Spread over seven floors and encompassing an estimated five acres of floorspace, Harrods is one of the world's most famous department stores and for a long time enjoyed a reputation for both quantity and quality, selling everything under the Sun from exotic foods to exclusive designer clothing. Harrods' motto reflects this: "Omnia Omnibus Ubique", which means "All Things, For All People, Everywhere". Some people think that in recent decades Harrods has become over-commercialised and lost some of its illustriousness. However there is no doubt that Harrods stocks some of the world's finest brands.
Harrods was founded in 1835 by Charles Henry Harrod, a tea merchant and grocery wholesaler. The first shop site was in Stepney in the East End. Later, in 1849, the shop moved to its present day Brompton Road address. In 1985 the store was acquired by Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed for £615 million and he is the present owner.
For over sixty years up until 2000, Harrods held a number of royal warrants - endorsements by members of the monarchy, allowing a shop to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family. In 2000 the Duke of Edinburgh announced that he was rescinding his royal warrant, no doubt in response to Mohamed al-Fayed's accusation that the Duke masterminded the 1997 car crash in Paris that killed his son Dodi and Princess Diana.
Some time later, al-Fayed pre-empted further repeals, by removing warrants for supplying the Queen, the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales from the Harrods shopfront. After all who cares where the "Royal" family shop? And since when has their viewpoint been sought after on anything, even as trivial as shopping?
Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
020 7730 1234
Nearest tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line)