* Prices may differ from that shown
I have lived in London for over three years now, and if I could recommend anywhere in London to shop, it would have to be London's Oxford Street. One of the reasons why I live here! It's paradise for every girl who loves to shop. I go here every week, when I'm in London, I love this place so, so much. And yes, just like the title of my review I usually go home not empty handed! I like my cheeky presents to me! One of the best things about Oxford Street is that it has every thing shopping lovers dream of. From designer brands to high street brands to unique, boutique brands. So what ever you can afford, what clothes and stores you love, I promise, that you will not leave empty handed! Two of my favorite stores on Oxford Street are Topshop (which is a flagship store) and Selfridges (even though I can't afford much there, but it is an amazing place to work as I used to work there.) One of the BBC studios is located here, The University of Westminster is also located round the corner of Oxford Street, (that was one of my top university choices, because of it, but they didn't do my course so I had to go else where) Also London college of fashion is located in Oxford Circus. Mayfair, Soho, Hyde Park, Regents street, Piccadily circus, Leicester Square and Covent Garden are also short walks from Oxford Street, or even a short tube or bus journey. The stores they have are mainly high street so here is what Oxford Street has to offer: - Topshop (flagship store, with a Topman and Miss Selfridge concession) - New Look - Primark - River Island - Jane Norman - House of Fraser - Next (also has a Lipsy store concession) - Pandora - Jane Norman - LA Senza - Urban Outfitters - Forever 21 - Debenhams - H+M - Disney Store - The Body Shop - HMV - Waterstone's - The Perfume Shop - Dorothy Perkins - Marks and Spencer - Accesorize - Boots - Ted Baker - Apple store (the computers, not the fruit) - and not forgetting what Oxford Street is famous for - SELFRIDGES! There are a range of places to eat out as well including: - McDonald's - Starbucks - Burger King - Sainsbury's - KFC - Pret Manager - Costa - Subway More like grab and go, eating places because there are a lot of busy shopers round Oxford Street But there are various restaurants you can eat in like House of Fraser, Debenhams, Selfridges. But the Restaurants are more expensive round here, compare to the grab and go eating places. But they do also have small cafes scattered across the street. If you were to travel to Oxford Street, I would recommend that you DO NOT DRIVE because it is a nightmare when it comes to transport. So the best way to travel to Oxford Street would be by tube or bus. You can get the following for the tube are: - Central Line (red) - Jubaliee line (grey) - Piccadily line (dark blue) -Victoria Line (light blue) - Bakerloo Line (brown) Also beware that there are engineering works on the London Underground, especially at weekends, so please make sure you check before you travel as it can be very stressful when traveling on the underground. The best websites to check for these would be Transport for London or DFL. But there are maps of closures on the London Underground, so check the maps if you are unsure. Buses are also another option to get there, or if you live locally. The routes include: - 10 to Hammersmith (24 hour service) - 94 to Acton Green (24 hour service) - 25 to Ilford (24 hour service) - 98 to Willesden - 73 to Stoke Newington - 453 to Marylebone - 159 to Paddington - 139 to Waterloo/West Hampstead - 23 to Liverpool street (24 hour service) - 88 to Clapham Common/Camden Town - 12 to Dulwich - 453 to Deptford - 137 to Streatham - 159 to Brixton My experiences from Oxford Street are enjoyable, but can be stressful during the busy periods (it is worse during Christmas and the beginning of the sales period) Also it is a very busy, and people push and shove around a lot, so there are very rare moments when it is quiet and less busy. But if you love shopping and the buzz, this is the place to be! So if you are making a trip to London, make sure you have a visit here!
One of London's most famous shopping streets! It doesn't matter if you have thousands (to spend on designer clothes) or hundreds (to spend on high street clothes) there is something and a shop for everyone! For all ages and gender! Oxford street is located near Marble Arch, and you can buses from most places to here, the closest one is probably Marylebone. You can underground lines which is much more quicker than taking a bus! You can stop at places such as Leciester square, Trafalgar square which is then only a twenty minute walk from the place. The shops that are located are everything from food to fashion to CDs to handbags high street or designer! Fashion stores include : H+M, New Look, Primark, River Island, Topshop (one of the only three flagship stores in the country), La Senza, Ann Summers, Jane norman, Burton, Topman, house of Fraser and Debenahams. food : If you wanna bite to eat there are plenty of places to do that such as subway, burger King, KFC, McDonalds, starbucks, costa, Millie's cookies and plenty more! There is also a theatre at the back of Marble Arch (where Queen's hit show We will rock you is performed - a huge must see for Queen fans) You can also take a stroll round the Marble Arch if you want a break from shopping! Some of the most expensive hotels are around this area including the 'Hilton hotel' (this is where the celebrities hang out after awards ceremonies such as the BAFTAS.) Person experience I love this shopping place and it's worth going, and I end up with bags and bags of shopping afterwards and spend up to two to three hours! but don't travel by car cause driving through Oxford can be a huge nightmare and cause traffic and could likely cause accidents, so either walk, catch a bus or go by underground to save getting trapped in the chaos!
