Leicester Square Updated: 2 months ago

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Leicester Square is a vibrant entertainment hub and a popular destination in London’s West End, between Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden.

Leicester Square has a wide variety of entertainment, such as cinemas and restaurants. The streets around Leicester Square have many restaurants with different cuisines, and Chinatown is on the next block for even more choices.

History

The square was named after the Leicester House, which itself was named after the 2nd Earl of Leicester. Leicester Square was a place where many famous duels occurred during the 17th century. Many theatres were built on the square in the 19th century, which were replaced by movie theatres in the middle of the 20th century.

Square and Statues

There is a park in the middle of the square with a statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by a fountain. The park can be a nice place to sit and relax, especially in the mornings when the square is not too crowded.

The square now has an interactive trail of statues of loved characters from iconic films. These bronze statues are located around the park, some of them sitting on benches while others are installed in the flower beds surrounding the park. The following statues are present on the square:

  • Harry Potter
  • Indiana Jones
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Mary Poppins
  • Gene Kelly
  • Mr Bean
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Paddington Bear

The nearby rooftops have statues of Batman, Lauren, and Hardy, and the Wonder Woman statue can be seen on the side of one of the buildings.

Movie Theatres and Premieres

The square is home to two major cinemas in London, Odeon Leicester Square and Empire, with the Prince Charles Cinema being nearby. Oden Leicester Square underwent a major refurbishment in 2018, emerging with upgraded technology and enhanced luxury seating, underlining its status as a premier venue for movie-goers. The Empire features multiple screens and an IMAX auditorium; the cinema’s striking exterior and neon marquee are iconic London landmarks. The Empire’s Screen 1, with its impressive domed roof and ornate plasterwork, is particularly notable, retaining a grandeur reminiscent of the golden age of cinema.

In addition to watching movies, an important part of the cinema experience in Leicester Square is the movie premieres. Many major movies premiered in one of the Leicester Square cinemas, with the directors and the cast present at the square for the opening event. The premieres can draw huge crowds, with the fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite movie stars. The premieres are often announced beforehand with a list of cast members who will be present.

Shopping

The square has many popular shopping locations. The most popular of these are the M&M’s World and The Lego Store, and there is often a queue to get into the Lego store.

Theatre Tickets

The square has many theatre ticket sales points, where you can buy tickets for a show for the same day, the following day or the day after for discounted prices. Square is also home to the TKTS booth, where theatre enthusiasts can purchase last-minute tickets for many of London’s top shows.

Christmas at Leicester Square

Before Christmas, Leicester Square is transformed into a Christmas market drawing huge crowds. There are many options for food and warm drinks and stalls selling products.

Getting there

Leicester Square has its underground station, and the Piccadilly Circus station is about 100m away. The Charing Cross station, which you can get to via train, is roughly 10 minutes walking distance away.

Nearby

Leicester Square is about 100m away from Piccadilly Circus, so you should consider visiting both. Covent Garden is about 10 minutes away by foot, and the route has many other points of interest you should visit. Chinatown is also right next to Leicester Square.

Nearest Stations

Piccadilly Circus - 3 min

Bakerloo Piccadilly London Underground Zone: 1

Leicester Square - 4 min

Piccadilly Northern London Underground Zone: 1

Charing Cross - 7 min

Bakerloo Northern London Underground Zone: 1

Activities from Get Your Guide