Oldest Streets in London | Historic & Forgotten Roads to Visit

London contains a treasure trove of historic old streets. They tell a tale of a bygone era and exploring them is like discovering a part of the city’s forgotten past.

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If you love history like me you’ll find these old streets in London a pleasure to explore.

If you’re looking for something new and exciting to do during your trip, why not immerse yourself in the historical side of London?

Stroll the city and admire the natural preservation and ancient architecture of the capital’s oldest thoroughfares.

From cobbled roads to narrow passageways and charming water lined walks, here are the oldest streets in London you don’t want to miss. 

Struggling with knowing what to do in London?

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    Grab this hassle free checklist of the top 90 things to do in London from a local, includes:

    ✅ Top Free Things To In London

    ✅ Cool Touristy & Non-Touristy Things To

    ✅ Epic Free Viewpoints

    ✅ Cute Instagrammable Places in London

    Cheyne Walk

    Cheyne Walk is a scenic old street in Chelsea that runs parallel to the River Thames. Originally, the road fronted the river.

    However, the construction of the Chelsea Embankment in 1874 created a road and walkway between Cheyne Walk and the water.

    The tall, uniform 18th-century homes that line the street are just a stone’s throw from the relaxing waterfront. This historic London street is as charming as they come.

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    Kensington Palace Gardens

    Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most upscale residential streets in London. It was built in the 1840s as part of Kensington Palace’s grounds.

    Originally, it was called The Queen’s Road but was renamed in 1870.

    During the Second World War and the Cold War, the house at No. 8 was the location of the London Cage, a prisoner-of-war facility. 

    However, it was demolished in 1961 and replaced by a small block of apartments.

    Frith Street

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    Frith Street is located in London’s Soho neighbourhood. The street was laid out in the 1670s and 1680s. From the 18th to 19th century, many prominent artists took up residence here, including painter John Alexander Gresse and renowned sculptor John Bell.

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also lived on Frith Street from 1764 to 1765 while conducting his grand tour of Europe.

    Although a few residential buildings still remain today, the street is considered one of Soho’s main entertainment areas. It contains many eclectic restaurants and trendy clubs.

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    Greek Street

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    Greek Street is a lively Soho street that acquired its name from a Greek church built in 1677. The street has several buildings that date back to the 18th century, or earlier.

    No.1 Greek Street was built in 1746. It has been used for many purposes throughout the centuries, from a sewage planning and management business to a charity shelter.

    Charles Dickens used the house as inspiration for the residence of Dr Manette and Lucy in A Tale of Two Cities.

    Today, the old buildings found along Greek streets are mostly occupied by modern eateries and bars.

    Fleet Street

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    Fleet Street is a major thoroughfare that’s most notable for its ties to London’s printing and publishing industry.

    Its timeline can be traced back to Roman times when the street served as an important route through the area.

    The street’s association with publication began in 1500 and flourished for several centuries. By the first half of the 20th century, most of the country’s newspapers based their head offices here.

    During the 1980s, all of the major newspapers relocated their offices to other areas of the city. However, this historic London street remains one of the most celebrated.

    King’s Bench Walk

    King’s Bench Walk is a street in the Inner Temple. Its name comes from the Office of the King’s Bench, which was built on the street in 1621.

    Buildings have resided on the Walk since 1548. However, they were destroyed and rebuilt twice, once during the Great Fire of London in 1666, and again during the subsequent fire of 1677.

    No.4 King’s Bench Walk was rebuilt in 1678 following the fires. It’s one of the most historically important buildings on the street. Over the years, it has been home to numerous sets of barristers.

    Roupell Street

    The little cluster of streets that make up the Roupell Street Conservation Area will transport you back to 19th century London.

    The road was first developed in the 1820s for workers’ cottages. John Roupell was a wealthy businessman who saw an opportunity in renting them out to the local community.

    The surrounding streets were originally named after his family members, John Street, Richard Street, and Catherine Street.

    However, they were later renamed in the late 19th century to Theed Street, Whittlesey Street West, and Whittlesey Street East.

    This old London city street has been featured in several TV series, including Doctor Who, Mr Selfridge, and Call the Midwife.

    St Olave Hart Street

    On the corner of Hart Street and Seething Lane, you’ll find an old London church, called St Olave’s Church, Hart Street.

    It presumably began its existence as a wooden structure but was first documented in the 13th century when it had been rebuilt in stone.

    The structure we see today was built around 1450. It was one of only a handful of medieval churches in London to escape the Great Fire of 1666.

