Discover how London’s first purpose-built shopping street has changed over time

Set in London’s West End, Regent Street is a globally renowned shopping and dining street known throughout its history for offering an impressive array of brands from fashion to cutting edge technology as well as in store experiences like nowhere else. Regent Street is unique in bringing the street to life through stand out cultural celebrations year after year including the world famous Christmas lights, a long standing tradition in London starting on our very own mile of style. In addition to their sartorial selection, Regent Street is also home to restaurants, hotels and galleries for you to while away your day.

For those seeking to better understand the history of the iconic curve, keep reading to see how it became the street you see today.



Regent Street: A Timeline


1813:  Under the New Street Act of 1913, John Nash submits his grand scheme for Regent Street


1819: Regent Street is named for the first time as part of the Annual Report


1825/6: The development of Regent Street finishes. Regent Street immediately recognised as the centre of London's social scene


1828: Carlton House Terrace (designed by John Nash) building commences


1833: Regent Street and St James Park linked together by the Duke of York’s Column and Steps


1837: Queen Victoria ascends to the throne


1838: Regent Street is mentioned in Charles Dickens’s novel Nicholas Nickelby. The upper class character Lord Frederick Verisopht lives in an apartment on Regent Street


1848: Regent Street Colonnades removed – due to their reputation as a haunt for both pick-pockets and ladies of “ill-repute”


1863: The London Underground begins running using gas-lit wooden carriages


1865: The Café Royal opens and quickly becomes a favourite hang-out for creatives of the day


1875: Liberty London opens - with just three dedicated members of staff


1881: Hamleys – the world’s oldest toyshop – opens on Regent Street


1890: The Langham is immortalised in writing at as the setting for several Sherlock Holmes stories. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the book’s author, was a frequent hotel guest


1891: Oscar Wilde is seen frequenting “The Café” – other patrons include H G Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, W B Yeats, Walter Sickert and James McNeill Whistler. Hotel Café Royal has since named The Oscar Wilde Lounge after the illustrious writer


1890s: The last remaining stables on Swallow Street are replaced by the New Gallery. Today, this is home to Burberry


1890s – 1920s: The rebuilding of Regent Street takes place, with progress delayed by World War One. The only original Nash building remaining is All Soul's Church


1900:  Oxford Circus tube station opens


1901: King Edward VII ascends to the throne


1908: Olympic Games held in London for the first time


1910: King George V ascends to the throne


1927: Regent Street is opened with King George V’s Royal Procession


1928: Piccadilly Circus tube station opens


1932: BBC Broadcasting House opened


1936: King Edward VIII ascends to the throne and abdicates in December that same year. King George VI ascends to the throne


1939-40s: Regent Street is hit during ‘The Blitz’ war-time bombing. Hamleys was bombed five times during this period


1948: The first post war Olympic Games take place in London


1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascends to the throne


1953: Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation parade includes a celebratory drive through Regent Street


1954: The first Regent Street Christmas Lights switch on takes place – marking the first ever Christmas Lights display in central London

1969: Queen Elizabeth takes to the wheel of tube train to Oxford Circus to celebrate the opening of the new Victoria Line


1972: London-born David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars cover is shot outside No. 23, Heddon Street. There is a plaque today commemorating the musician’s most famous alter-ego


1984: Smoking on London Underground trains is banned


2000s: Major redevelopment takes place


2001: In the cult favourite film Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones is filmed dining at Momo on Heddon Street with her friends


2012: Regent Street flies the flags of 206 nations as the Olympic Games take place across London once again


2014: Lower Regent Street renamed as Regent Street St James


2017: The secret rooftop Regent Street allotment is created to encourage more wildlife into the West End


2019: Regent Street celebrates 200 years

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