A British Bed Bath & Beyond?
September 27, 2007 12:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving to London, and need to find a home goods store.

I'm going to be landing in London on Saturday morning, at which point I'll need to pick up some essential home goods that I'll be needing that night (pillow, towels, etc.). Whenever I've needed such things in the past, Bed Bath & Beyond here in the states has done me very well. Is there something similar in the UK? So many bonus points if it's within reasonable walking distance (I'm a walker) or easily accessible via public transit for this jet lagged and disoriented foreigner; my postcode is WC1V 7AA, pretty much directly between the Holborn and Tottenham Court Road tube stops.

And I'm on a budget.

Also, I know Oxford Street's right there, but for the life of me I can't find any info on any such shops around it. Thanks so much in advance for your help.
posted by awesomebrad to Shopping (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
John Lewis is a very high quality department store very close to you. They will have everything you need.
posted by mooders at 12:26 AM on September 27, 2007

John Lewis won't be cheap however. Look for other department stores too and if you can, find an ASDA (aka Wal Mart.) It suggests your nearest is 3 miles away - cab?
posted by A189Nut at 12:36 AM on September 27, 2007

John Lewis actually has some competitive pricing, but Marks and Spencer is probably your best bet for home basics (closest flagship at Marble Arch (west end of Oxford Street).

For the love of money, don't take a cab or the tube. Charge up an Oystercard and get a bus if you can't walk it or it's raining. There's also Debenhams next to John Lewis, but in preference I would go M&S then John Lewis and then Debenhams.
posted by jim.christian at 12:58 AM on September 27, 2007

As an ex-partner of John Lewis I would recommend them, the shopping experience might be more soothing to the frazzled traveller than Asda although nothing like as cheap. M&S, Asda or even a Tesco should sort out basic needs though.
posted by zemblamatic at 1:08 AM on September 27, 2007

Argos isn't high quality but they have a shop very near where you'll be on New Oxford Street.

They sell towels/bed stuff but you have to pick the things out of a catalogue and pay for them (generally) without actually seeing the goods in the flesh.

posted by selton at 1:09 AM on September 27, 2007

Since you're literally on top of Oxford Street, and at the cheap end, no less, there are lots of stores that sell these sorts of items. To be honest, I'd just suggest you walk down there at the time with a reasonable amount of money and just buy the items one by one as you find them.
posted by wackybrit at 1:19 AM on September 27, 2007

You would probably do better at a large supermarket or IKEA, but it won't be very convenient to get to from Central London. An ASDA in or near Central London is likely to be somewhat small, and not with much if anything in the range of home goods.

Of the department stores on Oxford Street, M&S / John Lewis / Selfridges are all relatively expensive, as is House of Fraser. Debenhams will be cheaper, and BHS (British Home Stores) cheaper still. John Lewis has by far the best range of bedding stuff. Depending on what you're buying, your best bet locally may indeed be Argos, which should be at worst 5 mins walk from you.
posted by bifter at 1:20 AM on September 27, 2007

On Tottenham Court Road you also have Habitat. It is opposite Goodge Street Station, so about a 15 minute walk from where you are going to be. Habitat is more fancy than some of the excellent suggestions here, probably closer to the Bed Bath & Beyond kind of profile. (Next to it is Heals, a sister, more design-y store, which is pretty expensive.) I'm suggesting it as it is fairly close, especially as Oxford Street can get very crowded and tiring on a Saturday afternoon.

John Lewis, Debenhams and the big M&S on at Marble Arch are all on Oxford Street (not New Oxford Street), past Oxford Circus from where you are. However, there is a smaller M&S on New Oxford Street before Oxford Circus.
posted by Marzipan at 1:23 AM on September 27, 2007

I just wanted to second BHS. Argos is great if you've got the time for it, but a Central London Argos on a Saturday would certainly be my idea of Hell. But if you do go for Argos, use their website to reserve your items before you go into the store, it does improve the experience, not least because you can check things are in stock before you leave.
posted by featherboa at 1:40 AM on September 27, 2007

There's also a Primark on Oxford St, looks like its down at the Marble Arch end. The bigger stores carry pretty stylish homewares at dirt cheap prices.
posted by poissonrouge at 2:29 AM on September 27, 2007

There are other home stores on Tottenham Court Road, some not as expensive as Heals and Habbitat (lovely as they are), such as Dreams and The Pier.

