Oxford Street

This article is about the Oxford Street in London. For the Oxford Street in Sydney, Australia, please see Oxford Street, Sydney.

Oxford Street is a major London shopping street, running from Marble Arch at the north east corner of Hyde Park, through Oxford Circus to St Giles' Circus, its intersection with Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road, where it becomes New Oxford Street until it runs into High Holborn. To the west, Oxford Street becomes Bayswater Road (at Marble Arch).



Missing image
Oxford Street in 1875, looking west from the junction with Duke Street. The buildings in the right are on the future site of Selfridges.

The street follows the route of a Roman road which linked Hampshire with Colchester, and over time became one of the major routes in and out of the city.

Between the 12th century and 1782 it was known as Tyburn Street, after the River Tyburn that ran just to the south of it (and now flows underneath it). It became notorious as the route taken by prisoners on their final journey from Newgate Prison to the gallows at Tyburn near Marble Arch.

In the late 18th century, many of the surrounding fields were purchased by the Earl of Oxford, and development of the area was undertaken. It soon became popular with entertainers including tiger-baiters and masquerades. During the 19th century, the area became synonymous with the number of shops in the area, a tradition that has continued to this day.

Oxford Street is a square on the British Monopoly board. It is part of the green set together with Regent Street and Bond Street.


Oxford Street is one of the UK's most famous shopping streets, home to shops of all kinds and including several department stores. It is the largest shopping street in central London, though far from the most expensive or fashionable. Together with Regent Street, Bond Street and many smaller nearby streets it forms one of the two principal shopping districts in the centre of the city. The other is in Knightsbridge, which is where Harrods is located. For many British chain stores, their Oxford Street branch is seen to be their 'flagship' store and used for celebrity launches and promotions.

Major retail shops

Christmas Lights

Each Christmas the street is decorated with an array of festive lights, that have become something of a British institution. The 'turning-on' ceremony is conducted in mid-to-late November in a flurry of publicity, with a hand-picked major celebrity flicking the switch to illuminate the decorations. The lights remain until January 6.

The annual addition of the lights began in 1959, five years after its neighbour Regent Street had begun the tradition. In 1967, as the recession hit London, the lights were stopped and only returned in 1978 when Oxford Street organised a laser display.

Celebrities who turned on the Christmas lights

2004 - Steve Redgrave, Emma Watson
2003 - Enrique Iglesias
2002 - Blue
2001 - S Club 7
2000 - Charlotte Church
1999 - Ronan Keating
1998 -
1997 - Peter Andre
1996 - Spice Girls
1989 - Kylie Minogue

Tube Stations

Nearest tube stations along Oxford Street starting at Marble Arch:

External links

Oxford street's official website (http://www.oxfordstreet.co.uk) London's Christmas Lights - BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/for_christmas/_new_year/christmas_decorations/41518.stm)

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