Day Three: Primark
As stated above, London (and the rest of England), is awash with Harry Potter Merchandise. Every tee-shirt seller, umbrella-maker and purveyor of novelty coffee mugs in the city has jumped on the Hogwarts Express, and there are a thousand different HP-related ways to part tourists from their money in the Capitol. We realised, early on, that the souvenir-shops were a little too pricey from our (Rand-lined) pockets, and opted for window-shopping rather than actually spending. I’d done my homework before we left SA and knew that our best bet for reasonably-priced HP merchandise was Primark (for the uninitiated, Primark is on a par with Mr Price or The Hub, and their stores offer clothing, accessories and homeware at discount prices). The nearest to us was their mega-store on Oxford Street, and we headed there with a great deal of hope for Rand-friendly retail.
We weren’t disappointed. We were in a rush because we had theatre tickets to see Wicked at the Victoria and our day at the Natural History Museum had run long (another amazing place to visit, worthy of its own blog). I couldn’t see when we’d have time on our itinerary to visit Primark again, so we raced in and raced out. However, we still managed to leave with three huge bags of goodies (linen, clothes, luggage tags, journals, pens, keychains, slippers, jewellery etc) that completely satisfied all of our gift-buying requirements without completely maxing my credit card. I’m pretty sure that the store security guard that helped me redistribute all of our packets into rug sacks thought we were stocking a small theme park in SA.
Pro-Tip: don’t buy any gifts for family and friends back home until you’ve visited a Primark. Their branded goods (Disney, Marvel, HP, Friends etc) are well-made, well-priced and unique. The rest of the store (the other 80%) offers great value and you’re sure to find something for everyone.