There are several Penhaligon's shops in London. The one you’re most likely to encounter as a tourist in central London is the Regent Street branch.
The Penhaligon's aesthetic is one of Edwardian discretion; a Wodehouse Duchess would be quite at home among the silver accoutrements and vintage bottle designs. Achieving this kind of effect on one of London’s busiest shopping streets is a challenge. Thousands of tourists crowd Regent Street every day, shuffling between the frenetic hubs of Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, and pretty much wrecking any hint of antique elegance.
The Penhaligon's shop does a pretty good job of persuading you that you’ve stepped back a century or two, with gilded cabinets stacked with apothecary bottles and giant factices, and an artful sense of shadowed corners. In fact, this store won the award as Best Dressed Retailer on Regents Street in 2008.
It’s possible to come across Penhaligon's perfumes in other places, but it’s only in the Penhaligon's shops themselves that you get the full range of ladies’ and gentlemen’s grooming and gift goods, and the ‘novelties’ such as the foot long matches in vintage tins.
Penhaligon's is more about men than women, but there’s still plenty to titillate the ladies. Apart from the fragrances, there are candles, leather cosmetic cases and wallets, bath and shower gels, hand wash, silver-backed mirrors and brushes. There are cute sets of miniature fragrances, and small tins of solid fragrance.
Gentlemen can enjoy fragrances, aftershave, soap, and the kinds of silver and leather shaving goods you might spot in the background of a Merchant Ivory film. At the back of the shop, they can also indulge in a bit of a Passage to India moment with silk pyjamas and slippers, cashmere socks, lacquered boxes, and even a cashmere dressing gown.
There are nice carded samples if you ask.
Best Seller: Blenheim Bouquet. “Just as popular with women as with men.”
Getting there: Penhaligon's, 125 Regent Street, London W1B 4HD Tel: 0207 434 2608.
Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus, although Oxford Circus is also close, and allows you to visit Liberty on your way.
Don’t miss: The statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, and all the moving billboards.
Hamleys, the world’s biggest toy store, is five minutes up the road (moving towards to Oxford Street, and on the other side of the road). Liberty is just a few minutes on from that.
— images & report filed by Nina.