London’s oldest shopping mall – the Royal Opera Arcade

Completed in 1816, the Royal Opera Arcade predates it’s better known cousin, Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly, by three years. For the wealthy, it symbolised the dawn of shopping as a leisure pursuit – and no longer a chore undertaken by staff. The Regency period shopfronts were designed by one of London’s most famous architects; John Nash with G.S. Repton. The arcade derives its name from the adjacent Haymarket Opera House, now Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Don’t expect much in the way of consumer goods on offer today however, most shopfronts are taken over by agencies of one type or another. But what it lacks in merchandise it makes up in authenticity, tranquility plus a cafe to escape the bustle of the West End.

Photos: (c) Essential London

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