    Wapping High Street

    The name “Wapping” is thought to come from the Saxons who are believed to be the first inhabitants of the area. One of their leaders was named Waeppa.

    This old street runs along an embankment of the River Thames and has a rich maritime history.

    The high street and surrounding area prospered for centuries as a lively commercial waterfront. During the London Blitz, a large portion of Wapping was destroyed.

    However, some original structures still remain, and new buildings have sprung up and given new life to this old street.

    Rotherhithe Street

    Rotherhithe Street runs for 1.5 miles (2.4 km), making it the longest street in London. Its curved path follows the River Thames and contains a slew of historic buildings.

    The Georgian style Nelson House was built in the 1740s. This grand brick home was used to house shipbuilders, including John Randall.

    St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe also resides on the street. The structure we see today was mostly built from 1714 to 1715. However, documented evidence shows that a church has been on this site since 1282.

    Princelet Street

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    Located in the Spitalfields neighbourhood of East London, the homes found along Princelet Street date to the early 18th century.

    They were mostly occupied by the French Huguenots, who came over to England escaping religious persecution in their homeland.

    The Huguenots lived and worked as silk weavers. They conducted their services from the top floor of their residences, where they had plenty of natural light.

    These Georgian-era houses are especially remarkable as they have managed to escape new developments and modernisation.

    Fournier Street

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    Similar to Princelet Street, Fournier Street contains a string of well-preserved 18th century Georgian homes.

    They were built in the same neighbourhood (Spitalfields) to house the growing community of wealthy French Huguenots. 

    Most of the homes are dated from the 1720s and were designed with a higher standard than the ones built on Princelet Street.

    Elder Street

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    Elder Street is yet another old street in Spitalfields that was built in the 18th century to accommodate the Huguenot silk weavers. They were mainly constructed in the 1720s for the more successful silk merchants.

    Are you curious to learn more about the Huguenots? Elder Street runs into Folgate Street, where you’ll find Dennis Severs’ House.

    This museum features rooms recreated to depict what life would have been like for Huguenot silk weavers.

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    Fleur de Lys Street

    Fleur de Lys Street is an old alleyway in Spitalfields. It dates to the 1720s when the neighbourhood first started to be developed.

    It’s a rather short route and has a mix of modern and historic elements. You can view old-style street-lights and tall brick buildings alongside artistic graffiti.

    Artillery Passage & Artillery Lane

    The Artillery Passage Conservation Area (which includes Artillery Lane) provides a rare glimpse into 17th century London.

    Their unique name stems from 1537 when the area was designated as artillery ground.

    The buildings that line these passages are mostly tall Georgian houses. They are not set back from the street and form a well-connected narrow line. 

    If you’re intrigued by murder mystery, Jack the Ripper haunted these secret London passageways. The body of his final victim, Mary Kelly, was found just a stone’s throw from Artillery Passage.

    Old Street in Central London

    Old Street in Central London is very befitting of its name. This one-mile (1.6km) street was first recorded around 1200. It was part of a Roman road that connected Silchester and Colchester.

    As the street evolved into one of the city’s main thoroughfares in the 19th century, the western side was widened to accommodate a surge of traffic and shops.

    More recently, Old Street has been graced with the artistic touch of graffiti artists, including Banksy and Jef Aérosol.

    Little Green Street

    Little Green Street is another one of those historic London streets that have remained unchanged over time. The 10 quaint houses that line the cobbled road were built in the 1780s.  

    It’s one of the best-preserved Georgian streets in the city.

    Old London Streets: Final Thoughts

    The history of London’s streets is truly remarkable. They show an interesting aspect of the capital’s past and really are in a league of their own when it comes to attraction and charm.

    They make up some of the oldest parts of London and walking down them will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a time capsule.

    Struggling with knowing what to do in London?

    52M2UFGe8oEoFriwZCdbbH

      Grab this hassle free checklist of the top 90 things to do in London from a local, includes:

      ✅ Top Free Things To In London

      ✅ Cool Touristy & Non-Touristy Things To

      ✅ Epic Free Viewpoints

      ✅ Cute Instagrammable Places in London

      They provide quite the striking scene, and even better, they’re free to visit! Grab your travel camera and your walking shoes, these streets will leave you spellbound.

      Find out more on what London has to over by browsing the rest of my London street content here:

      ●      London Hidden Streets

      ●      Day trips from London

      ●      Famous residential streets in London

      ●      Famous streets in London

      ●      Prettiest Streets in London


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