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Shopping on Carnaby Street, London

Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street occupying three blocks in London’s West End neighbourhood of Soho. This lively and colourful London neighbourhood is a short five-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus. For shoppers, Carnaby Street is home to a large number of independent fashion boutiques and emerging British labels.

Carnaby Street was once synonymous with the younger generation during London’s swinging era of the 1960s. Along with it came the mod and hippy fashion as well as a thriving art and music scene. The swinging era is long gone but still home to mainly independent retailers and fashion boutiques popular with London’s young shoppers. Here you’ll find trendy clothes at more affordable prices. Carnaby Street is more then just shopping but also features over 60 restaurants, cafes and pubs in the area.

Carnaby Street during the 1960s by H. Grobe

About

Carnaby Street gets its name from Karnaby House, a building in the area constructed in the 1683. By 1690, there was already a road and a collection of small houses. The first boutique opened in Carnaby Street in 1957 and others soon followed. By the 1960s, it was home to many independent fashion boutiques and designers catering to the mod and hippy fashion. It is still home to many independent stores and labels but retail chains and international brands have already made an entry.

Carnaby Street by Heikki Immonen

Shopping

During the mod and hippie movement of the 1960s, Carnaby Street was famous for its revolutionary fashion styles produced by independent British designers. Today you’ll find British labels produced by emerging as well as established designers. The fashion styles from the British labels are bold and trendy, on par in quality and often much cheaper than the international brands from the exclusive stores. You will find rich pickings of British labels here including Paul Smith Soho, Baracuta, Barbour Heritage, Sherry’s and Ben Sherman.

Carnaby Street at night by Tabraiz Feham

The streets around Carnaby Street are a continuation of the Carnaby shopping scene. The three-floor Kingly Court is an iconic landmark on Kingly Street with a 1960s theme that offers an assorted mix of independent boutiques. The flurry is in the courtyard, where restaurants and cafes congregate attracting hungry customers. The Newburgh Quarter on Newburgh Street has a unique identity and home to over 30 independent stores as well as restaurants, cafes and pubs. Foubert's Place is another but a mix bag of retail chains and independent stores though the later dominate.

The Christmas season comes early on Carnaby Street when in mid-November Christmas lights in outlandish designs and bold colours decorate the night. The launching of the lights comes with a big Christmas party, transforming the area into a carnival atmosphere featuring live music and street entertainment. Many stores offer big discounts for their merchandises and many restaurants too offer discounts for their menus. There are also loads of giveaways including gifts, complimentary food and drinks to celebrate the launch. Tickets are free but must register in advance at the official Carnaby website to enjoy the discounts and giveaways.

Carnaby Street during the Christmas season by James Trosh

Visiting Carnaby Street

The nearest London Underground stations from Carnaby Street are Oxford Circus (serving the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines) and Piccadilly Circus (serving the Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines) Stations. The two stations are about five minutes walk from Carnaby Street. London’s red buses travelling on different routes stop at Regent Street (routes 3, 6, 12, 13, 15, 23, 88, 94, 139, 159 and 453) and Oxford Street (routes 7, 8, 10, 25, 55, 73, 98, 176 and 390) which are short walks from Carnaby Street.

Carnaby Street on the Map

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