I lived in London for two years and during that time I avoided going to Oxford Street whenever possible. Visits to Oxford Street have been a regular thing for since I was a child and perhaps that is where my dislike comes from. I hated being dragged around shops when I was younger and Oxford Street was even worse because it was all the same shops only bigger, which meant more time was spent in them. There are several things that I really dislike about Oxford Street and not least is how busy it is. Being one of the key places to go shopping in London it seems that all of the tourists head to Oxford Street to do their shopping. If you are one of those tourists who is planning a trip I would think again. Do you really want to fight the crowds of Oxford Street to look in the same shops that are on every other high street in the UK? If the answer is yes then I would suggest that you go as early as possible to avoid hour long queues and being pushed out of the way by inconsiderate shoppers. But don't all of you do that because then there would be no safe times for people like me to brave the mean street of...Oxford Street. As you would expect Oxford Street is busier at the weekends and just before Christmas. And I'm not joking about hour long queues. Primark in particular seems to have very long queues and I would recommend taking a book, that's what I do (and again I'm not joking). The other thing that I really dislike about Oxford Street is that it's all chains. And some chains have more than one shop on Oxford Street. Don't ever arrange to meet outside of boots, starbucks or Dorothy Perkins on Oxford Street, you may find yourselves at seperate but nearly identical shops. I tend to prefer shops that are a little bit unique and while there are a couple of smaller shops the quality of products in them tends to be quite low and I've found most of the stuff in them tends to be the same as in other shops. I have to admit that Oxford Street does have on redeeming quality. Many of the big UK chains have their main shop on Oxford Street. This in itself is not a good thing. This means that instead of a medium or small sized nightmare I am stuck in a maze of fashion. It can take hours to find your way out of topshop (okay, that is an exageration). I'm sure for people who love shopping this would be great, for me it's hell. I hate shopping. It's something I do because I have to not for pleasure. However, there have been several times when I've seen a dress from a certain shop (usually debenhams, once topshop) and each time I have been able to go into that shop on Oxford Street and find it. I don't think you can say this about many other shopping areas where the shops only carry a fraction of that seasons products. For those of you with children I really wouldn't recommend taking them to Oxford Street. If you do they may become traumatised and in twenty years time they will be writing a review a little bit like this one. Unless it's Christmas. Then there's usually entertainment in the streets for children (or at least there has been every year that I've been dragged to Oxford Street which thankfully is not this year). Just don't take them into the shops. If you are still determined to go to Oxford Street please remember that Oxford Circus is not the only tube station on Oxford Street. Marble Arch and Tottenham Court Road are on Oxford Street too and often slightly less crowded. Don't say I didn't warn you. **All money from this review is going to www.marysmeals.org**
Oxford Street in London is a shopper's paradise, running for 1 and a half miles from Marble Arch all the way down to connect to Tottenham Court Road. It is supposed to be Europe's busiest shopping street, take a trip down there on a Saturday afternoon & you'll see exactly why. If you get bored of Oxford Street, you can always head down interconnecting Regents Street for loads more shops including Hamley's, one of the world's most famous toy shops. Personally I love going there, it's a great day out allowing you to shop till you drop. Although I only visit a couple of times a year, anymore than this & I think I wouldn't speak about it so favourable. Also I avoid going at the really busy periods as it can take an age to cover a very small distance making the whole experience extremely frustating. I find the best time to go is early evenings with the majority of shops staying open till quite late. The best way to travel here has got to be by the underground with a choice of 3 stations you can get off at, Oxford Circus, Bond Street or Tottenham Court Road. Obviously these can get extremely clogged up during busy periods. A large number of department stores have their big flagship stores on Oxford Street including John Lewis, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer & the newly opened Primark store. So whatever you're after, there will definetly be somewhere that sells it, just watch out for the crowds.
Oxford Street in London is one of the busiest shopping streets boasting around 300 shops and running over 1.5 miles in length. As you might expect with that number of shops you will find most of the high street stores here. There are also several large department stores. Getting to Oxford Street is fairly easy as there are lots of buses running along it and also several tube stations nearby including Marble Arch, Bond Steet and Oxford Circus. If you are after department store shopping then Oxford Street is the place to go as most of the major names are here (unless of course you are looking for your higher end stores such as Harvey Nichols and Harrods in which case Oxford Street is not for you!). John Lewis have their flagshop store which opened back in 1864, it is huge and offers a wide range of products over many floors. Marks and Spencer also have their largest store on Oxford Street and you will also find Debenhams and House of Fraser here too. Selfridges also have a big department store here and this is one I like to look round as we don't have a Selfridges in Scotland so its something new to see even if a lot of what they sell you can find in other department stores. Everything seems to be well spaced out and not crowded and the first time I visited here I even got my make-up done in the cosmetics section which was a nice bonus. They have a huge ladies clothing selection (although I only looked and didn't buy) and an impressive kitchen department. Their distinctive yellow bags can be easily spotted as you make your way along Oxford Street. Apart from the department stores you can find pretty much everything else you would find in your local high street but just on a much bigger scale. The Topshop here again is massive but not a store where I tend to shop so didn't visit. You will find all your usual clothes shops, bookstores, shoe shops and sport shops. Primark also have a large store here situated towards the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street. It is spread out over 2 floors and has a huge range of cheap and cheerful clothing and accessories for you and your home. You can see lots of people walking along Oxford Street with their big brown paper bags full to the brim with bargains. As you make your way towards the west end of Oxford Street near Marble Arch the shops do become a bit cheaper and you find the shops selling cheap tourist rubbish and cheap clothing and accessories. This gives a less enjoyable feel to the shopping experience. Oxford Street is a busy place, with lots of people on the pavements and buses and cars going up and down and across. You find you have to keep stopping at roads and waiting for the green man to get across which can be a bit annoying at times. Oxford Street is a shopping destination that offers lots of choice of high street stores and department stores. However it does lack the more specialised unique shops or the more upmarket designer stores for these you will have to venture elsewhere. The street is always busy and I can imagine at Christmas time it is just a nightmare. As someone who doesn't live in London but has visited a few times Oxford Street is a place I would go to access a particular shop or store but not somewhere that I would spend lots of time browsing because it is just so busy and noisy and most of the shops are high street stores you can find at home. However if you are looking for lots of shops and don't mind getting wet when it rains then Oxford Street might just be the place for you.
