Exploring London’s famous roads is a great way to get to know the city. However, with over 9,200 miles worth of road, comprised of over 60,000 different streets, it can be difficult to know where to go! This guide to the most famous streets in London will help you discover those worth a visit.
You will likely have heard of many of the famous streets in London before but, hopefully, I can shed some light on the significance of each one.
Taking a stroll through the streets of London is a great way to get to know the city. The majority of the most famous streets are located in the centre, although some such as Abbey Road & Portobello Road are further afield. Combine Portobello Road with a day to see the colorful houses in Notting Hill.
Most Famous Streets in London
Abbey Road has become synonymous with The Beatles after the release of their eponymous album in 1969. The zebra crossing became iconic after being featured on the front of their Abbey Road LP. At all times of day, you’ll find tourists on this crossing recreating the famous image, making it one of the most popular streets in London.
You can also see the Abbey Road Studios where most of their music was recorded. These studios have been around since 1929 and an extensive list of music legends have recorded here including Aretha Franklin, Pink Floyd, Shirley Bassey and more recently Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran and Adele.
Abbey Road was declared an English Heritage Grade II listed site in 2010, meaning that the crossing is protected by law. The Abbey Road street sign has also had to be positioned higher than other signs due to repeated graffiti and theft of the signs over the years! The wall outside Abbey Road studios is still heavily covered in graffiti.
Getting to Abbey Road
Location: Click here for Abbey Road exact location
Closest tube station: St John’s Wood
Hotels near Abbey Road: Click here for prices of accommodation in St John’s Wood
Baker Street has become one of the most famous streets in London thanks to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The character resided at the fictitious home 221b Baker Street. This address never existed, but there is now a cafe, museum and hotel named after the character!
This famous street was created in the 18th century and named after its builder William Baker. The road was originally comprised of luxury homes for affluent residents. However, nowadays it is mostly shops and cafes.
There has even been a worldwide hit song written about Baker Street. The song “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty was released in 1978 and reached number 2 on the Billboard Top 100, and number 3 in UK charts.
Getting to Baker Street
Located in the heart of Mayfair, Bond Street reaches from Picadilly in the south to Oxford Street in the north. The northern section of the road is New Bond Street and the southern section Old Bond Street, however, the street is more commonly referred to as just Bond Street.
If you’re looking for luxury shopping then this famous street in London is for you! It has been home to prestigious designer shops since the 18th century. Here you’ll find international luxury designers such as Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce & Gabbana to name just a few. Many of the shops in the area hold Royal Warrants, meaning they supply goods to the royal family – which should give an idea as to the level of prestige!
Bond Street is also home to the world-famous Sotheby’s auction house. At this auction, high-profile arts, furniture and jewellery are sold, often for upwards of millions of pounds.
Getting to Bond Street
To me (and most Londoners) Brick Lane is known as THE PLACE to get a curry. With its large Bangladeshi community, it is often referred to as the curry capital of the UK!
Brick Lane, in the heart of London’s East End, hasn’t always been one of the most famous streets in London for such good reasons though. This area was once considered slums and was an area known for violence and prostitution. In 1888, the area surrounding Brick Lane was notorious for being the scene of the Jack the Ripper murders. If you have an interest in the darker history of London, I’d recommend a Jack the Ripper walking tour.
However, in recent years it has become a hipster-hub with quirky bars, art galleries, markets and festivals. This vibrant street is the place to go for vintage clothing, boutique shops, independent cafes and restaurants, and antiques. Each Sunday there is a large market from 10am-5pm.
You’ll also find countless pieces of street art along Brick Lane and its surrounding streets, including from famous artists such as Banksy and D*Face.
Getting to Brick Lane
Camden High Street
Out of all the famous London road, Camden High Street is the most eclectic. Camden High Street is famous in London for its music venues, alternative shops, and it’s market. Lining Camden High Street you’ll find many shops selling gothic clothing, as well as tattoo and piercing parlours, often blaring out loud music.
At the northern end of Camden High Street is the beginning of Camden Market. The market used to be a temporary, small arts and crafts market only open on Sundays. However, it is now the largest market in London and it open 7 days a week. There’s a diverse range of stalls and shops selling everything from second-hand records and vintage clothing to original fashion, handicrafts, unique gifts and everything in between.
