This shopping route takes you along a section of London’s famous Piccadilly that runs from Green Park Station to Piccadilly Circus Station. It is famous for its iconic places such as The Royal Academy, the Ritz Hotel, Fortnum and Masons and Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly is at the cross roads between Mayfair to the north and St James to the south.
Piccadilly has been a main road since at least medieval times, and in the middle ages it was known as "the road to Reading". By the middle of the 18th century, Piccadilly had become developed as far as Hyde Park Corner. The development of St James's and Mayfair in particular made Piccadilly into one of the busiest roads in London.
This post provides you with a summary of the area, a hyper-lapse video and a 360VR Tour to show you what the routes looks like as if you were 'running it', maps and historical information to help you know the area, and interesting facts about the location.
The chart below provides a quick overview of the area
See The Route
The Hyper-lapse familiarisation video of the route from Green Park Station to Piccadilly Circus can be seen below.
This video shows you what the route looks like as if you were running it at 20 kph. The video also has photo inserts for a small selection of the shops and sites that are along the route.
Know the Area
The map below shows the route from Green Park Station to Piccadilly Circus Station with other areas of interest highlighted. The highlighted area to the right of Green Park Station is Shepherds Market - a charming small square and piazza with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants, and Victorian pubs.
Starting at Green Park Station, (park exit), head up towards Piccadilly and then turn right towards The Ritz Hotel. A diversion off to the left around Dover and Albemarle Street will give you a taste of Mayfair in Georgian times with its houses, clubs, galleries, and hotels. The second turning on the right is St James's Street that leads down to St James's Palace, which was the residence of Kings and Queens of England for over 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria. The first turning on the left will take you along Jermyn Street, which is almost exclusively aimed at the gentlemen's clothing market. Turning left after the Piccadilly Arcade will bring you to Duke Street by the side of Fortnum and Masons, and then back onto Piccadilly. A detour south of Jermyn Street takes you to the heart of St James, which was an area developed as a residential location for the British aristocracy in the 17th century and further developed for gentlemen's clubs in the 19th century. A detour left and north at Piccadilly will take you to Burlington Arcade and to Old Bond Street where some of London's more exclusive shops reside. Turning right along Piccadilly will take you passed Burlington House, the home of the Royal Academy of Arts and towards St James's Church that was built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1684. It's then a straight walk towards the neon lights at Piccadilly Circus passed Le Méridien Hotel on the left, originally the Piccadilly Hotel, and Waterstones on the right, which used to be a Simpsons of Piccadilly -the largest menswear store in Britain when it opened in 1936.
The link below takes you off to Google maps to help you find additional places to visit and explore.
Piccadilly offers a wide range of places to explore, starting off in the relative peace and quite of Green Park and ending up in the noise and lights of Piccadilly circus. Here is a small sample of some of the images you will see along the route.
History and Facts about the Green Park to Piccadilly Circus route.
This map shows how the route would have looked in 1850, Piccadilly was already established area for shops, hotels and entertainment, with Jermyn Street being a shopping area for the Gentlemen of London. It would be another 56 years before the Ritz hotel replaced The Old White Horse Cellar - the best known coaching inns in England during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The original name for Piccadilly was Portugal Street, named after the country of Charles II’s wife Catherine of Braganza’s.
The name ‘Piccadilly’ originates from a seventeenth-century frilled collar named a piccadil that was made by the tailor Roger Baker who also built a mansion on the street that became known as Piccadilly Hall.
The Green Park with its mature trees and grassland, links Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner and Buckingham Palace and covers 19 hectares (47 acres). It was a famous duelling site until 1667, and Constitution Hill owes its name to Charles II and his frequent ‘constitutionals’, a walk taken regularly to maintain or restore good health.
Cèsar Ritz, (once a manager at the Savoy), had The Ritz hotel built to a luxury French Style in 1906, and this was the first hotel to have all en suite bathrooms. It's dinning room is one of the most beautiful in Europe with its sumptuous chandeliers joined by gilt bronze garlands around the room. It's no surprise that the term 'ritzy' is a colloquialism for luxury. To reinforce its status, its has large copper lions proudly standing at each corner of the roof. Past guest have included Anna Pavlova, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward and Margaret Thatcher.
