Leicester Square, London

4 out of 5 stars 44 Reviews

London, WC2

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  • Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square
    Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square
    by spidermiss
  • Leicester Square, West End, London
    Leicester Square, West End, London
    by spidermiss
  • Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square
    Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square
    by spidermiss
  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Leicester Square

    by spidermiss Updated Aug 23, 2014

    Leicester Square is where Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, had, in the 1635, built Leicester House and the field (later called square) which were met with controversy and a fight as it was deemed common land previously.

    The area became more fashionable with further developments but by the end of the 1700s, the house and land became unfashionable with which Leicester House became a short lived musuem and the square as an entertainment venue.

    The house (subsequently demolished) and square didn't continue without a fight as there were legal disputes regarding the land and how it should be used. At the end of the 19th Century, the title and deeds were passed to the City of Westminster Council. Leicester Square from then became an entertainment venue where it celebrated The Great Exhibition (1851) and is today the heart of West End where movie premieres take place at cinemas, particularly Odeon Leicester Square, around the square.

    Leicester Square houses a small park where a 19th-Century statue of William Shakespeare is situated centrally and is the home for TKTs, a booth specialising in discounted theatre tickets, and is the only booth I personally recommend for visitors who want to book discounted theatre tickets at the last minute. Please don't visit the other 'official' booths in the square!

    Redevelopment of the square took place between 2010-12 which focusses on the historic character of the square and also act as an background for movie premieres.

    When I'm in London during the Christmas/New Year holidays I hope to check out the winter fair that is usually held here.

    Leicester Square, West End, London Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square Shakespeare Statue at Leicester Square Leicester Square, West End, London

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    The lovely Leicester Square.

    by Regina1965 Updated May 11, 2014

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    Leicester Square in down-town London is so lovely, the cinema square - with Leicester's Square Odeon, Emporium, Odeon West-End and Vue - and many more cinemas in this area. If you ever want to spot a famous actor this might be the place to be. Just hang around there at the premiere of a big movie. I accidentally stumbled into Leicester Square once when Tom Cruise was holding a speech there.

    The square used to be lined with handprints of famous actors, but in 2013 I noticed that all the handprints had gone. Why?

    Leicester Square is often closed off when there are premiers of new films and the actors in the main roles show up there. And the security guards can get really aggressive, shouting at people to "get off" - which I find very offensive, so I never stay here in the crowd to see if I can spot an actor. When there is a premier I walk through Chinatown to get to Charing Cross Road.

    Leicester Square is always very crowded with its cinemas, bars and clubs and on Friday and Saturday nights this is the place to be - if you are into clubbling. There are so many restaurants on the square itself and in this area - and this is an expensive area to sit down and eat - that is why I buy myself food in Chinatown and sit down in the park and have have my lunch there when in this area. But I have found that All Bar One, by the south-west corner of Leicester Square, is quite good and not that expensive.

    During Christmas time there is a theme park on Leicester Square.

    By the square is also an Information centre/ticket office.

    In the park there is a fountain with a statue of Shakespeare with dolphins, one of Charlie Chaplin and many other statues.

    If you want your portrait drawn and don't mind a lot of people watching you in the process then there are several artists on this square every day.

    TKTS is located on the square as well, where you can get same-day theatre-tickets half price.

    Last time I visited London, in May 2014, Leicester square had been totally transformed.

    The Shakespeare fountain in the park. Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square park. A festival on Leicester Square. During Christmas time. The Information center.

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    M&M's World London

    by GrantBoone Written Feb 23, 2013

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    Chocolate lovers paradise!

    In the heart of London at Leicester Square , this store is dedicated to the M&M chocolates.It is spread over four floors and has an extensive range of M&M's and merchandise, including kitchenware, clothing, bedding, jewellery and glassware. It even has a giant wall of chocolate where you can create your own M&M’s selection from over 100 choices. We took our two boys and some friends there after a trip to Madame Tussaud's.