I used to work just off Oxford St for 4 years, it was always very busy, but i loved it. Oxford Street is a big part of London. It is in the City of Westminster and with over 300 shops along the very busy street, it is Europe's busiest shopping street. It runs for approx a mile and a half from Mable Arch (North East coner of Hyde Park) through Oxford Circus to St Gile' Circus. Oxford St also intersects with other London roads, the big one's being Park Lane, New Bond St, Regent Street. ** Why I love Oxford St** Okay, working next to Oxford St was never very good for the bank balance because i'm a shopaholic, but you don't have to love shopping to visit Oxford St. Yes it mainly has shops, and lots of them, but the amazing buildings along Oxford St are well worth a visit. Ok, back to the shops. Oxford St has every shop you could want. A big John Lewis, House of Fraser, Flagship Topshop right near Oxford Circus tube station, Disney Store. Yes it can get very busy, and its sometimes hard to walk along the path because its so busy, but because its a great experience, you never moan. Most people that go to Oxford St to shop know how busy it gets, and i think people are used to it now. I always LOVED Christmas time along Oxford St. The lights are always amazing, and just walking along the street all wrapped up warm with a starbucks hot choccy, and bags in your hand, loooking at all the Christmas decs, its wonderful. ** Best way to get to Oxford St** There are a number of different ways to get to Oxford St, them being tube, bus, walk, cab. I have always enjoyed getting the bus to Oxford St, with many stops, and buses coming from all over London through oxford St, you can always guarentee you will be able to get a bus back to where you started. The tube is also as easy, but it can get very busy, and i hate being underground. ** Overall** I no longer work in London, but every year i make sure i visit Oxford St around Christmas time. I can be sure to find what i'm looking for. If your ever tired, you have a wide range of coffee shops to stop at to recharge your batteries, including starbucks, caffe Neros.
Oford Street is THE shopping hotspot in London. All the top high street stores have a flagship here and you're guaranteed their whole ranges with be in their Oxford Street branch. TopShop is probably the busiest and most popular flagship store, with a huge three floor store. Other big names include New Look, Apple and Nike town. In amoung all these big names are souveneir shops, outlet stores and places to eat. It's good if you want high street as everthing high street is here, but don't come here if you want independant stores or something a bit different, here it's all about the big names. It gets busy too, personally I wouldn't go near it on a Saturday, especially this close to Christmas. If you have christmas shopping to do, go now and go mid week, it's only going to get worse!! As for getting to Oxford Street couldn't be more central. Jump onto the central line and get off at Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court road, or jump on a bus, which go through all the time, from most parts of the city.
Oxford Street is possibly one of Englands busiest shopping districts, and understandibly considering the wide variety of retailers and restaurants and cafes and offices as well as appartments. the street also gives access to the world famous Bond Street and also Regent street. the area is home to hundreds of shops from a large Selfridges and John Lewis to the flagship store for Topshop and H&M and River island. the cafes and restaurants range from several starbucks to pizza expresses. the street itself is really easily accesible via public transport-buses or the tube, and also by taxi or by bike or by foot. however there are no cars allowed up the street but there are many carparks surrounding the area for example at the back of john lewis that offer very good service. a slight disadvantage would be the amount of traffic about despite these restrictions and crossing the road can often be quite dangerous. the street is particuarly delightful at christmas time when decorated head to toe in christmas lights and trees. it is well worth a visit and will certainly provide a successful as well as enjoyable shopping experiance
Oxford Street is simply one of the best places to go shopping in London. It is the main thoroughfare located in the City of Westminster. The people you meet on Oxford Street come from all walks of life. You are likely to walk past businessmen in bowler hats, angry faced farmers with pigs under their arms, bare footed Egyptians, distraught mothers with babes in arms, Chinamen wearing slippers, German jugglers, Scottish immigrants, skipping ladyboys, Frenchmen in wigs and obese punk rockers strutting their stuff. You might even bump into the odd famous person such as Boy George, Noel Edmonds or a Spice Girl. The one problem I find though are the countless beggars pestering you for scraps of food and those dirty faced street urchins trying to pick your pockets. Some claim it to be the largest shopping street in the world. It is about a mile and a half in length from Marble Arch at the north east corner of Hyde Park, through Oxford Circus to St Giles' Circus, located at the intersection with Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road. To the east is New Oxford Street running into High Holborn. To the west is Bayswater Road at Marble Arch. Oxford Street intersects with other famous London roads such as Park Lane, New Bond Street and Regent Street. It's easy to get there by any means of transport and from anywhere across London, but probably the best way is by tube. There are a number of lines and stations that will get you there. Bond Street via the Central Line / Jubilee Line and Marble Arch via the Central Line are possible options but Oxford Circus via the Bakerloo Line / Central Line / Victoria Line is probably the best option as it leads out into the middle of the street. There is every type of shop and store along this street including sports shops, jewellers, hairdressers, electrical goods, travel shops, speciality stores and a multitude of fashion shops. There is the grandiose Selfridges, John Lewis, HMV and Marks & Spencer's at 458 Oxford Street is an excellent if expensive place to fetch your groceries. If you want to take refuge from a busy shopping routine, you are spoilt for choice regarding the number of eating places available. My favourite place to go for a cup of coffee is Café Nero at 48 Oxford Street. It was here that I once had the privilege of witnessing Pat from East Enders eating a hot cross bun.
