Trafalgar Square review (Mar 2012)
This is out-of-date! I have been here again since I wrote this review
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I was going to do Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus today but I forgot to charge up my camera last night, and the damn thing died on me underneath Nelson's Column. So you'll have to settle for just Trafalgar Square instead. Maybe I'll do those other ones next week.
So then, Trafalgar Square... what can one say about this place. For one, all the pigeons have gone. When I used to come here as a kid the place was crawling with them hopping about and pecking at your head and hands for your burger buns. They even used to have an old skinny guy selling little polystyrene tubs of bird seed in the corner, but all that has gone now. Ken got rid of those when he was Mayor because they were a health hazard, apparently. Rats of the sky, is what he called them. And he done a good job too, because I don't think I saw a single pigeon the whole time I was there. It's just all full of tourists now, who are equally annoying.
There was a bit of a sporty theme going on today too, because the Olympics are coming. It was full of kids in their PE kit playing football and doing press-ups. They were all very excited, for some reason. I don't see what is so exciting about doing excerise, but maybe that's just my age. They had some of those crazy kids who jump on concrete walls and balance on metal barriers too, posing on tip-toes twenty feet in the sky. I must admit they were very good, but I don't expect many of them survived the day. Some of those walls were 10-feet high and they were jumping up and running on them like they were no higher than the pavement.
Trafalgar Square does have quite a few sights worth seeing. Nelson's Column is the obvious one, but I will write about that in the next post. The National Gallery looks impressive with its pillars at the front, but I've written about that one too. St. Martin-in-the-Fields church is the only place I have never been, and it's supposed to be quite good. They have classical music recitals at lunchtime and candlelit ones in the evening. They've even got a brass-rubbing centre in the basement. It's also a decent place to have a cup of coffee, because they've got a nice little cafe in the crypt (as long as you don't mind having dead skeletons a stone's throw from your cup).
Admiralty Arch often gets overlooked because it's hidden in the corner, but you really do need to venture through it for what you'll find on the other side -- The Mall. The Mall is the big red road that leads directly to Buckingham Palace. You can't really see the palace as you step through because it's too far away -- it's a good five minute walk from Trafalgar Square to the Queen's residence.
The four big plinths in each corner of the square are worth a look at. Three of them just have your normal kind-of soldiers and generals on, which are nothing much to look at. But the fourth one houses a temporary art exhibit which has been changing every six months or so for the last ten years (I'm not exact on the dates, so you might have to look that up). At the moment it's got a golden rocking horse on it. Don't ask me what the meaning behind it is supposed to be -- it's just a big rocking horse. I'm sure the artist is trying to tell us something deep and meaningful, but who cares. It's just a big rocking horse! Before that I think the plinth had a big ship in a bottle on it, which was quite cool. I've also seen some horrendous modern art pieces up there, a guy blowing up balloons and letting them go, and a girl dressed up as 'Where's Wally'. Rumour has it that they are just biding their time for the Queen to die, and then they're going to have an equestrian statue of her on it.
There are a few other little things to keep an eye out for in Trafalgar Square... one is the big statue of Charles II on horseback, directly in front of Nelson's Column. This is supposed to mark the centre of London, and all road distances are measured from this point. You can also find the capital's smallest police station in a pillar in the south-east corner. Look out for a little black door and a strange iron/glass globe on the roof.
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