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    THE LARGEST CANDY STORE IN THE WORLD

    by davidjo Updated Dec 15, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It is true 35,000 square feet at M & M's World in Leicester Square, but if you have kids i suggest you give this place a wide berth because this store is very enticing for children and by the looks of it, it s a huge rip off. It is five floors with expensive souvenirs--bags of sweets several £s, key rings £5, hooded tops £38 which you can buy at supermarkets for less than half that price. M & M sell their own sweets at £1.99 while the supermarkets sell at £1.30.
    There are M & M designs of flags, Queen Elizabeth and countless other things to see. It is quite possible towalk around all 5 floors without spending anything but to put it in a nutshell i suggest you avoid this ridiculous place

    expensive mugs for mugs!!! more junk downstairs THE UNION JACKS DO NOT ENTER
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    SWISS GLOCKENSPIEL

    by davidjo Written Dec 3, 2012

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    The 10 metre high Glockenspiel was a gift to London in 1985 by Switzerland and Liechtenstein for the centuries of friendship between them and Britain. The musical clock was redesigned by a Derby clockmaker and reinstalled in 2011. The musical clock has 27 bells and 11 moving figures and has a new wireless system that can be controlled from Derby.
    If you want to see the performance visit Leicester Square at 12 noon, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm.
    On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays there are three extra performances at 2pm, 3pm,. and 4pm.

    SWISS BELLS

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    SWISS CANTON TREE

    by davidjo Written Dec 3, 2012

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    The Swiss Canton Tree was a gift from the Swiss because of the good relations between the two countries and celebrated the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. The tree shows all coats of arms of the 26 Swiss Cantons.
    In return the Lord Mayor of Westminster named the area Swiss Court.

    26 SWISS CANTONS

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  • jhorsfield30's Profile Photo

    China Town, tracadero and places to eat

    by jhorsfield30 Written May 1, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    What an awesome place, leicester square,, exit the underground station, and within 2 mins walk is the square, chinatown, tracadero centre(arcades/games till late), and plenty of eateries, cinemas, clubs and nightclubs to keep you entertained for hours..

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    Valentino Rossi

    by Steve-H Updated Nov 9, 2009

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    In years gone by, in the week preceding the British GP, thats MOTOGP not F1, the Valentino Rossi road show rolled into Leicester Square. Hosted by Suzi Perry the Q&A session and interview was followed by a signing session when the 9 times world motorcycle champ tried to sign as many autographes as he could for his fans.
    It hasn't happened for the last few years and it's unlikely to be repeated but I was there when it did happen and it goes to show you that if you are in the right place at the right time then London really does have something for everyone.
    Yes, I did get his autograph.

    Rossi mania.
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    Leicester Square

    by MM212 Updated Oct 13, 2009

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    Named after an Earl of Leicester whose mansion was at this location in the 17th century, Leicester Square is the centre of entertainment in London. This reputation began in the 19th century, when it was home to numerous theatres and amusement venues, and has continued to this day, albeit with cinemas replacing most of the theatres. A small statue of Shakespeare was erected in the garden in the centre of the square as a nod to the square's history of hosting theatre. The cinemas around Leicester Square are the largest in London, so often on weekend nights, the square is more crowded than in daytime. Restaurants, bars and some clubs around the square are also very popular among tourists and locals alike.

    [Note: for those who do not know, "Leicester" is pronounced "Lester"]

    Leicester Square in daylight (Jan 07)
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    Mixed feelings

    by jorgec25 Written Sep 22, 2009

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    I got mixed feelings about Leicester Square.

    The square is located in a very nice part of London, and has a lot of activity both during the day and the night, with a lot of cinemas.

    But it's also filled with fast food joints and tourist traps shops and restaurants.

    leicester square
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    Movie fanatic?

    by jusdenise93 Updated Jul 19, 2009

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    Located right in the heart of London's West End, this busy square is within easy walking distance to many of London's top theaters, the café society and nightlife delights of Soho.

    There about 4 cinemas in Leicester Sq, which hosts to the BAFTAS and film premieres, (Odeon is the no. 1 premiere cinema). Don't expect much, there is little chance that you could see Orlando Bloom or Tom Cruise when you are surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans and large barricades, you'll barelu see anything at all. I went to two premieres, one for Pirates of the Caribbean, where I only saw Kevin Mcnally, and then I went to the Miami Vice one, where I only saw Naomie Harris who was in both films( the witch lady with the Jamaican accent in POC) .

    But if you really want do visit these cinemas, be aware they are the most expensive in London. You'll pay about £10-£13 for one person. I went in and watched Ice Age 2 in Empire, besides the very comfy chair, it doesn't really have that much to offer.

    Also the actual park-type square have a dial showing the distances to various cities and a statue of London film legend Charlie Chaplin. And during Christmas, there's usually a mini carnival there with rides.

    Apart from cinemas, there are a few chain pubs here ,and there is also the famous Swiss Centre.

