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Central London's Regent Street: From Celeb Restaurants To Chic Boutiques

London, England, a destination where chic meets heritage in a balance that graces the city's heart. Stroll any street in Central London and you'll find a stylish parade of cutting-edge fashion and stunning architecture. However, the thoroughfare that defines fashion and regal architecture is Regent Street. Originally designed as Europe's initial shopping street by John Nash in 1811, this posh avenue with its elegant columns, wide-boulevard and prominent, Portland Stone Facades is premiere for luxury shopping, flagship stores, restaurants and hotels.

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An ideal place to begin your shopping adventure along the "Mile of Style," is at the intersection of Regent Street and Piccadilly. Head a block north on Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus is located on your right side; just two blocks further and the fabulous five-star Cafe Royal Hotel is situated on the right-hand-side of Regent Street. For 150-years, the gorgeous Cafe Royal has been an iconic landmark on London's social scene for celebs and royalty. At the turn of the 19th century, The Cafe Royal was renowned as possessing the greatest wine cellar in the world at the time. Today, after four years of renovation in 2008 and an expansion, the Cafe Royal Hotel features 160 contemporary guestrooms, 49 suites and six signature suites. Each room or suite proffers refined and modern decor with lovely marble bathrooms. In addition, the hotel also features a cabaret and an array of excellent bars and restaurants, as well as their signature Cafe. The Cafe fronts bustling Regent Street, yet the interior with its warm, golden marble surround and tables, provide a relaxed oasis to sip an espresso and enjoy a selection of enticing pastries or cakes.

The appeal of British fashion derives from a venerable combination of style attributes, whether the designs are conservative, imaginative, playful or innovative. However, when heritage, innovation and functionality come together, Hunter, since the late 1850s, is the forerunner in Britain. Located on 83/85 Regent Street, Hunter's flagship store carries a complete array of Wellingtons (boots), footwear, clothing, accessories and bags to guard against the elements. Hunter's boots are unquestionably fashionable and worn by royalty and celebs alike; even fashion model Kate Moss sports knee-length hunters in wet, mucky weather. The Regent Street store covers three floors and highlights excellent displays of numerous design combinations, especially the Kid's department, which is a blast to visit with its bright and fun presentations. Browse through the collections and you'll find a range of fringed and colorful boots to original Vinyl Zip-front Coats and traditional wear. Among Hunter's exceptional designs are their bags, such as the brilliant, original Rubberized Leather Backpack and the women's Silicone Tote Bag in pastel to neutral hues. Hunter's boots and urban rainwear makes it fun to go out and splash in the rain!

Men's fashions are equally center stage in Britain with Hackett, located on 193/197 Regent Street, a major paradigm. Hackett caters to the quintessentially dressed British man and produces the highest quality clothing and accessories. The shop's fabulous lines are displayed in an environment that is conducive to a thoroughly enjoyable shopping experience for both sexes. The Regent Street Hackett is the largest in the world and offers a truly, one-stop shopping location for men who want a personal look, based on British style. In addition, Hackett's Junior and kid's department offers a splendid line of accessories and clothing as well.

Women's understated luxury designs are a trendy favorite at Goat, located just off Regent Street on 4 Conduit Street, sets the standard with their exquisite flagship boutique. Goat's sophisticated, yet relaxed and refined fashions focus on paired down aesthetics. They have garnered a devoted following of discerning clients and a quiet celebrity clientele, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller and Victoria Beckham. Goat's dresses are especially appealing with their beautiful fabrics and flattering lines and their sublime coats and jackets are essential for those in fashion.

For those who thrive on excellent tea and coffee, a visit to The East India Company, located just off Regent Street on 7/8 Conduit Street, will captivate you. The company's British-India chic interior is replete with displays of exquisite china teapots, tea ware and a selection of over 140 different teas. Rows of elegant brass tabletops feature treasures from exotic spices and enticing gourmet delicacies, such as fine chocolates, biscuits, artisan preserves and luxury hampers.

Several notable East India Company teas to peruse are Boston Tea Party and Royal Flush. The Boston Tea Party blend combines black Chinese Keemun tea with black and green Yunnan teas, for a full-bodied and hearty tea. It is also based on the teas thrown overboard during the infamous Boston Tea Party of 1773. The inspiring Royal Flush is medium-bodied, delicate and stems from a tea bush planted by Prince Philip during his visit to Ceylon. For additional information, visit The East India Company

Regent Street offers visitors tremendous shops and boutiques along its famous mile-long street and side streets with fashion to perfume and specialty shops to restaurants, cafes and historical tours. With a few hundred shops and sights to visit and see, it may seem an impossible feat just to keep track of where you visited and what you might like to visit. Now, Regent Street is Europe's first shopping street to pioneer a personalized mobile phone app with Beacon technology. The cool purpose-built app provides exclusive offers tailored to shoppers' preferences while keeping their data private. The app uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with beacons in each store, so that as shoppers walk past, they receive alerts to their mobile phone about a range of things from information about new products and upcoming events, maps and exclusive offers only available to those shopping on the street that day.

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Recommendations for restaurants are Gordon Ramsay's Heddon Street Kitchen, Frescobaldi and Veeraswamy. Gordon Ramsey is often notable for his dynamic BBC America Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and his many fine restaurants throughout London. His newest, Heddon Street Kitchen, located just off Regent Street on 3/9 Heddon Street, is open all day and features lunch, dinner and Sat.-Sun. brunch menus with a quick lunch and pre-theater menus as well. The warm gold-toned interior spans two floors with table and booth seating and outside patio seating in warmer weather. The menu leans to British-inspired with glorious comfort items, such as Heddon's scrumptious Macaroni Cheese and Baked Spinach Ricotta and Artichoke Cannelloni. If you need a delicious but on-the-go- salad, try Heddon's Warm Bang Bang Chicken, with watercress mouli, beansprouts, radish and peanuts.

Frescobaldi, located just off Regent Street on 15 New Burlington Place, features outstanding traditional Tuscany regional cuisine with a twist. The interior is beautiful with Italian-themed character art and intimate table seating. Moreover, the Frescobaldi family has been one of Italy's most celebrated wine dynasties for the past 700-years and their restaurant wine cellar is superlative. Try the succulent beef filet with spinach and artichoke paired with an Ammiraglia Syrah for an exquisite dinner option. For additional information, visit . Veeraswamy, located on 99-101 Regent Street, is the oldest and one of the absolute best Indian restaurants in London. The second floor interior imbues the lavishness of Royal India in the 1920s with intimate lighting and a classically inspired menu from several regions. Veeraswamy’s curries are complex and heavenly and their large, curried prawns attract guests from all over Europe and the U.S. The romantic restaurant is a complete and satisfying stimulation of all the senses, in an atmosphere you will wish to linger in long after the cuisine has disappeared.

Additional fantastic shops, restaurants and bars to visit on Regent Street: Burberry, Penhaligon's, Sketch, Liberty, Icebar London, Brasserie Zedel, Molton Brown, Longchamp and Apple Store.

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Patrice RapleePatrice Raplee is an experienced travel photojournalist and editor of Travel Excursion and Seattle Spotlight for Positively Entertainment magazine. In addition, she writes a monthly travel column for the award-wining site and is a regular contributor on travel radio shows. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Recording Academy. Her articles and photographs have appeared in numerous international publications, as well as NW newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Patrice travels the globe to cover destinations that feature fascinating culture, art, culinary, history and soft adventure.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Published: November 1st, 2015

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