london panoramic cityscape
Piccadilly Walk
- Shopping
TfL Fare Zone 1
Piccadilly runs between Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park and was one of the ancient routes leading westwards out of London. Piccadilly, itself is the location of some prestigious shops, eateries and hotels.
Its unusual name comes from the 17th century word for a stiffened collar, a picadil.
In 1612 an extremely successful tailor who had made his money selling picadils to the Court, built a country mansion near the eastern end of Piccadilly and the locals called the mansion ‘Piccadilly Hall’, derisively alluding to the source of his wealth. What started as a nickname had, by the 18th century, become the official name of the street.
With the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne, much of the land between Haymarket and Piccadilly was granted to Henry Jermyn, Charles’s constant companion in exile. Building began, mostly inns and shops but also some large mansions (Burlington House) and St James’s Church. By the 18th century development had extended as far as Hyde Park Corner.
Shops servicing the needs of fashionable society opened in the streets and arcades to the south of Piccadilly, and similar shops are still there today.
It is great fun strolling through Jermyn Street, St James’s, Old Bond Street, Royal Arcade and Burlington Arcade and seeing how the rich and famous spend their money.
Walking up Piccadilly
On the left-hand side of the street, walking from Piccadilly Circus towards Fortnum and Mason can be found Japan Centre (No 212); Europe’s largest bookshop Waterstone's (nos. 203-205), and at number 197 Piccadilly Market (at St James’s Church) selling antiques, collectibles and crafts.
A little further on is the entrance to the Victorian shopping precinct, Princes Arcade, which has a wide variety of boutique shops. The next major shop is the favourite grocery shop of the Royal family, Fortnum & Mason. They have been purveyors of fine food for over 300 years and their Food Hall is a must visit. If you have a bit of cash to spare, then afternoon tea at Fortnums is a bit of a British ritual.
Fortnam's Mechanical Clock
Also, if you happen to be around Fortnums on the hour, spend a few minutes to watch the mechanical clock outside strike the hour. To 18th century music played on bells, Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason come out of their doors on the clock face and bow to each other before returning inside. The clock is on the front façade of the shop and a really good view of it can be gained by standing on the traffic island in the middle of the road. Take care of the traffic!
After crossing over Duke Street, continue on towards The Ritz Hotel, pause at the entrance to the Edwardian colonnaded Piccadilly Arcade which runs through to Jermyn Street; its bow fronted shops, ornate ceilings and hanging lanterns are most attractive Next to the entrance is a beautiful shop selling Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood, Rosenthal and Royal Doulton china. The closer you get to the Ritz, the more upmarket the restaurants and patisseries become.
Walking from Piccadilly Circus towards the Ritz, on the right hand side of the street, you will pass the Virgin Megastore at No. 1. There are a number of Japanese restaurants and sushi bars at Nos. 41-44 until we reach The Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House.
Burlington Arcade
Between the Academy and Old Bond Street at No. 51 is Burlington Arcade, best known for its jewellery and antique silver shops. Opened in 1819 the Arcade is patrolled by uniformed Beadles who will stop you singing or whistling in the Arcade. Really, they are most helpful and look fantastic in their top hats and tailcoats. The writer can vouch for the exceptional courtesy of the various sales staff no matter how impecunious the customer is!
De Beers Diamonds
Will catch the eye, and there are plenty of other quality shops. Near the end of Piccadilly is Marks and Spencer Food Hall (a great place to buy sandwiches) and the Green Park Underground Station.
Across the road is the grassy relief of The Green Park. If the visitor continues up the street they will come to Wellington Place at Hyde Park Corner and the many hotels on Park Lane.
An interesting web site with great information
Getting There
- By Underground
Piccadilly Circus Station   Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines  Take the Piccadilly exit
Green Park Station          Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee Lines
Google Map - Piccadilly


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