Jermyn Street is almost exclusively aimed at the gentlemen's clothing and luxury market. Its famous resident include shirt-makers Turnbull & Asser, Hawes & Curtis, as well as shoe and boot-makers John Lobb and Foster & Son.
A statue of George "Beau" Brummell (7 June 1778 – 30 March 1840) stands on Jermyn Street at its junction with Piccadilly Arcade. He was an friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, and is credited with introducing the modern men's suit, worn with a necktie
Notable residents of Jermyn Street include the The Duke of Marlborough, and Isaac Newton.
One of the finest Turkish Baths or Hammam once stood at 76 Jermyn Street in 1862 – it was destroyed by a bomb in WWII.
The Royal Academy of the Arts
The Royal Academy of the Arts was origially a grand mansion called Burlington House. It now includes 5 learned societies called :- The Society of Antiquaries, the Chemical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Biological Society and the Linnean Society - the place where Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace first presented their paper on the Theory of Evolution in 1858.
The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768 with a mission to promote the arts of design in Britain through education and exhibition.
The Egyptian Hall
Piccadilly once had an Egyptian Hall opposite the RA, (now a Starbuck). It was commissioned by William Bullock in 1812 as a museum to house his collection (which included curiosities brought back from the South Seas by Captain Cook. It was built in an Egyptian style of architecture with ornament inclined pilasters and hieroglyphics, and its hall was used principally for popular entertainments, lectures, and exhibitions. Bullock's Museum was at one time one of the most popular exhibitions in London, until it was demolished in 1905.
Fortnum and Mason
Fortnum and Mason is the Queens Grocer. It was formed in 1707 by William Fortnum, a footman to Queen Anne, and his landlord Hugh Mason. You can still see these two gentlemen together every hour when they meet by the clock at the front of the building. Fortnum and Mason gave food to the soldiers during the Peninsular wars, (1808-1814), and tea to Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War (1852-56). It famously became the first shop in Europe to sell Hienz canned food following a visit by Mr Heinz in 1886.
The Albany is one of the most exclusive bachelor apartments in London that was set up by George IIII son Fredrick - the Duke of York and Albany. It was converted into flats in 1802 by Henry Holland. Famous residents include Lord Byron, Graham Green, J.B. Priestly, William Gladstone and Edward Heath. Since 1919, women can live there with their husbands.
Hatchards at 187 Piccadilly is still one of the most famous bookshops in the world and has been in existence since 1797. It has a Royal warrant from George III, and its customers have included Byron, Wellington, Osage Wilde and Rudyard Kipling. It's founder, John Hatchard was part of the anti slavery movement and he and William Wiberforce used to hold meeting in his shops.
St. James's Piccadilly
The beautiful church of St. James’s was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1684, and is the only one he built on a virgin site. Today, the church performs many concerts and has an outdoor market.
Simpson of Piccadilly (now Waterstones).
Simpson of Piccadilly was the largest menswear department when it as built in 1932, and the first steel welded building in London. Waterstones in Piccadilly is also one of the biggest bookshops in Europe.
Piccadilly Circus is London's original neon light centre that has been in existence since 1908. The British meat extract drink 'Bovril' was one of the first to advertise here, however Coca Cola has been here the longest (since 1955). The site is also a popular meeting place for those going into 'theatre land'. The word ‘Circus’ refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated. However, it’s not a roundabout anymore.
Piccadilly Circus Station
The Piccadilly Circus station on the London Underground is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner. It is one of the few stations which have no associated buildings above ground and is fully underground
The Statue of Eros is in fact his twin brother - Anteros, the god of selfless and mature love. It was the first public statue to be cast in aluminium which was a very valuable and new material when it was cast in 1893. It stand on top of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, named after the great Victorian philanthropist Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.
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