Cutting a broad line across central London, Oxford Street must be the first and last word in retail therapy. First of all, a few facts. It is one and a half miles end to end, running east to west past Oxford Circus to Marble Arch. (If you include New Oxford Street, which extends eastwards, the eastwards part ends at Tottenham Court Road). It has over 300 shops and 3 miles of shop-front, 200 million people and 9 million overseas visitors come here each year, its 300 litter bins are emptied 6 times a day, it is served by 39 bus routes, the underground Central line runs along its entire length, and Oxford Circus is reckoned to be the busiest station in London, with over 53 million passengers a year. Not surprisingly, Oxford Street is the busiest street in Europe. There is quite a history attached to it as well. Once it was a Roman highway linking Hampshire with Colchester. For several centuries it was known as Tyburn Road, when it was the last route for criminals being taken to meet their maker as they were transported from Newgate Prison to Tyburn Gallows, sited near where Marble Arch is now. It is named after the Earl of Oxford, who some three centuries ago purchased much of what were then surrounding fields either side. The development of the street as we know it today began in the late 18th century when shops started to appear. DH Evans and John Lewis opened flagship stores in 1870s, and Selfridges in 1909. But never mind the history, John, what about the shops? OK, shopaholics, most of your favourite establishments are open from 10 am until 6 or 7 pm. Plenty of them open on Sundays from midday to 6 pm, with late nights on Thursday. The best-known, in addition to those already mentioned, include Debenhams, British Home Stores, Marks & Spencer, British Home Stores, Virgin, Top Shop, Clinton Cards, Vodafone, Dixons, and Borders Books. In addition to those, there are plenty of smaller, funkier clothes shops, whi ch will advertise their presence by belting out selections from the current Now That's What I Call Music or similar at more than ample volume. I am not a clothes shopping person myself, but I will take the word of those who know about these things that such goods are generally priced quite reasonably. At No. 363 on the north side you will find one of my favourites, the HMV Megastore. It has seen many changes over the years, and is in fact the oldest record shop in the world. A fascinating in-store permanent display celebrates the history of parent company EMI Records, formerly the Gramophone Company. Cue visions of great heavy 12-inch black shellac discs playing at 78 rpm with the famous dog and horn label. Er, what was a CD again, please? Oxford Street is extremely crowded. If you suffer from claustrophobia, the mere thought of it might put you off, in which case why not indulge your acquisitive cravings from the comfort of your screen and mouse, and shop online? Go to www.oxfordstreet.co.uk/home.html Still with me? Pleased to hear it. I have loved the place ever since I first visited London as a teenager and then spent the best part of two years while I was at college. Having returned at least once almost every year since, I am still enraptured by the sheer bustling atmosphere of the place, whether on a baking August afternoon in the height of the tourist season, or on a chilly windswept February morning. Be prepared for all weathers. It can be stiflingly hot in midsummer, though I will never forget the morning when I went into one shop in brilliant sunshine, only to emerge a few minutes later and find myself in the middleof a flash flood. Be prepared to walk, perhaps even fight your way (gently, mind) through the crowds, unless you?re lucky enough to get there really early - in which case, chances are your shops won?t yet be open. Use public transport to get there first. I do not intend to start a pro/anti-ca r argument here, but no matter how much you love your own four wheels, leave them at home. Whether you come by bus or train, it is as well to have some kind of street map with you, even if it only shows the main bus routes. Either equip yourself with a handy paperback A-Z first, or pick up a handful of freebies from any of the tube stations. (I never go anywhere in London without a small map of the underground system). By the way, my last visit was the first I?d made to the city since the congestion charge was introduced in early 2003, and I noticed significantly less traffic on the road, which probably means quicker bus journeys. On the downside, do not forget there are pickpockets around. Be careful about where and how you keep your money, credits cards, bag, or whatever. And if you can draw out any cash you need before you get there, I would recommend you do so. There are banks and cashpoints in the Street, but if you use the latter, it is best not to do so if you are on your own. Even as a man I have felt threatened by having to do so, and for a woman on her own, I am sure it would be far worse. As for food and drink, there are plenty of Macdonalds (depending on your ethics), Steak House, Burger King outlets, and stalls selling overpriced soft drinks, eager to exploit your thirst and your willingness to assuage it at any price. The choice is yours. When Other Half and I were there, we went to Marks & Spencer Food Hall, got ourselves some nosh and a fizzy bottle, looked in vain for somewhere to sit on the pavement, and ended up having our lunch at about 3.30 in the afternoon in the relative comfort of Soho Square, about five minutes walk off the south-east corner. While on a similar subject, if you can?t find exactly what you want in Oxford Street itself, just venture northwards or southwards. Once you get to the Tottenham Court Road end, turn right (or south) down Charing Cross Road, especially if you like bookshops. I f you do not, you should. New and secondhand book outlets, including Waterstones, Blackwells, Zwemmer and the massive Foyles, can all be found here. Keep walking and you will come to theatreland, Shaftesbury Avenue, the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square; where do I stop? Oxford Street is an experience. There is something indefinable, difficult to describe about being there. Last time I went back, after a couple of hours it made me feel like I had reconnected with the real world. It is not to the taste of everyone taste, but I for one love it. Judging by the numbers of people who go there regularly, I cannot be the only one!
