Famous streets in London

A large part of The City’s street plan dates back to medieval times. Christopher Wren tried to redesign it after the Great Fire of London but they stuck with the original layout. Some of the oldest quarters were then wiped out in the Blitz and modernisation, but there are still plenty of streets with Victorian and Georgian architecture.

Top 10 streets and squares Our guide to the ten best streets and squares in London – some for their history, some for their shops, and some for their landmarks.Trafalgar Square
Piccadilly Circus
Parliament Square
Downing Street
Whitehall
Regent Street
Leicester Square
Oxford Street
Piccadilly
The Mall

Recommendations Craig recommends… Tourists will want to visit The Mall (which leads down to the palace), Downing St. and Trafalgar Square. Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden are good as well.

Abbey Road

Abbey Road is famous for the zebra crossing outside the front where The Beatles took the photo for their album cover. Tourists do exactly the same thing today.

Baker Street

The most famous resident of Baker Street was the Victorian detective Sherlock Holmes, who lived at No.221b. The rest of the street is filled with shops and offices.

Bedford Square

One of Bloomsbury’s many public squares. It is situated next-door to the British Museum and contains some very fine examples of Georgian architecture.

Belgrave Square

A very large and very grand 19th-century square in Belgravia, situated close to the back-end of Buckingham Palace. A lot of the houses are now foreign embassies.

Berkeley Square

Once one of Mayfair’s grandest squares, a lot of the buildings have since been modernised. It’s famous for the song A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.

Bloomsbury Square

One of London’s oldest squares dating all the way back to the reign of Charles II. It was originally the gardens of the grand mansion of the Earl of Southampton.

Bond Street

One of London’s most exclusive shopping streets, full of expensive jewellers and auction houses. It stretches through the centre of Mayfair from Piccadilly to Oxford Street.

Carnaby Street

It’s hey-day was during the Swinging Sixties when all the beautiful people came to the little boutiques to buy the latest fashions. These days it’s much more touristy.

Chancery Lane

One of London’s most historic streets, dating all the way back to the late 14th-century and the reign of Edward III. It’s now home to the Public Records Office.

Cheapside

This has been a busy shopping street since medieval times. It’s largely full of concrete shops and offices these days, but St. Mary-le-Bow church is definitely worth a visit.

Downing Street

The public can’t get past the big black iron gate at the entrance, but you can still peer over the shoulder of a big burly policeman and see where the Prime Minister lives.

Fleet Street

Once famous as the home of newspapers, Fleet Street is still worth a visit for three churches: St. Dunstan’s, St. Bride’s and Temple. Keep walking and you’ll reach St. Paul’s.

Gerrard Street

Gerrard Street is the main street that runs right through the centre of Chinatown. It has a huge Chinese pagoda at the end and lots of Oriental restaurants.

Grosvenor Square

Known as ‘Little America’ because of the US Embassy that sat at the end, this rather plain square is full of statues of American generals and presidents.

Harley Street

This quickly became a centre for medical professionals and practically every house in the street contains either a doctor’s clinic, dermatologist, dentist or surgeon.

Horse Guards

The parade ground is used for pomp and pageantry. It’s where State Visits are greeted and marching soldiers are inspected by the Queen during Trooping the Colour.

Jermyn Street

The street’s location near the gentlemen’s clubs on Pall Mall meant it soon became popular with posh hatters, shoe fitters and shirt makers – a reputation it has retained today.

Kensington High Street

A normal shopping street full of high street chain stores like Habitat, Boots and M&S. The art deco department store Barkers is worth a visit.

King’s Road

King’s Road once rivalled Carnaby Street for its fashion shops and boutiques. These days it’s just a normal high street full of everyday shops and chain stores.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is at the centre of London’s nightlife – a West End hub full of pubs and clubs. It’s also where the hold all the big film premieres in the big cinemas.

The Mall

A long processional route from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. Along the way you can see St. James’s Palace, Clarence House and Queen Victoria’s Memorial.

Neal’s Yard

A very colourful little courtyard hidden in the streets around Covent Garden. It’s home to a few health and beauty shops, organic food shops and restaurants.

Old Compton Street

Old Compton Street is one of centres of the gay community, full of pubs, clubs and restaurants. It has some nice old Soho pubs and a popular West End theatre.

Oxford Street

London’s busiest shopping street is packed with people every day of the week. If you come during Christmas time then you’ll hardly be able to move!

Pall Mall

A prestigious street between Trafalgar Square and St. James’s Palace. It’s full of art dealers and famous gentleman’s clubs like the Reform Club and Athenaeum.

Park Lane

Due to it’s position on the Monopoly board people think it’s better than it is – it’s a busy dual carriageway these days, albeit with some fine architecture and 5-star hotels.

Parliament Square

A meeting place for marches and protests by the Houses of Parliament. On the other sides of the square are Westminster Abbey and the Supreme Court.

Piccadilly

An impressive street with some very fine architecture. It’s home to the Ritz Hotel, Royal Academy and two of London’s biggest bookshops: Waterstones and Hatchards.

Piccadilly Circus

One of London’s must-see sights in the heart of the West End, the tourists mill around taking photos of the Eros fountain and the Times Square-like neon signs.

Portobello Road

It’s just a normal Notting Hill street market most of the time, but come Saturday it transforms into one of the capital’s busiest and most popular antiques markets.

Regent Street

The curving facade of Regent St. is home to lots of flagship stores like Apple and Hamleys, and some designer fashion shops like Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld and Tommy Hilfiger.

Russell Square

The largest garden square in Bloomsbury is close to the British Museum and has the Russell Hotel on its eastern edge. Some early houses survive from the 19th-century.

St. James’s Square

Situated just off Pall Mall and close to St. James’s Palace, this pretty square was a prestigious address in its 18th-century hey-day, and home to several Prime Ministers.

Savile Row

Its name has become synonymous with finely tailored suits, but it was also where The Beatles played their final live performance on the roof of their Apple office at No.3.

Shaftesbury Avenue

Shaftesbury Avenue runs through the heart of the West End and has many of the theatre district’s best venues like Queen’s Theatre, Palace Theatre and Lyric Theatre.

Sloane Square

This pretty square at the eastern end of Chelsea is best known for the Royal Court Theatre and the big department store Peter Jones. It leads onto the King’s Road.

Strand

Another of London’s big shopping streets, the Strand runs from Trafalgar Square up past Covent Garden and Somerset House to the Royal Courts of Justice.

Tottenham Court Road

It’s not the prettiest street in town, but it does contain a decent concentration of mobile phone and computer and shops if you’re looking to buy one.

Threadneedle Street

Home to the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England (the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street), this road is in the heart of the Square Mile and is full of financial institutions.

Trafalgar Square

London’s most famous square is home to the National Gallery. Nelson’s Column stands in the centre, surrounded by fountains and four huge bronze lions.

Victoria Embankment

Have a romantic walk along the river underneath the lamplights and leafy trees, looking at views of the Southbank and London Eye across the water.

Whitehall

This road is centre of British government. It’s home to Banqueting House, Downing Street and the Cenotaph. Tourists like to take photos with the soldiers at Horse Guards.
 
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