15 de November de 2023 mariana

Oldest Streets in London You Must Visit

London is known for its rich history, showcased in its winding, narrow streets that form a significant part of its landscape. These old streets hold captivating stories within their cobbled paths and ancient buildings, some dating back centuries. The oldest streets reside in the City of London, also called the Square Mile, the city’s oldest section. Among these are the Roman Road, tracing back to the 1st century AD during Britain’s Roman rule, and Aldgate, one of the original gates in the Roman wall encompassing the city. Additionally, streets like Cheapside, once a bustling medieval trade center, and Lombard Street, housing the first London Stock Exchange in the 17th century, add depth to London’s historical tapestry. For those fascinated by London’s history, exploring the City of London is a must. In this blog post, I’m exploring some of the most intriguing and iconic old streets in London.Fleet Street: oldest streets in London
London’s History and the Romans The old streets of London were once bustling hubs, alive with merchants selling their goods and people from all walks of life going about their daily routines. These streets were lined with tall, narrow houses made of brick and stone, many constructed during the Roman occupation of Britain. With their uneven, cobbled paths, these streets were a challenge for horse riders and carriage travelers. Amidst the sounds of conversations and laughter, the aroma of food being cooked filled the air. Despite the hustle and bustle, a sense of community thrived among the residents, a testament to the enduring influence of the Romans who once inhabited these streets. Even today, remnants of Roman times linger in and around London for those interested in discovering them. Here’s a list of some of the oldest streets in London that you should definitely consider visiting.Christmas lights in London: holiday lights in Oxford Street

Oldest Streets in London You Must Visit

Cloth Fair

For eight centuries, Cloth Fair has held a vital role in London’s story. Originally situated near the Thames by the old London Bridge, this fair was a bustling marketplace where merchants bartered an array of textiles—wool, silk, and linen among them. Such was its popularity that in the 13th century, the fair migrated to its current location in the Smithfield area. The precinct surrounding Cloth Fair evolved into Cloth Fair Street, a vibrant center of commerce and gathering. It attracted merchants and traders, offering them a space to exchange goods and became a hotspot for entertainment, boasting renowned theaters like the celebrated Globe Theatre in the 16th century. Transitioning into the 18th century, Cloth Fair Street underwent a metamorphosis, transforming into a residential enclave. Georgian-style terraces replaced the old edifices, marking an architectural shift. Notably, the illustrious London Hospital took root here in 1757, adding to the area’s significance. Today, Cloth Fair Street remains a magnet for shoppers and tourists alike. It hosts an array of independent shops, cozy cafes, and preserves the historic London Hospital. The street comes alive during the annual Cloth Fair Festival, a celebration honoring the area’s rich heritage. This festive event features live music, street theater, and craft stalls, drawing locals and visitors alike. Neighboring streets like Long Lane, Middle Street, and the venerable Anglican church St. Bartholomew the Great complement Cloth Fair’s ambiance. Noteworthy landmarks, such as the oldest dwelling at numbers 41-42 and the 19th-century cloth specialist shop, Mitchell, Inman, and Co. at number 40, add to the area’s allure. Though small and traversed by few, Cloth Fair Street remains an integral part of London’s narrative, owing to its storied past and its close association with the historic Cloth Fair.


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Haymarket, rooted in London’s history, has seen a fascinating evolution since its inception in the early 1600s. Initially, it served as a humble market dealing in hay, feed, and straw, catering to the needs of the horses pulling carriages passing through the area. Situated at the junction of present-day Piccadilly and Haymarket, this market retained a rural character amidst the burgeoning urban landscape. Nearby was Charing, now known as Charing Cross, the closest village. As the 1700s unfolded, the area underwent significant changes. With the burgeoning theatre scene, Haymarket emerged as a sought-after entertainment hub, leading to the establishment of several theatres. Notably, the Theatre Royal Haymarket debuted in 1720, marking a pivotal moment in the area’s cultural landscape. The 19th century witnessed further development with the construction of grand hotels like the renowned Haymarket Hotel. This luxurious spot attracted the affluent and famous, including members of the royal family, cementing the area’s prestige. Transitioning into the early 20th century, Haymarket gained notoriety for its vibrant nightlife, hosting cabarets and nightclubs. However, its history also records the infamous ‘Haymarket Riots’ of 1887—a protest by the unemployed against governmental policies that sadly led to violence and the tragic death of a police officer. Today, Haymarket remains a bustling and vibrant locale, boasting an eclectic mix of shops, dining establishments, theatres, and various attractions. Just a stone’s throw away lies the iconic Liberty’s Department Store. The area also hosts the renowned Haymarket Theatre, still one of London’s most beloved theatres, drawing both locals and tourists. What truly sets Haymarket apart is its association with London’s West End theatre district. Her Majesty’s Theatre, designed by architect Charles J. Phipps in 1897, and the Theatre Royal, crafted by John Nash, stand as testament to the area’s theatrical legacy.


