If you’re planning to visit London, you may be wondering about some of the city’s most important streets. Therefore, in this guide, I’ll highlight 22 of the most famous streets in London. We’ll cover historic streets in London as well as roads that are famous due to pop culture, music, and literature. Of course, we can’t forget the best streets in London for shopping either!
You may be familiar with some of these street names, such as Abbey Road, Baker Street, or Downing Street. Meanwhile, others are less-known to foreign visitors but still 100% worth the visit. Additionally, I’ll include a map at the end of this article so you can plan how to best fit these popular streets into your London itinerary.
If you’ve only heard of one of the street names on this list, it’s most likely this one! In fact, you may recognize the zebra crossing shown above from the Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road. This cover photo continues to be a symbol in pop culture, with fans from all over the world flocking to this iconic spot to take pictures.
Funnily enough, the Beatles were actually trying to cut costs by taking photos close to Abbey Road Studios, where they were recording the album at the time. Due to its cultural and historical importance, Abbey Road was awarded a status of Grade II Listed Building in 2010.
Oxford Street runs for approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 km) between Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road. This major road is famous for being one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets. While other shopping streets in London house mainly luxury brands, Oxford Street has maintained a blend of both upper-scale as well as more affordable retail stores.
Moreover, this road is well known for its festive display of lights during Christmas time. You can see the Oxford Street Christmas lights beginning in mid to late November each year, and they remain lit until January 6. From Oxford Street, you can also easily visit other shopping streets like Regent Street and Carnaby Street while in the area.
Bond Street has been a popular location for London’s elite since its construction in the 1700s. At present, you can find some of the most prestigious retailers on this Mayfair road, including Chanel, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermès, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton. Although “Bond Street” is the name people typically use for this road, it’s actually made up of two separate sections: Old Bond Street and New Bond Street.
Due to the distinguished reputation of Bond Street, it’s become one of the most expensive areas to purchase in European real estate. This fact is particularly interesting as it spans only 0.5 miles (0.8 km).
Home to countless shops, luxury hotels (the Ritz hotel, for example), and the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly is London’s overall busiest street. Furthermore, you can also find Piccadilly Circus on this road, an extremely recognizable London landmark. This road junction is often compared to Times Square in New York City due to its many billboards and bright lights. Other interesting sites on Piccadilly include Hatchards, considered to be the U.K.’s oldest bookshop, and Fortnum & Mason, an upscale department store established in 1707.
If you’ve never heard of Baker Street, I’m guessing you’ve never read the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! Well, even if you don’t enjoy reading, I’d recommend checking out the well-received BBC crime series Sherlock as inspiration for your trip to London. Sherlock Holmes is arguably the best-known fictional detective in history and one of the most recognizable characters from British literature.
In both the books and series, Holmes lived at the address 221B Baker Street in London, thus inspiring the popularity of this road as a tourist attraction. Although you won’t be able to actually find Sherlock’s house, you can visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. There’s also a Baker Street tube station, making this attraction easily accessible for fans.
Savile Row has been home to the finest tailors in London since the 19th century. Bespoke tailoring supposedly originated on Savile Row, which is when a suit is cut and made by hand for a specific customer. Some of the most celebrated menswear shops on Savile Row include Huntsman & Sons, Henry Poole & Co., and Gieves and Hawkes.
Outside of bespoke tailoring, Savile Row is also known for hosting the Beatles’ last live performance in 1969. If you’re in the market for menswear, you may want to head to Jermyn Street after shopping on Savile Row.
Just behind Oxford Street, you’ll find one of London’s most beautiful shopping areas: Carnaby Street. Besides all of the great stores, this Soho road is also an ideal place to go for a stroll as it’s fully pedestrianized (meaning no cars allowed!). Carnaby Street first rose to fame in the “Swinging Sixties” as a hotspot for hippie and mod fashion.
Nowadays, the entire Carnaby shopping area has grown to occupy 14 streets in London’s West End, encompassing more than 100 stores and 60 eateries. At Carnaby’s independent fashion boutiques, you’ll be able to purchase trendy and unique clothing that you won’t find anywhere else.
Regent Street is another important shopping location in the West End of London. Rather conveniently, it runs perpendicular to Oxford Street, so it’s an easy stop to make while in the area. Some of the most popular shops on Regent Street include well-known brands, such as Coach, Armani, Michael Kors, and Ted Baker.
Additionally, if you’re traveling with kids, you’ll want to check out Hamleys toy shop. This store is considered to be the oldest and largest toy store in the world, spanning seven floors with over 50,000 lines of toys. Furthermore, just like Oxford Street, Regent Street celebrates each Christmas with festive lights.
This one-way street in Saint James was both developed by and named after Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans. While Savile Row is famous for bespoke suits, Jermyn Street is filled with shops that sell shirts, hats, shoes, and other gentlemen’s apparel. Some of the most recognized menswear retailers on this road include Hawes & Curtis, Thomas Pink, Charles Tyrwhitt, and T. M. Lewin.
Apart from clothing stores, you can also find Paxton & Whitfield, one of the oldest cheese shops in London. Fun fact: Sir Isaac Newton lived on Jermyn Street from 1696 to 1709!
When you think of “the mall”, you may imagine a large shopping center. However, this is not the case in London! In reality, the Mall may be the most recognizable road in the city due to its reddish coloring, creating the effect of a red carpet leading up to Buckingham Palace.
Although this street began as a field for a croquet-type sports game (pall-mall), it now represents a major ceremonial route. For example, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her golden jubilee along this street and the annual London Marathon also takes place here! You can expect the Mall to be closed to traffic on the weekends, public holidays, and during ceremonial occasions.
