As well as being home to some of the world’s most influential gentlemen, Britain has produced some of the greatest – and most well-known – brands in the world. From motoring and menswear to fine wines and fragrances, here are the 50 Best Brands our nation has to offer…
Barbour, creators of indestructible jackets
Unrivalled in every sense of the word, there’s no doubt that Barbour deserves its place on this rarified list. Not only does the British fashion brand have a heritage-heavy great story behind it, it is also one of the best in the game for functional and beautiful outerwear guaranteed to last for years to come.
Bamford Watch Department, the most influential brand in watch customisation
An avid collector of vintage cars and sports watches, the man at the wheel of Bamford Watch Department — George Bamford — saw his passion sparked when he discovered a Breitling Navitimer. Years later, he has established this cutting-edge customisation brand. From case coating to dial designs, every cosmetic modification is achievable — and the company’s motto remains: “If you can imagine it, we can create it for you”.
Bamford Watch Department
Oliver Spencer, designers of modern menswear
Every sophisticated, modern gentleman should be familiar with Oliver Spencer, which has over time become one of the world’s most sought-after and followed luxury menswear brands. From market stall to catwalk, Spencer abandoned studenthood in favour of a stall at Portobello Market and today, alongside developing his distinctive design style, Spencer has set new industry standards for uncompromising production and provenance.
Land Rover, icons of British roads (and off-road)
No such list would be complete without those stalwarts of the big British brands: Land Rover, a brand associated with all aspects of Great Britain – and for good reason too. The car brand was founded in 1948 and has been making waves off-road and throughout towns and cities all around the world ever since. With recent forays into electric vehicles, they are staying at the vanguard of progress, whilst honouring a heritage-laden legacy.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover: “Land Rover is an iconic British brand that’s on a journey of transformation. Our tireless commitment to offer vehicles customers love for life is at the core of everything we do and as we celebrate our 70th year we continue to create vehicles that are universally desirable while maintaining the essence of the unique nature of our brand.”
Purdey, masters of the English countryside
Purdey is a brand synonymous with the English countryside; one whose heritage is at the forefront of everything that it does and produces. Purdey has been going strong since 1814 and continues to be one of the most sought-after British brands there is, keeping you well kitted-out in great gear in the not-so-great British weather.
Crockett & Jones, producers of the finest footwear
Something you might not know about Northampton – unless you hail from the East-Midlands town – is that it’s a place commonly associated with shoemaking, and has been since the Middle Ages. Crockett & Jones is arguably the best in this bastion of footwear, founded in 1889 and remaining wildly popular to this day for their handmade shoes and boots.
James Fox, Marketing Director: “It gives Crockett & Jones great pleasure to have been included in the Gentleman’s Journal 50 Best British Brands. We have supported Gentleman’s Journal, with great delight, from the very beginning. C&J’s company ethos is all about longevity: We bring quality and value to footwear, focusing on what our customers really want in their footwear collections. Gentleman’s Journal perfectly compliments this through their journalism and also the brands they choose to align themselves with.”
Crockett & Jones
Holland & Holland, smiths of Britain’s best guns
Holland & Holland have been at the pinnacle of British gun making for over a century but the roots of the company are rather unconventional. The founder was not a gunmaker, but a London tobacconist.
But, from smokey beginnings, the brand has matured into one of the most highly-respected field sporting brands in the world, producing guns and accessories with unrivalled distinction and some of the best materials in the world.
Holland & Holland
Connolly, designers of motoring-inspired fashion
There are few brands quite as cool as Connolly. The British classic clothing and leather designer has been proudly upholstering the finest cars of the British automotive industry for decades — including the Queen’s coronation carriage, Concorde and even the seats of the House of Lords and Houses of Commons.
Isabel Ettedgui, Connolly Owner: “You can find us at 4 Clifford Street in our early Georgian town house and shop off the mythical Savile Row. The salon space on our first floor is a wonderful space to showcase artists and talents.
“To be included in GJ’s ’50 Best British Brands’ means the world to us! It is a great honour and privilege. We have always been great admirers of GJ and are proud to represent what the best of British can mean: quality, style, independence, openness, eclecticism and flair.”
