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Snow Regent Street, London

Regent Street is one of the most iconic streets in London.  Stretching from Regents Park to Piccadilly Circus, it cuts through some of the most desirable and expensive land in the world.  The history of arguably the most famous street in the capital city is one that is full of controversy and conflict.  Stretching back to the Great Fire of London, when plans were drawn up for large open thoroughfares through the crowded, meandering streets of Medieval London, the street in its current form and location did not come into existence until 1811, when John Nash submitted designs for several public areas within London.  These architecturally designed spaces were meant to give the ever increasing population some space and a sense of grandeur that was befitting the capital of one of the world’s most important industrial and economic countries at that time.

The original buildings have long since been replaced as between 1895 and 1927 the buildings were refurbished and modernised.  The Regent Street that we see today is a result of this modernisation.  There were strict guidelines set down governing the design of the building facades, and as a result, the street benefits from impressive sweeping curves and Portland stone faced buildings that inspire feelings from the golden age of London’s high society.  During the Edwardian era, department stores were the height of fashion for London society, and it was these stores that drove the refurbishment and development of the street.  These days, only 2 department stores survive on the street from that time: Hamleys and Liberty, with many of the others being forced to close down in the harsh economic conditions created by the combination of the rise in online retailing, and the economic downturn and recent recession in Britain.

Visiting Regent Street today is like having a glimpse into London during the prosperous and affluent Victorian and Edwardian ages.  As the snow settles on the iconic buildings, there is a sense of history and beauty in the grade I and grade II listed structures, that transports you to a time of horse drawn cabs and gas lamps.  Visiting this area couldn’t be any easier, staying in a London luxury hotel, you can meander down the picturesque street taking in the atmosphere as you make your way from the world famous Regents Park down to Piccadilly Circus, probably one of the worlds most well known shopping streets.

If the thought of Regent Street in the snow captures your imagination, the traditional Christmas light show is switched on during the first week in November, and the lights stay up all over the Christmas period.  The Christmas lights became a tradition in 1949 after the end of WW2 meant that lights were allowing in the streets again following the blackout rules. In present times, no expense is spared in putting on an impressive display that is different year after year with thousands of people turning up to watch the ‘turning on the lights’ ceremony.  It is certainly one of the most magical ways to enjoy the history and tradition of the place.

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