Not all roads are made equal: some are heavy-duty motorways, others are winding country lanes. Some are paved, some cobbled, some tarmacked. Some were never designed to take on cars, and some are there to take on the heaviest of freight vehicles. And some, like the list below, rise above the common road and become renowned, nationally and internationally – some for beauty, some for commerce, some for art and some for all the wrong reasons…
Famous, perhaps, for all the wrong reasons, the M25 is the bane of commuters across the entire south of the country. Unveiled in 1986 by Prime Minister Thatcher, the M25 was originally planned as several concentric ringroads that would have taken the burden off for travellers wishing to avoid London traffic altogether. But best-laid plans…
Watling St, Kent
A Roman Road stretching between the modern cities of Canterbury and St Albans, Watling St has seen a lot of British history: from Roman Battles to Chaucerian legend, the street has persisted to become the first turnpike in Britain during the 1700s. Parts of the original road remain in Kent, southeast and north London.
Abbey Road, London
The street gave its name to a studio, and the studio gave its name to an album, and the rest is history. Every day tourists flock to recreate the Beatles’ famous stride over the zebra crossing, which rather holds up the traffic. The crossing itself is even monitored from a 24-hr webcam.
The Shambles, York
With a wonderfully storybook name like this, how could this York street fail to be famous? Once voted the most picturesque street in Britain, it is not unlike Diagon Alley of Harry Potter fame.
Oxford St, London
A name synonymous with fashion and shopping since the 19th Century, Oxford St was once the site of Roman Rd via Trinobantina, Debenhams, Selfridges, John Lewis and House of Fraser all have their flagship stores along the road, making it an internationally-renowned destination for shoppers.
Kensington Palace Gardens, London
One of the most impressive streets anywhere in the world, Kensington Palace Gardens is home to diplomats, royals, oil barons, minerals tycoons and entrepreneurs. One of the most expensive streets in the world, it’s often referred to as Billionaires’ Row.
The Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Stretching between the two royal residences in Edinburgh – the ancient castle at one end and the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other – the Royal Mile is a cobbled road that has seen everything from black plague to colourful performers during the Edinburgh Festival. The many sloping laneways that run off it add to the historical interest.