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London's main shopping district

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Bond Street
Carnaby Street
Oxford Street
Regent Street
Tottenham Court Road
Oxford Street and the streets running from it, form London’s main shopping district. It is home to flagship stores for major brands, as well as hundreds of smaller shops, specialising in all kinds of goods. From fashion and jewellery to electronics and media, on Oxford Street there is something for everyone.

House of Fraser Store
Oxford Street follows the route of a Roman road, which linked Hampshire with Colchester and became one of the major routes in and out of London. Between the 12th and 18th centuries it was known as Tyburn Road, after the River Tyburn that ran just to the south of it, and now flows underneath it. Tyburn Road became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn; which is now Marble Arch. In the late 18th century, many of the surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford, and the area was developed. At that time it became popular with entertainers, including tiger-baiters. It was not until the 19th century that the area became known for its shops. Today Oxford Street contains flagship stores for brands including Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Selfridges, Disney, Top Shop, Gap and HMV.

Selfridges Store on Oxford Street

Did You Know?

The use of Christmas lights on Oxford Street began in 1959. In 1967, as the recession hit London, the Christmas lights were turned off and only turned on again in 1978 with a spectacular laser display.
A branch of Marks and Spencer’s, located between Regent Street and Tottenham Court Road, stands on the site of the famous Pantheon building. The Pantheon was a place of public entertainment, designed by James Wyatt and opened in 1772. The main rotunda was one of the largest rooms built in England and had a central dome somewhat reminiscent of the celebrated Pantheon in Rome. It was built as a gathering place for members of the higher social classes, but was later converted into a theatre, a bazaar and a wine merchant’s show room, before finally being demolished in 1937.

Pantheon Building c1816

Oxford Street c1875
Regent Street crosses Oxford Street at Oxford Circus and was designed by John Nash in 1811. It had been commissioned by Prince Regent, who was later to become King George IV, as a grand scheme to connect the Princes home at Carlton House with his newly acquired property at Regents Park. Nash designed a wide boulevard with a sweeping curve that became a clear dividing line between the less respectable Soho and the fashionable squares and streets of Mayfair. Today Regent Street contains famous stores including Hamleys, Liberty, Austin Reed and the Apple Store.

The sweeping curve of Regent Street

Hamleys Toy Store

Did You Know?

Oxford Street together with Regent Street and Bond Street form the green property set in the famous board game Monopoly. First patented in 1935, approximately 750 million people have played the game; making it the most popular (commercial) board game in the world.
Bond Street takes its name from Sir Thomas Bond, the head of a syndicate of developers who purchased the area in 1683 and began developing it. At one time Bond Street was best known for top end art dealers and antique shops, clustered around the London offices of Sotheby's auction house and the Fine Art Society. A few of these remain, but most of the shops are now jewellery shops and fashion boutiques, including branches of the worlds leading designer brands.

Did You Know?

Bond Street features Allies, an unusual statue by Lawrence Holofcener of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who are portrayed sitting on a park bench in conversation.

Allies in Bond Street
At one end of Oxford Street is Tottenham Court Road, well known for its high concentration of consumer electronics shops, where you can find anything from computers and media players, to televisions and home cinema systems. This all began during the 1950s, when Tottenham Court Road became a mecca for surplus radio and electronics equipment left over from World War II. Shops such as Proops Brothers and Z & I Aero Services lined the road and attracted thousands of British youngsters travelling to buy amplifiers, radios and electronic components.

Electrical store along Tottenham Court Road
Visitor Information
Most shops are open Monday to Saturday 10am to 8pm and 12 noon to 6pm on Sundays.

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