London is a city that’s full of historic landmarks. From the gorgeous palaces to the stunning cathedrals, the city is wracked with centuries of culture. With the cityscape quickly changing, it’s no surprise to find some fo the landmarks overlooked or painted over. One area that could be argued to have undergone drastic makeovers is Piccadilly Circus. Being nestled right in the heart of the city and close to some of the best special offer London hotels, Piccadilly Circus’s past is often outshone by the dazzling neon lights and a broad variety of entertainment venues in the area.
As one of the key landmarks of London’s West End, visitors to the area might want to know a little more about the bustling square, and what made it such a hub for tourism and entertainment. Below are just some of the key facts about Piccadilly Circus and how it came to be.
Where is Piccadilly Circus?
Piccadilly Circus is in the West End of London. As a thoroughfare connecting Regents Street and the Piccadilly area of London, the public square is one of the busiest parts for the city. The Circus or “circle” also connects to Shaftesbury Avenue and Haymarket, also connecting to Coventry Street and Glasshouse Street.
Why is Piccadilly Circus so busy?
With commuters and tourists all mingling into one area, it’s no surprise that Piccadilly Circus has gained such a reputation, made even more popular by restaurants and afternoon tea London deals. The area itself was made famous by Robert Baker, a tailor who in the 1620s’ sold picadill collars for shirts at what became known as Piccadilly Hall.
The fashionable district expanded and by 1819, Piccadilly Circus was built on the former site of a house and garden owned by one Lady Hutton. Famous London architect John Nash’s Piccadilly Circus design was intended to accommodate for the many shops and theatres that drew the public to the area.
For Piccadilly Hotel guests, staying in this buzzing area of the West End will bring you close to some of the city’s most treasured landmarks. Here is some information on just a few of them.
Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
In the heart of Piccadilly Circus is the nude statue of Eros, a memorial for the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. Anthony Ashley Cooper was commemorated by the statue due to his political work to replace Victorian child labour with working-class education. Based in the Southeastern edge of Piccadilly Circus, the statue was built in the late 1880s’ in the centre of the square but twice moved throughout the 20th century. Overlooking many theatres and restaurants in West End London, the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain is probably the most noticeable landmark in the area.
Currently home to The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, the Criterion Theatre is a Grade II listed theatre overlooking Piccadilly Circus. With around 600 seats and with 145 years of history, this is one of the quintessential Victorian West End Theatres.
Now known as the Trocadero Centre, the London Pavilion was a music hall built in 1859 with grand columns and famous electric billboards embellishing its front. This pavilion has had many roles throughout history, including as a music hall, retail space and theatre, making it one of the most visited and recognisable spots in the Piccadilly cityscape.