Trafalgar Square, London

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Trafalgar Square, WC2

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  • Trafalgar Square, London
    Trafalgar Square, London
    by antistar
  • Trafalgar Square, London
    Trafalgar Square, London
    by antistar
  • Trafalgar Square, London
    Trafalgar Square, London
    by antistar
  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Charing Cross

    by mikey_e Written Dec 18, 2012

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    Charing Cross Station is, like Paddington and Victoria and so many other stations in London, both historic and a part of the city’s modern infrastructure. The station was constructed in the 1860s with a richly decorated façade in the French Renaissance style, although, given its location, it was fairly cramped and compact. A complete reconstruction of the roof was required in 1905 after it collapsed during maintenance work. Further restorative work to the station was completed in the 1990s, although this did not seriously affect the aesthetic ensemble of the station. Charing Cross also features a replica of what is known as the Eleanor Cross, which was originally in front of Whitehall and used to determine official distances from London. Given that this is just a replica, it is no longer used to calculate distance.

    Charing Cross hotel and Eleanor's Cross Double Decker at the station
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    St Martin in the Fields

    by mikey_e Written Dec 13, 2012

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    St. Martin in the Fields is an 18th century church that stands on what is presumed to have been hallowed ground since the 5th century, when London was under Roman control. The current structure was constructed in Renaissance style, with a westerly façade that contains six Corinthian columns. While the church stands firmly on the eastern edge of Trafalgar Square, today a particularly busy part of the core of the city, it was once in a field between the cities of London and Westminster, from which it gets its name. The spire must have been quite impressive at the time, but with the creation of the square and other building around the church, it has lost some of its imposing stature. The interior of the church, while rectangular in shape, nevertheless presents an interesting and rich décor thanks to the various mouldings and the Corinthian columns that create bays alongside the nave of the structure. Today, the church offers a variety of classical concerts.

    St Martin in the Fields Entrance to the church St Martin from the north
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    Nelson's Column

    by mikey_e Written Dec 10, 2012

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    Nelson’s Column was decided upon separately from the renovation of Trafalgar Square, but nevertheless meshes together with it in a combined memorial to the naval battle that helped establish British supremacy during the 19th century. It was completed in the 1840s, although the massive lions that guard the base were a later addition, having been commissioned and placed in the 1860s. The column is marked on the four sides of its plinth with bronze reliefs that depict scenes from the life and death of the illustrious Lord, and were cast from French guns captured by the British. The committee that was formed in order to build the memorial ran out of money prior to its completion, which was only achieved through the assistance of the state. Today, the column is an important component of the ensemble of Trafalgar Square, despite reports that the excess of visitor damage to the lions at its base is causing considerable harm to the longevity of this London landmark.

    The infamous lion The Column up close Nelson's Column The Column from afar
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    Commonwealth Centre

    by mikey_e Written Dec 10, 2012

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    Trafalgar Square, named after one of Britain’s most celebrated naval victories, the Battle of Trafalgar, which allowed the British to secure their defeat of Napoleon’s forces. While the square has been in existence since the 1730s, the current development plan stems from the 1840s. It was redesigned in order to give more prominence to the National Gallery, which stands on its northern side. In the course of the rejuvenation of the Square, a column was erected in honour of Lord Nelson, the Commander of the Naval Forces during the Battle of Trafalgar. This commemorative column was commissioned and erected independently of the Square’s makeover, and thus it still stands slightly independently from the series of statues and the fountains that were incorporated in the initial renovation plan. The Square’s central location in Westminster – opposite the Mall from Buckingham Palace, beside Charing Cross station and not far from the Embankment – helped to convert it to an important urban space. A number of Common wealth High Commissions are now present in the Square (South Africa, Malaysia, Canada, Australia) as well as the National Gallery. It is here that Londoners gather for important events, as well, such as New Year’s Eve. For meager visitors, of course, the Square provides a useful landmark to navigate an otherwise labyrinthine urban core.

    Trafalgar Square and the Museum One of the many statues Fountain on the Square Fountain and Canada House Ship in a bottle
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    Admiralty Arch

    by mikey_e Written Dec 10, 2012

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    The Admiralty Arch, standing at the eastern edge of the Mall, separating it from Charing Cross Station, is a monumental structure erected in 1912 to commemorate the Empire’s prolific monarch, Queen Victoria. Although the name of the structure might lead to associations with the Navy or the Armed Forces, it is actually derived from the Old Admiralty Building next door, which is currently sits empty. The Admiralty Arch is an impressive example of neo-Classical architecture in London, and its tall arches and measured, exact replications of Greek columns seem somehow out of step with the traditional view of a grimy, Dickensian London, although they do mesh well with the ensemble of nearby Trafalgar Square.

