Wednesday, 21 November 2012

London Christmas Shopping – 32 Days To Go!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? (!) In the run-up to Christmas 2012, The Daily Constitutional will round-up the best of London shopping – unique boutiques, markets, one-man and one-woman bands, as well as the finest big London names.

Award-winning guide Kim goes off the beaten track…

"For weird and wonderful stocking fillers and the most gruesome selection of books anywhere, try the Old Operating Theatre shop on St Thomas' Street behind London Bridge Station.

The old rickety spiral staircase is the perfect entrance - but beware, it's completely inaccessible for those who are not able bodied or those with pushchairs! Once inside it's so small it's difficult to turn around but they have managed to pack in a huge amount of "themed" goodies. 

The theme is the human body so there are syringe pens, giant furry microbes (can you resist giving your loved one the Black Death?), plastic models to build of eyes, hearts and other internal organs and skulls galore! Some of it is even educational but for kids who love the macabre - and show me one who doesn't - or anyone who works with bodies in any way this place is irresistible. The books are similarly compulsive and in recent weeks I've uncovered A History of Cannibalism and loads of stuff on grave robbers and the darker side of London.  The difficulty here is coming out without buying something. 

There is an online order service but "seeing is believing" here and the believing is how much stuff can you cram into such a tiny space. Staff are friendly and if you have never visited the Old Operating Theatre itself then this is the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and discover a hidden gem of London whilst getting that essential Christmas shopping done. 

If you want to combine this with a London Walk then you need to join me on Darkest Victorian London where the price of a London Walk will also get you into the museum for half-price! We go on Monday mornings from Monument tube station at 10.45am"

Our picture is taken from the SE1 community website

Kim, who has worked in the House of Commons and the European Parliament, is another 24-carat Blue Badge Guide: she won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award in 2001.


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