Just as London is famed for its many landmarks and attractions, so too is it home to a number of streets whose names are known across the globe. Whether it’s because of their renowned shopping opportunities, illustrious theatres or even their use as a setting in an historic work of fiction, there are certain streets that will always attract visitors who come to London.
1, The Mall
As you might expect, some of London’s most famous streets are those that lead to their most well-known attractions. The Mall is the stretch of road that leads from Trafalgar Square all the way to the world famous Buckingham Palace. Originally built to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, these days The Mall is most famous as the finishing line of the London Marathon, as well as the site of the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony.
Leading up to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Whitehall is truly an iconic stretch of road. Home to the thought-provoking Cenotaph monument, which forms the centrepiece of Britain’s yearly Remembrance Day services each November, it also leads onto an even more prominent street.
3, Downing Street
Arguably one of the most recognised street names in Europe, Downing Street is home to the Prime Minister at Number 10, as well as his right hand man the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Number 11. Sadly, it is not possible to walk down the street, as it has been gated off to the public since 1989 to protect the Prime Minister from possible terrorist attacks.
Another thing that London is incredibly well-known for is shopping, and there are a great number of streets whose names are entirely associated with the exclusive stores they house. London’s most famous shop is of course Harrods, which can be found on Knightsbridge, perhaps the most expensive shopping street in the city. Famed for its expensive hampers and indulgent high-priced gifts, Harrods is truly the pinnacle of London shopping.
5, Regent Street
Harrods is by no means the only well known name in the city, with Regent Street’s celebrated Hamley’s enjoying its status as one of the world’s largest toy stores since it opened in 1981, and Piccadilly’s Fortnum and Mason another household name.
6, Saville Row
Other places to go if you’ve money to spend are the upmarket Kensington High Street and Sloane Street, the famous tailors offering bespoke suits along Savile Row and the posh hotels and gleaming car showrooms of Park Lane.
7, Portobello Road
For something a little more affordable, Oxford Street houses all the famous high street brands, while Portobello Road in Notting Hill is home to the legendary Portobello Market, where you can buy anything from clothes to antiques. If you’re looking for fashion, Carnaby Street has been attracting shoppers since the 1960’s, while the Strand plays host to London Fashion Week every year.
8, The Strand
The Strand is also home to London’s Royal Courts of Justice, as well as the Savoy Theatre, which in 1881 was the first ever public building to make use of electric light. Another theatre which owes much of its fame to a single event is Haymarket’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, which achieved a level of infamy in 1984 when much-loved British comedian Tommy Cooper quite literally died on stage after suffering a heart attack in the middle of his performance during a live television broadcast.
9, Abbey Road
Of course, one of the most famous albums ever recorded is named after a London street. The Beatles’ Abbey Road album takes its name from the location of the band’s recording studio in St John’s Wood, where the Liverpudlian megastars recorded all but one of their albums. The iconic album cover, featuring the band walking across a zebra crossing, was also photographed here, and the crossing has since been awarded listed status.
10, Fleet Street
In the world of fiction, Fleet Street, once home to the offices of many important newspapers, is also known as the home of the ‘demon barber’ Sweeney Todd, who operated his gruesome barber shop along the street. However, the most famous of London’s fictional residents is undoubtedly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective, Sherlock Holmes, who resides at number 221b Baker Street in North London.
So, the next time you find yourself wandering around the streets of London, keep an eye out for the signs. You never know, you might just be walking past a little piece of history.