Oxford Street: frequently asked questions
• Discover where to eat and drink near Oxford Street plus the area's best hotels. • Includes opening times, cash machine locations, safety and transport advice.
Before you embark on your trip to Oxford Street find out where to get off the tube, where to go to the loo and where to refuel after an afternoon’s hard shopping graft – as well as essentials like opening times.
What time should I go shopping on Oxford Street?
The best time to go to Oxford Street is just after the shops open at 9am. Few people get here this early, and you can have a really sedate look around the busy spots – Topshop Oxford Circus, Primark and Selfridges – before the crowds descend at around 11am. Lunchtimes are chaotic, as is the hour between 6pm-7pm. Saturdays are the busiest, Sundays a bit better.
What are the opening hours on Oxford Street?
Oxford Street is open later than almost anywhere else in London. Most shops are open until 8pm Mon-Sat, and even later on Thursdays when most are open until 9pm or 10pm.
What is the best tube station for Oxford Street shopping?
While Oxford Circus tube is best positioned for all of the major shops, it is uncomfortably busy. For Oxford Circus shops, it’s best to get off at Tottenham Court Road tube and walk down. Otherwise Bond St tube or Marble Arch are fine. And contrary to popular belief, you really don’t need to get the tube up and down Oxford Street – with a fast walk you can get from one end to the other in fifteen minutes.
Where can I find a toilet?
If you’re going to do the whole of the Oxford Street strip, you need to know where you can have a pitstop. Very few shops offer restroom facilities – but all the major department stores do, as do both Marks and Spencer stores (Marble Arch and Oxford Circus) and there is also a well-concealed set of toilets on the basement floor of Topshop.
Where can I eat and drink on Oxford Street?
Unless you want a take away sandwich, eateries and watering holes are few and far between on Oxford Street. At the Tottenham Court road end, The Tottenham is the only pub on the street, and it offers little in the way of stylish décor or friendly atmosphere. View our list of recommended pubs near Oxford Street and restaurants near Oxford Street.
Where can I find a cash machine?
There are cash dispensers at regular intervals (although possibly not regular enough) all along Oxford Street. There is a Lloyds TSB at the Tottenham Court Road end (at number 32) and at 399. There is an HSBC near Oxford Circus (at 196) and at 43. There is a Halifax at 60 Oxford Street. Avoid using the small cash machines you find in some newsagents and corner shops on side streets, as these tend to charge for transactions, while the larger banks offer free cash and accept most international cards. There are also cash dispensers in Marks and Spencer, Selfridges and John Lewis.
Where can I exchange my foreign currency?
Don't believe the signs advertising 'commission free currency exchange' at the small bureau de change shops you see at intervals along Oxford Street. Generally, though they don't charge an actual 'fee', these places earn their money by offering terrible exchange rates. Check with XE.com for the actual exchange rate before you accept their advertised rate – you might be shocked at the difference. There are fairer exchange rates offered by the in-house bureau de change in the Marks and Spencer branches at Oxford Circus and Marble Arch. Selfridges also have a bureau de change (which will also cash traveller's cheques) run by Travelex on their lower ground floor.
Are there pickpockets? How do I avoid having my wallet stolen on Oxford Street?
Unfortunately pickpockets do operate on Oxford Street. Zip up your bag, don’t have your iPhone loose in your pocket. If you wear a backpack or rucksack, don’t keep your wallet in the front pocket as you won’t feel it being removed on the tube. Don’t keep your wallet or phone in the back pocket of your jeans. Don’t conspicuously walk along the street on an expensive phone – a thief can easily do a grab-and-run and disappear in the crowd. In busy shops, don’t try on a pair of shoes and leave your bags unattended or out of your sight. If you go to a café, put your chair leg through the strap of your bag, and don’t leave your phone or wallet on the table.
What if my wallet/phone gets stolen?
If you get pickpocketed in one of the major department stores, go straight to customer services. Selfridges offers an excellent service from its LG floor – they’ll cancel your cards, lend you money to get home, and let you phone anyone you need to help you. Report the crime to the police in order to claim on insurance (the nearest police station details are here) but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to help you much in recovering your goods.