Shopping isn’t always about putting one’s bargaining skills to the test. In some instances it’s also about the experience and at Fortnum and Mason in London shopping is definitely an experience.

Having stood for 300 years at Piccadilly, Fortnum and Mason’s department store has now become part of London’s historical landmarks. Its uniquely carved displays on the windows are the best in the city.

Shoppers passing by the store often stop in front of the building’s clock which chimes every hour and again at every 15 minutes, and just then the faces of Fortnum and Mason appear. This clock located at the front of the building has its own history, considering that it was manufactured at the same foundry as the Big Ben.

A bit pricey, a step into Fortnum and Masons is worth the experience as this beautiful store also gives shoppers a lesson in history. After all it’s been around since 1707 and since then the store has been famous for importing exotic teas, wine, food and much more from all corners of the UK.

Today the store has five restaurants, an ice cream parlour and a wine bar. There have been additions to the items on sale, such as men’s accessories, leather goods as well as items for ladies available on the different floors.

Going back to the history of the place, William Fortnum served at the Royal Palace of Queen Ann as a footman and while there he also had a grocery business which did well owing to his connections at the palace. Due to the Royal Family’s insistence of old candles being replaced every night, he sold the used ones to the ladies in the palace. Mr. Fortnum having lodged at Hugh Masons convinced him to join his new venture and the rest as they say is history.

A lesser known fact about the store is that during the Napoleonic Wars, the store packed goods to be sent to soldiers at the front lines. And during Victorian times philanthropists used Fortnum and Mason hampers to give to the needy during Christmas.

Today, these hampers are packed with expensive goodies and is still considered as something special. The store’s excellent selection of teas ranging over 100 exotic and rare teas have been imported from places like China, Japan, Nepal and India. And if nothing else tourists should step in for a traditional cup of evening tea. Although it is required that tourists dress elegantly and shorts and sandals are discouraged, the whole experience is worth the effort, at least once.

When getting about London, staying at accommodation which is central in location helps in getting about. There are many London luxury hotels that offer location as well as services that cater to leisure and business travelers. The Langham Hotel London is a popular accommodation of choice as its location among other London hotels in the West end makes it easy to access Regent, Bond and Oxford Street.