The street is the main link between the two cities of Westminster and London. It runs eastward from Trafalgar Square, parallel to the River Thames, to Temple Bar which is the boundary between the two cities at this point; the road ahead being Fleet Street. Traffic travelling eastbound follows a short crescent around Aldwych, connected at both ends to the Strand. The road marks the southern boundary of the Covent Garden district and forms part of the
Northbank business improvement district.
The name was first recorded in 1002 as strondway, then in 1185 as Stronde and in 1220 as la Stranda. It is formed from the Old English word 'strond', meaning the edge of a river. Initially it referred to the shallow bank of the once much wider Thames, before the construction of the Victoria Embankment. The name was later applied to the road itself. In the 13th century it was known as 'Densemanestret' or 'street of the Danes', referring to the community of Danes in the area.