Quintessential Harrods gift?
August 19, 2009 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Is there a quintessential Harrod's gift item I should buy when I visit London?

I'm taking a short trip to London & Stockholm soon. My mom, who's not a big traveler and not really into "stuff," has mentioned twice that we should be sure to go to Harrods. I know it's one of those places you should go while in London, kind of like going to Macy's in NYC, but I'm wondering if there's some sort of Harrods item I should get her.

Is there a quintessential Harrods gift item that my mom would really like to have, that she's not asking me for directly?

I'm wondering if there's something that everyone (but me) just knows about.

I'm probably bean plating this but curious what the hive mind has to say.
posted by altcountryman to Travel & Transportation around London, England (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Get her a little, blue Wedgewood jasperware item. Sure, they are available everywhere, but she can display it and tell everyone it came from Herrods.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:48 AM on August 19, 2009

The ground floor has an area just crammed with gifts for tourists. The distintive Harrods souvenirs that I see carried around the city most often are teddy bears wearing Yeomen of the Guard (a.k.a. "Beefeater") style uniforms in the Harrods colours of green and gold. This is a nice reference both to the very traditional beefeater guard uniforms (the regiment who traditionally guard the Tower of London and therefore the crown jewels) and Harrods itself.

I also see quite a few people carrying fairly nice-looking wooden handled canvas shopping bags in Harrods colours and with the shop's logo.
posted by metaBugs at 6:49 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Harrods shopping bag. Iconic, seen worldwide.

They also do a nice food line, perhaps get some biscuits and tea. Or a Harrods bear as mentioned above.
posted by wingless_angel at 6:52 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Every woman & her dog has a Harrod's bear! Which is not a bad thing. Our son has one - he's 5 & bear sometimes still sleeps with him. It wears a blue hoodie, with a frayed Union Jack on the front. Hands up if ya know which one I mean. They're well made bears.
posted by n o i s e s at 7:09 AM on August 19, 2009

They do a bear each Christmas with that year embroidered on the paw. Otherwise, what about a British-themed Christmas tree decoration (if you do Christmas)? Selfridges already have theirs out so I imagine Harrods will too.
posted by mippy at 7:13 AM on August 19, 2009

I bought someone who is expecting a black teddy bear with the iconic green/gold harrod's ribbon around its neck. It's way cute. I plan on also packing the green plastic shopping bag it came in.

She might not necessarily want you to get her anything. Harrod's is quite an experience, I would highly recommend visiting the food hall on the ground floor.
posted by like_neon at 7:14 AM on August 19, 2009

My hubby, who is from London, is nthing the Harrods shopping bag. Apparently, it's such a status symbol that it's become the thing to fill it with items from Asda (Wal-mart) just to make everyone think you've shopped at Harrods.
posted by sapphirebbw at 7:21 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Try high tea at Harrod's. I found it a lot of fun. You might pick up some peculiar high tea accoutrements for mum so she can feel all, um, continental.
posted by effluvia at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2009

Dunno, but our best friends' parents bought our friends' beloved dog a collar.

She ate it.
posted by InsanePenguin at 7:35 AM on August 19, 2009

My parents brought me back Harrod's biscuits in a little souvenir barrel.
posted by quodlibet at 7:43 AM on August 19, 2009

nthing the bag and teddy bear. I have both.

It's been about five years since I've been to Harrod's (not much of shopper and perpetually broke), but my mom and I went during their January sales and got some good deals on Harrod's branded stuff to ship back to the states as gifts for people.

The touristy gift shop was in the basement (if the layout is still what I remember) -- and even though we did wander around on the upper floors, we had the most fun in the seconds/clearance section of the gift shop.

My mom found some pot-holders and tea-towels with fun Harrod's designs (that she still uses, as does my grandmother, to whom we gave some as gifts).

Like I said, I do have a Harrod's bear (I couldn't resist once I touched it -- so, so, soft). I also have a couple of the vinyl Harrod's bags (the ones that look like the shopping bag you'd get after buying something, but made out of... vinyl. Yeah). I don't use the larger one much -- it's storing other bags. But I bought a smaller bag and I use that every day as it is perfect for carrying my lunch to and from work.

Speaking of lunch, you do have to make a point to stop in the food hall on the ground floor. It's incredible. I can't think of any specific food items that are "must buys" -- but I'm sure you could find something. My aunts/uncles/cousins really liked the double-decker bus tins filled with biscuits.
posted by paisley sheep at 8:06 AM on August 19, 2009

My aunt when she visited us (in England), she bought me a little china box with painted scenes of Harrods on the outside. I keep it on my dresser and put buttons in there but it could also be for small jewelry or coins. It's really cute and for all the time I spent living in England, I have very few "souvenirs." I'm sure she got it from the touristy gift section mentioned above. This was, like, 15 years ago, but if their gifts are still this high quality then I'm sure you'll find the perfect thing.
posted by amanda at 8:11 AM on August 19, 2009

Wow, thanks for all the great responses! I'll definitely be getting her a shopping bag and probably one of these bears!
posted by altcountryman at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2009

Oooh goody. Someone said the bear. When an English friend of mine went when I was pregnant, he brought back the triplets three different Harrods bears. I love them. :)

My mom always would request some of their Lily bath stuff when I'd go. (So, um, if you wouldn't mind picking some up for me, that'd be great....) (kidding.) (sorta.)
posted by pyjammy at 8:52 AM on August 19, 2009

Skip Harrods (or just get the bag) and go buy some tea or chocolates (or whatever takes your fancy) from Fortum and Mason instead.
posted by turkeyphant at 9:21 AM on August 19, 2009

When a relative went, she brought back a vinyl gift bag for me. I am surprised to say that I actually use it!
posted by mightshould at 10:50 AM on August 19, 2009

The shopping bag, bear combo was a big hit with my mother in-law last fall. (Heck, my wife got one for herself... sans bear).
posted by trox at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2009

If you have some bones to drop, go up to the ladies hat section and get a silly hat like the ones the Queen wears to match her outfits. Fancy hats seem very British Royalty to me, I hardly ever see women in America wearing fashion hats.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:55 PM on August 19, 2009

you've got it, the bag and bear...and do not miss the food hall, you can buy fish at the fish counter, or just enjoy a really amazing dover sole at the fish lunch counter right next to the sales counter. (and it will be real dover sole, not Hake like you usually get here in the states labeled as sole)
posted by legotech at 1:11 PM on August 19, 2009

Hi All! Thanks so much for all of your great ideas (and apologies for taking so long to revisit this thread to thank you)!

We decided to get a variety of teas and biscuits in the decorative tins. The bears are cool but Mom has always loved tins so these were a perfect thing for her.

Thanks again!
posted by altcountryman at 8:08 AM on October 4, 2009

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