10 Downing Street has served as the official residence of British Prime Ministers since 1735. So, it’s basically London’s version of the White House! Due to its political significance, this famous street is not accessible to the public.
However, you can try to catch a glimpse of the front door to 10 Downing Street through the gates from Whitehall. This black door is thought to be one of the most photographed doors in the world! Downing Street is also approximately a 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace and only a few minutes from the Churchill War Rooms, making it an easy stop to fit into your day.
Whitehall runs from Trafalgar Square, past Downing Street, and ends at Parliament Square. As you may have guessed from its location, this street forms the center of the United Kingdom’s government, housing the Cabinet Office and the Horse Guards Parade. Furthermore, the historic Banqueting House and the Cenotaph war memorial can be found here.
Portobello Road is a colorful street that runs through the Notting Hill district in West London. Most notably, it’s home to the Portobello Road Market. Although the market technically operates Monday-Saturday, not all types of stalls are open every day. Therefore, Saturday is when all stalls are in full swing and the best time to search for antiques.
If you enjoyed the 1999 film Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, you’ll definitely want to see Portobello Road as much of the filming was done on this street and in the surrounding areas! Other beautiful roads you may want to check out in the neighborhood include Westbourne Park Road, Colville Houses, and Denbigh Terrace.
For vintage shops, cool street art, and delicious street food markets, look no further than Brick Lane. This street in East London has become the heart of the city’s Bangladeshi community, so expect to find some seriously delightful curry houses. The best time to visit is on Sundays when you’ll be able to attend the Brick Lane Market. Here, you’ll find retro clothing, unique crafts, curious antiques, and yummy international cuisines–all at great prices. As far as foodie spots, don’t miss Dark Sugars (cocoa house), the two best bagel shops in London (Beigel Shop and Beigel Bake), and Cereal Killer Café (hundreds of types of cereal in one place!).
After visiting Brick Lane, you may want to drop by the nearby Columbia Road. In fact, Columbia Road is famous for hosting one of the best Sunday markets in London: a lively flower market. Here, you can purchase plants, shrubs, bulbs, and cut flowers from merchants who have been selling flowers for generations. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, my best recommendation is to arrive when the market opens in the morning.
The Strand is a major road in Central London that runs alongside the Thames River. This location makes a lot of sense as the name “strand” comes from “strond” in Old English, meaning the edge of a river! Noteworthy places along the Strand include the Adelphi Theater (an important West End theater), the Savoy Hotel (London’s most famous hotel), the Somerset House, and King’s College. Moreover, the Strand is home to Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, one of the city’s oldest traditional English restaurants, and Twinings Tea Shop, which was established in 1706.
Shaftesbury Avenue is named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, and runs from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street. This street is well-known as being the center of London’s West End Theater District. Popular theaters on Shaftesbury include the Apollo, Lyric, Gielgud, Sondheim, Palace, and Shaftesbury theater. The ODEON Covent Garden cinema can be found on this road as well. If you’d like to see a show during your London vacation, it’s likely that you’ll end up on this street.
Old Compton Street
Old Compton Street runs through Soho in London’s West End and is famous today as the center of the city’s flourishing LGBTQ community. For one weekend each year, it becomes fully pedestrianized as one of the main places to celebrate during London’s Pride festivals. No matter when you visit, you’re sure to find rainbow flags, fun places to eat and grab a drink, and opportunities to see popular theater shows. If you’d like to visit some famous locales on Old Compton Street, check out G-A-Y, a well-known gay nightclub, and The Admiral Duncan, where you can see drag and cabaret shows on the weekends.
Bywater Street in Chelsea is my favorite London road due to its beautiful candy-colored homes. For this reason, I would consider it to be one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city! Although Bywater Street is certainly a trendy place to take photos for social media, I would urge you to remember that it is also a residential area. People live in these homes, so remember to always be respectful when taking photos here. For example, do not sit on the steps of someone’s home. Instead, take pictures on the sidewalk or on the street.
Kings Road, or also “King’s Road”, is a major road that stretches just under 2 miles (3.2 km) through Chelsea, in South West London. As you may have guessed by the name, this street is associated with a king: Charles II. In fact, it was originally used as a private royal road to travel to Kew.
More recently, in the 1960s, it was another important spot in London for mod culture and the birthplace of the mini-skirt in the U.K. Kings Road continues to hold a reputation as one of London’s most fashionable shopping streets. Some of the most important shops on this street include the historic department store Peter Jones, Heal’s furniture store, and Vivienne Westwood’s iconic boutique.
St. Lukes Mews
St. Lukes Mews is an adorable spot in London, tucked away in Notting Hill, that I’d consider one of the city’s cutest hidden gems. This road is another great place to visit while in the neighborhood, perhaps after stopping by the Portobello Road Market. The reason St. Lukes Mews is famous–apart from being a perfect spot for an Instagram photo–is that the pink house featured above appears in the 2003 film Love Actually.
In the movie, this is where Keira Knightley’s character lived! Once again, please remember that this is someone’s home. So, if you stop by, please be respectful and stay on the street, keeping your distance. Furthermore, there is typically a sign on the door to donate money after visiting, which I would encourage you to do.
Westbourne Park Road
Westbourne Park Road is another of the most colorful streets in London. Although there are no specific tourist attractions on this road, I think it’s a beautiful place to take a walk and see the vibrant homes. Plus, this is another fun place to visit while in the Notting Hill neighborhood. As with the other residential areas mentioned on this list, please refrain from sitting on the stairs or entering someone’s private property.