Here's a webpage with a handy photo guide (look particularly at the eastside green section). Walk up the street from TCR station, past all the electronics shops, and soon you'll find several useful shops.

Personally, I'd go for Argos for the basics, it will be cheaper.
posted by Helga-woo at 2:31 AM on September 27, 2007

I'm sure you know that Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road will be very busy on a Saturday (any shopping area will be, but Oxford Street is worse). Even more unpleasant for you as you'll be tired & a little disorientated.

Depending what time you land, you'll find it marginally less unpleasant if you can either shop early or late in the day. Most shops will be open at 10am (some 9am) and most close around there at 7pm (some later). For instance John Lewis is a 7pm close I'm pretty sure.

For your sanity if possible I'd avoid shopping between say 11am - 6pm when the streets will be particularly crowded: even more so with bulky items like pillows etc. to carry.

If you have a lot to carry & only 1 short journey to make a "black cab" (the kind of Taxi you wave at on the streetside) may not be the worse choice to bring your stuff back to your room/apartment, it might be worth a few £'s (maybe only £4 or so, I don't know the minimum fare now) to be dropped right at your door.
posted by selton at 4:10 AM on September 27, 2007

Having bought bedding (and indeed a bed) from Argos in the past and regretted it, I'd say going slightly more upmarket is worth it. M&S, BHS, Debenhams will all be fine though John Lewis is the place to get fluffy towels.
posted by patricio at 4:12 AM on September 27, 2007

Talking about that bit of Central London being busy, it's much nicer to just walk parallel to Oxford Street along Goodge Street, then cross Portland Place and through Cavendish Square until you get roughly to the area of Oxford Street you want to be on (far West for department stores), then cut down.
posted by bifter at 4:49 AM on September 27, 2007

Finally a note that most of the shops mentioned - notably M&S, John Lewis, Habitat and Argos have good online presence. You can use these to browse or even order goods before your arrival. You could also potentially arrange delivery to occur within a timeslot that co-ordinates with you arrival. As an ex-resident of central London I appreciate what a relief it is to hand over all the logistical problems associated with delivering bulky items handed over to somebody else.
posted by rongorongo at 4:55 AM on September 27, 2007

For the extra cheap Argos is where it is at.
posted by k8t at 7:50 AM on September 27, 2007

Indeed, Argos is the cheapest for new. However, you may want to scope out Woolworths as well. I did Argos and wished I had gone upscale on certain things. IKEA would have been a good choice but it is a pain to get to. If you order online from any of the stores online you will need to be prepared for a wide window for delivery times.

If you had leisure time, looking into Freecyle London and the charity shops as other options -- there is always an expat having a moving sale.

Buy the absolute bare minimum in your jet lagged state and shop at better times. Your wallet will be grateful if you do so.
posted by jadepearl at 8:22 AM on September 27, 2007

I'd also suggest Argos.

And, welcome to London. There's a meetup on 5 October, I hope you'll come along. Details in MetaTalk.
posted by essexjan at 9:36 AM on September 27, 2007

I like the Conran Shop
posted by matteo at 10:07 AM on September 27, 2007

Welcome to WC1! I hope to see you on the 5th.

I would agree with the recommendations of John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Argos, but would add that for small appliances, lightbulbs, hardware, cleaning supplies, etc., Robert Dyas, which has a branch by Chancery Lane tube, about a 15 minute walk east, is wonderful. That branch is open until 4 on Saturdays, and is right down the Central Line from Oxford Street. And there is an Argos next door - one that is likely to have fewer crowds than the New Oxford Street branch.

Also, the Edmonton Ikea is a reasonably manageable trip on the Victoria line of the tube -- there is a free shuttle bus from Tottenham Hale tube station, and the store is open until 10 on Saturdays.
posted by sueinnyc at 11:36 AM on September 27, 2007

No one's mentioned Homebase yet. This is primarily a hardware store, but they do sell furnishings too, most of which are reasonable. There's one in that big shopping center by Finchley Road, and another down by Earl's Court. Not walkable, sadly, but well worth a look.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:57 AM on September 27, 2007

Best answer: Thank you all for the incredible answers...I'd mark them all as best, but that'd look silly, so I'm just marking this one.
posted by awesomebrad at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2007

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