Floris, maestros of mixing fine fragrances
A fragrance that’s worthy of a gentleman can be a difficult thing to come by. There’s so much competition out there, with many signature scents coming from the continent or our friends across the pond. But a fragrance in a league of its own – created in the heart of London and epitomising all the class and sophistication of a true gent – is Floris. James Bond creator Ian Fleming favoured the brand for his super-spy, and if it’s good enough for 007, it’s good enough for you.
Joseph Bullmore, Editor of Gentleman’s Journal: “I love that London’s premier perfumer is still run and owned by the same family. Edward Bodenham, current custodian of the Floris family values, has a nose like a bloodhound and an incredible eye for marketing. I’m very fond of the company’s new limited edition Islay number, which has some very distinctive peaty notes. “
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, manufacturers of luxury vehicles
Since 1904, Rolls-Royce has been making some of the most iconic cars around – not to mention introducing more automobile innovations than you can shake a V8 at. A name that’s heavily associated with English heritage and history, no best-of British brands list is complete without Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars: “Rolls-Royce motor cars are an expression of something I see as quintessentially British; that exhilarating and fertile tension that exists between rebellion and tradition. True British luxury is the result of an instinctive fluency in heritage but a restless urge to reinterpret it.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Smythson of Bond Street, stationers of international acclaim
The first Smythson store opened on New Bond Street in 1887 — and the stationers have been ahead of the gilt-edged, leather-bound curve ever since. In 1908, they even created the first ever ‘featherweight’ diary — an organiser businessmen could actually carry around. Since then, the brand has equipped British Prime Ministers, Grace Kelly and even Madonna with some of the best leather goods and accessories in the world.
Smythson of Bond Street
Lock & Co, milliners of the highest distinction
Top hats and fedoras are an accessory synonymous with the English gent, and Lock & Co are the brand to go to for such an item. Heritage and tradition are at the heart of Lock & Co’s ethos, and as the brand has been around since the 1600s, they know what they’re doing.
Richard Biedul, Brand Ambassador: “As rich in history as it is in innovation and design, Lock & Co. Hatters are to me, synonymous with the word quality. Proud of their British heritage but also astutely aware that it is no longer the 1676. Their contemporary approach to millinery and textiles has lead them to create my favorite hat of all time, the Watchman beanie, which I wear religiously come rain or shine...”
Lock & Co
New & Lingwood, producers of luxury fashion
In 1865, New & Lingwood opened as a uniform shop for Eton. Since then, the tailors have outfitted generation upon generation of students, dressing some of Britain’s most elite pupils in their tailcoats, wing-collared shirts and, in the early days, top hats and gloves. They are unorthodox, exuberant and truly fantastic at what they do.
Freddie Briance, CEO: “While still staying true to our heritage, our focus going forward is to re- imagine the expectations of relaxed style, elevating the standards of domestic elegance. British distinctive design and craftsmanship will be at the forefront of that process“.
New & Lingwood
Princess Yachts, leading British luxury yacht manufacturers
With meticulous attention to detail, Princess have floated to the top of the yacht-building pile. Based in Plymouth, the brand is known for their range of class-type yachts; each bearing a letter from F to Y. And that’s not all. The boat-maker has also partnered in the past with such prestigious brands as Pininfarina and Ben Ainslie’s BAR Technologies outfit.
Kiran Haslam, Chief Marketing Officer: “We are really honoured to be acknowledged by Gentleman’s Journal as a leading British Brand. What we have done since 1965, and continue to do in terms of design and manufacturing here in the UK is indeed unique, as we are one of the last remaining manufacturers going from raw material to finished yachts on site in a vertically complex and integrated way.
“On behalf of the 3,200 employees here in Plymouth, I’d like to thank the readers of Gentleman’s Journal for this extraordinary recognition.”
Berry Bros. & Rudd, merchants of fine wine
Challenge almost any British gent to name a wine merchants, and the likelihood is they’ll answer Berry Bros. & Rudd. With a Royal Warrant from the Queen, and more prestigious wine awards than you can shake a corkscrew at, this brand is as British as you can get, and becomes more and more established with every year that passes – which, given its origins in 1698, is a lot.
