Here is the fourth – final instalment of my itinerary for tourists visiting London.
If you have not yet read my previous article, please check it out!
Oxford Circus is where Regent Street and Oxford Street, two of London’s biggest streets, meet. Although smaller than Shibuya Scramble Crossing in Tokyo, it is also a very busy intersection, in the heart of London’s largest commercial district, where shoppers and tourists come and go all day long.
Along Oxford Street, a huge shopping street, you’ll find some of Britain’s leading department stores such as John Lewis and Selfridges. The area is busiest during the Christmas season when the entire street is lit up to entertain the people passing by.
|Location (Google Maps)||Oxford St, Soho, London W1B 3AG|
Regent Street runs through the centre of London from north to south.
It forms the boundary of the area called Soho, long infamous as London’s “red light district”. Nowadays the short side streets of Soho – including the famous Carnaby street! – are lined with small and fashionable boutiques, restaurants and pubs, and crowded with people who enjoy shopping and eating out until late at night.
So if you have anything in particular British Brands that you’re looking for, you might well be able to buy it here – at a cheaper price than in Japan!
It might also be a nice idea to buy some pretty British Christmas decorations at the Christmas goods corner on the top floor of Liberty’s department store, which has a lovely Tudor style facade.
Piccadilly Circus is located at the south end of Regent Street.
The surrounding area is the entertainment centre of London, with many cinemas and theatres.
On the north side of the square, there is a huge screen that is its identifying feature; onto it are projected not only advertisements but also news bulletins and weather forecasts.
The “Eros statue” in the centre of the square is a landmark and a celebrated meeting place; people sitting on the steps around the statue and looking at the screen while waiting for someone are a common sight here.
Piccadilly Circus is as good a place as any to warn you that Londoners often ignore the traffic lights – so be careful not to follow them when they are crossing the road! They do it whenever the road seems to be clear – which may be fine for them, but if an unfamiliar person such as yourself tries to do it, you may well have an accident. So please do not imitate the local Londoners; wait for the green pedestrian light!
|Location (Google Maps)||Piccadilly Circus, Soho, London W1D 7ET|
Piccadilly Circus is about an eleven minute walk from Oxford Circus.
Fortnum & Mason
Tea is a typical souvenir of Britain. If you want to buy first-class brand of tea that everyone knows, Fortnum & Mason is the perfect shop for you. The emerald-coloured package and the emblem of the British Royal Warrant is a luxurious and very eye-catching product.
The first thing that catches your eye when you enter the store is the many beautiful product displays. Especially during seasonal events such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, these elaborate displays fill the store, making it look like a dreamland.
The third floor is a tea room, so if you’re wondering where to have afternoon tea, here might be a very good place to consider.
|Location (Google Maps)||181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1A 1ER|
Fortnum Mason is about a five minute walk from Piccadilly Circus.
Soho / Dinner at Chinatown
In just about eight minutes, you can walk from Fortnum & Mason to Chinatown in Soho.
Pass through the huge red gate that suddenly appears in front of you, and there you are in a Chinese town – lined with Chinese restaurants! The power of Chinese people of London is very evident in their ability to create such a big and vibrant community right slap bang in the middle of town! Even if you don’t want to eat Chinese food, it’s well worthwhile to take a walk and see the sights!
Of course, there are many pubs and restaurants in this area, so you can choose wherever you want and whatever you want to eat. My own recommendation is Joy King Lau, which serves elegantly seasoned Chinese food.
There’s also The Palomar, where you can enjoy the food of modern day Jerusalem, with alcoholic drinks and rare dishes bought over the counter.
|Location (Google Maps)||10 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6BZ|
London can be divided into west and east, with Soho in the middle. We can visit the west side on the first day and the east side on the second day.
However, as I said, The itinerary suggested here is a “lightning visit” tour schedule for those who want to see as many sights as possible within a short length of time; it also requires at least a nodding acquaintance with the London public transport system. Some of you might prefer to spread the sightseeing over a longer period, or be selective about which places to visit….
Personally, I think two to three days is ideal for sightseeing in London. This is ample time to allow you to see all the various famous tourist places and enjoy shopping – and fit in afternoon tea as well!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Please make the most of your stay in London!