You’re amidst the hustle and bustle of busy Knightsbridge, London when you find yourself at the foot of Harrods’ entranceway.
For a brief moment you consider going along on your merry way, however, the beautiful window display catches your eye — you simply cannot resist the temptation. Its irresistible… and really, who could blame you? Just a quick visit, you tell yourself, full well knowing you could spend endless hours perusing the world-famous department store that’s frequented by the royal family, high society and tourists from both near and far.
The Beauty and the Architecture
After soaking up the exquisite architecture, including the Egyptian Escalator and Lady Diana memorials that never fail to impress, it’s time to peruse the stores. Inside there’s a little something for everyone, as reflective by the Harrods’s motto : ‘Omnia Omnibus Unique’ – ‘All Things for All People, Everywhere.’
From clothing, electronics and jewelry, toys, stationary, health beauty products and home appliances, to the legendary Christmas department, Harrods has everything you could possibly need, want or desire. Before heading home with an arm full of bags and pretty parcels wrapped in delicate paper, there’s one last stop to be made –the world famous Food Hall. After all, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite shopping.
A Foodies Paradise
This foodie paradise, located on the main floor of the multi-level department store carries a plethora of sweet and savory delights, including chocolates, pastries & cakes, seafood & meats, fresh fruits & vegetables and freshly prepared take-home fare. On a beautiful sunny day, you could always take a selection of the goodies to Hyde Park for a little alfresco lunch.
If you’d prefer to dine inside Harrods, there’s certainly no shortage of options at your finger tips. If it’s seafood you fancy, there’s the popular seafood bar and oyster bar. Or if it’s steak you crave, enjoy a meal at the steakhouse, which boasts an award-winning menu.
Did you save room for dessert? The macaroon bar and the chocolate hall are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. The latter caries varieties from around the world such as the Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles made by the British chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker. And what better way to enjoy your little indulgence than to pair it with a nice cup of English tea. Speaking of tea, did you know Harrod’s has a remarkable retail success story that is steeped in history and romance?
Harrod’s: A Brief History
It all started once upon a time with Harrods’ founder, Charles Henry Harrod and his love of tea. The grocer and tea merchant was just 25 when he opened the business back in 1849 as a wholesale grocery shop in London’s busy East End. The rest was history in the making.
Here’s a look back in time at how Harrod’s London came to be what it is today.
1850S – TEA
Harrods’ founder, Charles Henry Harrod, was a grocer and tea merchant. After opening in 1849, the tea counter soon made £200 per week. Today, Harrods stocks 165 teas, including the most expensive on earth.
1870S – WINES & SPIRITS
Harrods began selling alcohol at the end of the 19th century. The Wine Shop was refurbished in 2011 and now includes the Nez du Vin aroma zone, wine tasting machines, a wine vault and a tasting bar.
TORY OF HARRODS
1880S – CHRISTMAS
Charles Harrod’s store was destroyed by fire just before Christmas in1883. Nevertheless, Harrods was still able to get all the Christmas hampers delivered on time.
Harrod’s Ladies Shoe Department 1919
1890S – ESCALATOR
Britain’s first moving staircase was installed in Harrods in November 1898. Shoppers flocked to the store and Cognac and smelling salts were available for the faint-hearted.
1900S – FOOD HALLS
In 1902, artist William Neatby designed the world famous Doulton tile decoration in Harrods Food Halls. The Food Halls are now Grade II-listed, meaning they cannot be altered because of historical importance.
1910S – THE GEM ROOM
In 1911, Harrods unveiled an extravagantly furnished Gem Room with ormolu fittings and marble clad walls. Seven decades later, the Fine Jewellery Room was created on Harrods’ Ground Floor.
1920S – THE HARRODS BEAR
In 1921, a Harrods bear was bought for one-year-old Christopher Robin. He named it Winnie-the-Pooh, and the stories by his father, A.A. Milne, made it the most famous bear in the world.
1930S – THE MEN’S SHOP
In 1930, Harrods was one of the first shops with a men’s deprtment. Revamped between 2009 and 2010, there is now Tailoring and International Designerwear in addition to Casualwear and Contemporary clothing.
In 1949, Harrods celebrated its first 100 years. A replica of Charles Harrod’s original little Victorian shop was built in the store, and can still be viewed on Harrods’ Ground Floor.
1950S – THE FRENCH ROOM
This coolly elegant room opened in 1950 as a showcase for haute couture at Harrods. Today, the whole of Harrods’ First Floor is dedicated to Designer Womenswear, from trading to trendsetting, take a trip back in time and see.
1960S – WAY IN
Launched in the summer of 1967, the Way In boutique at Harrods was one of the hippest shops in Swinging London. Situated on the Fourth Floor, Way In still houses popular contemporary brands today.
1970S – OLYMPIC WAY
In 1976, Harrods launched the most modern sports department: Olympic Way. Among the experts dispensing advice was fitness guru David Prowse – soon to gain worldwide fame as Darth Vader in Star Wars.
Harrod’s Men’s Department 1930
1980S – PERFUMERY HALL
Opened in 1985, this opulent Art Deco style room is completely dedicated to leading fragrance brands.
1990S – TOY KINGDOM
In 1991, all children’s departments moved to Fourth Floor, including the famous Toy Kingdom. Harrods currently houses one of the most comprehensive childrenswear departments in the world.
2000S – FROM THE CATWALK
In 2010 Harrods opened the International Designer Room. Situated on the First Floor, the chic space houses international fashion brands including Alaïa, Balenciaga, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent.
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