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Brick Lane

Brick Lane, nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, epitomizes a dynamic blend of London’s past and present—a neighborhood renowned for its vibrant street art, lively markets, and diverse cultural tapestry. Its roots extend deep into the 17th century, initially flourishing as a hub for brick-making, hence its name. The area saw an influx of Huguenot refugees in the 1600s, fleeing religious persecution in France. These immigrants brought their distinct culture, introducing skills like silk weaving, embroidery, and lace-making, shaping the area’s character. By the late 19th century, Brick Lane evolved into a haven for Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. This period witnessed the rise of a vibrant center for Jewish culture, marked by traditional businesses and synagogues. The ravages of World War II’s Blitz inflicted heavy damage upon the neighborhood, necessitating extensive rebuilding. This phase ushered in a diverse populace, fostering a rich mosaic of global communities. Today, Brick Lane stands as a magnet for tourists and locals alike. Its thoroughfare boasts vintage shops, trendy cafes, and authentic Indian restaurants, weaving together a distinct and eclectic ambiance. With buildings dating back to the 18th century, the area holds a treasure trove of historical architecture and maintains strong ties with the Bangladeshi community. Renowned for its curry houses, it’s a hotspot for enthusiasts of this flavorful cuisine. The Sunday Upmarket is a celebrated attraction, showcasing local artists and designers, adding to the neighborhood’s vibrant charm. In essence, Brick Lane embodies the authentic character of old London, inviting all who seek to immerse themselves in its rich tapestry of history and contemporary allure.


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Fleet Street

Fleet Street stands as a prominent name in London’s streetscape, its origins dating back to the Roman era around 200 AD. Initially part of the Roman road known as the Strand, which connected the City of London to the Thames, Fleet Street’s historical narrative holds intriguing tales. Some accounts suggest the Romans faced challenges settling in the muddy terrain, though evidence reveals the presence of a Roman amphitheater above Fleet Prison in Ludgate. During the 14th century, Fleet Street saw the emergence of brothels, fabric production tanneries, and taverns. Despite overcrowding in the 16th century, construction persisted despite bans on additional properties. The area gained further significance when St. Paul’s Cathedral was erected in 1675, a majestic landmark that endures to this day. The Middle Ages marked Fleet Street’s transformation into London’s newspaper epicenter. Printers and publishers flocked to its lanes, earning it the moniker ‘Street of Ink.’ By the 18th century, it housed influential newspapers like The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian. The 19th century cemented Fleet Street as the nucleus of British journalism. Hosting major newspaper offices and printing presses, it thrived during the ‘penny dreadfuls’ era when newspapers were sold cheaply, and newsboys echoed ‘Extra! Extra!’ Its 19th-century architecture, coupled with retail shops, restaurants, and cafes, embellishes the street, connecting to the vibrant South Bank area by the Thames, home to London’s major attractions. The 20th century saw Fleet Street evolve into the heart of British media, welcoming television, radio, and advertising companies, evolving into a bustling hub. Presently, Fleet Street remains associated with the British newspaper industry, although significant changes have transpired. Several newspapers relocated, while former printing presses transformed into museums. Despite transformations, Fleet Street’s heritage as one of the oldest streets in London and the core of British media endures.

Alderman’s Walk

Alderman’s Walk, a quaint alley nestled close to Liverpool Street station, traces its origins to the 16th century. Initially dubbed ‘Alderman’s Lane,’ it carved its presence within the city’s financial district. The alleyway was a haven for affluent merchants and aldermen, distinguished members of the city’s elite, adorning the street with grand homes, bustling shops, and thriving businesses. The street’s history intertwines with Sir Frances Dashwood, connecting to his gardens and residence. Adjacent to Alderman’s Walk stands the venerable St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church, a relic dating back to the 14th century, evident in the weathered, grey-and-white-stained stone walls. Notably, this church witnessed the trial of the Knight’s Templar for corruption. In 1413, a female hermit lived there, drawing a yearly pension of 40 shillings from the Sheriff. Legend whispers of the church being haunted by a ghostly apparition—a woman in medieval garb captured by a photographer, perpetually running around its precincts. During the mid-1800s, Alderman’s Lane underwent a transformation, widening into ‘Alderman’s Walk.’ This endeavor aimed to enhance accessibility and create a more inviting environment for the public. The street embraced a touch of greenery, becoming one of London’s first adorned with trees. Presently, Alderman’s Walk bustles with activity, housing a vibrant array of shops, restaurants, and businesses. Its broad pathways and abundant trees draw both locals and tourists, offering a charming destination. The street’s allure is amplified by its historic buildings, notably the Grade II listed Alderman’s House and the 18th-century Alderman’s Hall, adding to its timeless appeal.