Geordie Willis, Creative Director: “We’re extremely proud to be recognised as a leading British Brand. For over 300 years we have strived to bring the world of wines and spirits to life for our customers around the world, balancing our heritage with innovation; learning from the past whilst constantly thinking about the future.”
Berry Bros & Rudd
Glenlivet, one of the most famous malts in the world
Since 1822, The Glenlivet has delivered such a unique single malt scotch experience that its name is recognised and welcomed behind bars around the world. And for good reason. Today, the brand continues to break traditions, set new standards and move things forward; selecting exceptional unique casks, finishes and liquids and delivering unique serves and cocktails to open up the world of single malt to all.
Ettinger, crafters of unrivalled leather goods
Holding a Royal Warrant from the Britain’s monarchs is something that every British brand aspires to. Ettinger, among a handful of other purveyors of quality products on this list, have achieved this aim. Founded in 1934, the company has build a reputation almost as strong as its leather goods – one put together carefully and slowly, and likely to last a lifetime as a result.
Robert Ettinger, CEO: “Established in London by my father nearly ninety years ago, Ettinger is one of the few remaining and increasingly successful British leather goods manufacturers. Quality has always been at the heart of our manufacturing and we pride ourselves on designing and hand-crafting only the finest products. This includes accessories, bags and briefcases and all items are made at our factory in the midlands.”
Boodles, heritage jewellers of the highest regard
Founded in Liverpool in 1798, Boodles has been adding glitz and glamour to its customers’ lives for four centuries. And what sparkling centuries they’ve been. Experts in trophy-making, silversmithing and the sourcing of rare and precious gemstones, there are few jewellers more revered and respected in the entire world.
Paul Smith, maverick of British fashion
Friend to Gentleman’s Journal, Paul Smith is one of the most successful designers in the world. Boasting a brand of stature, sophistication, success – and stripes – he is consistently and unapologetically proud of his British roots, which feature massively in most of his collections and individual designs. Paul Smith is a simple name – but one we will continue to hear for years and years to come.
Paul Smith: “A sense of modern Britishness is certainly at the core of Paul Smith. I hope people will think that there’s an elegant eccentricity to what I do, I try to add an element of the unexpected to classic designs.”
Czech & Speake, scrubbed-up producers of the finest grooming gear
From Zebrano wood razors and 24k gold-plated manicure sets to some of our favourite fragrances, Czech & Speake are steeped in heritage — and have an unwavering focus on the holistic bathroom experience. Committed to bringing the best grooming gear to the market, the brand’s extensive collection includes fine fragrances, cologne, bath oils, aftershaves, shaving and bath soaps, and shaving kits — as well as burning sticks and candles, leather goods and towels.
Czech & Speake
Henry Poole, double Royal Warrant holder
Henry Poole holds not one, but two, warrants from the Royal Family – which tells you all you need to know about the heritage, quality and traditions of the brand. Hailing again from Savile Row, the tailor cut its first suit in 1806, and still prides itself over two centuries later on creating some of the most beautiful bespoke suits in the world.
Bicester Village, curators of fine luxury brands
Found at the top-right corner of the Cotswolds, Bicester Village is a concentration of all that makes Britain great. Whether it’s the luxury artisan boutiques showing off proudly patriotic craftsmanship, the appointment-only VIP spaces demonstrating our national flair for hospitality or Café Wolseley plating up the finest dining this side of Piccadilly, it’s one of the most debonair, delectable destinations in Britain.
Turnbull & Asser, shirtmakers of quality and care
Turnbull & Asser recently celebrated their 130th year in the shirting industry and are yet another proud owner of a Royal Warrant. World-renowned for making some of the finest clothing in the world, Turnbull & Asser live on to be one of the most successful and well-known brands in the world. And, as with Floris, they’ve also created wares for 007 himself, one of the highest seals of approval for a British brand.
Turnbull & Asser
Emma Willis, designer of luxurious, long-lasting fashion
With a factory that sits in the middle of Gloucester in a beautiful 18th century townhouse, Emma Willis is about as British as it gets. The brand creates some of the most luxurious shirts, boxer shorts, pyjamas and dressing gowns in the world; clothes truly fit for a gentleman and bespoke items imbued with heritage that will last you a lifetime.
