Sarah's Shiny Science: the world's first National Geographic store

Last week I was invited to the press preview of the world’s first National Geographic store on Regent Street in London (BTW – the Christmas lights on Regent Street look great). And I have decided to dedicate this week’s column to the store. Why? Well, profits made from the deal with the franchise partner will help fund National Geographic’s exploration, conservation, research and education programmes. So there. And just think, now you know exactly why you should bother to pop in.

On the ground floor of the store there is a lecture area that doubles as retail floor space. Basically, when a lecture is going to take place, the goods are quickly moved aside in the crates that they’re displayed in. Lectures given by National Geographic’s own group of Indiana Jones types will begin in January.

Even if you don’t plan to buy one of the artefacts from around the world, it’s nice to peruse the galleries of National Geographic images on every floor (look out for my favourite: the pic of the high-fiving frog).

The store also sells clothing for the great outdoors and is equipped with a chamber on the basement floor in which you can test the jackets on sale in freezing temperatures using a thermal imaging camera. This did seem a tad gimmicky though, as I’m sure they’ve already made sure that all of the jackets they carry will fare well in the cold chamber test. But I can see the benefit of being able to test sunglasses in different light conditions and camera equipment in the dedicated rooms.

Advisors are also on-hand if you’d like to book ‘exclusive bespoke trips’. Sadly, I’m sure these trips are way, way, way more than I can afford – I’m more of a cheap flight and last-minute holiday package kind of gal.

Sarah Reed