London is one of the most unique cities of the world, and one of the main reasons for this is its history. It has a long, rich history dating back centuries, and this makes many people very interested and intrigued by it. Not only do they want to come and visit this great city, but they want to work and buy property in it because it is one of the most lucrative places to own property or work in the world. It is very well connected with the rest of the world, too, with many airports right on its doorstep.
What is also great about London is its shopping. Many people book a break in London because they can get a good amount of Christmas shopping done while enjoying everything the city has to offer in terms of restaurants and bars along the way! There’s also some great hotels to stay in, such as the Montcalm Marble Arch, which offers guests a luxurious, high tech experience while they enjoy their city break.
One of the most popular streets of London for shopping is Oxford Street, which is also popular as the longest street in Europe. Oxford Street is located at an accessible location from the hotels in Shoreditch. If you’re looking for London hotels, special offers can sometimes be found in this region but you need to shop around and you need to book up quickly.
Oxford Street runs between Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, and at Christmas it becomes a true spectacle. Every year the Christmas lights are switched on by a celebrity in November and light the streets until January. The only time these lights were not switched on was during the recession in the 1960s and the 1970s.
Oxford Street is today known for all its big department stores, but many of these were damaged during the Blitz. The larger stores like Selfridges, John Lewis and Peter Robinson were ruined and the then Peter Robinson store (which is now Topshop) was BBC’s broadcast studio during World War II.
If you’re into your music, HMV will play a big part in your life! The HMV store in Oxford Street opened in 1921 but was damaged during World War II. Another interesting fact about this store is that the famous band The Beatles used HMV’s equipment to record a demo. This was back in their early years, before they had really made a name for themselves. The band’s manager, Brian Epstein, visited the store in 1962 to discuss turning the band’s demo tapes into discs. The store was so impressed with the songs he heard that he called a music publisher from the building, who called George Martin of Parlophone Records. The band were given a contract and recorded their first album later that year!
It’s hard to think of Oxford Street as being called anything other than just that – but did you know that it was actually called Tyburn Road? It got this name from the now-buried Tyburn River which runs beneath it. This road would have been the final destination for the prisoners of Newgate Prison that were left hanging there. Today this spot has been marked with an etched stone.
If you like your English pubs, you may be disappointed to find out that Oxford Street has only one remaining pub – and this is the Grade II listed Tottenham, which sits at number 6 Oxford Street. This pub building was built in the 19th century and was originally known as The Flying Horse. Many people enjoy a drink at this pub, although the prices can be a bit steep! In fact, all prices across London are likely to make you gasp at one point or another. The average price of a pint of beer in Britain is £3.60, but you are likely to find this costing around double this amount in some of the trendiest bars in London. In fact, The Rake, in Borough Market, sold a pint of Cloudwater’s North West Double IPA for more than three times the average price of a beer – at £13!
If you like your board games, you’ll probably already know that Oxford Street has its own square on the original Monopoly board game. It forms the green set of properties and is one of the most lucrative parts of the board! And with good reason, too!
If you think that Oxford Street has nothing to offer in terms of green space or a gardening area, Oxford Street actually contains a secret roof top garden – this is called Brown Hart gardens and it was built on top of an old Victorian substation in 1905.
Ever taken the underground in London? If so, you’ll know that it is a maze of tunnels all connected by a well oiled network of machines. Oxford Street is served by four tube stations: Marble Arch and Bond Street and Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road. However, several people working in Oxford Street in the ‘80s have claimed there is a secret underground street beneath Oxford Street, which actually contains cobble stones and old Victorian shops! This secret street can apparently be accessed via a series of cellars and other basements below the modern shops that Oxford Street contains today.
Oxford Street is one and a half miles from end to end. Most shops open 10am until 6 or 7pm. Many also open on Sunday from 12 to 6pm with late nights on Thursday. The major stores on Oxford Street are: Debenhams, HMV, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Primark, Selfridges and Topshop.