    Overall, I'd say still visit it for a few minutes, take a picture and then proceed to Soho, Chinatown, Covent Garden, etc. to drink, watch a movie or dine.

    Behind is the Swiss Centre Odeon, where premieres takes place One of the four cinemas Phone boxes on the Square Tom Cruise
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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Leicester Square and its Statues

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Apr 20, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Leicester Square is perfect for an in between stop while exploring London on foot. All car through traffic is banned from the square and it's a pedestrian paradise.

    There are some benches and there are always some pigeons around asking for some attention.

    The Square is named after Robert Sidney, the second Earl of Leicester, who purchased four acres in St. Martin's Field in 1630. In 1635 he had built himself a large house called the Leicester House.

    There are a number of statues in the square. The central one is of William Shakespeare with his quote: There is no darkness but ignorance.
    At the four corners of the park have one bust each of the following men:
    -Sir Isaac Newton, scientist
    -Sir Joshua Reynolds, first President of the Royal Academy
    -John Hunter, pioneer of surgery
    -William Hogarth, painter.

    In one of the fields there's a new statue of of film star and director Charlie Chaplin.

    The square is popular for the following cinema's located in the area:
    -Odeon Leicester Square,
    -Odeon Mezzanine
    -Empire
    -Odeon West End
    -Vue
    -Odeon Panton Street
    -Prince Charles Cinema
    -Cineworld

    William Shakespeare statue Charlie Chaplin statue William Hogarth statue Sir Joshua Reynolds statue Leicester Square
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    La Clique

    by heitzenrater Updated Apr 10, 2009

    This show is a must; as long as you don't have a week stomach. This is a show of oddities, comedy and freaks! The best way to describe it is to steer you to the web page. Check out the page to find out all the info you need.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Leicester Square

    by toonsarah Updated Feb 17, 2009

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    For many people London’s West End is synonymous with visits to the theatre and cinema, and the hub of all this activity is Leicester Square. Until a few years ago this was a scruffy run-down patch of grass, frequented by homeless people in search of a bench or junkies in search of a fix, and skirted by most others. But a recent makeover has turned it into a pleasant place to pause for a rest, and there are a number of sights worth a quick look at least. At the centre of the square is a 19th century statue of William Shakespeare and busts of eminent historical figures, such as Isaac Newton and Joshua Reynolds, sit in each corner. I also particularly like this newer one of Charlie Chaplin, and cinema fans will also want to look for the hand prints of their favourite film stars set into the paving stones around the edge of the square.

    Around the four sides of the square are a number of cinemas, including the largest screen in London at the Odeon. This is a great place to see a film if like me you aren’t too keen on the small theatres with screens that seem not much bigger than your own TV! The Empire on the north side also has a good sized screen and auditorium, while the other cinemas are the more usual multiplexes. There are also plenty of restaurants, though we tend to avoid these – they’re usually very busy and noisy, expensive for what you get and I think they tend to be lazy about what they offer because they don’t have to work too hard to attract customers. So I recommend you go at least one street away before searching out somewhere to eat.

    If you prefer stage to film you’ll need to go to a theatre outside the square to actually see a play, but you might still want to come here first as the official half-price theatre ticket booth, known as “tkts”, is located on the south side of the square. There are a number of other places in the area also offering half-price tickets but these aren’t all official and may not have the bargains they advertise – I would always go to the official one.

    At Christmas Leicester Square is home to a small funfair which adds some seasonal colour to the scene and provides an alternative West End experience for visitors and locals alike. Film buffs will want to be on the lookout for a rather different special occasion though – one of the occasional film premieres that bring out the crowds to spot the stars on the red carpet.

    By the way Leicester is pronounced Lester, not Lye-kester as I have overheard some visitors say.

    Statue of Chaplin, Leicester Square Leicester Square at Christmas

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    LEICESTER SQUARE

    by alyf1961 Written Nov 26, 2008

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    Leicester square was laid out in 1670. In Victorian times, several of London’s most popular music halls were situated here including the empire, which is now a cinema, and the Alhambra, which is now the Odeon, another cinema.
    There is a statue of Charlie Chaplin and handprints cemented into the ground of famous celebrities such as Jude law, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maggie Smith.
    Most of the films released at the cinema are premiered here in Leicester square with the red carpet and celebrity events.

    LEICESTER SQUARE WEST END CINEMA CELEBRITY HAND PRINTS CHARLIE CHAPLIN

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