Visiting Harrods isn’t anything like going to your local shopping centre. Europe’s largest department store offers a lot more than just items for sale in its 330 departments; items which can come as a cheap as £2 or cost more than £1 million. Harrods features an enormous food area, where visitors can select anything from sweets and pastries to seafood and meat that is literally cut off the bone in the store. Numerous rare and famous items can also be found inside Harrods including guitars used by famous rock stars, props from movies, and a memorial for Princes Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed. Harrods provides a true experience of English-style upmarket shopping and fine dining, along with some spectacular sights and items that can’t be found anywhere else.
- Food Hall – The Harrods food hall can take almost an hour or more to get through. The hall contains items from every food group in inconceivable amounts. The food hall is made up of four rooms. One room contains chocolate, coffee, tea, and confectionery. The world-renowned Harrods tea can be found here, featuring all different flavors. Everything is set out in elaborate displays that make it difficult to walk past without stopping to stare and salivate. Candy, pastry, fruits and vegetables, general groceries, and more rare foods can be found spread out across two of the other rooms. The final room holds all the restaurants, where visitors can order fresh meat and seafood that is cooked right in front of them.
- Furniture – Modern and antique furniture can be found on the third floor. Within a variety of rooms visitors can find items that can transform the inside of their home so extravagantly it will make the royal palace look like a cheap hostel. Unfortunately, these items come at a ridiculous price (some items are even as much as £1 million), but they are amazing to look at and dream about owning.
- Clothing and Accessories – All of Harrods five floors, excluding the third, contain various clothing and accessory departments. These can range from affordable clothes to the expensive and rare designer pieces. Both men and women are catered for, but there are more stores featuring women fashion. The truly unique clothes from all over the world can be found on the first floor. These clothes may be beyond most people’s wallets, but they’re also pieces you’d have to travel around the globe to see elsewhere.
- Pet Palace – Pet Palace epitomizes the amount of money and effort people are prepared to spend on their pets. At Pet Palace, owners can drop their pets off for pampering or pick them out items that will ensure they live a life of luxury similar to royalty.
- Rare Items and Displays – A trip to Harrods would not be complete without seeing the various unique and rare items that are on display and for sale. The Egyptian Escalator is a beautifully decorated area of Harrods and contains both of the memorials created for Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed. One memorial even holds the lipstick-stained wine glass Diana used the night of her death and an engagement ring purchased by Dodi. Other rare items that can be found include guitars played by rock stars like the Beatles and props from famous movies like the James Bond franchise.
- Personal Shopping – If you feel like spending quite a bit extra, you can organize to have a personal shopping assistant take you around Harrods and help you find that perfect item. Personal shopping is only available by appointment. Call +44 20 7893 8000 or email [email protected] for more information.
- Getting Turned Away – Harrods originally had a strict dress code and the security could turn away people who they deemed unworthy of entering the store. These days the dress code no longer exists. However, security still have the right to disallow entry to whomever they want without giving a reason, so don’t do anything that might make the wrong people not like you or you could find yourself left out on the street.
- Eating at Harrods – The food smells and looks incredible at Harrods and it tastes even better. However, you should be prepared to spend close to £40 for a meal if you want to eat at one of the restaurants. If you’d rather not spend that much, there are plenty of other options just outside of Harrods.
- Events – Harrods often runs special events during the year including fashion shows, discounts, and its famous Christmas department. Check the “News and Events” section online to see if anything is being held during your visit.
- London Underground – The London Underground provides one of the cheapest and easiest means of transportation to Harrods. There are stations all around London, so you’ll rarely find it inconvenient to find a station near you. To reach Harrods, catch the Piccadilly Line to Knightsbridge Station. Exit the station at the Brompton Road exit. Tickets aren’t expensive, but your best option is to buy an Oyster Card: a convenient swipe card that stores credit and gives a generous discount on all tickets. Click here for a map of all the Underground stations.
- Hop–On Hop–Off Bus – The Hop-on Hop-off Bus provides reliable and easy transport for anyone wanting to see numerous attractions during their visit to London. Purchasing a 24-hour ticket for $42 enables the holder to catch the bus as many times as they wish during a 24-hour period. The bus visits all the popular attractions in London. For Harrods, catch the blue route and disembark at the Harrods stop.
- Bus – Catch bus line 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 137, 414, 452, or C1.
In 1851, after a string of successful business ventures, Charles Harrod took over a small store on the site of the current Harrods department store. A few years later, Harrod’s son was left in charge with only two staff. He steadily built the business up over the next 29 years. By 1880, Harrods had a staff of 100 people and the department store consisted of numerous adjoined buildings.
Harrods’ progress was cut short by a devastating fire that burned the shop’s buildings to the ground in 1883. After another 22 years, the present Harrods building was completed. During this time, Harrods still functioned as a retail supplier.
In 1985, Harrods was purchased by the Fayed brothers for £615 million, and in 2010 it was sold for £1.5 billion. It continues to serve as an upmarket department store, with more than 5000 staff from over 50 different countries.
- Harrods debuted England’s first escalator in 1898.
- Since 1989, Harrods has turned away a soldier in uniform, a woman with a Mohican haircut, a 95kg woman, and a sporting team for wearing tracksuits. They were deemed unworthy of entering the store. This discrimination has recently ceased.
- About 300,000 customers visit Harrods on a peak day.
- The Harrods motto is: All Things for All People, Everywhere.