Have you ever found yourself hypnotically drawn to the bright lights of the West End? A shoppers paradise - endless streams of clothes shops, music shops, book shops, more clothes shops...and...well, the odd sex shop scattered here and there. What more could you want? I will always be envious of those people who head to the West End with a purpose, who march into the right shops at the right times and return home late in the evening laden with bag upon bag of goodies. I normally return frustrated and depressed, either empty handed or, like the last time I went, clutching a minging green beaded necklace that I knew perfectly well would be tossed under the bed as soon as I got home. Of course, there have been the occasional times when I've had a successful shop. A few months ago, I miraculously managed to find 2 pairs of trousers, a skirt, AND a top, and all in one outing. I was quite proud of myself. Although it took me a few days to fully recover from my ordeal. OK, so how do you get to the West End? Obviously this depends on where you live and what mode of transport you use. I'm sure most sensible people would NEVER be so stupid as to drive to the West End, unless they take a perverse pleasure in being stuck in their car all day long, honking their horns in frustration and swearing at other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, random pigeons... And be warned, if you absolutely HAVE to bring your car along, endless queues of traffic and random pigeons won?t be all you have to worry about. Don't be surprised if you have to fork out a fortune on parking fees, and find you have a strict time limit to adhere to. Parking inspectors aren't particularly lenient in the West End. So if you're stuck in Anne Summers, trying on a fiddly pair of suspenders, and cars and parking fines slip right out of your mind, you may well return to find a nice big clamp on your wheels and a friendly little note on your windsc reen demanding payment for your sins. The bus is a fairly good choice to opt for. It's a lot cheaper than the tube for a start. The most you'll ever have to pay is £1.00, whereas on the tube, even if you're only travelling from one stop to the next, you'll have to fork out a ridiculous £1.60. However, the bus is obviously going to face the same traffic congestion as the car and it can take literally HOURS to crawl a very short distance. For information on bus and tube services, visit the London Transport website (www.londontransport.co.uk), or give them a call on 020 7222 1234. I hope you like Vivaldi's Four Seasons, because that's what you?ll be listening to while you're on hold. And let me know if you manage to get through to someone in less than 20 minutes. I've yet to manage it. The tube is without a doubt the fastest and simplest mode of transport into the West End. If you're only visiting and don't know the area very well, I would advise you to pick up a tube map from any underground station. It saves you desperately searching for wall maps, only to find a huge crowd of tourists with the same idea, already huddled round the one and only map and totally blocking your view. Can you tell I find this annoying? If you're heading to Oxford Street, you have a choice of four stops to get out at, Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus, Bond Street or Marble Arch. The Tottenham Court Road stop is best if you're intending to explore the whole of Oxford Street from one end to the other, as it is situated at what I like to call 'the starting point'. The Oxford Circus stop on the other hand, is right bang in the middle of Oxford Street and the stop I personally prefer, as I know the shops I like are nearby, i.e. Top Shop, Miss Selfridges, H&Ms etc. Bond Street is the posh stop. If you're hoping to bump into a top celeb, you're most likely to if you get off here and take a slow meander down Bond Street, home to some of the world's top fashion designers. You?ve probably seen the pictures of Posh 'n' Becks doing their weekly Gucci shop down Bond Street. I've personally yet to bump into them, but if you camp outside one of the shops for long enough, you might well be lucky. Marble Arch is the last stop on Oxford Street, where the shops are slightly more spread out and the crowds seem to be less overbearing. Just over the road from Marble Arch, you will find Hyde Park, so a great place to get out at if you're stopping for a picnic break. All the stations on Oxford Street are always incredibly busy, especially Oxford Circus You will find when you finally reach daylight, that the tube station is positioned on a junction between Oxford Street and Regents Street, hence the endless streams of cars bumper to bumper and swarms of noisy smelly smoky people trying to cross roads and turn corners. It can be quite scary if you're small like me and all you can see are feet and legs. You tend to get trodden on quite a lot too, and pushed and shoved and poked. Be prepared. OK, so you've successfully arrived at your destination, a little battered and bruised but that's what you learn to expect from a visit to Oxford Street. Now, you're probably carrying a small bag where you keep your money, mobile, and if you're a girl - hairbrush, compact, lip balm, mirror etc etc. A few words of advice. Firstly, choose your bag carefully. Regrettably, Oxford Street is a thieves' paradise. Crowds make it very easy for a thief to delve into the pocket of a rucksack and remove a purse or wallet with no one batting an eyelid. So don't use a bag that you can't see, like a rucksack, unless you want to buy locks for all your zips (which is going a bit far, I think). I normally take a small shoulder bag, which I wear over my head, i.e. not just over one shoulder, and I hold on to it for dear life. I'm naturally a very suspicious and cautious person and I don't trust anyone. Sometimes, especially in environments such as this, I don't think it's such a bad thing. When packing your bag, remember to squeeze a bottle of water in. All that walking and shopping makes you very thirsty, and you will be SO grateful when you look at both the price of drinks in the West End and the endless queues to actually get to one. With regards to money, I should point out that there aren't that many banks on Oxford Street. Remember that Oxford Street is a VERY long road, and when the crowds are swarming and you're moving slower than snail pace, it literally seems to stretch into eternity. I bank with the Abbey National, and before I got my credit card, back in the dark ages, I used to trek for what seemed like miles to get my money. Quite often by the time I'd finally reached the bank, I'd had enough and couldn?t be bothered to trek all the way back to where I'd come from. I suppose that might explain why I came home empty handed so often... If you don't have a credit card, or don't trust yourself using one, I would definitely advise you to sort your money out before you get to Oxford Street. Even if you do find a bank nearby, there's usually a huddle of homeless people gathered round the cash points, making you feel