London and shopping go hand in hand, don't limit yourself to London's famous department stores, Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, although they are certainly worth a visit. Also make time for these smaller character-filled boutiques. That's what is so fascinating about London, everything is tasteful, boutiques big and small, people young and old. There is character and style in all that you see. As Samuel Johnson rightly said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."

#1 Joseph

If you have time for just one shop, let it be this one. Joseph on Fulham road is a multi-brand boutique, carrying it's private label, in addition to international top brands. What differentiates Fulham road's Joseph is it's impeccable selection of pieces in addition to in-store exclusives.

#2 Matches Fashion

Matches Fashion have 5 London stores, that is how popular they are, in addition to an exceptional online boutique. There is something fabulously eclectic about Matches. Providing top designer brands in a quaint environment that doesn't scream money. The Notting Hill premises is filled to the brim with the best fashion out there. Carrying top designers such as Lanvin and Stella McCartney in addition to established yet under the radar brands.

#3 Merchant Archive

This is a very hip destination for both vintage and contemporary clothing, it takes pride of place in the address books of many a stylist, fashion designer and celebrity. Owner Sophie Merchant's discerning eye is evident in the well-edited selection of beautiful one-off antique pieces for sale, with vintage numbers from Lanvin, jumpsuits from the 1920s, antique velvet jackets, a good range of elegant dresses and some very special jewellery all waiting to be snapped up.

#4 KJ's Laundry

This oasis of calm: a low key boutique, stocked with high end established labels. All pieces stocked by KJ's are sourced personally by the shop's owners: Kate Allden & Jane Ellis, meaning a huge attention to detail, you can practically feel the quality oozing from the fabrics. If you like low-key but luxe separates, this calming, nicely edited store is just the ticket. Off-duty staples (jersey dresses from Humanoid and Rabens Saloner, prints from Clover Canyon, pieces from Studio Nicholson, below) sit alongside the bestselling printed shirt-dresses from Samantha Sung.

#5 LN-CC

It doesn't get much more cutting edge or cool than this influential, by-appointment east London store, with its unmarked door, sci-fi interior and attention grabbing displays. You'll find emerging talents alongside more established names including Haider Ackermann and Dries Van Noten as well as records, a bookstore and accessories.