The market also has hundreds of different options for food and drink. In the evenings you may find some of the stalls selling off foods for cheap.
Getting to Camden High Street
Carnaby Street is one of my favourite streets in London and is one of the most famous streets in London for shopping. It was built in 1682 and during the plague in 1685 was home to the first “pesthouse” in London, a building for used as a quarantine for people with the plague.
It has had a history closely linked with music, from the Jazz club in 1913 to hp-hop recording studio in the early 2000s. During the 1960s, Carnaby Street was the epicentre of the Swinging Sixties cultural movement and was an area that creatives frequented for inspiration. Later, it was home to the punks of the 80s and a hub for hip-hop in the early 2000s.
Today, Carnaby is fully pedestrianised and a shopping hub in the West End. There are over 100 shops, including many independent fashion retailers, and 60 restaurants on Carnaby Street and the surrounding Carnaby area.
It’s worth popping into Kingly Court too. This hidden gem has some excellent restaurants and unique dining experiences.
Getting to Carnaby Street
This road is one of the most prestigious streets in Chelsea and has had more than its fair share of famous occupants over the years. Cheyne Walk currently holds 10 blue plaques, installed by the English Heritage Society to honour notable people that have lived or worked in buildings across London.
Each of the elegant townhouses aligning this famous street is steeped in history. Some of its famed residents have included Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula), George Best (legendary footballer), George Eliot (novelist) Sylvia Pankhurst (campaigner for women’s rights), Keith Richard (Rolling Stone), Ian Fleming (James Bond author) and Mick Jagger (Rolling Stone)… to name just a few. And many today are still owned by famous residents, so take a stroll down here and see if you can spot anyone you recognise!
If you get hungry, then stop off at the beautiful Fifty Cheyne restaurant for a bite! Or stop by for a quick Instagram photo outside this beautiful building.
Getting to Cheyne Walk
Every Sunday this famous London street comes to life. Columbia Road Flower Market in East London is London’s only street flower market. From 8am until 3pm each Sunday, Columbia Road blooms into a jungle oasis as vendors sell an array of multi-coloured plants and flowers.
Many of the sellers at the market are second or third generation vendors, so they really know their stuff. It also means you’ll get a real feel for cockney London.
Either head to the market early to get the freshest flowers, or visit from 2pm onwards to get a bargain as plants are often sold off cheaper at the end of the day.
Plus, Columbia Road is lined with 60 independent shops and cafes so it’s a wonderful place to shop to support local businesses. You’ll find an array of vintage clothing stores, cupcake shops, delis, antique stores and
Getting to Columbia Road
Downing Street is the political hub of the UK and one of the most famous streets in London, if not the world. It is the official residence of the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street and the Chancellor of the Exchequer at No. 11.
Located in Whitehall, only a few minutes walk from the Houses of Parliament, this famous London road was built in the 1680s. It has served as the official residence for the Prime Minister since 1735. Both the first and second world wars were directed from within Downing Street. The conversations and decisions made within this building have shaped the UK and the world.
Since 1989 there have been large black gates at the end of Downing Street. As such, Downing Street is not open to the public. To visit this iconic London street, you must be a scheduled visitor, Parliamentary pass holder or member of the accredited press. These restrictions have been put in place due to security risks and bombing attempts over the years. Luckily, I have a friend who works there and was able to visit for a photo! It is, however, possible to take a virtual tour of 10 Downing Street online!
Getting to Downing Street
Not only is Harley Street one of the most famous streets in London, but it is also one of the most famous medical districts globally. Since the 19th century, Harley Street in Marylebone has been renowned for its large number of private medical specialists.
In 1858, Florence Nightingale opened her practice on this street to care for the sick. Today, Harley Street is a mecca for cosmetic surgery, particularly amongst the rich and famous. However, only 2-4% of medical professionals on Harley Street specialise in cosmetic work. Therefore, despite its reputation for cosmetic surgery, there are still practitioners of all specialities in Harley Street. If you can afford it, Harley Street provides world-class medical treatment.