a) very guilty and b) quite scared. I personally find it incredibly difficult standing right next to a homeless person when I'm taking my notes from the dispenser and they're begging me to give them something. You should also bear in mind however, that there are a lot of professional beggars in the West End, who make an absolute fortune sitting in shop doorways all day long, assuming the identity of a homeless person. In fact, a couple of years ago, the police launched an investigation into this and it was discovered that the average professional beggar can easily m ake a £100 a day, more than most hard working people make a day doing a proper job. My next piece of advice may seem obvious, but please, for your own sake, (and for the people whose feet you may be breaking actually), do NOT go shopping in Oxford Street wearing stilettos. The number of girls/women who dress up to the nines for a day of shopping in the West End, in the hope they'll bump into a fit young man...well, bump you may well do, in the midst of a crowd, but it's fairly unlikely that anyone will be able to see or appreciate what you're wearing. Oxford Street is like a battlefield and the people are complete vultures. They push and shove, they want to shop, and they want to shop now. Believe me when I tell you that nobody is going to notice your stilettos, and your tight little mini skirt? - well, that's just going to be totally lost in the crowd. A day of strenuous shopping on the battlefields of Oxford Street requires nothing more than pure comfort clothing. If you decide on a mini skirt and stilettos, after an hour, you'll be screaming in agony and ready to go home. So wear your trainers, wear your jeans. No one cares. Honestly. I'd also advise you to wear layered clothing. The shops in Oxford Street are VERY hot, and even in the middle of winter you'll feel like stripping off, believe me. Ok, so before we hit the shops, we ARE getting there, be patient, I have one last piece of essential advice. Purchase a large automatic umbrella, you know, the kind where you press a button and the umbrella suddenly shoots out, becoming longer. (ok...that sounds a bit rude. Unintentional, honest!). Always always always take this umbrella to the West End with you. I don't know what I'd do without mine. It has so many uses; pushing crowds apart, attacking potential muggers or thieves, and when you're weary at the end of the long long day, it even has its use as a walking stick. The umbrella: a truly wonde rful invention. All set to face those shops? Good good. Firstly, what kind of shops should you expect to find on Oxford Street. Well, if you love clothes, then Oxford Street will be your ultimate clothing heaven. Almost every clothes shop I've ever heard of can be found on Oxford Street: Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Kaooki, Morgan, Jeffrey Rodgers...I could go on, but you'll probably get bored reading such a long list. You can also find very cheap clothes shops that look extremely tacky from the outside, pretty dodgy from the inside, and normally have S Club 7 booming from their stereos. But if you're a sucker for a bargain, I'd advise you to take a look - if you can face the smell that is. I've picked up some very nice clothes from these so called tacky shops, for example a fitted zip up fleece top for a fiver - now I'd call that a bargain - and I'm still wearing it 2 years down the line as well. I have to recommend Top Shop to everyone, not for the clothes because to be honest it's a long time since I managed to find anything I actually like in there, but it's great just for the experience. Oxford Streets Top Shop is HUGE. It has 4 floors; Top Man on the top floor, jewellery, bags, sweets and every other nit bit in between on ground level zero (as they call it), general clothing on one below zero, and then finally, in the basement, two below zero, you will find retro clothing, the Top Shop café and a row of professional manicurists and nail painters eager to transform your nails into works of art. Towards the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street, you have your department stores, Selfridges, Debenhams and House of Fraiser. And then there's good old BHS and M&S, dull and ordinary, but stocker of comfy bras and sensible pants - so not all bad, and of course there's the M&S food - pricey but classy and a step up from your local Tescos. If it's books you're looking for, your bes t bet is to head towards Charring Cross Road, where you'll find a plethora of wonderful second hand bookshops. Borders and Waterstones can be found on Oxford Street and are a great escape for a few minutes of quiet away from the crowds. No one shouts at you if you feel like sitting on the floor and reading an entire novel. It's not like being in a newsagents and feeling the shopkeeper's evil eye on you as you quickly skim through the pages of Heat. HMV and Virgin Megastore are huge buildings, impossible to miss, that stock thousands upon thousands of CDs, DVDs, videos, and computer games. You virtually bump into Virgin Megastore as you come out of the Tottenham Court Road tube station, and if you're ever passing, wave hello to my boyfriend - he works there! He'll be the scruffy one, sprawled over one of the counters doing very little work. But Virgin Megastore?s great, honest. Don't be a traitor and shop at HMV. You may well be feeling a tad peckish after a few solid hours of shopping, so where should you go for some decent nosh?...Well, this is one of Oxford Streets greatest failings, in my opinion, because the only food you're going to find are fast food outlets - Macdonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and the odd Steak House. Nothing much to get excited about, I know. But then Oxford Street isn't about eating, it's about shopping. If you want to eat something decent, I would suggest trying Soho or Covent Garden. I know there are a lot of people who hate Oxford Street. There's no denying that it's very noisy, very dirty and incredibly claustrophobic. However, once you've been there a few times and learnt from your mistakes, shopping there does get easier and more enjoyable. For example, if you love shopping but hate crowds, there is a way round it. Get to Oxford Street before the crowds. Generally, I find a good time to go is a Saturday or a Sunday morning around 10.30am, when the shops ha ve just opened and most people are still snoring in their beds. I've done this a few times, and it's great. It makes you realise that Oxford Street really isn't that long at all and that it's quite possible to walk from one end to the other in under 20 minutes. You also realise that certain shops seem to continually reappear as you walk further down the road. There's about 4 MacDonalds on Oxford Street, and at least 2 of every other shop. Great if you're lazy, like me. The Oxford Street experience is something I think everyone should try just once. Either the manic Saturday afternoon vulture shop, or the eerie stroll down the middle of the empty road at 3 in the morning, whatever suits you best.
