Why is Harley Street famous? Your straightforward guide

A Street sign of Harley Street, W1, City of Westminster

If you’ve explored the world of private healthcare, you’ll know that Harley Street is a big deal.

On the other hand, if you’ve never explored the immense world of private healthcare, Harley Street might be a bit of a mystery for you.

Regardless of if you’ve heard of Harley Street or not, we’ve got all you need to know listed below.

What is Harley Street famous for?

This London street, along with the surrounding area, is a globally famous hub for private healthcare. It has a rich medical history that goes as far back as the 1800s. There are 3000+ medical professionals and 200+ clinics, so the chances that you’ll find the specialists and treatments that you need and/or want are very, very high.

Two doctors looking at and discussing the results of a patient.

With lifesaving treatments, diagnoses, and healthcare from leading professionals in every medical speciality under the sun, it’s the go-to place for private cosmetic surgery and dentistry.

Cosmetic treatments is one of the reasons Harley Street is popular for cosmetic tourism. In this image, a client is laying down with her eyes closed while being injected with botox by a specialist.

Harley Street: A brief history

When Edward Harley married a wealthy heiress, he inherited a part of the Marylebone area in London. In 1719, the couple planned to turn this land into an outstanding set of buildings, which led to the creation and naming of Harley Street.

In the following centuries, from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s, doctors began to arrive because the street offered grand but affordable buildings. These were suitable for professionals to have their practice on the ground floor and their family home above it. As a result, the street thrived on its medical reputation from the mid-1900s onwards.

There’s a good chance you’ll recognise one of these famous names:

  • In the early 1850s, Florence Nightingale, a founder and pioneer of modern nursing, worked at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen before leaving to work in the Crimean War.
  • Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man, was admitted to London Hospital on Harley Street in 1886. He remained there as a patient until his death at the age of 27.
  • In 1924, Lionel Logue, the speech therapist of King George VI, began practising at Harley Street. In 1926, King George VI (the then Duke of York) started speech therapy with Logue for his stutter.

Why does it continue to be famous to this day?

As we’ve seen so far, Harley Street has a long-standing reputation. So much so, that people choose to fly to London from overseas to see specialists from there.

This health tourism has taken off so well that there is no shortage of hotels nearby. And it’s not only health; dental tourism is another magnet to Harley Street.

A female dentist in the middle of performing a dental procedure. She is looking down towards a patient, wearing a face mask and holding a dental tool. Cosmetic dentistry is one of the most well known specialties of Harley Street.

In fact, The Medical Tourism Index, which measures and compares the world’s best destinations for medical tourism, found that the UK was the second-highest-ranking destination (just behind Canada) in 2016-2017 for medical tourism.

A lot of medical work for the rich and famous happens here. This is one of the reasons medical professionals and patients alike seek out practices in the highly sought out W1 postcode – it has a reputation for having the best of the best.

What specialists are there?

The concentration of doctors has resulted in a vast range of specialists in one location.

A medical specialist performing an ultrasound on a female patient. The doctor is holding the probe over the patients midsection and both patient and doctor are looking at the ultrasound imaging on a screen.

In fact, over 300 Top Doctors specialists work on or around Harley Street.

Here are just some of the reasons people visit Harley Street and it’s surrounding area.

A female psychologist is sitting with a clipboard on her lap and she's facing a young boy. They are in a room filled with children's drawings and toys. The psychologist is making a hand gesture during her conversation and the boy is listening intently.

We couldn’t possibly list them all here, but here’s an A – Z list of over 100 specialities from the Harley Street website.

“How would I know which one is the best for me?”

Navigating the thousands of specialists on Harley Street can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? Fortunately, Top Doctors showcases the best medical specialists in the UK and lists their experience, areas of expertise and availability in one easy online space. We’ll make it easier for you, so why not take a look?

Where exactly is Harley Street?

You’ll find Harley Street in the heart of London, in the borough of Westminster.

A view of central London with a focus on the River Thames. Harley Street can be found in the borough of the City of Westminster. In the image, the Palace of Westminster is to the right side of the river, and buildings span until the horizon line.

To put this into perspective, it’s within walking distance from Regent’s Park, Baker Street, Oxford Circus, and Bond Street.

If you’re in London to see the sights, you can take a quick trip to Harley Street to witness this Georgian-styled medical hub with your own eyes.

If you’re travelling to see a medical specialist, you’ll be glad to know it’s easily reachable from all of London’s main airports; Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stanstead.

You don’t have to visit London to meet these world-class doctors

Everybody deserves access to the top specialists from around the country so we’ve bridged the gap that location and distance create.

A medical specialist is sitting at a table with his arms folding over it. He's smiling and looking towards the viewer of the image. There is a laptop in front of him, which he can use for a Top Doctors e-Consultation.

If travelling for a consultation isn’t your thing, or even going to a nearby doctor’s office, you can have a consultation from your own home by means of an e-Consultation. What’s this?

The highlights:

  • It’s private and confidential
  • You can use the private message service, be it for a minor query or to see if the doctor is right for you.
  • You can have a face-to-face consultation via an encrypted video call service.
  • You’ll be able to contact leading specialists in the country who we’ve verified.
  • Geographical barriers aren’t an issue anymore

Everything you could possibly know about e-Consultation is available here.


You’re now up to speed on all things Harley Street. From the historically famous medical cases and the range of specialities available to how to meet your own Harley Street specialist, you’re in the know.

So, will you consider a Harley Street specialist the next time you need a medical or cosmetic procedure?

Is there something you know that we haven’t covered? Share it with us in the comments if so!

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