Oxford Street gets into the festive spirit

Shop 'til you drop in Oxford Street

Shop 'til you drop in Oxford Street

Philip Megson hoped to have a trip to Berlin       Picture: Marek Heise Fotografie/Wikimedia

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As shopping venues go, there are not many that compare to Oxford Street.

The famous London street is packed with top high street and department stores, meaning that people flock there from around the world for some retail therapy.

At Christmas time, Oxford Street transforms into a winter wonderland.

The annual light switch-on, which took place on November 6, officially marked the start of the festive period.

Traffic was stopped as thousands enjoyed performances from The Vamps and Louisa Johnson before Craig David turned on the illuminations in aid of NSPCC’s Little Stars campaign.

Just an hour-and-a-half on the train from Portsmouth, Oxford Street is the perfect alternative to Commercial Road and Gunwharf Quays.

A swift change at Waterloo on the Tube and you’re soon at the heart of the shopping action.

John Lewis’ Christmas advert is always eagerly-awaited and its Oxford Street store is looking very festive.

There’s not just a corner of the shop with a Christmas theme.

The whole of the third floor is full of tinsel, baubles, advent calendars and anything else Christmas-related.

Selfridges is also well worth a visit.

Voted the world’s best department store on several occasions, it’s renowned for opening its Christmas floor as early as August in previous years.

In 12 of its 16 windows is a Father Christmas taken out of his comfort zone, including him coming out of an aeroplane and another showing him sitting in a cable car.

For those who seek the latest trends, Topshop’s flagship store is in the street.

You honestly could spend an entire day going from floor to floor and any item of clothing you can imagine is inside.

It’s not just the latest fashions in Topshop, but a hair and nail salon, as well as a barbers in Topman. It is perfect for anyone seeking a new outfit to wear on their Christmas staff party, New Year’s Eve celebrations or sitting around with the family on Boxing Day.

The main purpose of my trip to Oxford Street was for a new pair of trainers.

Despite already having enough pairs that makes it difficult for my wardrobe to shut, I couldn’t miss the opportunity given the choice on offer.

I was back and forth from Schuh to Footlocker to Office trying to decide, tearing my hair out in the process - it really was a first world problem.

I eventually decided on a pair of New Balance trainers, which I was pleased with.

Although there are some of the shops you would get in Commerical Road or Gunwharf Quays, the choice in Oxford Street shops offer are incomparable.

There is a real buzz around Oxford Street during the festive period. There is excitement on everyone’s faces, young and old, and, despite being a Grinch usually, it got me into the Christmas spirit.

Nearby Regent Street is also another shoppers’ dream.

Despite being 22, I admit the inner child came out of me when I stepped through the doors of Hamleys.

A snowflake effect decorates the front of the store and inside there are aisles and aisles of toys.

Lifesize Lego Star Wars models were attracting a lot of interest.

Making our way back from Hamleys, we turned off into Great Marlborough Street to visit iconic department store Liberty, a fashion-lover’s paradise.

The Tudor revival building has a Nutcracker model on guard at the entrance.

Liberty is quirky yet classy and it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re in there.

Dinner in the evening was at Ethos, in Eastcastle Street.

Being a vegan in Portsmouth isn’t the easiest but they offer a wide range of dishes which left me refuelled and ready to take to the shops again.

It’s a buffet style restaurant, which means you can have a bit of everything and plates get weighed to see how much the cost is.

They currently offer a festive menu and the cranberry and pastatio nut roast went down particularly well, along with black bean brownies for dessert.

Oxford Street left us all shopped out and we stayed over, enjoying a scenic view of Hyde Park at The Cumberland Hotel.

We had the Jimi Hendrix suite, which is a stunning tribute to the late rock star.

It contained a variety of kaleidoscopic colours, funky patterns and lighting.

The service from staff was of a very high standard.

On arrival we had a bottle of Champagne on ice ready to be popped and, when we returned from more shopping, there were four bottles of beer. A lovely touch.

If you’re short of ideas for Christmas gifts and have the time , it’s well worth booking a trip to London and heading for Oxford Street.

There’s such a wide range of shops and products in the same place that you won’t need to go farther afield to find those special presents you’re looking for.

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