Inset days...love 'em! I had one on Friday and so me and three of my girly mates decided to go for a major shopping spree in London. One of the many, many, many shops we went into was Selfridges. Ahhhhh I LOVE it! The thing about shops like Topshop, Morgan, H&M etc etc, is that the only do their only clothes. This is the JOY of department stores...ALL THE GORGEOUS CLOTHES UNDER ONE ROOF! Ooooooooh... I realise there is much more to a department store than clothes but right now I'm going to take you on an imaginary tour around one of my favourite department stores departments. In Selfridges it's called Spirit which is basically young fashion for teens upwards. There are no less than 36 different designers in the Spirit section. This includes the accessory brands like Mikey (jewellery and hair accessories) Hairware (hair stuff obviously!) Nail Heaven (have your nails done!) G-Shock (Baby-G watches!) and Swatch (more watches). All the stuff in the section is purely for girls...heaven! OK, here's a few of my favourite sections: ~Miss Sixty~ Miss Sixty do some really great clothes. Especially their jeans which are (usually) lush. They do stuff like little t-shirts, alot of denim stuff and casualwear but also bags. A girl can NEVER have too many bags or shoes! The great thing about Miss Sixty is their designs are quite unique compared to designers like French Connection and Ralph Lauren. As for prices, Miss Sixty is fairly expensive compared to normal highstreet brands. For example, jeans start from about £65. ~Pineapple~ Although Pineapple do do some party type clothes...I don't really like them. What I LOVE is their dancewear. By dancewear I mean they do joggers, jumpers and hoody's all in white, baby pink, grey and black. They're perfect for slobbing around the house in if you're not the exercise kinda person! Compared to sportwear like Nike and Reebok, Pinea pple's clothes are quite reasonable. You can get a sweatshirt for about £25. Don't forget to buy it in pink! Oh and pick up one of their cute pink baseball caps (bargain at a tenner!) for your bad hair days! ~Mikey~ This is an accessories brand and I totally adore their stuff! They sell belts, hairclips, loadsa necklaces, bracelets and tiaras too! Their prices range from really affordable to high (if you want a jewel encrusted belt, for example!) There's loads more, including Kookai, French Connection, Ted Baker, Pepe Jeans, Karen Millen, Kurt Geiger...the list goes on! Ooops... and don't forget your shoes! Check out Nine West and Bertie! The best thing about the Spirit section is the whole atmosphee in the place. It's all kind of silver and metallic and reminds me of a big warehouse. There's always lots of music playing too which makes it even more of a pleasure to shop in! (Can you tell I love this shop?!) There's quite a few changing rooms and you don't often have to queue whihc is nice. The staff are pleasant and happy to help if you can't find something in your size or need help with the sizing. Over in accessories, they always wrap your bits and pieces nicely in tissue paper! The only downside of this girls section is that they don't have brands like Polo Ralph Lauren and DKNY. For these, you're gonna have to pop along Oxford Street a little further and have a look in House of Fraser! Right - I think I've said enough about the clothes. What else does Selfridges have to offer? The other departments include: At Home: ~Bathing and Grooming ~Cooking and Dining ~Sleeping ~Styling Fashion: ~Mens ~Accessories *belts, wallets ~Casual ~Contemporary ~Formal *suits and stuff ~Spirit *blokes version! ~Womens ~Accessories *ooooh Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags! ~Casual *This is the place to pick up some Polo, Guess, CK or Armani jeans...go on splash out! ~Classic Casual ~Contemporary ~Designer *D&G, Hugo Boss, Moschino - where I'm gonna go when I'm RICH! ~Formal ~Hoisery ~Intimate Apparel and Swimwear ~Ladies shoes *Designer shoes Jimmy Choo, Prade, Dolce and Gabbana..ah! ~Spirit ~Childrenswear Want a designer child? Then pop along to Selfridges and kit it out in Moschino, Armarni, Tommy Hilfiger, Elle, D&G...lucky kid! Food: ~Restaurants *After all that shopping, you'll need a coffee break ~Bakery ~Dairy ~Fish ~Flowers ~Fruit and veg ~Meat and Poultry ~Wines, Spirits and Cigars Health and Beauty: ~Toiletries ~Wellbeing ~Beauty Lab ~Cosmetics *YSL, Clinique, Chanel, Christian Dior...you know them all! ~Fragrance *Cerruti, Valentino, Moschino, Aramis... ~Hair and Beauty *The salon...have a make-over! ~Hair care ~Health spa ~Skin care ~Spirit Cosmetics *Hard Candy, Urban Decay, Toni and Tina, Eyebeauty, Anna Sui... Leisure: ~Communications *Stationery...all designer! You have to check out this dept! ~Music *CDs and Instruments! ~Travelling *Luggage...designer, naturally! ~Working and Playing ~Books ~Newspapers and Magazines ~Technology Well, that pretty well sums up the departments! As you can tell, it's pretty massive. You can literally spend all day in there! Bliss...! It's not the cheapest place in the world but it's a nice place to shop in. It's best to go in the week to avoid the mad rushes. It's an old building but the whole place is really modern inside. The only Selfridge's I've been to is the London store but there is also a shop in Manchester. In Autumn there's a ne w store opening in Central Manchester. In 2003 there's one opening in Birmingham too! If you want to go to the London store, the nearest tube station is Bond Street. You can't miss Selfridges...it's huge! For more information on opening times and how to get to the Manchester store, go to www.selfridges.co.uk. If you haven't been to Selfridges and you love shopping...you have to go! And make sure you don't leave unless you have 10 bright yellow bags filled with goodies! Maria xx
My gosh just where do I begin with the highs and lows of this street?! Firstly the street is a long 'un stretching from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch. Reliable sources inform me it takes twenty five minutes to walk from one end to the other. This is minus the shopping you understand. This Street is permanantly busy. All types of people dominate this vicinity. Students, tourists, workers, locals(just who are they?), passerbys(thrown in for good measure) and celebs (hard to spot). They come here to shop 'til they drop. I have yet to come across the person who simply window shops in this street even the average University student. In terms of shopping, Oxford St is a fab mix of High Street shops IE H&M, TopShop, New Look and Miss Selfridge and designer labels such as Gap. The coolest in shops are within seconds of each other, quick and easy. However this also spells crowds of people in the same area intent on getting to the same shops as you!! Be warned! Pavement rage is all the rage in this Street... A couple of HMV