What to Do in Carnaby Street in London
Was that Austin Powers walking down the street with a mini-skirted troupe of psychedelic dancers?
Ahem, maybe not.
But, let's be honest, this is exactly the kind of place where the international man of mystery would have hung out.
Musical History of Carnaby Street
In its heyday, Carnaby Street was the centre of the swinging 60s revolution. It was at the cutting edge of fashion, music and youth culture. A place where The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who were to be spotted amongst the shoppers.
Once a fairly grubby alley, the area was transformed in the sixties. The man credited with this change was entrepreneur John Stephen. He opened his first shop in 1957. By the mid sixties, he had opened several shops in the area. His clothes were affordable and fashionable.
Hipsters, bell-bottoms, crazy shirt and big wide ties were all part of the style which he popularized. Carnaby Street became the place to go for hip fashions. The Kinks even sang about “the Carnabetian army” in their 1966 hit, "Dedicated Follower Of Fashion."
Where to Go Shopping in Carnaby Street, London
Dedicated followers of fashion can probably still find something of interest in Carnaby Street today. The area continues to be well worth a visit for any shopping fans on a trip to London.
The paved street is in a fairly central location. It's just a couple of minutes from Oxford Circus. It is completely closed to traffic, so it is not as chaotic as nearby Oxford Street and Regent Street.
As well as big name stores such as American Apparel, Diesel and Puma, there are iconic British brands, such as Ben Sherman, Merc and Lambretta. There are also side alleys filled with quirky, independent shops. All in all, a great place for style hunting.
Down one alley, you'll find Kingly Court, a courtyard filled with three levels of boutiques selling vintage clothes, jewellery and accessories. The ground-level food court is a great place to grab some food mid-shop.
Also nearby is the beautiful tudor building of Liberty's Department Store, which sells clothing, fabrics, gifts and accessories.
Restaurants in the Carnaby Street Area of London
After all that shopping, you're probably going to be tired and in need of sustenance.
Don't worry, there are plenty of restaurants in the area.
For something traditionally British, Mother Mash serves pies or sausages, all with mashed potato and gravy.
Myung Ga on Kingley Street is a Korean restaurant specialising in barbecue and spicy foods.
Wright Brothers Soho does oysters, shellfish and seafood from France.
If you fancy a burger Hawaiian style, head on over to Kua 'Aina Burger and Sandwich Grill.