It’s etched on my memory, that first catch-your-breath glimpse of the Tudor-revival black and white Liberty London facade – it’s why to this day that whenever I am Regent Street bound I make sure to exit the tube onto the pedestrianised Argyll Street , just so I can take in that iconic delight…
I must have been seven or so, for my first trip to Regent Street – it was Destination Hamleys back in those days! But the initial impact of Liberty was immediately reinforced by the elegance of the street’s late Georgian neo-classicism, its proud curve as it feeds down to Piccadilly something that fills me with joy to this day. (The curve exists, I recently discovered, because the street architect John Nash had to accommodate some land ownership issues and build around a pre-existing building!).
This is a paid partnership with Regent Street to celebrate its landmark 200th Anniversary.
My parents commuted daily from Little Marlow – in fact my Dad’s office at the time (we’re talking early 80s!) was what was recently Benetton (and is soon to be Microsoft) on one of the grand Regent Street/Oxford Street intersection corners; and my Mum’s PR company wasn’t too far away in an office on New Bond Street. And a generation further back, my filmmaker grandfather used to frequent Café Royal for his meetings, known for always tipping a fiver! Maybe that’s part of the reason I feel so at home in this part of town…
Moving to London for my first job (philosophy book publishing btw!) back in the noughties, Regent Street held such a strong pull for me! My shopping habits had been poorly served back in Edinburgh and finally my time had come: the high street meccas of the likes of Topshop and H&M were just the start, but it was the siren call of the beautifully appointed Liberty and more interesting shops (Jaeger, Anthropologie, Massimo Dutti to name a few) winding round the street’s curve that really sated my life and style hungry eye!
New introductions of late have really consolidated the shopping experience – the fantastic run as you turn left down the street including Arket, Weekday (the Seattle jeans are one of my faves!) COS and Levi’s can really form the backbone of a shopping trip.
While I never worked in an office near Regent Street, I now often come in for meetings and press days or to catch up with pals – tea and scones at Liberty’s is staple go-to and the café is always wonderfully abuzz. Part of the pleasure is meandering my way upstairs through the handbags and scarves hall (the recent relocation next to the flower shop entrance could not be more perfect!) – and I always stop for a nosy at tempting new styles – hello Hereu, Regina Pyo and Acne!
Then through the jewellery hall, where I always linger at the ever-growing Annina Vogel concession – I’ve made friends with strangers over the fact that we both wear Annina’s wonderful vintage chain rings! And finally a quick nosy on the third-floor fashion hall at the cluster of contemporary designers we all adore right now – Ganni, Nanushka, Rixo, new Alexa Chung and APC among others.
Of course, it’s not all about me 😉 The major Regent Street destination for us as a family is of course Hamleys. I’ll never forget the thrill of taking Gus (then five) for the first time! Of course, like me, he’s quite a focussed shopper and doesn’t get side-tracked by the overload of toys – we usually know exactly what we are going for and zoom in on that one item. Hmmm, I wonder where he gets that from? 😉
Other cute café spots include, Thomas’s Café at Burberry, Little Green at One Heddon Street and my current fave, the Arket ground floor café where you can enjoy a coffee and cinnamon bun while gazing across the road at that iconic black and white building and take in the all the hustle and bustle… and of course, never to be missed, are the glorious Christmas lights which last December I had the pleasure of viewing from my now regular rooftop perch!
Join the celebrations and keep an eye out for the exciting upcoming anniversary events right here.