music stores are evenly located throughout the street. These are ones that stock every album, single, vinyl/tape/CD, music book, you have ever dreamed of. Yes even that obscure Swedish compilation and the complete recordings of Cliff Richard. Remember HMV offers 10% student discount on production of NUS card! The savingS do add up, especially at HMV (!) Alternative type shops selling naval studs, badges, doggy collars and such are dotted across the street, particularly at each end. These are the type of shops one would most expect to find in Camden or Carnaby Street. Explore them anyhow. Bear in Oxford Street is not reknowned for eating out, try Soho, Convent Garden and Piccadily when you're stomach begins to rumble. Thus food wise I am a little disappointed with the Street. Practically every shop is a clothing shop. I can barely name any public houses or coffee houses. The back s treets of Oxford Street are primarily home to eating out. I can however name a cute chicken and chips outlet near Tescos. The food is tasty, quick and cheap £2-3, takeways only, sorry. Tescos is handy if you want the odd sandwich or can of coke, at affordable rather than 'touristy' prices. Oxford Street is a fast, furious and exciting place. After 5pm the atmosphere heightens. What with workers catching the tube or stopping by to chill. Many use Oxford street as the perfect entry to Soho - where many pubs and coffee houses lie. London fashion comes to a climax here, oh yes. This is evident in the mulitude of characters about. Tatoos, piercings, pink hair, spiky hair, Lonsdale bags, bowling bags, chains, denim flares, skirt/trouser combos, everything and anything fashionable or otherwise goes. Young people who know how to express themselves via their dress sense are never afar. They love the atmosphere and indeed checking out their peers' attire, all harmless, relaxed fun. Thursday has become the new Friday for many people in the city. After work, almost everyone will hit the town; bars then onto restaurants and perhaps clubs. The air is electrifying; a seat will be hard to find, even one in a park. Oxford Street is hard to move about in consequently. You will be lucky to get to your destination in time. I am going to be the envy of you all now. I have experienced a completely quiet and serene Oxford Street on TWO occasions. Firstly after a night's clubbing, there was not a soul in sight. For a joke we kept running across the Road and back, This gave us a King of the Road feeling, that we were the only ones about. Great feeling. Another occasion was 8am on a Sunday morning. The place was heaven. There was not a soul in sight, the odd car maybe. I could breathe easily and actually breathe for that matter. I found the air refreshing which is something for the confounds of central London. I could walk as fast or as slow as I wanted, cross the street a thousands time and back, even walk on the road, all things one can never dream of normally doing on such a street. I entreat the Oxford Street virgins amongst you to give it a go. Wear want you want, look your best, armed with your credit card and comfy yet sexy shoes ready to explore this amazing Street.
Why on earth would anyone shop in Oxford Street? I can see that there may have once been a good reason to visit the lovely shops along Oxford Street, but not anymore. The one time splendour of the street is epitomised by the fine architecture of Selfridges, the one store which is still worth making the journey to Oxford Street to visit. As for the rest of the shops – the street is divided into two fairly distinct sections. The posh end, between Marble Arch and Oxford Circus, home to Selfridges, Debenhans, John Lewis and House of Fraser. The tacky end is from Oxford Circus to Tottenham Court Road, and boy is it tacky. Overpriced junk shops peddling rubbish to gullible tourists. Down the middle of the street is a constant flow (or usually, standstill) of pollution churning buses and taxis. In recent years Oxford Street has been struggling with a rapidly falling reputation caused by - pick pockets ready to relieve you of your money, likewise beggars; gangs of youngsters roaming from one store to another intimidating shoppers and store assistants; shady gangs flogging off their fake gold and perfume. In fact the low life of London's criminal underworld seems to meet on Oxford Street. Compare this with the safety, warmth, comfort and range of stores in any of the out of town centres – Lakeside, Brent Cross and the fantastic Bluewater and yes, WHY bother with Oxford Street??
Oxford Street is probably under-rated by a lot of Londoners, who are understandably put off by the need to push through the crowds. However, it can be a great place to shop - especially if you avoid the worst crowds! Sunday afternoons are usually bearable, with most shops open between noon and 6pm. Even at busy times, department stores are less crowded above the ground floor. I mostly visit the department stores between Marble Arch and Oxford Circus. Of these, Selfridges is the most glamorous. More affordable and friendlier than Harrods (though by no means cheap!), Selfridges has a huge range of products, some of which are really unusual. It also has a lot of cafes and restaurants; my personal favourite is the pizza and pasta restaurant in the basement. On the third floor, Premier Restaurant has a fabulous Sunday brunch (three course meal including gorgeous buffet starters and desserts, for about £25) if you're feeling extravagant. The Marble Arch branch of Marks & Spencer is their main branch, and has a comprehensive range of stock. Check out the coffee shops on the top floor and basement: they do delicious tea and coffee, reasonably priced and all coming with a biscuit, as well as sandwiches and cakes. The food hall is also fabulous, with an in-store bakery. They have just introduced a large sizes range in women's clothing, although I can't say the styles on offer really appealed to me. However, Evans also have their main branch a few doors down. Debenhams has improved drastically from when I'd visit a few years ago and find it really old-fashioned. The household range is more modern and inspiring, and the gifts have also improved - although there are still some fairly hideous items. Check out the internet cafe. It's not huge, but has good quality equipment, the coffee is delicious and they usually seem to offer half an hour's free internet access with any purchase from the store. Final ly, if the shops and the crowds get too much, there are some places worth escaping to. A little way west of Bond Street tube is an alleyway leading to St Christopher's Place, which has small shops and a great selection of restaurants. Behind Selfridge's is the Wallace Collection, a real haven: browse quietly through the displays of art, armour, etc or relax in the courtyard cafe.