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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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London Department Stores – Fenwick of Bond Street


Location – 63 New Bond Street  London W1S 1RQ

Fenwick  is a small chain of department stores in the United Kingdom. The store’s founder, John James Fenwick was born in Yorkshire and opened the original Fenwick store in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1882.

Originally a type of drapers shop, it did not become a department store until John’s son Fred joined the business in 1890.

Unusually in modern retail, the company is still owned by members  of the founder’s family and has eleven branches in the UK.

In 1891 it opened a store in Bond Street which has expanded and been remodelled up to the present day.

MON-WED 10.00am – 7.00pm

THUR 10.00am – 8.00pm

FRI-SAT 10.00am – 7.00pm

SUN 12 noon – 6.00pm

Quick Store Guide

Floor 3

Weekend Collections, Swimwear, Personal Shopping Suite, Personal Beauty Studio, Affogato Coffee Bar, Ladies Powder Room, Customer Services, Public Telephones, Office Trainers, Baby Changing Facilities, Disabled Toilets,

Floor 2

Designer Collections, Bond & Brook Restaurant, Clarins Skin Spa, Chantecaille Healing Spa, Pure Massage,

Floor 1

International Collections, Agnes b, Joseph, LK Bennett Shoes and Fashion, Kurt Geiger Shoes,

Ground Floor

Lingerie, Handbags, Belts, Hats, Sunglasses, Scarves and Gloves, Jewellery, Hosiery, Gielly Green Hair Bar, Cosmetics and Fragrance, Nails Inc Bar, Blink Brow Bar,

Lower Ground Floor

Childrens, Babywear and Toys, Cards and Wrap, Menswear, Kurt Geiger Men’s Shoes, Carluccio’s Restaurant and Food Shop, Men’s Cloakroom, Disabled Toilets,

London Department Stores – Marks and Spencer


Marks and Spencer

Location – Marble Arch ,458 Oxford Street,London,W1C 1AP

 Marks and Spencer is a major Department Store on Oxford Street, the origins of the Marks and Spencer company was a partnership between Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1894. They open their Penny Bazaar in Leeds before opening a number of stalls in markets in the North of England.

Eventually they built a number of stores all over the United Kingdom, they built a reputation by only selling British-made goods and by its generous returns policy, giving a full refund on goods regardless of when it was purchased. Working with British Manufacturers, the company became known for quality clothes and food sold under the St Michael and St Margaret brands. Women’s lingerie was especially popular and became an iconic part of M & S.

In the 1990s, facing fierce competition it was forced to abandon its British Goods only policy and change its returns policy. It was also hampered by its refusal to accept credit cards until 2001.

Although facing a relative decline, Marks and Spencer is still a major retailer with 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores spread across more than 40 countries.

General Opening Hours

Monday    08:00 – 21:00

Tuesday   08:00 – 21:00

Wednesday 08:00 – 21:00

Thursday  08:00 – 21:00

Friday    08:00 – 21:00

Saturday  08:00 – 21:00

Sunday    12:00 – 18:00

Products Women’s Clothing – Limited Collection, Women’s Clothing – Autograph, Women’s Clothing – per una, Women’s Clothing – Classic, Women’s Clothing – Portfolio, Women’s Clothing – Indigo, Lingerie and Sleepwear, Lingerie – Post Surgery Lingerie, Men’s Clothing – Blue Harbour, Men’s Clothing – Autograph, Men’s Clothing – Collezione, Men’s Clothing – North Coast, Men’s Clothing – Men’s Tailoring & Alterations, Kids – Clothing, Kids – Schoolwear, Food/Wine/Flowers – Bakery, Food/Wine/Flowers – Wine Adviser, Food/Wine/Flowers – Flower Wrapping, Home – Furniture, Home – Made to Order Curtains, Home – Homeware, Home – Fabric Swatches, Home – Made to Order Furniture, Home – Cards and Wrap, Beauty, Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing – Underwear, Babywear, Home – Kitchen, Women’s Clothing – Petite

Services Baby Changing Facilities, Bilingual Staff Available, Carry To Car, Customer Toilets, Leave It To Us – Food Ordering, Gift Cards, Disabled Toilets, Refunds & Exchange (excluding Outlet merchandise), Refunds & Exchange (Outlet merchandise only), Bra Fitting, Changing Rooms – Women’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Men’s changing room, Changing Rooms – Lingerie changing room, Ordering – Clothing Ordering & Collection, Ordering – Flower ordering, Money – M&S credit card validation, Money – Cash machine, Money – VAT back service, Places to Eat – Deli Bar, Places to Eat – Cafe, Places to Eat – Hot Food to Go, M&S Bank, M&S Bank – Bureau de Change

London Department Stores – Selfridges



Location – 400 Oxford Street, London,W1H 6HB

Selfridges is a large department store on Oxford Street, it is the second largest store in the UK, Harrods being the largest.

