Tag: places in london

The Oxford Street Experience

The Oxford Street Experience
Oxford Street, located in the City of Westminster, existed from Roman times until the 17th century primarily as a westwards route out of the City of London towards Oxford, hence its name. Today, Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping districts and the world’s largest shopping street, having more than 300 shops that attract annually around 200 million of consumers. The development of Oxford Street as a prime shopping area began at the start of 20th century, when the first furnishing specialists, Waring & Gillow, opened its doors in 1906. In recent years, Oxford Street represents the heart of London’s West End shopping, running for approximately a mile and a half from Marble Arch at the north east corner of Hyde Park, through Oxford Circus to St Giles’ Circus, at the intersection with Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road. Opposite to the Tottenham’s tube station, the recently refurnished, “The Tottenham” pub claims to be the only pub on the whole Oxford Street. But, with numerous clothes shops, record shops, like the famous Virgin Megastore and the HMV unit, which is the largest music store at 50,000 square feet, multiple computer games shops and department stores, including Selfridges, Oxford Street is an ideal location for those on leisure travel and time to browse through its colorful shopping windows. But although the street has multiple stores for one to choose from, these are not the most fashionable or the most expensive in the city of London. For those interested in other principal shopping areas, Knightsbridge is an excellent choice, especially because it is there where the famous Harrods department store is located. Famous for its celebrity launches and promotions, Oxford Street becomes the focal point during the Christmas period because of the wonderful Christmas lighting tradition that began in 1959. Decorated with thousands of festive lights Oxford Street celebrates the Christmas spirit at a heavily publicized “turning-on” ceremony in mid-to-late November, when a chosen celebrity flicks a switch that illuminates the rays of light that go on until January 6. Plans have been announced for what could be an audacious new move to change Oxford Street from its current traffic clogged state into a pedestrian paradise. Proposals to end the gridlock feature closing the street entirely to all traffic, even buses and build a new monorail stretching from one end to the other to transport people along. Critics however have pointed out that a monorail simply caters for shoppers too lazy to walk down the entire length of the street and that this is already well served by tube which would simply require improved accessibility to existing stations and perhaps a new station half way up the street. ....read more

Kensington Palace: A Visitor’s Guide

Kensington Palace: A Visitor
Kensington Palace in London is a working Royal residence. Of great historical importance, Kensington Palace was the favorite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. Today Kensington Palace accommodates the offices and private apartments of a number of members of the Royal Family. Although managed by Historic Royal Palaces, the Palace is furnished with items from the Royal Collection. Today Kensington contains the offices and London residences of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Princess Margaret, Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester used to live in Kensington Palace and have their offices there. Kensington Palace stands at the western end of Kensington Gardens and is perhaps the finest building in the Borough. Originally called Nottingham House, it passed into royal ownership in 1689 when it was acquired by William and Mary. After William III’s death in 1702 the palace became the residence of Queen Anne. Wren designed the Orangery for her and a 30-acre garden was laid out by Henry Wise. Further extensive alterations were carried out for George I and William Kent painted the elaborate trompe l’oeil ceilings and staircases. The last monarch to live at Kensington Palace was George II, whose consort, Caroline of Ansbach, influenced the development of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. For her, Charles Bridgman created the Serpentine, the Basin and Grand Vista and the Broad Walk. Early one morning in June 1837 Princess Victoria, who was occupying apartments in Kensington Palace, awoke to the news that she was Queen of England. She immediately moved to Buckingham Palace. Kensington Palace first opened to the public in 1912 with a display of relics and objects relating to the City of London. It attracted 13,000 visitors in just one day. The museum pieces now form part of the collection at the Museum of London. Visitors today can see the State Apartments, the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection that includes outfits from the 18th century to the present day, the Orangey and sunken gardens. The palace was the London home of Diana, Princess of Wales and is still home to several other members of the Royal Family. The State Apartments and the Court Dress Collection are open to the public and highlights of a visit include the recently restored Kings Apartments and a magnificent collection of paintings. The Court Dress Collection includes a fabulous and very rare court mantua made sometime between 1750-53 and the ‘exploded’ gentleman’s outfit – everything from underclothes to fine lace cuffs and all part of the elaborate costume worn to Court by an 18th century gentleman. The Orangey Cafe adjacent to the Palace serves light lunches and snacks throughout the year. ....read more