Getting to Harley Street
Jermyn Street is famous in London for its exquisite gentleman’s clothing. This street has a royal history, dating back to 1664 when the area was commissioned as a residential neighbourhood by King Charles II to be developed close to St James’s Palace. While it began as a primarily residential area, it was home to many distinguishable characters including Sir Isaac Newton.
Many tailors owned houses or rented out spaces along the street. Traditionally, Jermyn Street is home to the finest men’s apparel stores, particularly shirtmakers and tailors. It is also the location of Britain’s oldest cheese, Paxton & Whitfield, established in 1797.
Getting to Jermyn Street
King’s Road in Chelsea dates back to the 17th century. Originally, road usage was by royal decree only and you were required to have a token with the King’s initials. The road became a public thoroughfare in the 1830 century.
Since the 20th century, King’s Road has been a place to see and be seen. With its independent and high street stores, it has been at the forefront of fashion trends. This iconic street is an ideal place to go for London shopping or to try out one of the many restaurants and cafes.
One of my family’s (my dad in particular!) favourite restaurants is My Old Dutch. They serve only pancakes! And if you visit on a Monday then the menu is cheaper. I love it even more now that a branch of Peggy Porschen has opened next door… their cakes and coffee are amazing, plus you can snap off some perfect instagrammable photos while you’re there!
Getting to King’s Road
Knightsbridge can be confusing as it is the name of both a street and an area in London. The street borders the southeastern edge of Hyde Park, the largest of the 4 royal parks in London, and the area is the epitome of luxury.
Along Knightsbridge, you’ll find many high-end Victorian townhouses, with the average house price in Knightsbridge being upwards of £3 million.
Within this exclusive area, you’ll find the iconic Harrods department store, renowned for its expensive designer fashion, food, gifts and accessories. Also nearby is the Victoria and Albert Museum showcasing decorative arts and is free to enter.
Knightsbridge is home to many upscale hotels if you’d like to splash out and stay in the area! These hotels include the Bulgari Hotel London and Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which will set you back upwards of £900 per night.
Getting to King’s Road
The Mall runs between Trafalgar Square via Admiralty Arch at its eastern end and Buckingham Palace at its western end, adjacent to St James’ Park (where you’ll find pelicans – yes, pelicans in London!). Despite being only 930m in length, it still remains one of the most famous streets in London.
The Mall was developed as a ceremonial route in the early 20th century. As such, it was designed to have a red surface to give it the impression of a grand red carpet leading to Buckingham Palace. It is closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays. Among the London famous streets, The Mall is certainly the most regal!
If you’re in London during the summer then it’s worth visiting Buckingham Palace too!
Admiralty Arch, completed in 1912 to honour Queen Victoria, is now a Grade I listed building. It is currently undergoing redevelopment to become a luxury hotel managed by Waldorf Astoria group.
Each year the London marathon finishes at The Mall and it was also the start and finish line for several races in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Getting to The Mall
Old Compton Street
This iconic London street in Soho is a main focal point for London’s LGBTQ community. You’ll find many different gay bars, restaurants and cafes along Old Compton Street. During London pride weekend, Old Compton Street is pedestrianised and becomes the heart of the festivities. However, it’s a good place for a fun night out any weekend!
Getting to Old Compton Street
Oxford Street is not only one of London’s most famed shopping streets, but at 1.2 miles in length, it is also the world’s biggest high street and one of the most famous streets in England. It runs from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch and has unrivalled shopping. Oxford Street is home to more than 90 flagship stores, including fashion, beauty, homeware and tech stores. With over half a million people visit the 300+ shops on Oxford Street every day, it’s also possibly the most popular street in London!
It is known as Oxford Street as it is the main street linking London and Oxford, now part of the A40. However, originally, it was known as Tyburn Road because of the now-buried River Tyburn that runs beneath it.
Since 1959, Oxford Street has also become well known for its Christmas lights. Each year, a celebrity guest turns on the festive lights.
If you’re looking to do some shopping while in London, Oxford Street is the place for you. It has shops to suit all budgets, from Primark to Selfridges. You’ll also find over 500 restaurants in the area around Oxford Street, so you won’t go hungry either. My favourite cookies EVER can be found on Oxford Street (as well as a few other places around London)… Ben’s Cookies. Seriously… they’re amazing.