Emma Willis: “Thank you GJ for including us in your 50 Best Brands. Your sincere support for British craftsmanship and skills and our charity Style for Soldiers are exemplified in all the support you give us in the beautiful editorials you create. I can’t imagine how I styled my Jermyn Street shop now without the stunning Gentleman’s Journal!”
KEF, manufacturers of crystal clear sound systems
Founded in 1961, and named after the Kent Engineering & Foundry complex, KEF is the best producer of loudspeakers in Britain — and beyond. At the forefront of loudspeaker design and technology for 50 years, its technical expertise and innovative designs grace anything from discreet home theatre systems to class-leading, serious Hi-Fi stereo speakers.
Cheaney, quintessential English shoemakers
During the first 80 years of business, the Cheaney factory made shoes exclusively for some of the finest retailers around the world, branded to their individual company requirements. Thankfully, in 1964, the founder’s grandson decided to build up the Cheaney name itself — and the Northamptonshire factory has been creating leather-lined, Goodyear-welted, hand-crafted shoes that bear their name ever since.
William Church, Joint Managing Director: “For over 130 years, Joseph Cheaney & Sons have been producing beautifully handcrafted footwear that respects our past heritage whilst embracing future innovation with a contemporary outlook. Quality materials and expert craftsmanship are of utmost importance to the integrity and longevity of our product and brand. We’d like to thank all at Gentleman’s Journal for their recognition and for including us in their 50 Best British Brands.”
Bennett Winch, purveyors of the finest in British luggage
Established just five years ago in a flurry of zips, poppers and luxury leather, Bennett Winch proceeded with one simple aim. Each product they designed and created would be an item of luggage that had been missing from their lives up until that point. And, not only have they succeeded, but they’ve done so while keeping the thing completely British; designing in Farringdon and bringing their ideas to life in a factory in Carlisle.
Sunspel, purveyors of beautiful simplicity
Sunspel was founded in 1860, at the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution and during a period of earth-shaking, world-wide change. Thomas Hill, Sunspel’s founder, set out with a vision that still epitomises the brand today: To create simple, everyday clothing from beautiful fabrics. The company’s success comes down to this simplicity, and long may it continue.
Abercrombie & Kent, jet-setting luxury tailor-made travel merchants
Globe-trotters. Jet-setters. Standard-bearers. Abercrombie & Kent will show you the world like nobody else can. The true masters of international travel, the British brand will curate you a tailor-made escape and ensure that every holiday is as individual as the person it is created for. We’d usually refrain from saying the possibilities are endless — but, in this case, they really are.
Geoffrey Kent, Founder and Co-Chairman: “Abercrombie & Kent is delighted to be one of Gentleman’s Journal’s 50 Best British Brands for 2020. From humble beginnings, A&K has been setting the standard for nearly 60 years, ever since I redefined the African safari with a refrigerated ex-Army truck and the best tents money could buy. Today, we remain at the forefront of the ever-evolving luxury travel industry with our 2,500 travel specialists delivering A&K’s hallmark formula of energy, authenticity, and luxury daily.”
Abercrombie & Kent
Coutts, exclusive private bank and wealth manager
From foundations in 1692, Coutts is a business build upon trust. The eighth oldest bank in the world, it is the bank of the British Royal Family — and decamps, like Gentleman’s Journal, every year to Cannes for the annual film festival. It’s an exclusive brand to be aligned with; prospective clients need at least £1,000,000 in investable assets.
Paul Fletcher, Head of Marketing: “Coutts is proud to be British. For over 300 years as a private bank and wealth manager, we have been part of British culture. We have been shaped by it and shaped it ourselves. When you join Coutts, as an employee or as a client, you join a family of entrepreneurs, of roaming adventurers, trailblazers and thinkers.
“Our clients are landed gentry, rappers and lottery winners and each as different as the next. We understand them. We understand their families. We back their adventures, support their greatest hopes – and help them achieve their goals. We think that is a very British thing to do. For Gentlemen’s Journal to recognise us as one of their 50 Best British Brands is an incredible honour and we are all pleased as punch!”
