Monkey business in the UK

Updated: 2016-02-29 08:13

(China Daily)

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Monkey business in the UK

[Photo provided to China Daily]

"They tend to use what we have in the range," he says.

Sometimes those are products that were created for the palace long ago.

"We still keep one mouthwash formula in the store, even though mouthwash isn't what we're about anymore. But the palace still likes it, so we have it."

Our shopping tour proceeds to Mulberry, with leather handbags so popular in China that the brand launched them on the Chinese-language micro-blog platform Weibo in 2013. Johnny Coca, the label's relatively new creative director, is eager to broaden Mulberry's ready-to-wear line and plans some surprises in the upcoming fashion-week shows.

At the immense Liberty department store, we get lost in fabrics, in wonderful rugs, in the chocolate boutique-and we come back later for haircuts at the store's old-fashioned barber shop, Murdock, where straight razors and shaving brushes aren't just for decoration. Unlike in Churchill's day, however, a "luxury Murdock wet shave" (55 pounds) now comes with a facial.

"A lot of customers looking for a traditional cut are not so young," says barber Marshall Darling.

"But we get a lot of guys from the film and arts industries-between about 28 and 40-who want to be very stylish and have a quality cut."

More than stores

In a holiday centered around two days of high-end shopping, there wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing. We got a quick fix by spending a morning at The Shard, the 95-story skyscraper that offers a birds-eye view of the UK capital's most iconic landmarks. Since before Lunar New Year, social media users in China have been able to get a glimpse of the breathtaking vista on their tablets and smartphones.

The Shard has also produced a fun online video for Weibo and WeChat that introduces users to the Jade Emperor and his wife, Queen of Heaven. The royal couple are busily preparing their Chinese New Year festivities-however, the naughty Monkey King has stolen all of their delicious dumplings meant for the New Year feast and escaped to London. Those who play the game to recover the dumplings can see a virtual 360-degree panorama of London from the top of The Shard.

Two other ways to see London's top sights in a short time: Take a river cruise on the Thames, with a day ticket that allows you to get off at the Tower of London and other sites if you want a quick look. London's famous red tour buses also have hop-on, hop-off options for do-it-yourself sightseeing, with audio guides in many languages including, of course, Chinese.

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