An alternative-fashion mecca during the 1960s ‘Swinging London,’ Carnaby Street was once home to iconic boutiques like Mary Quant, frequented by The Who and the Rolling Stones and name-checked in pop hits like The Kinks’ “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.” Today, the famous street remains one of central London’s coolest shopping destinations.
Bridging the gap between Oxford Street and Soho, Carnaby Street is a must for shoppers, with over 100 shops and dozens of bars, cafés, and restaurants. Visit as part of a walking or bike tour of central London, hop off to snap a photo by the distinctive yellow arches at either end of the street, and spot the plaques commemorating mod-fashion pioneer John Stephen and The Small Faces (outside No. 1 and No. 52, respectively).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most shops along Carnaby Street are open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm, and Sunday from noon until 6pm.
- Free Wi-Fi is available at the Kingly Court shopping area.
- Carnaby Street is a pedestrianized area, and most shops and restaurants are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Carnaby Street is located in Soho, central London, within a few minutes’ walking distance of Oxford Street and Regent Street. The closest underground stations are Oxford Circus (Victoria, Bakerloo, and Central lines) and Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines).
When to Get There
There’s always something going on around Carnaby Street, from live music and street festivals in summer to festive entertainment and light displays over the holidays. Popular events include the Carnaby Style Weekender festival in May, Soho Music Month in June, and Pride in London in June or July.
Shopping on Carnaby Street
The main reason to visit Carnaby Street is the shops, and there are plenty to choose from, including many independent fashion, home, and beauty boutiques and British brands like Ben Sherman, Paul Smith, and Lyle & Scott. One highlight is the small shopping arcade of Kingly Court, home to some of London’s most unique young designers, vintage stores, and jewelry boutiques, as well as a cluster of cafés and restaurants. Look out for pop-up shops and street stalls during the summer and Christmas holidays too.