One of my two mandatory stops on any trip to London in Fortnum & Mason (the other is its next-door neighbor, Hatchard's). At a time when department stores in the United States have struggled to compete with specialty stores and online retailers, Fortnum & Mason continues to thrive in a single location on Piccadilly. (A Fortnum's branch -- its first in more than 300 years -- is scheduled to open at St. Pancras train station.)
Fortnum's offers a dazzling array of food and drink -- tea, coffee, wines, biscuits, cakes, jams and jellies, cheese, and charcuterie, among other items -- but also features personal and home accessories as well as glass, china, and silver. If you're looking for clothing or larger merchandise such as furniture, look elsewhere. Some years ago, I was crestfallen to learn that Fortnum & Mason had discontinued its men's shop, though men's and women's nightwear is available.
It's well worth a visit just to browse the store's six floors and admire the elegant displays as well as the outstanding staff service. But be warned: if you find yourself walking out with bags full of tea, chocolates, and marmalades, you have only yourself to blame for falling under Fortnum's spell.More