Selfridges was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge who was born in 1856 in Wisconsin, in 1879 he started work for Marshall Field and Company a famous Chicago retailer. In a rags to riches story he started as an errand boy before working his way up the ladder, he married into a wealthy Chicago family and amassed a fortune which he used to build his London store.

Using American building methods the store opened in 1909. Harry Selfridge bought over a number of American retail methods and added a few of his own, he is credited for putting the perfume counter at the front of the store which was copied by stores around the world.

He also believed shopping should be fun so used the store to highlight technologies of the day for example Louis Blériot’s monoplane of 1909 was exhibited at Selfridges, and the first public demonstration of television was by John Logie Baird from the first floor of Selfridges from 1 to 27 April 1925.

In the 20s and 30s the roof with its terraced gardens, cafes, a mini golf course was a popular meeting place. After the war these were closed down but have recently been revived.

Up to the Great Depression, Harry Selfridge retail wise could do no wrong, however in the years leading up to the Second World War he began to get in debt, partially attributed to his lavish life style. He was ousted from the Selfridges board in the 1941 and died practically penniless in Putney in 1947.

Selfridges is known for its wide range of luxury goods, numerous designer clothes, a extensive food hall and has a number of restaurants and bars.

General Opening Hours

MONDAY             9.30 – 21.00

TUESDAY             9.30 – 21.00

WEDNESDAY      9.30 – 21.00

THURSDAY         9.30 – 21.00

FRIDAY                9.30 – 21.00

SATURDAY         9.30 – 21.00

SUNDAY             11.30 – 18.15*

London Department Stores – Liberty



Location – Regent Street, London W1B 5AH

Liberty is one of the premier department stores in London known for its luxury goods which feature its floral and graphic prints.

The stores founder Arthur Lasenby Liberty was born in Chesham, he worked for Farmer and Rogers in Regent Street for a decade before starting his own business in 1875. He started with a lease for part of a shop in Regent Street with three staff members. The shop sold ornaments and fabrics from Japan and China and was so successful in its first two years that he acquired lease for the whole shop and over time began to acquire neighbouring properties. At the end of the 19th century the store became one of the most fashionable in London, its exotic fabrics and “Eastern” furnishings and clothes began to appeal to a large buying public. It also became known for supporting the many designers who followed Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. Considering its association with these styles it was unusual that the store was given a mock Tudor make over in 1920. Its unique interior of wooden balconies around central points produces a rather strange shopping experience. Equally strange is that some of the timbers on the exterior are taken from two old sailing ships, the HMS Impregnable (formerly HMS Howe) and HMS Hindustan. Liberty have always balanced contemporary and traditional designs and has worked closely with many leading designers throughout the stores history.

Opening Hours

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm

Sunday: 12 – 6pm


London Department Stores – Debenhams



Location – 334-348 Oxford Street, London, W1C 1JG

The origins of Debenhams is a drapers store opened by William Clark in 1778, in 1813 William Debenham became a partner in the firm that was renamed Clark and Debenham.

In 1851 Clement Freebody became a partner so the name changed to Debenham and Freebody, it was not until 1905 that the business became a limited company known as Debenhams Limited.

In the 19th and 20th century the company made many acquisitions including the Knightsbridge retailer Harvey Nichols in 1920.

By 1950,Debenhams was the largest department store group in the UK, owning 84 companies and 110 stores. In 2014 it trades out of 240 stores in 28 countries.

In 2013 Debenhams undertook a £40 million refurbishment of the flagship store in Oxford Street, which included the installation of 180,000 aluminium tiles on the exterior of the building.

Best known for its fashionwear, accessories and homeware. The Oxford Street store has a large cosmetic products floor and three restaurants/cafes.

General Opening Hours

Monday     09:30 to 20:00

Tuesday    09:30 to 20:00

Wednesday  09:30 to 21:00

Thursday   09:30 to 21:00

Friday     09:30 to 21:00

Saturday   09:30 to 21:00

Sunday     12:00 to 18:00

London Department Stores – John Lewis


John Lewis

Location –  300 Oxford Street London W1A 1EX

John Lewis is a premier department store in Oxford Street, it was on this site that John Lewis in 1864 opened a small drapers shop. The success of the original store led to Lewis buying another store Peter Jones in Sloane Square in 1905.

The continuing success led to John Lewis’s son Spedan carrying out further expansion by extending the Oxford Street store and acquiring other stores around England under the name of the John Lewis Partnership which was founded in 1920.

The Oxford Street store was badly damaged by a bomb in 1940, but trading continued until the building could be rebuilt.

The partnership has built a reputation for quality goods and service, it also has a good reputation regarding staff offering profit sharing and until  1994, John Lewis stores closed on Mondays to allow staff a full two day “weekend”.

