London is a city where history is on full display. Modern attractions weave through century-old footpaths filled with the marvellous architecture of an earlier time. There’s a lot to appreciate about the oldest and most historic London streets.
These historic streets in London celebrate the city’s past in a unique way and tell the tale of a bygone era.
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Not only that, but they’re also some of the prettiest streets in London and offer a real sense of nostalgia. History-buff or not, they’re definitely worth checking out.
1. Cheyne Walk
Cheyne Walk is a historic street in Chelsea that runs next to the River Thames. It gets its name from English Tory politician, William Cheyne.
The walk is lined with grand old houses, many of which were built in the early 18th century.
They fronted the Thames until 1874 when the Chelsea Embankment was constructed, which created a road and walkway that ran in front of the homes.
It’s a lovely area of London to take a stroll and admire the river on one side and the historic houses on the other.
Many notable people have inhabited Cheyne Walk throughout the years, including painter JMW Turner and musicians Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
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2. Kynance Mews
At the end of the narrow mews, there’s a large arch covered with hanging wisteria.
The colour of this radiant flower changes with the season. In autumn, it turns a rich red that looks absolutely magical.
In spring, it takes on a lavender tone that contrasts wonderfully with the old bricks.
This quiet and pretty street has resided in South Kensington since 1862. Today, the homes come with a high price tag — but it wasn’t always this way.
Originally, the mews were built as stables and to house the maids and butlers serving London’s elite.
3. Bathurst Mews
The beautiful Bathurst Mews is one of London’s most charming mews. Back in the day, this area was used as a servants’ quarters and a horse stable for the surrounding larger houses.
The mews are still used as a residence, although they’ve been through refurbishments that put their retail value at a very high price tag.
The interiors are modern, but the ivy draped house facades and cobbled street take you back to traditional London.
The Bathurst Mews contain the last two riding schools in Central London. You can book riding lessons from them to the nearby Hyde Park.
4. Farting Lane
Officially named Carting Lane, but nicknamed Farting Lane, this is where you’ll find London’s last remaining sewage lamp.
This piece of Victorian engineering was invented by Joseph Webb in the 19th century.
Webb created these sewage lamps and placed them all around London. They burned off the gas from the sewers and were to act as a solution to the foul smells that permeated the city.
They also served a bonus purpose, which was to light up the street at night.
This ingenious creation is located on a quiet lane just off of London’s Strand, next to the 5-star Savoy Hotel, appropriately.
5. Fleet Street
Fleet Street is one of the oldest streets in London. It was established during Roman times but is more commonly associated with its famous printing and publishing past. From the 16th to 20th century, Fleet Street was where Britain’s top newspaper companies operated from.
Although no longer a hub for the British national press, the street remains full of wonderful architecture.
The tall narrow buildings that line this major thoroughfare in the city of London will take you back in time.
6. Lombard Street
Lombard Street is one of the most famous streets in London. It has a timeline that stretches back to when the Romans inhabited the UK. Although, the street only acquired its current name in the 13th century.
Following the expulsion of the Jews, merchants from Lombardy, Italy succeeded them as the country’s money-lenders.
The medieval London street is known for its connections to the city’s banking industry. Up until the 1980s, most British banks established their head offices here.
Today, most of the buildings are occupied by other types of businesses. You can still see where some of the more historic establishments once operated from though.
In 1902, plaques were placed in several areas for the coronation of Edward VII.
7. Fournier Street
Fournier Street, formerly known as Church Street, contains a string of well-preserved 18th-century houses.
Most were built in the 1720s to accommodate the wealthy French Huguenot, many of whom held an occupation of silk weaves.
Today, the area is occupied by a large Bangladeshi community. A stroll down this old London street will reveal a fine collection of classic Georgian townhouses constructed in a simple yet elegant design.
8. Shad Thames
London’s nautical history is on full display at Shad Thames. This riverside street is located next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey. The encompassing area is also loosely referred to as Shad Thames.
Strolling the street will take you back in time to when the River Thames was used to transport goods.
During London’s Victorian era, it housed the city’s biggest warehouse complex, which contained large quantities of tea, coffee, spices, and other popular commodities.
Today, it has a cool industrial vibe. It’s lined with cobbled streets and framed by converted warehouses and wooden bridges that hang overhead.
Oldest Streets in London: Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for unique or unusual places to visit in the capital city, these historical London streets are a must-see. Not only are they incredibly nostalgic, but most are also highly aesthetic.
They provide a rare glimpse into the past and contain features that have stood the test of time.
With this guide, you can take your own walking tour down old London streets and discover some of the city’s lesser-known areas.