The Third Floor at Liberty London

One of the Happiest Places on Earth

A close friend who once worked at the Harper Bazaar’s offices in London told me that her favorite lunchtime activity was to visit the third floor of Liberty. She loved the feeling of being there and imagining what each meter of fabric could be: a skirt? a blouse? Another friend recently said that every time she’s in London, she has to visit Liberty and buy at least something. I get the feeling that many people do the same. Indeed, I’m guilty as charged.

Year after year, websites and magazines have rated the department store, Liberty, as one of the top shopping destinations in London. Understood: It has a well curated selection of top luxury fashion goods, a beautiful flower shop on the ground floor at the main entrance, and iconic Tudor revival architecture. The creaky, wooden floors and stairwells maintain an old English charm with working fireplaces in certain rooms. And of course, there’s tea served in the café. But one of the most noteworthy areas of Liberty is the third floor. Here, one can find the famous Liberty prints and haberdashery. It’s where DIY dreams come true.

To the English, Liberty prints are common knowledge. But to the rest of the world, this might not be as well known as say, Levi’s denim. These prints have remained a part of fashion history that really never aged. To this day, Liberty sometimes reissues prints from its archives. They come not only in multi-colored florals—some include quirky designs of candy or a bright and bold landscape with trees and verdant pastures. One recent print included zoo animals on cotton. 

For sewing aficionados and aficionadas, Liberty print sewing kits, pin cushions, needle cases and tape measures are affordable items for taking home a piece of English history and style. There are also cotton scarves, handkerchiefs and pocket squares in classic prints on the same floor. Even if you’re not in the mood to buy, the bolts of vibrant fabric, the bustling sales associates, and enthusiastic shoppers are inspiration enough and make great people watching. And of course, browsing doesn’t cost a thing. 

TravelSabrina Cooper