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.
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.
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.
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.