As a city that stretches over nearly 1500 square kilometers, you can’t wait to hit every street in town, but for a capital city with 32 boroughs, each with its own unique personality, it can be tempting to give it a try. London is, after all, one of Europe’s most diverse and diverse cities, and for many guests staying at hotels near Bayswater Station , it’s long been on their city break bucket list.
Multiple visits may be required to become familiar with the city. As each borough is made up of different boroughs, each part of London has a different character and energy. First-time guests to Hyde Park accommodation may wish to focus only on Westminster and the City of London, or visiting cultural centers such as the British Museum or Tate Modern. A great way to get to know the character of London is to visit some of its most famous streets.
From east to west, London’s long history has amassed many streets of tales to tell. This blog will explore some of London’s defining streets and how they will enhance your stay in the city.
The busiest shopping street in Europe, Oxford Street is famous for its flagship brand shops and department stores, many of which have been in the area for more than a century. Take Selfridges, probably one of Oxford Street’s upmarket shopping destinations, and the fact that it shipped essentially American shopping sensibilities to the UK. A hit television drama was even made about it and its founder, Harry Selfridges.
Selfridge’s isn’t the only department store on Oxford Street to function as an iconic London symbol, John Lewis’ flagship store has already been used as a location for such love actually and is famous for its Christmas displays and advertising. Oxford Street has then become the city’s neon-lit commercial centre.
Not far from Oxford Street lies the showbiz heart of London – the West End and its glamorous backbone, Shaftesbury Avenue. With many of the theaters being more than a century old, the West End theaters of Shaftesbury Avenue are home to musicals, drama and dance shows that draw huge audiences each night. London is famous for its theater scene and Shaftesbury Avenue has been its epicenter since the 19th century.
Originally named Pall Mall, the Mall was built to match the ceremonial pathways of other major cities such as Paris and Washington DC, and is a tree-lined avenue running from Buckingham Palace along St. James’s Park for 0.5 miles leads to Trafalgar Square. The Mall is synonymous with royal parades like the annual Trooping of the Color on June 10, but is also known as the final leg of the London Marathon. A stroll along this triumphant street gives visitors a sense of London’s grandeur and the splendor of the monarchy.
Whether stopping before your afternoon tea at Hyde Park hotels or dedicating a full day of your time to the street, the trio of free museums on Kensington Row, also known as ‘Museum Row’, are among the city’s most popular cultural hubs. Built as part of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert’s grand plan to make South Kensington an educational district for the public, the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design, Natural History Museum and Science Museum are considered some of the finest in their fields.
All three museums derive from the British Museum’s overflowing collections and were gradually split up over the course of the Victorian era. Each of the three museums has become unique, accessible and free to visit tourist attractions in London.
Another famous shopping street and not far from Oxford Circus, Carnaby Street is less known for big brands and more for boutiques. A thriving party scene during the ‘Swinging Sixties’, Carnaby Street has retained its colorful charm with a collection of homeware and fashion boutiques, as well as cafes worth a nice cup of coffee. If you’re visiting during the festive season, Carnaby Street is famous for its colorful Christmas lights that encapsulate the magic of Mayfair and Central Westminster.
Founded in the 1940s by a group of traders specializing in bric-a-brac, Notting Hill’s Portobello Road Market has become perhaps one of the most visited and photographed of London’s many trading districts. This is partly because it’s lined with photogenic townhouses, all painted different colors, reflecting a sunny demeanor even when it’s pouring rain. It’s also worth browsing the daily markets, which change each day to focus on antiques, homeware, art, vintage fashion and bric-a-brac.
Speaking of markets, Columbia Road in the Bethnal Green area has been known for its flower market since the Victorian era and, like Portobello, is lined with beautiful colorful terraced houses. The flower market itself takes place every Sunday morning until early afternoon, so guests of the Grand Royale London’s Hyde Park should wake up bright and early to bag the best. In addition, if you arrive early, you can see the flowers exploding in the street with even more color before they are sold. Even after the flowers and houseplants have sold out, the street remains buzzing with activity. During the rest of the week you can enjoy a range of cafes and traditional London boozers.
Brick Lane, the bustling heart of Shoreditch, is one of East London’s premier weekend shopping, cultural and, well, everything else streets. Lined with curry houses, vintage fashion shops, nightclubs and live music venues, Brick Lane offers a snapshot of London’s arts, culture and commerce while maintaining its historical context. The street became a prominent part of Victorian London as slums, factories and warehouses concentrated in the area.
As Ashkenazi Jews immigrated to London for work alongside Irish immigrants in the 19th century, a Bangladeshi community began to thrive in the region in the mid-20th century. Combine this diverse community with the street art scene, daily markets and nighttime economy of Brick Lane and you have a true testament to the energy and excitement inherent in London.