There is a lot said about Boxing Day sales in London and the great shopping experience you can enjoy. I got to be part of this on the 26th of December 2012.
First thing you should know about most of Central London. A tube strike has been happening for several years now. The unions want to ensure people get paid better to work on this day, but there’s been no solution. As a consequence, most central tube lines or areas stop functioning.
Buses work. Taxis work. Taxis are also on regular metered fares on the 26th, which is unlike on Christmas Day (the 25th).
Getting to Harrods (Knightsbridge) or most of the High Street (Oxford Circus, Bond Street) is a challenge if you can’t use the tube. So use a taxi.
What about the sales themselves?
Some stores have genuinely good discounts. Some stores like Selfridges also have an online presence, so whatever you get in store is also available via online delivery.
The crowds are insane. Walking around Bond St will confirm that. Many queue to get into stores, seen at Next & Selfridges, but for the latter there are other entrances so use common sense.
I get the feeling that Londoners usually don’t shop on this day. Its mostly out of towners or tourists.
Many stores continue to have sales right up till January. Same prices, same deals, even on January 4 the following year! Just no more crowds :)
John Lewis apparently remains closed on the 26th, electing to open on the 27th only.
Overall, its OK if you want to get 30% off something at Dior/Chanel/Hermes/Prada/etc. It seems those brands generally don’t continue sales maybe past that day. But for anything else? I’m not so sure…
Watches are also on sale. But I’ve never paid retail prices for nice watches to begin with – shops usually provide discounts anyway.
Should you go for the experience? Only if you enjoy crowds & sale bins. You will queue to go in. You will be shopping in a rush. You will queue to pay. Bring entertainment to quell the waiting periods!