Your Guide to London Oxford Street
Where is Oxford Street?
World famous Oxford Street is one and a half miles of retail heaven in the heart of London for you to splash your cash in! It’s said to be Europe's biggest and busiest shopping street that caters for every budget, but there’s so much more to this area than amazing shops! There are loads of fashionable bars and restaurants, and the trendy clubs of Soho and Carnaby Street are just a short walk away. You’ll also be surrounded by tourist attractions and hugely popular districts like Marylebone, Mayfair, Bloomsbury and Soho. There’s fantastic transport links in the area too, including Oxford Circus Tube Station and three others close by that are all in Tube Zone 1. Oxford Street is pedestrianised, so there’s no point in bringing your car here and paying for being inside the congestion charging zone!
History of Oxford Street
Oxford Street actually follows the route of a Roman road, the Via Trinobantina, which linked Hampshire with Colchester and became one of the major routes in and out of the city. Between the 12th century and 1782 it was known as Tyburn Road (after the River Tyburn that ran just to the south of it, and now flows underneath it), Uxbridge Road, Worcester Road and Oxford Road! It became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn near Marble Arch. By about 1729, the road had become known as Oxford Street.
In the late 18th century, many of the surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford, and the area was developed. It became popular with entertainers including tiger-baiters and masquerades, and for entertainment buildings such as the Pantheon. During the 19th century, the area became known for its shops. This development continued until the early 20th century and resulted in the thriving shopping area you see now. Oxford Street is now home to major department stores and numerous flagship stores, as well as hundreds of smaller shops. It’s the major shopping street in central London, though not the most expensive!
The Positives of Oxford Street
As well as being a retail heaven, Oxford Street has great restaurants and bars and a general buzz that epitomises London. It’s busy and vibrant and there’s such a huge variety of things to see and do (from the main street itself to the side roads and alley-ways that run off it). Despite its popularity, the area isn’t notoriously expensive and there’s definitely something for everyone. It’s really close to the West End theatres too! Another big plus are the excellent transport links in the area. Oxford Street is served by four tube stations: Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Bond Street and Marble Arch! You can explore the whole of London from here, while experiencing a stay in one of the capital’s most popular locations.
Need to Know Oxford Street
Oxford Street can become pretty congested - both on the pavement and on the road - due to the frequent buses and taxis that serve the area and the large number of shoppers. However, if you grow tired of the crowds there are some great places where you can escape from it all. Try stunning Hyde Park or maybe St Christopher’s Place: the perfect secluded area for a pit stop! With so many tourists hitting this part of town, the clubbing scene in Oxford Street can feel quite commercial with lots of big clubs pumping out the latest chart tunes. But if this isn’t your style, don’t worry! Oxford Street is also home to the legendary 100 Club and the Astoria where the music is much more diverse!