The Royal Exchange: A Gifting Mecca in London's Square Mile 

A serene and historic shopping arcade at the crossroads of Bank in the City of London

With its imposing eight-columned portico inspired by the Pantheon, alfresco-style central courtyard and exclusive array of luxury boutiques, The Royal Exchange is The City's ideal place to pick a gift this Valentine's Day 

Officially opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571 on the initiative of financier and merchant Thomas Gresham, the Royal Exchange was built as a centre of commerce, where British wools could be found alongside silks from exotic lands. Intriguingly, stockbrokers were banned from doing business as they were considered too disagreeable; rather they were encouraged to wreak havoc in the coffee houses around the corner. 

Fortnum & Mason's courtyard residence 

Modelled on Antwerp’s Bourse (stock exchange) the original building was a very different affair to the current Neo-Palladian design by Sir William Tite, with a large open courtyard surrounded by shops, businesses and a trading floor not dissimilar to a Parisienne square. Unfortunately, The Royal Exchange suffered two catastrophic fires (The Great Fire of London in 1666 and another in 1838) which led to Tite's current design. 

2018 welcomed the addition of another London icon, Fortnum & Mason, which occupies the central courtyard with a restaurant and 90-cover bar. A seasonal, contemporary menu, with plates such as braised ox cheek and citrus marinated hand-dived scallops, makes for perfect shopping sustenance. With boutiques such as Leica, Hermès, Montblanc, Boodles and Watches of Switzerland located under the glass skylight, it just goes to prove that the most fertile blooms spring from ashes.

For Him 

Connaught Document Case, £425, Aspinal of London,

Quicker Sneaker, £660, Hermès,

CL Series, From £2,250, Leica,

Tiger Ashtray, £225, Halcyon Days,

Meisterstück Solitaire Doué Fountain Pen, £610, Montblanc,

Vitamin E Gel 30ml, £60, Jo Malone,

Chelsea XI, £450, Crockett & Jones,

Monogrammed iPhone Case, £70, Aspinal of London,

Mara A4 Zip Folder, £495, Smythson,

Supermarine Type 500, £4,895, Bremont,

For Her 

Tiffany T Wire Bracelet, £1,625, Tiffany & Co.,

Toolbox 26 in Taurillon Novillo, £6,070, Hermès,

B Silent Organic Body Oil, £42, Bamford,

Cosmos Diamond and Enamel Pendant, £4,100, Boodles,

Mirfield W, £370, Church's,

LE90790, £395, Tom Davies, 

18K Rose Gold Mayfair Bracelet, £1,500, Tateossian,

Tank Américaine Medium 18k Pink Gold, £11,400, Cartier,

Pomegranate Noir 2.1kg Candle, £300, Jo Malone,

Rosario, £179, Pretty Ballerinas,

Article created in partnership with Royal Exchange