Harrods

Perhaps the most famous department store in the world, Harrods is located in the u-market London neighbourhood of Kightsbridge. Founded in 1834 the store has been an international shopping destination for decades and last year boasted revenue upwards of £691 million! Spanning a 5-acre site and holding over one million square feet of selling space, Harrods is easily the biggest department store in Europe – with over 330 different departments located inside.

Where is Harrods in London?

Harrods is located at 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL.  The nearest London Underground station is Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line).  You could also reach Harrods by London bus routes: 9, 10, 14, 52, 74, 414, 452, C1.  We recommend using this Google map for directions to Harrods from anywhere in the London area.

Click the map below to enlarge

Where is Harrods in London

 

Due to its rather central location, Harrods can be visited on an itinerary that includes Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace.   Harrods holds over two dozen places to eat. From afternoon teas, to sandwiches, to budget-breaking bottles of champagne, it’s always fun to make having a bite to eat a part of your Harrods experience.

Harrods’s Dress Code: Harrods previously had a dress code which resulted in the refusal to admit a number of people including a woman with a Mohican haircut, a 15-stone woman, a football team in track suits, a scout troop, and a soldier in uniform. Although the dress code has been relaxed, rules still apply. Visitors will be turned away if they are wearing dirty or unkempt clothing, if they are sweating profusely, if they have bare feet or a bare midriff, or if they are wearing swimwear. SO keep that in mind when you plan your shopping outfit!

Beginnings

At the age of 25, Charles Henry Harrod opened a haberdashery, draper and mercer shop just south of the Thames, in Southwark, in 1824. From this first record of business, Harrod went on to open a grocery shop in Clerkenwell in 1832, a wholesale grocery business in 1834, and finally a retail shop near Hyde Park in 1851. Originally contained inside a single room, Harrod’s son, Charles Digby Harrod, transformed the original shop into a thriving business selling medicines, perfumes, stationery, fruit and vegetables. The shop rapidly expanded and by 1880 was a place of employment for over 100 people. This shop soon faced tragedy, however, and was lost in a fire in 1883.

However, despite the fact the fire burned the shop down in early December, Charles Harrod managed to make all of his scheduled delivers by Christmas that year – becoming somewhat of a sensation around town. As rebuilding quickly commenced, the shop rapidly became known as a shop for the rich and famous, counting some of the biggest Victorian celebrities as clients: Oscar Wilde, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, and the British Royal Family, just to name a few.

 

World Firsts

Harrods was home to England’s first working escalator. Known at the time as a “moving staircase” the escalator was opened to the public in November of 1898. Customers who were brave enough to make a journey up or down the moving staircase were giving brandy at the end of their trip to help relax after their risky adventure!

Today

Today, Harrods belongs to Qatar Holdings – the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar. It was bought from the Al-Fayed family in May 2010. However, today Harrods is no longer just a shop. It’s an international brand that includes Harrods Bank, Harrods Aviation, Air Harrods, and Harrods Estates. Although, the original Harrods building still located in Knightsbridge is still the primary, and most well-known, part of the business.

Harrods boasts over 330 departments holding goods varying from jewellery, sporting goods, home furniture, stationery, electronics, clothing…the list could go on! In addition to the retail departments, Harrods holds food halls and numerous restaurants, personal shopping services, a beauty salon and spa, and bespoke fragrance formulations!

It’s estimated that around 300,000 visitors come into Harrods on peak shopping days – making up the highest proportion of customers from non-English speaking countries of any department store in London. Today, Harrods employs over 5,000 staff from all over the world.

The Diana Connection

When Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, Mohamed Al-Fayed (who owned Harrods at the time) also lost his son, Dodi Al-Fayed. Nearly immediately after, Mohamed ordered the construction of a memorial to commemorate both Diana and Dodi. Unveiled in April 1998, the memorial consists of photographs of Dodi and Diana as well as a wine glass smudged with lipstick from Diana’s last dinner, and a ring that is claimed was bought by Dodi for Diana as an engagement ring.

In 2005 another memorial was unveiled. This one is a sculpture by William Mitchell, called “Innocent Victim.” The bronze work depicts Dodi and Diana dancing on a beach.

 

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