Apple opened its first European retail store on Regent Street this morning. View pictures of the queues and opening here.

A huge queue has already formed of Mac fans eager to explore the giant new store. The queue stretches from just outside the Apple Store, twisting and winding its way through surrounding streets. Macworld's reporter on the scene hasn't yet been able to find the end of this excited queue.

When Apple opened its first store in Japan's Ginza shopping district, the queue extended for three-quarters of a mile.

Strong rumours circulating before the doors opened up indicated Apple to have pulled out its big guns to commemorate the event. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was believed to be in the UK to welcome the first visitors to the store. Apple staff this morning explained that Jobs was regretfully unable to attend.

Apple is giving away free T-shirts to the first 2,500 visitors. The company is also giving free sets of iPod Socks to the first in the queue. Macworld reporter, Karen Haslam, is on the scene. She describes the excitement as "at fever pitch".

Read the full story here.