The original Oxford Street shop is still flagship branch of the company. A complete refurbishment of the building was completed in late 2007 at a cost of £60 million.

The John Lewis department store has a wide range of goods in many departments, including electrical goods, tableware and a fabrics and haberdashery section. They also do Men’s and Women’s Fashion, fashion accessories, cosmetics and much more.

General Opening hours:

Mon:  9.30am – 8pm

(Bank holidays 10am – 6pm)

Tues:  9.30am – 8pm

Wed:   9.30am – 8pm

Thurs: 9.30am -9pm

Fri:   9.30am – 8pm

Sat:   9.30am – 8pm

Sun:  12noon – 6pm

London Department Stores – House of Fraser


House of Fraser

Location – 318 Oxford Street London

House of Fraser is a London department store in Oxford Street, the company was established in 1849 in Glaggow when it was called Arthur and Fraser.

In 1891 it changed its name to Fraser and Sons. After the Second World War the firm changed its name to House of Fraser and expanded taking over seventy companies including well known brands, Army and Navy Stores, Jenners, Rackhams amongst others.

In 2001 they took over Evans Oxford Street store and made it the companies flagship store, it has another 60 stores in the United Kingdom and Ireland,

The store is known for its Womenswear, Menswear, Childrenswear, Home and Beauty.

General Opening Hours

Monday        09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Tuesday        09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Wednesday  09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Thursday     09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Friday          09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Saturday      09:30 AM- 09:00 PM

Sunday         11:30 AM- 06:30 PM

Services at this store

General • Fashion alteration services • Free WiFi • Gift Cards • Parent & baby room •  Tax Free Shopping • Wedding List

Food & Drink • Tea Terrace

Women • Lingerie fitting service

Beauty • Bodycare treatments • Brow bar • Eyelashes • Manicure • Nails Inc • Pedicure • Skincare treatments

London Department Stores – Fortnum and Mason


Fortnum and Mason

Location -181 Piccadilly,  London,  W1A 1ER

Fortnum & Mason is one of the premier department stores in London. Its headquarters is located at 181 Piccadilly, where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason.

From its earliest days it has been associated with Royalty and the Aristocracy being associated with high quality goods. Starting as a grocery store it developed in the Victorian era into a department store stocking a large variety of exotic foods as well standard fare. Some of the stores claim to fame is inventing the Scotch Egg in 1738, Queen Victoria sending shipments of Fortnum and Mason’s beef tea to Florence Nightingale’s hospitals in the Crimean War and being the first store in London to stock Heinz baked beans which they bought directly from Mr Heinz in the 1886.

More recently Queen Elizabeth II gave the store a royal seal of approval by opening the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

The stores layout is such that it is probably the nearest you will get to a 19th century shopping experience with items in attractive tins and ceramic containers. The food hall is very popular with a high standard of quality food. Its tearooms and restaurants are also very popular. Although there is a large amount of expensive items, there is a wide range of items for all prices and the store is a popular place to pick up unusual gifts. Especially popular are the famous picnic hampers which were originally created for the Victorian “Society” events, but are now available to everyone ranging in price from around £30 pounds to £25,000

The interior of the store is interesting, but the window displays are usually very entertaining and if you look at the front of the store there is the famous Fortnum’s clock where on the hour Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason make an appearance.

Quick guide

FOURTH FLOOR The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon The Drawing Room The Tea Tasting Room

THIRD FLOOR Books Games Gentlemen’s Accessories Gentlemen’s Grooming Gentlemen’s Nightwear Gifts Leather Goods Luggage Pens Stationery Gentleman’s Cloakroom Gift Advice, Card Wrapping

SECOND FLOOR Babywear & Gifts Bath & Beauty Bathroom Accessories Bed & Linen Fashion Accessories Handbags Jewellery Lingerie & Nightwear Perfume & Cosmetics Beauty Rooms Baby Changing Disabled Cloakroom

FIRST FLOOR Al Fresco Eating Candles Cooks Library Cookshop China, Glass & Silver Hampers Disabled Cloakroom Ladies Powder Room The Parlour Restaurant Demonstration Kitchen Fortnum’s Services Hamper Ordering Account Enquiries Events Corporate Orders Deliveries General Enquiries Personal Shopping VAT Reclaim

GROUND FLOOR Bakery Biscuits & Cakes Chocolate & Confectionery Coffee Patisserie Preserves & Honey Tea The Gallery Restaurant The Fountain Restaurant

LOWER GROUND FLOOR Cheese Charcuterie Delicatessen Flowers Fruit & Vegetables Meat & Fish Savoury Groceries The Fortnum’s Take Away Traiteur Wines & Spirits 1707 Wine Bar

Opening Times

Monday to Saturday 10am – 8pm

Sunday 12noon – 6pm