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Christmas shopping on Oxford Street with John Lewis, Elton John, Quality Street, Lush and Harry's Bar

By Angela Cole

Want to feel like the stars, spending a day in the big city, coming home laden with bags? It's time to head to London's Oxford Street for that next level day out. Here's how to sample the high life

The spirit of giving is alive and well in Oxford Street.

Even if you try to keep the spirit of Christmas without over-spending, everyone has someone to buy for at this time of year and there's undoubtedly something special about spending a day Christmas shopping in the capital.

This year's festive lights went up in early November, launching seven weeks of feverish festive activity, and now we are in to December they are shining at their most bright, especially when it gets dark by 4pm.

Oxford Street officially launched the Christmas shopping season in the West End Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire
Oxford Street officially launched the Christmas shopping season in the West End Picture: John Nguyen/PA Wire

The street, which hosts more than 90 flagship stores including LUSH, John Lewis and Debenhams, this year has 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs, which use 75% less energy than conventional bulbs in its Christmas is Calling display.

Its festive calendar includes 50 Christmas treats including exclusive events, seasonal services, special offers and street entertainment. They include complimentary personal styling sessions to a one-of-a-kind giveaway with Print Club London, where three artists have been commissioned to create limited edition screen prints inspired by the street, to retailer pop-ups such as the Debenhams Christmas Market to Selfridges Rock School.

A rocket bauble on the John Lewis & Partners Christmas tree
A rocket bauble on the John Lewis & Partners Christmas tree

Joy Jesters will also be taking to the street until Sunday, December 23 every Thursday and Sunday (except for Saturday, December 15) with details of giveaways.

So what treats can you get on a street with flagship stores at every turn that you can't get elsewhere?

This year, to mark the release of the John Lewis Christmas ad featuring Elton John, which stars Hudson Trindall, from Margate, you can head to John Lewis and get the full Elton John experience.

It may be a well kept secret because it was quiet when we visited - and once inside (on level 3) it's a world away from the crowds outside. Step back in the 1970s and see original notes by Elton, music and one of his pianos, which you can play if you're lucky enough to have the skills (and it's signed by him!). There's also plenty of Elton John memorabilia, including wigs and stage costumes, which you can have fun dressing up in.

John Lewis & Partners Christmas experience in Oxford Street
John Lewis & Partners Christmas experience in Oxford Street

While instore, make sure you get your fix of Quality Street - if you only want green triangles in your tin this year, the pop-up at John Lewis can fix it for you. This new service is also available at Bluewater this year.

John Lewis has a Quality Street pop up this year
John Lewis has a Quality Street pop up this year

If you're a lover of LUSH, or know someone who is, you can't beat the experience - and very upbeat staff - at the chain's flagship Oxford Street store.

Kids can even make their own Butterbear bath bomb upstairs, and you can test out the bath bombs in sinks upstairs to watch them fizz and foam in their own peculiar way. There's also an exclusive spa in the basement, which has some relaxing treatments if you need a break from the hustle and bustle in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Lush in Oxford Street
Lush in Oxford Street

Take a break with lunch - and there are so many establishments to choose from it can be tough to make your selection. Booking at this time of year is a must. We booked into Harry’s Bar at 30-34 James Street, Marylebone, which is actually just off Oxford Street, and it would be fair to say, we cut down on our shopping time considerably because we didn't want to leave.

The Italian restaurant and bar has mirrored ceilings and first class service, not to mention a menu which will have your tastebuds tingling with its different selections. And whatever you do, don't skimp on dessert - ours were the highlight of our day.

Visit harrys-bar.co.uk to book yourselves in.

If you want a taste of the high life, but not necessarily the expense, pop in to Hawes and Curtis (which has two stores on the street) where the attentive staff will make you feel like you're purchasing a bespoke suit even if you're buying one reduced blouse for work.

Make sure you have your wish list of shops to visit clearly worked out - Oxford Street is Europe’s longest shopping street at 1.5 miles long so there's lots of walking involved - and make an early start as you could find, like we did, the only thing you don't have time for is... shopping!

THIS WEEKEND

Until Saturday, December 8, The Body Shop will be offering hand massages and seasonal makeovers.

There will be Christmas treats, a variety of offers and a few surprises at Next's flagship store on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9.

For more information on what is taking place on Oxford Street in the run-up to Christmas, visit: oxfordstreet.co.uk/christmas

If you snap your festive experience and share it on social media with #ChristmasIsCalling you'll also be entered into a weekly £100 prize draw.

OPENING TIMES

You can really make a day of it as the shops on Oxford Street are open through to 9pm every day of the week currently except for Sundays, when they are open to 6pm.

Opening times are 9.30am Mondays to Thursdays; 9am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11.30am on Sundays.

Time to go Christmas shopping
Time to go Christmas shopping

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