Regent Street is often overshadowed by its neighbour Oxford Street, which it crosses with at Oxford Circus, but it was, in fact, the world’s first ever shopping street. Originally designed by famous historical architect John Nash, under the commission of George, The Prince Regent, it was completed in 1825. Its importance to London’s landscape means that the grand buildings that line it are listed properties.
Today, the 1.8km stretch is still one of the most significant retail destinations in the capital, employing over 20,000 Londoners, and attracting 7.5 million tourists every year. Many British and international brands have their UK flagship stores on Regent Street, meaning that there is not only an excellent variety of shops, but a huge range available within them, as well as in-store events, limited edition collections, and exciting shopper experiences. While most shop fronts are flaunting their fashion credentials, you’ll also find homewares, technology, beauty, the largest toy shop in the world, and a hotel along the busy thoroughfare.
Regent Street is also referenced in notable British culture including Charles Dickins’ novel Nicholas Nickelby, where the character Lord Frederick Verisopht lives in an apartment on the street, and as a property square on the UK version of Monopoly.
If you’re looking to take a break from all the shopping, a few small offshoots from Regent Street provide some quiet space to relax. Head to Swallow Street or Heddon Street for a variety of restaurants, cafes and bars in a pedestrianised area purposefully designed to act as ‘food quarters’.
Throughout December, Christmas shoppers can get into the festive spirit underneath the Christmas lights, a tradition which first started in 1882. Other significant events throughout the year include the Summer Streets festival, where the road becomes traffic-free every Sunday in July to host an exciting day of shopper entertainment, and Fashion and Design Month every September, which hosts talks and seminars to tie in with London Fashion Week and London Design Festival.