Triumph Motorcycles, engineers of two-wheeled masterpieces
Triumph Motorcycles has a bumpy history. And yet, despite tackling the potholes and pitfalls of receivership and redundancies (and on two wheels, no less), the British brand is currently motoring along better than ever. A true testament to engineering passion and mechanical craftsmanship, the bikemaker has counts customers including Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, James Dean, Bob Dylan and Steve McQueen.
Devron Boulton, General Manager UK & Ireland: “It’s a real honour to be included in Gentleman’s Journal ’50 Best British Brands’. Triumph Motorcycles has a British heritage that dates back to 1902 and we are passionate about growing and building the brand. By designing and developing truly beautiful, powerful and capable motorcycles that deliver the perfect ride, we can be best in class not just in Britain, but across the world.”
Nyetimber, makers of English sparkling wine
Every gentleman should have a taste for the finer things in life, and that includes a beautiful bottle of sparkling wine. For over 25 years, the Nyetimber Vineyard has been creating the finest English sparkling wine – believe it or not, it does exist – and it’s the bubbly your flutes have be waiting for.
Cherie Spriggs, Head Winemaker: “At Nyetimber, we are driven by a pursuit of producing exceptional sparkling wines and a passion for British craftsmanship, which is why we are delighted to have been recognised as one of the top fifty British brands by Gentleman’s Journal. We continue to pioneer and demonstrate the superb qualities of this nation for wine production, and what it means to be a leading British luxury brand.”
Knight Frank, the UK's leading independent real estate consultancy
Founded in 1896, Knight Frank is, simply put, the finest real estate company we’ve ever worked with. Headquartered in London, the brand pride themselves on being built on several unshakeable values: Innovation; Endurance; Collaboration; Inspiration; Commitment and Respect. We’re particularly fond of the Knight Frank Private Office, dedicated to advising and transacting on the most prime plots of real estate.
Fortnum & Mason, sellers of the finest foods
Since launching in 1707 on Duke Street, this bastion of British cuisine has made some great gastronomic leaps. In 1738, they invented the Scotch Egg – the perfect snack for travellers. In 1886, they introduced the might Baked Bean to Britain for the first time. And, in 1922, they provided the food for the UK’s first Everest expedition – including 60 tins of quail in foie gras and four dozen bottles of champagne. Now that’s what we call luxury eating.
Fortnum & Mason
Savoir Beds, the ultimate in handmade luxury beds and mattresses
Savoir make fewer than 1000 luxury handcrafted beds a year — because they’re a brand focused on making the best, not the most. The company began as part of the Savoy Hotel, but was recently purchased by Alistair Hughes. Today, with showrooms in cities from Stockholm to Singapore, this British bedmaker is responsible for countless deep sleeps around the world every single night.
Huntsman, icons of Savile Row
Huntsman truly defines Britain: It is home to some of the most beautifully bespoke, tailored garments, and inhabits a Savile Row shop that has seen some of the world’s best suiting since the mid-1880s. The most iconic gentleman in modern history have worn Huntsman, and the brand handle their considerable heritage with as much care and deference as they do every order.
Joseph Bullmore, Gentleman’s Journal Editor: “Huntsman is that remarkable new breed of Savile Row Tailor — they’re well aware of their incredible history but they look constantly to the future. That’s one of the things that Pierre LaGrange, Huntsman’s proprietor since 2013, has brought to the table, along with a new-found confidence to their branding and advertising (just look at their brilliant partnership with the Kingsman film franchise.) As for the tailoring itself, I love their striking but timeless signature style.”
Church’s, sellers of flawless footwear
The standard bearer in the legendary shoemaker capital of Northampton, Church’s has been the nation’s go-to brand for durable and stylish shoes for over a century. So, if you’re after some flawless Chelsea boots, Derbys or Oxfords, this is the label to look into.
Creed, perfumers of the utmost respect
In 1760, a pair of scented leather gloves was delivered to King George III by a new London tailoring company. And, while the brand may have focused more on the scents than the tailoring in the years since, the House of Creed has now been creating fragrances for the discerning and the discriminating for over 260 years. We’re particularly fans of the brand’s timeless Aventus.
