About the Area
Piccadilly is one the straightest and widest roads in the London area. Piccadilly runs from Hyde Park Corner all the way to Piccadilly Circus, and is situated south of Mayfair. Historically, this area is particularly interesting. Piccadilly Road used to be known as Portugal Street, until the 17th century when the road was renamed. Robert Baker, a tailor that sold piccadills (which were broad lace collars, then in fashion) made a fortune and bought a mansion nearby. Baker named the mansion Piccadilly Hall, and the switch from Portugal Street to Piccadilly came afterwards.
The Piccadilly area is known for its incredibly grand mansions, particularly on the northern side of the road. Some of mansions worthy of note include Clarendon House, Berkeley House (which is now known as Devonshire House), Burlington House and the Rothschild Row. In addition to this, Piccadilly is an area that is frequently mentioned in popular fiction. For example, Bram Stoker's Count Dracula had a house on Piccadilly, and Virginia Woolf writes a scene here in her short story "The Legacy."
Places Of Interest
There are lots of places of interest in the Piccadilly area, and in fact, it was once regarded as a popular shopping district. Piccadilly is home to Fortnum and Mason, a large department store that was founded in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. The growth of this department store began in the Victorian era, and it is now considered an iconic British brand that sells a variety of goods. The Royal Academy of Arts can also be found in Piccadilly, which is an art institution that was founded by King George III in 1768. There is no shortage of incredible architecture in this area: the Ritz Hotel is also in Piccadilly. The Ritz is a 5-star hotel, built in the neoclassical style during the Belle Époque. The hotel boasts 6 private dining rooms, as well as a casino in the basement. Many scenes from the film "Notting Hill" were shot around the Ritz.
The RAF Club is also an area of interest in Piccadilly. Founded in 1918 and formally opened in 1922 by the Duke of York, this club is the ultimate gentlemen's club. This area is also ideal for booklovers: Hatchards can be found here, which is the oldest bookstore in the entire United Kingdom. Founded in 1797, many popular authors have since signed books here, including J.K. Rowling, Alexander McCall Smith and Stephen Fry.
Getting to Piccadilly is incredibly easy because it is so central. Getting here via the London Underground is perfect: the Piccadilly line runs underneath the street and Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly Circus all have entrances near this street. Piccadilly is also a line where transferring to other Underground lines is easy; it is possible to transfer to the Victoria, Bakerloo and Northern lines from the Piccadilly line. Because Piccadilly forms part of the A4 route, it is also easy to get into this area by car. The A4 runs parallel to the busier M4 motorway, meaning this road is ideal for commuting into Piccadilly.