Oxford Street is an important thoroughfare as well as one of the most characteristic sites in London. With as many as 300 shops concentrated there, the street ranks among the largest shopping areas in Europe. Situated in the City of Westminster, Oxford Street runs from the Marble Arch through Oxford Circus and goes to St Giles’ Circus. The east side of the street goes into High Holborn and its west side runs towards Oxford. Oxford Street was one of the major trails leading to and out of London, following the route of a Roman road as a connection between Hampshire and Colchester.
From the 12th Century to the 18th Century it was known by different names, such as Tyburn Road, Uxbridge Road as well as Worcester Road and eventually Oxford Road. It got a notorious fame as the last route that the prisoners took from Newgate Prison to the execution site at Tyburn, near the site of the Marble Arch. Later, the major part of the nearby territory was bought by the Earl of Oxford who contributed to the development of the area. At that time it was an entertaiПing area where tiger-baiters or carnivals took place, soon to become famous for its shops.
Nowadays some of the large department stores and a great number of smaller shops are situated there, making it the main shopping street in central London and part of the larger shopping district with the adjacent Regent Street and Bond Street. Many British chain shops have placed their branches at the Oxford Street and regard them as “flagship” shops, used for promotions and celebrity parties. Some of the major shops include Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, HMV (having three shops on the street and the largest music shop of 5,000 square metre area). Other places that deserve your attention are Schuh, the largest shoe shop on Oxford Street, the flagship Disney Store, Primark (the largest shops in the UK), the known globally shops of H&M, United Colors of Benetton, Zara, and Bershka, as well as the flagship Gap shops and Adidas.
Oxford Street has lots of traffic both on the footpath and on the road, due to the number of buses and many shoppers and tourists on the street. Visitors that come to the area will also see preachers, political demonstrations (such as the May Day protests in the year of 2001 and small scale protests), as well as Hare Krishnas processions.
Oxford Street is the perfect place to enjoy Christmas decorations and the street glows with festive lights which captivate visitors from the end of November and remain on until the beginПing of January. This tradition of hanging Christmas lights dates back to the 1959, following the example of the neighbouring Regent Street. The Christmas decorations have already turned into a symbol of the street in the Christmas time.