The Strand

Street in The West End

Image by Will Jones Lonely Planet

In the late 12th century, nobles built houses of stone with gardens along the 'shore' (ie strand) of the Thames. The Strand linked Westminster, the seat of political power, with the City, London's centre of trade, and became one of the most prestigious places in London in which to live; in the 19th century Disraeli pronounced it the finest street in Europe. Some of these buildings are now fine hotels and restaurants; modern times have added offices and souvenir shops.

Other interesting addresses include Twinings at No 216 – a teashop opened by Thomas Twining in 1706 and thought to be the oldest company in the capital still trading on the same site – and the stamp- and coin-collectors’ titan Stanley Gibbons at No 339.