Mike, Regardless of it being a chain, check out Tower Records at Picadilly Circus in London. It has a huge selection of CDs and other items.
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Hi Mike. I was in London a little over 2 years ago. And there's quite a few higher end shops to my supprise really! It appears England in general is quite a Hi-fi friendly place from which to shop! ...or window shop if that's your preference. My suggestion is to pick up a local Audio mag while you're there(fi, etc), and or check the phone book!
I can't honestly remember the names, other than there was one REALLY high end shop down on Totentam Court(spelling), or whatever you call it. Anyway it was just north east I think of Picadilli Circus, up Totantam Court a ways. There are others there too, and in out-skirt cities as well. You might just ask around and you'll probably get plenty of info...those Brits are quite sociable and approachable that way.
Have fun...I did!
Like ForeverHiFi, I was in some high-end shops the last time I was in London, but forget where they were exactly. I agree, just ask.
If you have time to kill and you want to check out some modestly price gear (Arcam, Cambridge Audio, Sony, Mordaunt Short, Mission, the better Marantz, and quite a few brands not sold in the USA), you can also stop in a Richer Sounds outlet. They have mutiple locations around London and the UK as well.
Their website is http://www.richersounds.com/
You will find a lot of Cambridge gear, because owner Julian Richer is the general partner in Audio Partnership that owns Cambridge. He can sell the stuff for what would be wholesale in the US.
My earlier mention of Tower should be a must visit for classical listeners. The Picadilly Tower has the largest classical collection in one place I have ever seen. If memory serves, it took up an entire floor of the multi-level store. If you've ever wanted that rare CD that would be a special import in the USA; you can just pick it out of the rack there in stock.
When you get to Heathrow or Gatwick buy a copy of High Fi News/Record Review or What High Fi and look up the ads for high end dealers. I maybe dating myself but if Audio T or Thomas Heinitz/Music in the Home is still around they are worth visiting. I know Mr. Heinitz has retired but I understood the store was still there. Also there are often after holiday sales of 50% off or more so you should ask about that - it's traditional in the London shopping areas.
Do check out www.walrus.co.uk first and foremost! The shop called Walrus System is the only shop in the entire England dedicated for vinyl lovers and valve amplifiers of a certain European kind. You can listen to and buy a Breuer type 8b tonearm from them! Now, that's REAL hi-end! The shop is more like a storage house then a shop at the moment but apparently loyal customers liked it that way hence proprietors Les and Pete left it that way! So do prepare for a shock! By the way, do check out Selfridges, London's most flashy department store which is only 5 minutes walk from Walrus. Again, you won't be disappointed. And finally, round the corner from Walrus is the delightful modern Italian resturant, Locanda Locatelli which I recommend too, www.locandalocatelli.com. One word of warning: dining in decent resturants in London is very expensive and Americans tend to complain about portions of food given and services not commsnsurate with the price charged.... I agree too! That's why we called 'rip-off Britain' locally these days!
I would agree strongly with the walrus suggestion. It is on new quebec street but is on the web. I walked in off the street last year and the chap was very nice knowing full well I wasn't going to buy anything. The mag to look up in by the way is hifi +. If you go into harrods you can usually see 10000 worth of linn poorly displayed - at least for listening. Drop me a note if any questions and have a great trip.