse this with the Brompton Road) a short distance toLa Vigneronne (105 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LE, Phone: 0207 589 6113 Fax: 0207 581 2983, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). This in one of the most interesting wine merchants in London, specialising in wines from Southern France among others and running an excellent tastings programme.
Map for La Vigneronne
(Alternative here: walk to South Kensington tube, taking inLa Réserve (56 Walton Street, London SW3 1RB, Phone: 0207 589 2020 Fax: 0207 581 0250, E-mail: email@example.com). Take a left from Harrods, left down Beauchamp Place, and then right into Walton Street. After La Reserve, carry on up Walton Street back on to Brompton Road, then right and almost immediately straight across up Pelham Street to South Kensington tube. La Vigneronne is left down the Old Brompton Road from here.)
5. Return to South Kensington tube station and take the District and Circle line to Notting Hill Gate. From here,Lea & Sandeman (211 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LX) is a short walk.
Map for Lea & Sandeman
6. Return to Notting Hill Gate tube station and take the Central Line to Chancery Lane tube. Turn right out of the exit (heading east along High Holborn), and cut down to Farringdon Street via Shoe Lane.Oddbins Fine Wine (41a Farringdon Street) may be a little out of the way, but it is worth the detour, with an intriguing and fairly priced selection. Map for Oddbins Fine Wine From here, re-trace your steps to Chancery Lane tube, and then return to Oxford Street on the Central Line. If you are anything like me, by this stage your arms will be creaking with the weight of the shopping bags, and you'll be skint.