Lonely Planet review for Regent Street
Regent St is the border separating the hoi polloi of Soho and the high-society residents of Mayfair. Designed by John Nash as a ceremonial route, it was meant to link the Prince Regent’s long-demolished city dwelling with the ‘wilds’ of Regent’s Park, and was conceived by the architect as a grand thoroughfare that would be the centrepiece of a new grid for this part of town. Alas, it was never to be – too many toes were being stepped on and Nash had to downscale his plan.
There are some elegant shop fronts that look older than their 1920s origins (when the street was remodelled) but, as in the rest of London, the chain stores have almost completely taken over. The street’s most famous retail outlet is undoubtedly Hamleys, London’s premier toy and game store. Regent Street is also famous for its Christmas lights displays, which are turned on with great pomp in late November every year.