Entering Jermyn Street from Piccadilly feels like leaving one world and joining another. The volume drops. The stores look antiquated and charming. And, for reasons that become evident once you peer through the windows, people around you are suddenly much better dressed.
That’s because Jermyn Street has always been associated with old-world class: a place where London’s 19th-century gentlemen elite, such as Beau Brummel (whose statue stands near Piccadilly Arcade), went to shop before disappearing into their members' clubs. That spirit still remains today. While Savile Row is the home of men's tailoring, you can find almost everything else here. From badger-hair brushes to country brogues and English-made shirts – as well as a few nibbles in between – this is a gentleman’s (or -woman’s) handy guide to Jermyn Street.
Note: With so many businesses on Jermyn Street, we’ll be highlighting the more unique or historic shops – associated with a gentleman’s lifestyle – and not the bigger, commercial brands found on the high street.
Cordings of Piccadilly
The original Cordings shop was indeed located on Piccadilly, but moved to Jermyn Street last year, apparently with the help of Prince Charles. Great news, as it’s credited with the invention of the Tattersall check, and has a serious selection of country clothing and accessories for your next trip out of town. The tweed suits are a specialty.
Founded in 1890, Edward Green is considered to be among the most prestigious of all the Northampton shoemakers. A typically English, fitted shape, its Top Draw range is produced by the brand’s senior craftsmen, and are made to last a lifetime. Just remember, high standards come with a high price tag.
Turnbull and Asser
If it’s good enough for James Bond and Winston Churchill, it’s good enough for you. Turnbull and Asser is probably the most popular artisanal shirting choice on Jermyn Street: simple, crafted to a high standard in England, and with a reasonably priced made-to-measure service. Your relationship with a shirtmaker is very similar to your tailor, and for a lot of men, their shirtmaker is Turnbull and Asser.
Hilditch & Key
Hilditch & Key was once a worthy competitor of Turnbull’s. But since stopping production in England, the quality of its shirts has sadly paid the price. The only upside is that a few of its ranges are now kinder on your wallet. So, if you are looking for a shirt that’s still a step up from the likes of T.M. Lewin – but without the price tag of its more famous neighbour – Hilditch & Key is worth a try.
Emma Willis is the newest of the Jermyn Street shirtmakers. At a slightly higher price point, the quality of the Sea Island cotton, and a signature contemporary cut, make her shirts popular with more fashionable (rather than traditional) dressers. Everything is made to the highest quality here in the UK. The best modern alternative to Turnbull & Asser or Budd.
Foster & Son
In menswear circles, Foster & Son is considered one of the better, more authentic, shoe options on Jermyn Street, as well as being London’s oldest bespoke shoemaker. It's Foster & Son that produces the famous red ‘Ministerial Despatch Box’ ferried between No.10 and the Queen. Which, incidentally, you can buy here for your study.
New & Lingwood
New & Lingwood is known for its eccentric take on classic menswear. A haven for dandies, the silk gowns, bathrobes, and pyjamas are essential, and its selection of sporting-inspired casual clothing is as fun and extravagant as anything you’ll find on Jermyn Street.
Tricker’s is another of the street's Northampton shoemakers, up there with Church’s, but considered a tier below Edward Green. Its shoes are characterised by a thicker, wider, and more rounded shape designed for country living, like the popular Bourton model.
Bond wore Floris No.89, and so can you. This is the fragrance brand’s smartened-up flagship store where men in the know have been visiting for centuries in search of a new signature scent – most commonly the Santal edition, or the aptly named ‘Jermyn Street’.
Taylor of Old Bond Street
Taylor is a one-stop shop for all your grooming needs. There’s plenty of fun to be had perusing the endless items on offer, which include Italian toothbrushes, vintage hip-flasks, mirrors, Kent combs, and the store’s own selection of creams and ointments. If you can only leave with one thing, its Sandalwood Shaving Soap is a cult favourite.
Geo. F. Trumper
The Victorian sign, the busy window, the smell of sandalwood once you step inside… Geo. F. Trumper will transport you to another era. And in a way, that’s how it wants it. Once a favourite barbershop for the city’s gentleman elite, many of the remedies you find here are largely unchanged – especially its selection of strong, masculine colognes.
An old school, no-nonsense steak restaurant that has become a Jermyn Street institution. Opened in 1976, Rowley’s is situated at the home of the original Wall’s butcher shop (yes, the sausages) and has retained its Victorian decor. It’s an expensive place, but as its customers will tell you, the food and service is well worth it.
Paxton & Whitfield
It may seem unusual to find such a great fromagerie among perfumeries and shirtmakers but, for more than 200 years, Paxton & Whitfield has been selling the finest cheeses from Britain and beyond. Ask the friendly staff what’s in season, and then admire its selection of homeware. The cheese boards, with Paxton’s branding, make a nice conversation starter at dinner parties.
45 Jermyn Street
A chic brasserie located halfway into Jermyn Street. More hip than the other eating and drinking establishments here, it’s a fine place for people watching while enjoying a cocktail, its highly recommended omelette Arnold Bennett with crab, or – if it’s a day worth celebrating – caviar.
One of the first Italian restaurants in London, Franco’s retains its old-world sophistication, with an upscale interior and haute cuisine. An institution that matches the refined tastes of the nearby menswear stores, the customers tend to be well-heeled regulars. Not a lot of time? Sample its first-rate cappuccino between shopping.
Best of the rest
This quaint indoor cut-through to Piccadilly houses some renowned artisans. Be sure to look out for: Budd Shirtmaker (a smart alternative to Turnbull & Asser), Swaine Adeney-Brigg (arguably Britain’s premier umbrella maker), Benson & Clegg (Royal-approved, regimental menswear), Deakin & Francis (divine accessories, especially the cufflinks), Favourbrook (Oliver Spencer’s dinner suit emporium) and more.
Davidoff of London
One of the most interesting shops in the city; somehow fitting in British-made umbrellas by Fox, luxury canes, lighters, and all sorts of smoking gear from around the world. The draw here is the selection of cigars, sourced by the legendary Edward Sahakian. Once you’re done perusing his stock, take a short walk to Sahakian’s lounge at the Bulgari Hotel to enjoy your spoils.
FYI: Bond started out with a Beretta before switching to a Walther PPK. Chances are he got it at this store, which includes a well-stacked gun room should you find yourself invited to a weekend of shooting (or spying). Not your thing? Its selection of country clothing and glassware are sought by visitors from around the world.
Worth a mention
Although they have numerous locations in the city, John Lobb, Church’s, Cheaney, Barker and Loake offer some of Northampton’s finest shoes at varied prices on Jermyn Street. JM Weston also sells the classic 180 moccasin, worn by French presidents, while British fashion brands Alfred Dunhill, John Smedley, Aquascutum and Sunspel are on-hand for smart-casual essentials.