- Shop in historic surroundings with a trip to Regent Street, one of London's top shopping destinations.
- Discover the London institutions of Hamleys and Liberty, two Regent Street shops that have become tourist attractions in their own right.
- Enjoy eating out at the various restaurants and cafés that can be found on Regent Street.
- Celebrate Christmas by visiting Regent Street in the festive period, when brilliant light displays light it up.
Amongst the many things London is known for, two elements particularly stand out; its rich history and great shopping. These two things that draw millions of visitors to the capital each year are brought together in the regal setting of Regent Street, one of the most popular shopping areas in the city.
From high-end fashion brands to high street staples, there are so many fabulous shopping adventures on offer on Regent Street, London. Along with nearby Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, Regent Street forms an essential part of the West End shopping experience for visitors to London.
John Nash designed Regent Street in the early 1800's, the man who also designed Buckingham Palace and Regent's Park. The road was designed with support from the Prince Regent, who later became George IV and had the street named after him. Nash and the prince wanted to create a beautiful area for the best shopping in London, with a design that would challenge Paris as the capital of fashion.
The result was Regent Street, which took almost 20 years to complete. Today, only All Souls Church remains from Nash's original design. In the early 20th century, the buildings on Regent Street were replaced because they weren't viable for large shops. The new buildings were designed in a similar regal fashion, and are all Grade II-listed. This means shops cannot change the façade of their building too much, and skyscrapers are not allowed to be built on the street.
Regent Street is home to some of Britain's most famous shops. The Liberty department store is a London institution and the oldest shop on the street, having opened in 1875. The shop, with its quirky mock Tudor façade, is instantly recognisable and home to some of the most exciting fashion that can be found in the capital.
Another Regent Street claim to fame is Hamleys, one of the largest and most well-known toy shops in the world, with seven floors of amazing toys. This delightful toy shop was opened by William Hamley in 1760, although its original location was in the Holborn area of London. It moved to the Regent Street site in 1881 and has remained there ever since, attracting millions of visitors every year.
Heritage stores aren't the only shops that can be found on Regent Street. The street is also the home of many cutting-edge fashion brands and high street retailers, making it the perfect shopping location for any budget. The street has been known as one of the most fashionable areas in London since its construction, a description that still holds strong today.
On Regent Street, you'll find high-end luxury fashion retailers, such as Burberry, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren. The street is also home to many mid-range and high street brands, which are great for a bargain or some Christmas shopping. These shops include H&M, Uniqlo, and J. Crew.
There is a multitude of places to enjoy a meal on Regent Street. Similarly to the shops that can be found on the street, there is a mix of high-end restaurants and family favourites. Whether you're looking for a bite to eat at one of the cafes that line the street or something more substantial at a top-quality restaurant, there's something for everyone on Regent Street.
Regent Street also hosts plenty of great events throughout the year. The street plays an important role in the annual London Fashion Week when the style-conscious of the world descend on the capital to witness designer shows and events.
Regent Street's "Summer Streets" festival is another big celebration in the area. On four different Sundays in the summer, the street is closed to traffic and pedestrianised. When this happens, there are loads of great things going on, such as pop up restaurants, kids' activities, and art installations. It's basically a massive street party in the middle of London, and a great way to enjoy summer.
The biggest event at Regent Street is the switching on of the Regent Street Christmas lights. Regent Street was one of London's first places to display Christmas lights regularly, and there has been an annual display since 1954. Thousands flock to the street to watch the lights being turned on by a celebrity in mid-November. There's a new design each year, and it's a lovely way of getting in the Christmas spirit.
What to know before you go
- Opening times for the shops and restaurants of Regent Street can vary. Generally, shops open at 10am and close at 8pm, and will have shorter opening hours on Sundays. Restaurants open slightly later at around 12pm and will close at 10pm or 11pm on most nights. If you've got a particular shop or restaurant in mind for your visit to Regent Street, it's a good idea to check online beforehand for exact opening times.
- The nearest public toilets are on Prince's Street; a few minutes' walk away from Regent Street. However, large department stores on Regent Street and nearby Oxford Street will have toilet facilities inside. These facilities often have accessible toilets and baby changing facilities.
- Regent Street is accessible for wheelchair users and buggies, although the street can get very busy during peak hours, which are approximately 11am and also at 5pm or 6pm.
- There's lots of parking available near Regent Street, although spaces can be difficult to find and it can be pretty costly. There are Q-Park car parks on Queen Anne Mews, Cavendish Square, Poland Street, Old Burlington Street, and Whitcomb Street.
- Regent Street has brilliant access to public transport. There are several Tube Stations within a short walk of the shopping street. These include Oxford Circus Station on the Victoria, Central, and Bakerloo lines, Piccadilly Circus on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines, and Green Park on the Jubilee, Victoria, and Piccadilly lines.
- There are plenty of bus routes that have stops on Regent Street. These buses include the 3, 6, 12, 13, 23, 88, 94, 139, 159, and 453.