Getting to Oxford Street
Pall Mall, not to be confused with the other famous London street The Mall, connects St James’ Street to Trafalgar Square.
During the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, this stretch of road was used to play the popular ball game “pall mall”, a game similar to croquet. It was this ball game that gave this famous street in London its names.
Pall Mall is also known as “clubland”. However, it is not home to any nightclubs, but rather private members-only clubs. In the 18th century, this street became the hub of gentleman’s clubs. They were designed to allow royalty and upper class a place to socialise away from the growing filth and overcrowded streets of London.
Some of the remaining clubs have relaxed their rules to allow women and wealthy commoners to join their old-world glamour. However, they still involve a hefty membership fee and often other requirements, such as an invitation from an existing member. These clubs include The Royal Automobile Club, The Reform Club, The Athenaeum, and The Travellers Club
The prestigious Park Lane is located in Mayfair and provides the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, from Hyde Park Corner to Marble Arch. It is home to many luxurious 5-star hotels in London, including The Dorchester, Grosvenor House, 45 Park Lane, London Hilton, Four Seasons, InterContinental and Sheraton Grand. So if you’re looking for some luxury in London then The famous Park Lane is a great option.
What was once a simple street, dating back to 1536 and originally known as Tyburn Lane, however in the 18th century aristocratic properties started to develop.
If you’re a fan of monopoly, you may recognise Park Lane as the second most expensive property on the board… and the most expensive street (as, the most expensive, Mayfair is an area not a street!). The properties on Park Lane today are still some of the most expensive in London and have attracted some of London’s wealthiest residents.
Park Lane is a beautiful street to have a stroll. There are many beautiful townhouses to admire, as well as views of Hyde Park. From here you can venture west into Hyde Park or east into Mayfair.
Connecting Hyde Park Corner to Piccadilly Circus, Picadilly Street is one of the most iconic streets in London. It also serves as a line of division between Mayfair and St James.
This famous London street has it all; department stores, museums, royal parks, hotels, and restaurants, as well as English heritage-listed buildings.
At its eastern end, you’ll find Piccadilly Circus. This famous junction was built in 1819 to connect Regent Street and Piccadilly Street. It is now where the famous advertising screens can be found, along with the statue of Eros. Both of these are huge tourist attractions and popular meeting places. From here you can easily walk to Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue or Regent Street.
The western end of Piccadilly Street will bring you to Hyde Park, the largest royal park in London.
Getting to Piccadilly Street
Portobello Road runs through the heart of Notting Hill, from north to south. This road is famous for a number of reasons!
Firstly, this famous London road is renowned for being host to the world’s largest antique market each week. Portobello Market originated as a regular food market, like many in London. Over time it developed into 5 distinct areas, which still exist today;
- Secondhand goods – Golborne Road to Westway
- Clothing and fashion – Westway area
- Household items – Westway to Talbot Road
- Produce and other food – Talbot Road to Elgin Crescent
- Antiques – Elgin Crescent to Chepstow Villas
Notting Hill has been heavily gentrified since the 1980s and as such the market has also developed. You’ll now find cutting edge fashion, alongside antiques and bric-a-brac. The main day for the market is a Saturday, however, some parts of it are open other days of the week (except Sunday). I’d recommend checking the Portobello market website for the most up-to-date opening hours. The Portobello Market is a must-see on any London to-do list.
Portobello Road is also famous for being in the heart of Europe’s biggest street festival; Notting Hill Carnival. This annual event takes place over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August and shouldn’t be missed if you’re in London during the summer. The entire neighbourhood is shut down while people dance in the streets in celebration of Carribean culture.
Another reason for Portobello Road becoming one of London’s most iconic roads is the movie “Notting Hill” starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. You can spot Portobello Road in the movie several times as much of it was filmed on and around this famous London street.
Finally, the Notting Hill area, including Portobello Road, is famous for its colourful houses! While you’re in the area you should definitely have a wander and check out the colorful houses in Notting Hill.
Getting to Portobello Road
Named after the Prince Regent, the eponymous road was built in 1823 by architect John Nash. Separating Carnaby Street and Soho from Mayfair, it was the world’s first purpose-built shopping street.
