About this Walk

This walk takes to some of London’s famous shopping areas including Regent Street and Piccadilly. See classic London stores and attractions such as Smythson, Fenwick, Hamleys and Fortnum and Mason.
Allow 3 hours.
Best time to do it is on a week day so you can visit some of the stores along the route.
Written in 2002 and updated in 2014.

General Route

Start at Piccadilly Circus station – Regent Street – Carnaby Street – Regent Street – Oxford Circus – Oxford Street – New Bond Street – Savile Row – Old Bond Street – Piccadilly – Jermyn Street – end at Piccadilly Circus station

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This is a circular walk, starting and ending at Piccadilly Circus tube station.
Start at Piccadilly Circus, near the statue of Eros

Lillywhites and Piccadilly Circus

The Lillywhite’s sports store was established by James Lillywhite, who captained the English cricket team against Australia in 1876. The store has been at Piccadilly Circus since 1925, however in 2002 it was sold to another sports retailer.

Did You Know?

The famous lights of Piccadilly Circus were switched on for the first time in 1890, a year before those on New York’s Broadway (Times Square). The first advertisement was for Bovril and required 600 light bulbs to be illuminated.

walk up Regent Street, passing Burberry. Cross the road and turn right at Beak Street. Continue to Kingly Street. Turn left, then right at Ganton Street and stop at the junction with Carnaby Street.

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street is synonymous with modern fashion. Over the years, the names of stores have changed but what they sell has been fairly similar- from clothing to shoes, to modern jewellery.

Did You Know?

Carnaby Street was established in the 1680s. By the middle of the 19th century most houses were in the hands of tradesmen and shopkeepers.

By the 1960’s the street was world-famous for fashion and style and had entered the Oxford English Dictionary as a noun meaning “fashionable clothing for young people”. It is still an area associated with fashion and a number of British designers have stores there.

turn left along Carnaby Street, then left again at Fouberts Place. At the end of Fouberts Place, turn left along Regent Street to visit Hamleys.

Hamleys and Regent Street

Hamleys, at 188 – 196 Regent Street, was established in 1760 as “Noah’s Ark”. The store was originally located in High Holburn. The current Regent street store was opened in 1981.

Inventors of games would come to Mr Hamley in the hope he would sell them in his store. One such game was called Ping Pong. The store is now owned by a private group.

Did You Know?

The lower section of Regent Street between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street is known as the Quadrant. It was designed by John Nash around 1810, specifically for retail stores.

return back along Regent Street, cross the road and continue to Oxford Circus. Turn left at Oxford Circus and walk along Oxford Street. Turn left at New Bond Street and stop at the corner of Brook Street.

Fenwick and New Bond Street

Fenwick was established in 1882 in Newcastle, and opened in Bond Street in 1891.

It is a classic English department store and still independently-owned.

Did You Know?

Old Bond Street was built in the 1680’s by Sir Thomas Bond, while New Bond Street was built 40 years later when Mayfair became fashionable. It is the only road running from Piccadilly to Oxford Street and each road is separately numbered, making it confusing for visitors.

Sotheby’s have been auctioneers since 1744 and the statue of the Egyptian goddess over their doorway dates from 1600 BC, making it the oldest outdoor sculpture in London.

continue along New Bond Street, stopping at Smythson Stationers on the left hand side.

Smythson

Smythson was established in 1887 and is possibly the world’s most prestigous stationer. They hold three royal warrants and produce stationery for the Royal houses of Europe, heads of state and the world’s fashion elite.

When John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Smythson provided condolence books and mourning stationery for the American Embassy in London.

Did You Know?

Many of the stores you will pass on this walk hold royal warrants. Royal warrants are issued by the Royal Household to companies providing services and goods to the Royal Family.

continue along New Bond Street to Clifford Street. Walk to the end of Clifford Street, turn right along Savile Row, walk to the end and stop.

Gieves and Hawkes in Savile Row

Each store was separately established in the late 1700’s: Gieves were Nelson’s tailors and Hawkes were tailors to the Duke of Wellington.

The two tailors now occupy the building that was once the headquarters of the Royal Geographic Society, where Dr Livingstone’s body lay in state before being buried in Westminster Abbey in 1874.

Did You Know?

Savile Row was originally laid out in the 1730’s but only came to prominence in the 1860’s when it gained its reputation for fine tailoring for men.

This was as a result of the death of Prince Albert, which put the whole of London Society into mourning. Men adopted sombre blacks and greys, which made “cut and fit” the important aspects of men’s clothes – the hallmark of Savile Row style ever since.

turn right at the end of Savile Row, then right again (along Old Burlington Street), and return to Clifford Street. Turn left at Clifford Street and walk back down to New Bond Street, then turn left. Follow Old Bond Street, down to Piccadilly. Turn left along Piccadilly, passing the Burlington Arcade and cross the road at Duke Street (beside Fortnum & Mason).

The Burlington Arcade (not open on Sundays) is also worth a visit. The arcade was built in 1819 and typifies Mayfair tradition and luxury. Look for the beadles in their top hats. Their duty is to ensure the dignity of the Arcade is not disturbed by people whistling, running or singing.

Fortnum and Mason, and Piccadilly

Established in 1705, this wonderful store has been on Piccadilly since 1756, and the store staff still wear tailcoats.

There is a clock above the entrance to the store. The two founders of Fortnum and Mason are represented by the figures beside the clock who come out and bow to each other on the hour.

Mr Fortnum wears the red coat that indicates he was a footman in the Royal Household. He went into partnership with Mr Mason, a grocer.

Did You Know?

Piccadilly is named after a draper named Robert Baker who became wealthy during the reign of Charles I by selling stiff ruffled collars called pickadils. He used his money to build a big house in the area. Londoners, who didn’t like his act of flamboyance, called his house Piccadilly Hall.

walk through Fortnum and Mason then turn left at Jermyn Street and continue along Jermyn Street to the end.

Jermyn Street

There are some delightful arcades and stores in this street including

  • Piccadilly Arcade, an elegant arcade filled with traditional old stores
  • Davidoff, the London store for the famous cigar makers from Russia
  • Turnbull and Asser, the famous shirtmakers, who have had a shop in this street since 1885
  • Wiltons, the famous fish and game restaurant that has been in St James since 1742
  • Floris, established in 1730 and selling fine old-fashioned scent and lotions
  • Paxton & Whitfield, established in 1797, and selling fine cheeses, hams, pates and chutneys
  • Bates, the gentlemen’s hatter
  • Herbie Frogg, a store for men’s clothing
  • Geo.F.Trumper, a barber and royal hairdresser, established in 1875
  • Piccadilly market (Open from 10am, Thursday to Saturday and FREE). Set in the grounds of St James’ Church, the market includes a peaceful garden with park benches for resting on or perhaps eating your lunch

Did You Know?

Jermyn Street was named after Henry Jermyn, courtier to the mother of King Charles II. The street was completed in the 1680’s but nothing now remains of the original buildings except for St James’ Church at the far end towards Regent Street.

you have now completed this walk. Turn left and return to Piccadilly Circus