Picadilly Circus & Leicester Square

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is a busy square in the heart of London.
It is famous for the fountain that was installed here at the end of the 19th century and for the neon advertising that turned the square into a miniature version of Times Square (No, I don’t mean THAT Times Square in Malaysia’s Capital; Kuala Lumpur).
The Circus was created by John Nash as part of the future King George IV’s plan to connect Carlton House – where the Prince Regent resided – with Regent’s Park.
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Billboards
The creation of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1885 turned the plaza into a busy traffic junction.
This made Piccadilly Circus attractive for advertisers, who installed London’s first illuminated billboards here in 1895. For some time the plaza was surrounded by billboards, creating London’s version of Times Square, but currently only one building still carries large (mostly electronic) displays.
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Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
At the center of the Circus stands the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
It was built in 1893 to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, a philanthropist known for his support of the poor.
The semi-nude statue on top of the fountain depicts the Angel of Christian Charity but was later renamed Eros after the Greek god of love and beauty. The fountain was made in bronze, but the statue is made of aluminum, at the time a novel and rare material.
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How Piccadilly got it’s name
The name “Piccadilly” originates from a 17th century frilled collar named Piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making Piccadils lived in the area. The word “Circus” refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated.
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Piccadilly Circus Today
Piccadilly Circus is now partly pedestrianized and a favorite place for people to congregate before going to the nearby shopping and entertainment areas.

Soho, London Chinatown, Leicester SquareTrafalgar SquareRipley’s Believe It Or Not! M&M’s World London – Are all within walking distance.
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Leicester Square
Named for the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Leicester Square in London is at the heart of the city’s prime entertainment district, situated in close proximity to Piccadilly Circus.
The square is embellished with several monuments including a fountain dedicated to Shakespeare.
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History of the Square
Situated in an area that was once part of a four-acre tract owned by Robert Sydney, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Leicester Square was open to the public around 1640 after locals protested the privatization of the land that was once common ground.
Development of the area began around 1670 and it quickly became a fashionable place to live as homes sprung up around the original Leicester House which, for some time during the very early 1700s, was the home of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
By the late 18th century, however, the character of the square changed and it soon became an area known for its entertainment venues, one of the first of which was a “museum of natural curiosities” known as the Holophusikon.
By the 19th century, more entertainment facilities sprung up around Leicester Square, including Wyld’s Globe, which was built for the International Exposition and housed a giant scale map of the world; and the 1854-built Alhambra, which for many years dominated the square.

It was joined thirty years later by the Empire Theatre of Varieties. All would help to establish Leicester Square as the heart of the West End entertainment district.
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Theatreland
The square is car-free and can be very crowded, especially on weekend evenings.

It is often the starting point for people who want to visit one of the many cinemas, theaters, snack bars and restaurants that are in the neighborhood.
Several major cinemas line the square, giving it its nickname “Theatreland”.

Visitors will also find a “TKTS” half-price ticket booth here, where discount tickets can be purchased for popular West End shows and musicals.

A handful of TV and radio stations also have their headquarters at Leicester Square.
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Shakespeare Fountain
But the square itself has some interesting sights as well.

In the center of the square, for instance, visitors will find a garden.
In the middle of the garden is a marble fountain with a statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by dolphins.

The fountain, created by Giovanni Fontana in 1874 is known as the Shakespeare Memorial Fountain.

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Statues
At each corner of the park is a statue of another famous Londoners, including Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Hunter, and William Hogarth.
Another likeness, that of Charlie Chaplin, was created by John Doubleday and added in 1981.
In addition, the square is surrounded with floor plaques that include the names and handprints of famous actors, similar to those found at the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.

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More pictures of Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square can be found below, for your viewing pleasure. 😉
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About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

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