“Harrods,” I’d heard about it, sure. But I wasn’t all too excited about wasting an afternoon in a place deemed a “department store” by FourSquare. Oh, my! How wrong was I! Imagine this: Macy’s, Ikea, Jungle Jim’s, Barnes & Noble, FAO Schwarz, Starbucks, Tiffany’s, Microcenter/Best Buy, an art museum, a butcher shop, fish market, and a candy and confections play land…not to mention the year-round Christmas shop.
So my “agenda” for the day was to spend the afternoon enjoying the famous Victoria and Albert art museum. On my roundabout way to the museum I stumbled upon Harrods. Upon the recommendations from my dad and a fellow traveler, I decided I’d go in…how long could it take, really? [This was my train of thought, as I entered] I was first greeted by make-up counter workers, offering trials of their products. I quickly breezed through that section before my invasive thoughts about department store cosmetics being harvesting grounds for germs and bacteria became overwhelming. Next, I entered a beautiful room, with an Egyptian-style motif, that was full of all the top designer bags: Prada, Chanel, Gucci…you name it, it was there. I continued onward to the candy and confections room, where I was offered a sample of British strawberry and cream chocolates…yum! The displays in this room were incredible, and even more incredible was that they continued to look beautiful and organized despite all of the tourists and shoppers that flood Harrods each day. Most of the workers were fitted in white button ups, black bottoms, a black apron, and old-school candy shop-tender top hat, alternately, some were outfitted with black button-ups or tan vests. Harrods is definitely top-notch when it comes to ambiance and branding.
I walked into the next room, which, turns out was actually a collection of fine dining. I saw a sushi and caviar bar, steak bar, seafood bar, deli, and a grill. Ahead were even more rooms, I was excited to keep going. I found myself in yet another candy cornucopia, this time I was greeted by a sweet lady who offered me “their newest collection of biscuits from Scottland!” These biscuits were so amazing, I actually took a picture of the box they are packaged in so if my dad goes through with his planned trip to London in October I can give him a good recommendation for a gift to bring back for me. I spent a little longer examining all the displays. Finally discovering the exit out of candy land, I found myself in a fruit and vegetable market. Again, I was stunned by the beautiful displays (and good lighting). Next to this market was Harrods premium watch collection, we’re talking Omega and Rolex status timepieces only. Beyond the watches was the jewelry. Wow. While no photos of the jewelry are allowed, I’m pretty sure I took enough mental photos to last a lifetime. The Harrods jewelry collection is definitely a sight worth seeing in London, as is the rest of Harrods, in fact.
Once I wandered out of the glimmering hall of gems and jewels I took the escalators up. The store has become such a blur, there was so much to see, it’s hard to remember what was where and on which floor, but I recall walking through store sections with every kitchen appliance and accessory imaginable, finding their year-round Christmas shop, where I picked up a little something for someone near and dear to my heart, an amazing, museum-quality, art shop with sculptures by Lorenzo Quinn, stunning floor displays with home furnishings and bedroom sets, a wild toy store that is every child [or if we’re being honest, every persons] dream come true complete with Lego, Harry Potter, and Batman collections, an extensive book shop, a tea room, a milk bar, an ice cream shop, a pizzeria, and yet another bar and grill. Sprinkled throughout the store are enormous bears. They’re cute, and you can’t help but want a picture with one.
So, after only a couple of hours later into my planned “quick trip through Harrods” I was finally out the door, back on my way to find the Victoria and Albert Museum. Luckily, for me, the museum was only a short walk down the street from Harrods. What’s even luckier is that admission is free, they only ask that if you can afford it, to please donate 3 pounds [about 4.65 USD]. Not only do they allow people to come in for free, they also host free WiFi. This allowed me to share some of my photos via Instagram.
I only had about 90 minutes to peruse through this enormous museum before they closed for the evening. I still had time to leisurely walk through the sculptures section from the renaissance, a still photography gallery, a grand gallery of famous jewels and crowns, mostly from famous Brits and Parisians, but my favorite exhibit that I spent most of my time in was their British Design section. It was complete with costumes from some of the most famous theatrical productions including Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King, dressing rooms of famous actresses, scale set designs from movies, television shows, and theatre, posters and other memorabilia from media, interactive exhibits with headphones and accompanying video, and a puppet box from the Palace Theatre of Varieties near Glasgow, which was demolished in 1977. I love the theatre, and I was enchanted by this exhibition!
And that is the day in my life that will be forever known as the day I accidentally spent hours on end in Harrods on my way to the museum. Truthfully, if I had the means, I could have easily spent many more hours and quite a few more pence in Harrods. Perhaps I’ll be back for some tea from the Tea Room and a nice Rolex watch or an emerald and diamond ring, someday.