Aston Martin, engineers of international acclaim
Hatched in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, Aston Martin – with it’s elegant, flowing aesthetic and powerful build – leads the pack when it comes to luxury cars. Moreover, with a tight association to Britain’s most famous super spy, its credentials are only further elevated.
Soho House, the new members club
Established in the mid-Nineties by Nick Jones as the remedy to dated members’ clubs, Soho House was marketed as a “home from home” for the capital’s creatives. Since then, it’s evolved into a global juggernaut with no fewer than 18 locations spanning Europe and North America.
Thom Sweeney, tailors of the contemporary
Forget your fusty, fuddy preconceived notions of Great British bespokewear; because Thom Sweeney is here to shake, stitch and button up a new type of tailoring. Founded by Savile Row trained tailors Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney, the first store opened in 2009 — and the contemporary British brand now has trimly-tailored outposts in both Mayfair and New York City.
Graff Diamonds, jewellers of quality and virtue
When it comes to cutting luxury goods, few do it as well as Graff. Not only does the jeweller laser engrave most of its diamonds with a unique Gemological Institute of America tracking number (a feature that allows you to track each stone’s origins, but it also ensures that none of its products are bought or sold in areas where there are conflict diamonds trades).
Francois Graff, CEO of Graff: “As a British brand founded in London in 1960, we are proud of our London headquarters and our Mayfair atelier – it is a hive of expertise and innovation, where our designers and master craftsmen consistently strive for perfection. While we now operate on a global level, with over sixty stores worldwide, we remain a family-run, British business.”
Jaguar, designers of timeless cars
If you were to ask any petrolhead what car they’d want in their garage, the chances are that they’ll ask for an Jaguar E-Type. Billed as the ‘most beautiful car in the world’ by Enzo Ferrari, this set of wheels redefined people’s expectations of what could be expected from a moderately-priced sports automobile, and as a result firmly cementing the company’s status in the upper echelons of the design industry.
Today, Jaguar’s worldly portfolio has been furthered bolstered by contemporary models such as the F-Type and C-X75, the latter having featured in 2015’s Spectre.
Farlows, sellers of the finest countryside kit
Heading out of the city this weekend? Let Farlows kit you out. Supplying the finest fishing tackle and shooting attire since 1840, this iconic Pall Mall store carries a range of high-quality stock that’ll see you through your countryside escape in the most stylish (and practical) way possible.
Chase, pioneers of potato vodka
After growing up in Herefordshire and growing potatoes for over 20 years, William Chase evolved his company into the international crisp brand Tyrrels. To make things even more fun, he then expanded to vodka, and 10 years ago this year, bottled his first batch of Chase Vodka. It’s vodka, but not as you know it. In fact, it’s better.
James Chase: “As a proud countryside based business, we are delighted to be included amongst a stellar line up of Great British Brands. We founded Chase in 2008 to challenge the status quo and to champion field to bottle spirits from British potatoes distilled on our farm in Herefordshire.”
Harrods, legends of Knightsbridge
Covering one million square feet and renowned for its luxury goods and celebrity-endorsed products, Harrod’s is the closest thing you can get to a retail mecca. Despite the rise of e-commerce, the fact that the green and gold London institute can still attract over 15 million customers a year is a testament to its reputation as the world’s greatest department store.
Goodwood, an English estate like no other
At Goodwood, the brand’s vision is to create and maintain a financially healthy group of businesses that – both individually and through collaboration – help to protect their heritage and anticipate future challenges and opportunities. Through conscientious, progressive management of the Estate, they have successfully strived to promote prosperity, health and wellbeing.
Edward Green, designers of quality shoes
In a world of sneaker drops and fluctuating trends, Edward Green stands tall. With shoes that are cut and crafted by hand from the world’s best leathers, and utilising time-consuming processes such as the hand-cutting of materials, this Northampton-based company guarantees quality with every step.
Look out for the Gentleman’s Journal Best British Brands logo on chosen brands’ websites.
Want another list? Here’s our rundown of the 20 things that make a gentleman…
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