Oxford Street

Oxford Street

High street fashion more your style? Head to Oxford Street

Noisy, bustling and full of atmosphere, Oxford Street is one of the most famous streets in London, and with 1.2 miles of shops, it offers unrivalled opportunities for shopping fashion, technology, homeware and more.

Highlights

  • Browse high-quality household goods in John Lewis, a shop that stands apart in terms of superior working conditions and superb customer service.
  • Buy cosmetics and bath bombs at Lush, the ethical cosmetic store with super-friendly staff and a wide range of fun and deliciously smelling products.
  • Try on the latest fashions at Top Shop: the store on Oxford Street is the UK’s flagship store and features four floors of fashionable apparel for men and women.

What to see and do

Big stores

Some of the biggest stores in the British capital can be found on Oxford Street and if you are a shopping fan, you will be spoilt for choice. 

House of Fraser, for example, has had a home on Oxford Street since 1945. The number of brands it owns is simply mind-boggling and the possibilities are endless. 

Marks & Spencer is also unmissable, a well-loved British multinational company specializing in the sale of clothing and household items as well as high-end food.

Places to stop and rest for a moment

There is always a need for tranquillity in the midst of London’s hustle and bustle, especially at Oxford Street which surely concentrates much of this excitement.

Brown Hart Gardens

Brown Hart Gardens, for example, is terrace transformed into a garden dating from 1906 and made up of plants, trees, fountains and stone benches perfect for relaxing. It also has a café where you can have a drink. 

Cavendish Square

Cavendish Square is an attractive circular garden with large trees in the shade of which it is ideal to rest for a while, especially in summer. In addition, the different varieties of flowers will leave you speechless. It’s a little oasis in the middle of this hyperactive core of the city.

Popular restaurants on Oxford Street

There are numerous brasseries and restaurant on Oxford Street, from Italian cafes to Chinese restaurants. 

Kintan Japanese BBQ on Oxford Circus is a popular modern place where you can enjoy a cook-your-own Japanese style barbecue as each table has its own mini grill. 

Or you might prefer Pierre Victoire, a French bistro specialising in set and pre-theatre menus, ideal before catching a West End show.

Did you know: (5 interesting facts!)

  1. Oxford Street was formerly known as Tyburn Road, named after the Tyburn River which now lies buried beneath the streets of London. Tyburn Tree was once the site of public hangings.
  2. Oxford Street suffered badly from bombs during World War II. John Lewis and Selfridges were among the damaged department stores.
  3. There is currently only one pub on Oxford Street, the Tottenham at Number 6 Oxford Street. The Grade II listed Victorian building was once known as the ‘Flying Horse’.
  4. You can find Oxford Street on the classic Monopoly board. Together with Regent Street and Bond Street, they form the dark green set of properties, the second-highest in value in the game after Mayfair and Park Lane.
  5. There is an urban myth that a mysterious street lies underneath Oxford Street, complete with cobblestones and forgotten shops. It is claimed that this hidden street can be accessed via the cellars and basement of Selfridges amongst others.

History

  • circa AD 50 – the Romans construct the Via Trinobantina which once followed the same path as the current Oxford Street.
  • 1729 – the thoroughfare became known as Oxford Street.
  • 1810 – Oxford Street is included in the major redevelopment of the area by John Nash who redesigned Regent Street. At this point, the street was mainly residential.
  • End of the nineteenth century – some small family-run drapers’ shops and groceries expanded and became the first large department stores in the UK.
  • The 1930s – both sides of the street are predominantly commercial nature and it was known as the busiest street in Europe.
  • 1931 – horse-drawn vehicles were banned from the street in one of the first attempts to reduce congestion. Traffic lights were introduced at about the same time.
  • 1959 – the first year that the street is decorated with Christmas lights. Every year, since then, the lights have been switched on in November by celebrities, apart from 1976 and 1977 when there was an economic recession.