Whether you're eager to splurge in luxuriant splendour or you simply want to gawk at some of the world's greatest garish excess, a trip to London would not be complete without venturing into the weird and wonderful world of Harrod's.
For the sheer wow factor scale of it, a visit to this fabled department store cannot be beat.
The five acre Harrods has more than 350 departments and over a million square feet of retail space. It is by far the UK's biggest shop, dwarfing the second place Selfridges (with a mere 540,000 square feet of selling space).
The motto at Harrods (yeah, a department store with it's own motto) is Omnia Omnibus Ubique (all things for all people everywhere). So even if you can't afford to buy a name brand designer handbag here, rest assured there'll be some branded and “Harrods” green trinket for sale for any price point.
At the very least, browsing the many aisles here provides an opportunity to see how the other 1% live while catching up on the latest styles.
Beyond the obvious retail reasons, Harrods' art nouveau opulence warrants attention. Definitely give its massive food halls a wander and strongly consider having a meal, snack or drink in one of its 32 restaurants and eateries. From a full on afternoon tea to a pizza, if you have a hankering for it, odds are they cook it here.
An “Egyptian Escalator” ride to the lower ground floor to pay your respects at the flowers, photos and lots of gold “Dodi and Diana” memorial is well in order during your visit.
After that, take the same ornate escalator up to “door three” for the “Innocent Victims” bronze statue of the same couple dancing on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross.
Located in upscale neighbourhood of Knightsbridge, Harrods is the perhaps the pinnacle of tourist friendly affluence in London, but a roam around the 'hood proves there's much more wealth on view and lots more shopping options. Nearby rival department store, Harvey Nichols, gives Harrods a proper run for its money with respect to keeping up with the latest trends in fashion. Michelin starred restaurants, five star hotels, casinos and more await.
All a bit too much? Leafy and free Hyde Park and Green Park are but a stroll away and celebrated discount mega store Primark is only a few minutes' bus ride up the road at Oxford Street.
Photo Credit: yavanna