Regent Street is a major shopping street in the West End of London. It is named after George, the Prince Regent (later George IV) and was built under the direction of the architect John Nash. The street runs from Waterloo Place in St James's at the southern end, through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, to All Souls Church. From there Langham Place and Portland Place continue the route to Regent's Park.
The street was completed in 1825 and was an early example of town planning in England, replacing a number of earlier roads including Swallow Street. Nash's street layout has survived, although all the original buildings except All Souls Church have been replaced following reconstruction in the late 19th century. The street is known for its flagship retail stores, including Liberty, Hamleys, Jaeger and the Apple Store. The Royal Polytechnic Institution, now the University of Westminster, has been based on Regent Street since 1838.
The toy store Hamleys is at No. 188 Regent Street, just south of Oxford Circus. It was founded as Noah's Ark at No. 231 High Holborn in 1760. An additional branch opened at Nos. 64–66 Regent Street in 1881, while the original High Holborn building burned down in 1901, moving to Nos. 86–87. The store was frequently the first to market the latest games and toys, and became a strong seller of table tennis equipment in the late 19th century, allowing the sport to become popular. The business moved to Nos. 200–202, and moved to the current address in 1981. It claims to be the largest toy shop in the world.