5 famous British streets you have to visit this summer

Haunted medieval thoroughfares, shopping metropolises and cultural hubs – these five famous streets in Britain are a must-see if you’re visiting this summer.

In this blog, prepare to discover sites that have inspired some of the world’s best-selling literature, played host to religious wars and continue to attract world-class performers.

Oxford Street, London

Oxford Street in Summertime, LondonWith over 300 shops stretching for a mile, Oxford Street is located in the heart of the West End – bordered by trendy Soho and classy Mayfair. The Oxford Street Selfridges was voted the best department store in the world, while the giant Disney Store offers the next best thing to a trip to Disneyland. You’ll find character appearances, workshops and film screenings, all for free! On the lower ground floor of House of Fraser, Belong Gaming Arena has over 100 seats with high-powered gaming PCs, Xboxes and PlayStations. Dr Martens’ three-floors, meanwhile, are part shop-part gallery – with installations telling the story of the brand from the 1960s to the present day. The best al-fresco summer dining with outstanding views can be found at Willows on the Rooftop. For sushi and champagne in the sunshine head to Aqua Kyoto. Or please everyone with the varied choices in the hip Market Hall.

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Royal Mile, Edinburgh

The Royal Mile EdinburghRunning through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the Royal Mile is steeped in history. At one end you’ll find the hilltop Edinburgh Castle, at the other the home of Scottish royalty – the magnificent Palace of Holyroodhouse. Attractions include the Real Mary King’s Close – a warren of streets frozen in time – and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, an arts venue dedicated to preserving national folklore. It would be impossible to miss St Giles’ Cathedral, with its 44-metre-high gothic spires. Founded in 1124 by King David I, it has been a working church for almost 900 years and has provided a backdrop to Scotland’s turbulent religious history. Even your shopping will have a history if you head to Armstrongs Vintage Emporium, a haven of retro clothes and quirky accessories. There’s no shortage of places to dine, with plenty of European and Scottish restaurants offering fresh and locally-sourced produce.

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The Shambles, York

York ShamblesOne of York’s most famous landmarks, the Shambles is one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe – a narrow, cobbled thoroughfare with overhanging buildings that envelop passersby. The road was built this way to keep meat – once served from open windows – out of direct sunlight. Today the cheerful cafes that line this quirky street thankfully offer modern dining experiences. There are eclectic shops to explore, offering everything from handcrafted jewellery to old-fashioned sweets, and the Shambles Market is situated just off the main street. Ye Old Shambles Tavern is the perfect spot to settle down, sup up and soak in the atmosphere. Harry Potter fans will be in their element with places like The Shop That Must Not Be Named and the Potions Cauldron celebrating that the Shambles is said to have inspired Diagon Alley. Stranger than fiction, however, is the Ghost Hunt of York, commencing every evening at 7pm.

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The Lanes, Brighton

The Lanes BrightonExplore this labyrinth of alleyways – or twittens as they’re known locally – for a trove of hidden treasures in this progressive seaside city. The 16th-Century streets are lined with quirky shops and ancient pubs – including the Cricketers Arms on Black Lion Street. Dating to around 1545, it’s believed to be the oldest in the area. New restaurants and bars are regular additions to this vibrant area, where you can dine al fresco and people watch while buskers fill the streets with live music. There are regular pop-up arts and culture events, and Hanningtons Lane is a must-visit cultural hub. Once the disused service yard for Hanningtons department store, it’s now home to makers, designers and artisan food outlets. The Lanes are also home to The Ivy, offering indulgent cocktails and dining in its plush surroundings – the perfect spot to find yourself after a couple of hours getting lost.

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Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Shaftesbury Avenue LondonThe heart of London’s West End, Shaftesbury Avenue is home to the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud and Sondheim theatres, where you can watch world-class musicals and dramas unfold. It’s home to many cinemas, shops and restaurants in its own right but in many ways serves as a gateway to the best the capital has to offer. Considered the centre of the city, Shaftesbury Avenue provides access to Soho, Covent Garden, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square at intersections along its mile length. At the southern end of the street, you’ll find Trafalgar Square – home to both the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Here you can see some of the greatest collections of artwork in the world including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and works from other greats including Cezanne, Monet and Botticelli.

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