Photo By Peter Watts
Leicester Square

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This panoramic picture of Leicester Square was taken around the time of the Chinese New Year celebrations, at which point it seems like the whole of the square is turned into one big fire cracker. The noise of all the celebratory fireworks being let off at this time is enormous, even enough to scare of the ubiquitous London pigeons. This picture shows the statues of William Shakespeare and Charlie Chaplin, behind whom is the Empire Cinema. The Odeon Cinema is to the right of this on the east side of the square.


Leicester Square - London visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Leicester Square' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Greater London.

Leicester Square lies in the heart of the West End of London. The square is very close to both Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, with Covent Garden not too far away. It is world famous for being the scene of many film Premiers. There are times when the whole square is transformed into a red-carpet set with thousands of fans waiting for the arrival of the stars. On the square is the world famous Odeon Cinema, Empire Leicester Square and the West End Vue. The Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square is well known for showing fairly new films very cheaply, and has a changing daily programme. At all times Leicester Square is a busy place, not only because of the cinemas found on it, but also as a major pedestrians thoroughfare.

In the middle of the Square is a small park, saved from development in a court case in 1848. The center of the park has a 19th century statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by dolphins. At each of the gates on the four corners of the park is a bust of various famous people including Sir Isaac Newton and William Hogarth. The most recent addition is a statue of Charlie Chaplin looking at Shakespeare from the north edge of the central area.

The origins of Leicester Square date back to 1630 when Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester brought the land and built himself a grand town house on the northern end (now occupied by the Empire theater). This house was known as Leicester House, and at one time was the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Leicester House was demolished in 1791 as the square lost favour with the rich as a desirable address and became associated with the entertainments industries. This association has remained to this day as both on Leicester Square itself and in the surrounding area are numerous nightclubs, bars and restaurants. A number of high profile media companies, like Capital Radio, Classic FM, Xfm London, Choice FM, Capital Gold and Capital Disney, are all housed in the GCap Media building on the square.


Leicester Square is in zone one of the London Transport network.
Tube: Leicester Square (Northern line, Piccadilly line) or Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly Line, Bakerloo Line).
Bus: 24, 29, 176 all stop on Charring Cross Road near to Leicester Square tube station. The 14, 19, 38 stop on Shaftesbury Avenue.

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