Home » Shops of London » Great London Shopping Streets: A Short Guide to Oxford Street

Great London Shopping Streets: A Short Guide to Oxford Street

Oxford Street is London’s main shopping street in the West End and runs from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch. Oxford Street is considered Europe’s busiest shopping street with around half a million daily visitors, and around 300 shops.

Oxford Street is the latest name for a road that was originally part of a Roman road, in the Middle Ages it was known as Tyburn Road which notorious as the route taken by prisoners from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn which located near Marble Arch.

It became known as Oxford Road and then Oxford Street in the 18th century, and gradually began to change from residential to a commercial and retail district during the late 19th century.

The first department stores in Britain opened on Oxford Street in the early 20th century, including Selfridges and John Lewis.

The retail development during the 20th century was quite mixed with major department stores and flagship stores congregated towards the Marble Arch end and more downmarket stores towards Tottenham Court Road. Many of the stores have been trading on the street for almost a century and many stores have their flagship store on the street.

The modern Oxford Street runs for approximately 1.2 miles (1.9 km) and is one of the most popular shopping destinations in London for visitors. Oxford Street is famous for being decorated with Christmas lights, recently it has been the tradition a celebrity or celebrities turning the lights on in November, and the lights remain on until early January.

For many years, Oxford Street has thrived due to its popularity with overseas visitors, however the pandemic has highlighted that even Oxford Street is facing the ‘high street’ decline that has affected high streets all over the UK.

The closure of well known department stores like Debenhams has forced a rethink for many retailers who must be more innovative to attract customers. 

The future Oxford Street is likely to be not just retail but rather a place where you come for a wider experience of attractions.

Stores on Oxford Street include Adidas, Boots, Burton, John Lewis & Partners, Longines, M&S, Moleskine, Moss Bros, New Balance, Next, Omega, Primark, River Island, Samsung, Selfridges, Swarovski, Swatch, The Body Shop, The Disney Store, Timberland, Tissot, Topman, Topshop and Uniqlo.

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