Today, it remains one of the most famous streets in London for shopping and its Grade II listed facades represent some of the most acclaimed architecture in London.
Many international brands hold flagship stores in Regent Street, including Burberry, Coach and Kate Spade. If you’re visiting London with kids (or are just a big kid at heart, like me) then you have to visit Hamleys, the world’s biggest and oldest toy shop. This department store is full of exciting displays and hands-on demonstrations, spanning 7 floors. It even has two Royal Warrants, meaning they supply toys for the British royal family too.
Getting to Regent Street
Savile Row, in Mayfair, is a famous street in London for its superb tailors. Running parallel to Regent Street, it houses many bespoke men’s tailors and is the place to go if you are in need of a tailored suit.
The term “bespoke”, as used for fine tailoring, is even thought to have originated in Savile Row. Before the 19th century, nearly all clothing was made to measure, or bespoke, whether made professionally or at home. Nowadays, with fashion generally being ready to wear, bespoke clothing is associated with more exclusive, expensive brands.
The Royal Geographical Society also occupied a space in Savile Row from 1870 to 1912. From here many adventures were planned, including expeditions to the South Pole. Therefore, their address at No. 1 Savile Row became associated with adventure and travel.
Getting to Savile Row
Located in the heart of the West End’s theatre district, Shaftesbury Avenue the most famous street in London for its theatres. It runs from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street and includes the border of Chinatown.
It is home to the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud, Sondheim (formerly Queen’s), Palace and Shaftesbury theatres. At these theatres, you’ll find some of the best West End shows, such as Les Miserables and Thriller.
Getting to Shaftesbury Avenue
This famous London road takes its name from the Old English word strond meaning the edge of a river, although it is commonly incorrectly referred to as “The Strand”. While it’s proper road name is Strand, even Charles Dickens called it “The Strand” in his 1879 “Dickens’ Dictionary of London”.
Strand runs for just over 3/4 mile from Trafalgar Square at its southwestern end, to Temple Bar, where it becomes Fleet Street. Due to its prime location, connecting the city of London with Westminster, it became popular with aristocracy during the 17th century.
The historic The Savoy hotel on Strand is one of only two places in the UK (the other being Hammersmith bus station) where driving directions have been reversed. Here you drive on the RIGHT side of the road, not the LEFT, like the rest of the UK!
If you’re looking for a traditional British meal, then you should definitely try Simpson’s. They started as a chess club back in 1828 and it was here that the tradition wheeling food out under a silver dome developed, so as not to disturb chess games.
Strand is also home to London’s oldest tea shop, the Twinings flagship store, which opened in 1706. It still remains in its original premises and also offers tea tasting masterclasses.
Somerset House, a beautiful art museum, is also situated along Strand. It was originally built in the 16th century as a palace, but today is an arts and cultural centre. In the summer, there are 55 fountains that dance in the beautiful courtyard, and in the winter, they have an ice rink to skate on.
Getting to Strand
The Bank of England has helped make Threadneedle Street one of the most famous roads in London. The “Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”, as the bank is sometimes known, has been in its current location since 1734. There are over 5000 tonnes of gold bars held in the vaults of the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street.
Getting to Threadneedle Street
Running from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Square, this famous London street is known as the centre of the British government. Along Whitehall are many departments and ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenues and Customs, and Cabinet Office.
Additionally, Whitehall is famous in London for its memorial statues and monuments, including the UK’s main war memorial, the Cenotaph.
It was named after Whitehall Palace, which served as the royal residence for 168 years from King Henry VIII to William III. At the time, it was probably the largest and finest palace in Europe. However, this magnificent palace was destroyed in a fire in 1698, with only the banqueting hall surviving, which still stands today.
Getting to Whitehall
Map of the most famous streets in London
Final thoughts on the most famous streets in London
There are so many famous streets in London, which is not surprising considering the size and history of the city. However, knowing which to visit can be a challenge!
In this blog, we have tried to cover a little of all the famous London streets! Including everything from the most historic streets in London to the most famous residential streets in London, and of course where to shop in London.
Hopefully, no matter what your interests are, you’ve found some inspiration in this post to help you get out and explore some of these iconic London streets. If you’ve already visited London, I’d love to know which you’ve visited or if you think there are any others that should be included!