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Kynance Mews

Kynance Mews, nestled in the affluent South Kensington area, offers a blend of history as one of the oldest streets in London and cinematic allure. Once a haven for the wealthy horse owners who housed their steeds in barns—now repurposed as garages—the upper floors served as living quarters for servants. While Kynance Mews enjoys attention from Instagram aficionados, its ambiance remains tranquil, away from the typical bustling crowds. What sets it apart is its secluded nature, tucked away from the main thoroughfare. Stepping onto this street feels like entering a secluded oasis, embraced by lush foliage and blossoming flora. During autumn, the 19th-century walls come alive with a tapestry of vibrant weeds, painting the scenery in hues of red, green, and yellow. Adding to its allure, the garages and doors sport an array of painted colors, contributing to the street’s Instagram-worthy charm.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street stands as a relic of Roman Londinium, London’s capital during the Roman era. Its roots extend back to the 13th century when King Edward I acquired land for goldsmiths. The 17th century ushered in the famed Lloyd’s Coffeehouse, a meeting ground for merchants, sailors, and shipowners to discuss trade and maritime matters. What sets Lombard Street apart are the vivid signs of ancient buildings that have graced this thoroughfare across the centuries. During the 17th to 19th centuries, the headquarters of the General Post Office, the United Kingdom’s state postal system, stood proudly on Lombard Street.


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Old Street

Old Street, famously dubbed “Silicon Roundabout,” thrives as a bustling enclave nestled in London’s heart. Situated just east of the City of London, it’s a vibrant hub celebrated for its dynamic street art, trendy bars and restaurants, and a concentration of cutting-edge technology enterprises. The Old Street Roundabout itself serves as a magnet for both tourists and locals. Notably, the area houses prominent technology accelerators and co-working spaces, fostering a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship. With its captivating fusion of historical charm and modern innovation, Old Street beckons as an essential visit for anyone exploring the area.

Cheyne Walk

Cheyne Walk, nestled in Chelsea, London, exudes a captivating charm with its elegant residences and serene ambiance. Spring brings an extra enchantment as wisteria flowers cascade, enveloping the street in a resplendent purple hue. The scene is a picturesque delight, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a photo op. The street’s allure is irresistible, drawing visitors to revel in the beauty of London’s residential quarters. It’s a must-visit spot in Chelsea for those seeking the grace and allure of the city’s residential areas.

Fournier Street

Fournier Street, a gem within Spitalfields, offers a mesmerizing glimpse into Victorian-era London. This cobblestone lane boasts a tapestry of colorful terraced houses, most dating back to the 18th century. These dwellings captivate with their intricate brickwork, adorned with ornate details like bay windows and wrought iron balconies. Once inhabited by a thriving community of Huguenot silk weavers, Fournier Street now beckons tourists and history enthusiasts alike. A leisurely stroll down this historic lane allows visitors to admire its well-preserved architecture, transporting them back in time to envision the lives of the neighborhood’s past inhabitants.


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Bishopsgate holds a storied past dating back to Roman times and claims the title of London’s oldest street. Its name originates from the Bishop’s Gate, an original entry point to the city and the location of the medieval Bishop of London’s palace. Throughout the Middle Ages, Bishopsgate thrived as a bustling center for trade and commerce, attracting affluent merchants and traders who established their homes and businesses here. The ravages of the Great Fire of London in the 17th century inflicted widespread destruction, including on Bishopsgate. However, the street was reconstructed, and many of the enduring buildings trace their origins to the 18th and 19th centuries. Presently, Bishopsgate is a vibrant financial district, blending modern skyscrapers with historical landmarks. Among these is the St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church, a testament to the street’s historical richness, dating back to the 16th century.


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Oxford Street

Oxford Street stands as one of London’s most iconic destinations, recognized for its bustling shopping scene and iconic department stores. At the heart of the city, it stretches a considerable length from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, ranking among Europe’s longest shopping streets. This bustling avenue hosts an array of shops ranging from popular high street brands like H&M and Zara to luxury emporiums such as Selfridges department store and John Lewis. Adjacent famous streets like Regent Street and Bond Street enhance its allure, forming an ideal district for a day of shopping and exploration.


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Entrenched in the city’s historical tapestry, the oldest streets in London stand as silent storytellers of the capital’s evolution. From the Roman imprints on Bishopsgate, marking London’s earliest chapters, to the blossoming wisteria-draped charm of Cheyne Walk, each thoroughfare unveils a narrative of resilience, trade, and cultural amalgamation. Amidst the towering modernity, these streets echo with the whispers of ancient merchants and the footsteps of diverse communities. They embody an exquisite fusion of centuries-old architecture and contemporary vibrancy, preserving the city’s heritage while embracing the winds of change. These streets, adorned with tales of conquests, fires, and flourishing communities, weave an enchanting quilt of London’s past and present, inviting visitors to walk hand in hand with history along their storied paths.

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