London's Calling crossbody bag by Radley London

A review of four Radley London bags

Today I’m writing a review of a few products from one of my favorite British brands, Radley London!

I first encountered Radley London, a designer handbag brand with lively colors and a cute Scottie dog logo, in a department store in Norwich, England when I was shopping for a coin purse. On my second trip to the UK, I ran across a bag shop in Rye, England and bought a shoulder bag to use while traveling; later on the same trip, when my luggage ran out of space for all the other new things I bought, I got a second Radley bag, this time with a water-resistant fabric, to use as my personal item on the plane ride home.

After that trip, I was pleased to find that Radley London is now carried in the US by Macy’s—so I can satisfy my Radley obsession in the mall here at home. 🙂

I love Radley because of the unique, cheerful colors and designs that they use for their bags. I recommend Radley because their bags are sturdy, visually interesting, and cheaper than many other designer brands.

One thing I have run into with Radley is that, besides some of their staple designs, their collection changes very quickly. Every time I look at their website, there are new seasonal bags, and older ones are gone or sold out. So if you want to buy a specific Radley bag, you sometimes have to do it quickly.

When I was shopping for my most recent purse—to replace the one I had taken on all my travels, which was getting very worn out—I had a hard time choosing one online because they usually look different in person. I’m sharing a few photos of the bags I own so you can get a better idea of what they look like when they’re actually in use.

Note: links are mostly to the American site

Heritage Dog small zip coin purse

The best £25 I ever spent! (At the time, it felt like a fortune!)

This classic Radley coin purse prominently featuring Radley the Scottie dog measures at about 4×3″ and, if you go to a Debenham’s, comes in a variety of colors. I chose the black one; the accordion sides are the same blue as the dog on the front, and the inside is light gray.

When I’m in the UK, I use the coin purse to (of course) hold coins, but since I rarely use cash in the States, it mostly houses credit cards when I’m at home. I keep six cards in the purse at once, and there is still plenty of extra room for bills and coins if I need it.

I’ve had this coin purse for almost a year and a half now, carrying it around every day, and while there are a few scuffs on the edges, it is holding up as well as ever.

 

London’s Calling royal wedding crossbody bag

London’s Calling is my new everyday crossbody purse. It’s the same shape as the Radley classic Greyfriars Gardens small bag, which is quite a bit cheaper. The crossbody bag is part of a collection for the royal wedding; the collection includes a larger matching purse and wallet, as well as a coin curse and canvas tote bag with a different design.

This crossbody bag has some silver spherical studs on a few of the letters on the front and two little gold hearts embedded on the sides. The outside is textured red leather, which I absolutely love; the inside is a calming, oatmeal-y tan color with vertical lines creating texture in the fabric. Attached to the adjustable crossbody strap is a Union Jack-patterned Radley dog.

 

The top of the bag zips. There is a pocket on the front with a magnetic clasp, which fits my ~2.5×6″ phone and case perfectly. Inside the bag, there is a small slip pocket, where I keep my keys, earbuds, lipstick, and Kleenex. There’s also a zip pocket, where I keep toiletries. The inner zip pocket was smaller than I expected, so a few things had to go elsewhere—like the lipstick. But overall, the bag is quite flexible and roomy.

 

Here are the items I keep in the purse regularly (minus the things that go in the interior zip pocket, like hairbands, a pocket mirror, and concealer):

The contents of my London’s Calling crossbody bag

I did have to pare my stuff down to the essentials with this purse, but even with the items above, the main section of the bag has plenty of room to add other small things you might need for the day, like a portable charger or a snack.

My favorite thing about the purse is how it looks while wearing it. I tried out a much more formal black purse before I got this one, and it just didn’t feel right. I like the casual shape and playful lettering on the London’s Calling bag. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it!

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Medium-size purple shoulder bag

I fell in love with this purple shoulder bag when I saw it in the shop in Rye; the shopkeeper didn’t even have to convince me how perfect it was. It got a little beat up on my subsequent travels, unfortunately. There’s now a scratch in the leather on the back. But I still use it all the time when I need a few more items for the day than will fit in my little purse. The size is great—there is so much space in the two inner sections. I usually use it to carry either a water bottle, my sketchbook and pens, and my Kindle (it could hold more than that as well) or a change of clothes.

 

I usually won’t budge on a zip-top, but in this case I made an exception. This bag has a magnetic close, and I haven’t had any problems with it opening or spilling. The flap covers the entire interior pocket, so there’s not really a fear of the things inside getting wet in the rain, either.

The inside has two roomy sections, a zip pocket that has a lot of space inside, and two narrow-but-deep slip pockets (perfect for a phone, Kleenex, or pens). There is also a handy slip pocket (no closing mechanism, but the design of the bag holds the pocket taut) on the back exterior of the bag, which is convenient for stashing your phone or other items you need easy access to.

The bag also comes with lavender hanging charms.

I was worried that the bag would be a hassle to carry without a crossbody strap. It did try to slide off my shoulder sometimes on long walks, but if I positioned it as far back as possible, it stayed on pretty well. And for shorter excursions, it was perfect.

 

Large Pocket Essentials tote bag

Last but not least, my Pocket Essentials tote bag! Water-resistant fabric sets this bag apart from the others (and since it’s not leather, it’s a lot cheaper). I bought this bag in person at Debenham’s, so I didn’t have my pick of colors. The orange is okay. If I got it again, I would choose a different color from the selection online. I do like the contrasting color of the straps and logo.

Radley makes a number of non-leather bags in all shapes and sizes. The nylon fabric seems to attract hair and fuzzies a bit more, but it’s nice to not have to worry about scratching or scuffing a leather surface. This bag is very functional.

The size is also okay. It’s maybe a little small for a tote bag—I really had to squeeze to get everything I wanted into it (including the purple shoulder bag) when I flew home in January. But if I’m going to work out or need an overnight bag, it works great. It will for sure fit a couple changes of clothes and a toiletries or makeup pouch.

Inside there’s a slip pocket at the top, and there’s one on the back on the outside as well. Inside, there’s a clip in case you need to attach something.

 

 

 

Radley bags I still want to buy

Here are the runners up (plus a luggage item) I thought about before I bought the London’s Calling bag:

Paper Trails cabin suitcase (UK only)

Bliss Crescent mini satchel

Carey Street medium bucket bag

Wren Street small bag

What do you think of the Radley London bags?

For more posts on UK travel, use the button at the top of the right side of the page to follow Travels, by Lucy via email. Thanks for reading!

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