Leicester Square was named after the Earl of Leicester’s 17th-century mansion, Leicester House, which was originally situated on the northern edge of the square.
Leicester Square is in the heart of London’s West End – the city’s main entertainment district. If you visit in the evening, then the place will be buzzing with people in the pubs and clubs and three huge cinemas.
If you’re lucky then they’ll be having a big film première going on, and you might see a few movie stars walking down the red carpet.
Whilst the square is usually fit to burst with the tourists at nighttime, if you visit Leicester Square in the sunshine hours then it can be a very pleasant affair – this is where Londoners come to eat their lunch and relax by the shady trees and fountains.
> Read Craig’s review of Leicester Square “Everybody who comes to London ends up here at some point – they’ll have a wander around the West End to see the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus and get sucked into Leicester Square along with a million billion other people. It’s where you’ll find all the big cinemas and nightclubs. It’s where the nightlife is. The pubs have punters spilling out onto the streets, and shops sell cheapo theatre tickets to West End shows. There must be a thousand people milling around me this afternoon, all trying to decide what to do with their evening. It’s all noise, boys, the lost, wasted, wasters, tourists. Everyone seems to be sitting here and waiting for the sun to go down. I used to come here on a Saturday night when I was still the right side of thirty… continued.”
> Read Craig’s review of the West End “The West End roughly encompasses the area around Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. A lot of the biggest West End theatres can be found down Shaftesbury Avenue, Haymarket and the Strand. This is where you’ll get a proper taste of London – bright lights and terrible traffic. Lots of life, lots of strife. Lots of noise, and six inches of pavement per person. Shaftesbury Avenue is absolutely heaving with people tonight. You get carried along in the throng, like a fallen leaf in the sea, because there’s nowhere else to go. It’s very easy to lose your rag in a crowd like this. People clip your ankles and cut you up, and you’re forever looking at the backs of coats, and dodging rucksacks that are slung over their shoulders like head-height rocky outcrops… continued.”
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If you’re visiting Leicester Square you might like to read Craig’s review of the nightlife in the West End, and the neon lights in Piccadilly Circus. He’s also been walking around Covent Garden and written one about Trafalgar Square. And of course, you’ll also want to check out our London film guide page to see if there are any big premieres taking place in Leicester Square.
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