    The Admiralty Arch Another view of the Arch Yet again, the Arch Side of the Arch Arch and traffic
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    A BRAVE NURSE EXECUTED

    by davidjo Written Dec 8, 2012

    A memorial to Edith Cavell (1865-1915) stands across from Trafalgar Square on the north east corner. Around the memorial are the words " HUMANITY, FORTITUDE, DEVOTION and SACRIFICE". Edith Cavell saved hundreds of lives during WWI in German occupied Belgium. She helped 200 allied soldiers escape from Belgium and was subsequently arrested by the Germans and shot soon after despite appeals for clemency.

    brave nurse
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    Don't miss Nelson at the Square

    by davidjo Written Nov 27, 2012

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    Trafalgar Square was developed between 1820's and 1845 to commemorate Lord Nelson's naval victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1815. The square is used for demonstrations, celebrations such as New Year and sporting events and during the day hoards of tourists flock here to feed the pigeons and admire the statues. Nelson's Column rises 200ft and has 4 sculpted lions at the base, and was designed by the architect, William Railton after winning a competition. Horatio Nelson, vice admiral of the British Fleet stands at the top of the column overlooking the two fountains. Around Trafalgar Square stands the National Gallery, St Martin in the Fields Church, Admiralty arch leading to the Mall and Buckingham Palace, Canada House, South Africa House while the Strand and Whitehall branch off in the other directions.

    NELSON'S COLUMN one of four lions at the base of the column King George IV on Horseback LORD NELSON AT THE TOP OF HIS COLUMN
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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar square.

    by Regina1965 Updated Nov 24, 2012

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    Trafalgar square is one of the best known squares in London. It is located in the very center of London. The Nelson Column guarded by four lions stands in the middle of the square to the front. And there are two big fountains on the square.

    Trafalgar square is named after The Battle of Trafalgar which was fought in 1805.

    I was here during the heat-wave in August 2003 when the temperatures rose as high as 38 degrees C - then people were cooling off in the fountains - I only put my feet in the water, but people were bathing here - it was fun really, doing something different, bringing people closer together.

    There are often concerts on the squares and demonstrations. The New Year´s Eve celebrations are also held here. The London Christmas tree has its place on Trafalgar square - it is a gift from Oslo - we Icelanders also get a Christmas tree from Oslo every year :)

    Here on Trafalgar square people also often gather to demonstrate something. And today (November 2012) it was closed off as there was a rehearsal for a film taking place there, and there were tanks and war-trucks on Trafalgar square.

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    Trafalgar Square

    by Evenith666 Updated Nov 22, 2012

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    With its name commemorating the British victory over the French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar, and a statue of Admiral Nelson atop a huge column, Trafalgar Square is now of the most recognised London landmarks. Occupying the a large part of the area formerly known as Charing Cross, and served by the Charing Cross underground station, its’ central location make it the perfect starting point for anyone wanting a walk round London but who is staying outside the city centre, and served as such on two consecutive days during our recent trip.

    The naval theme continues with busts of three Admirals against the North wall of the square; Lord Jellico, Lord Beatty, and the Second World War First Sea Lord Admiral Cunningham.

    Other statues in the square include King George IV (North-Eastern corner), originally intended for the top of Marble Arch. Other statues include Major-General Sir Henry Havelock (South-East) and General Sir Charles James Napier (South-West). The Fourth Plinth, located in the North-Western corner of the square, was empty since its construction in the 1840’s. Since 1998 it has been used to show a series of specially commissioned artworks, including a 1:30 scale replica of Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Victory, in a giant glass bottle.

    Trafalgar Square is also the location of The National Gallery. On the lawn in front of the Gallery are statues of King James II to the wet, and a replica of a statue of George Washington, a gift from the state of Virginia.

    The final statue is an equestrian statue of Charles I located on the site of the original Charing Cross.

    On our first full day, we planned to visit Buckingham Palace before walking along Whitehall and ending up back at the square, and as such we took the Tube to Charing Cross and after looking round the square, headed under Admiralty Arch and down The Mall.

    Nelson's Column The National Gallery Looking Down Whitehall From Trafalgar Square Admiral Horatio Nelson
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  • awladhassan's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar SQUARE

    by awladhassan Updated Oct 3, 2012

    No trip to London is complete without visiting Trafalgar Square. It has become more pedestrian friendly and cleaner than before. The fountains are a delightful place to be after tramping the streets on a hot summer's day.
    As well as the famous Nelson's column , there are other statues in the square. and of course the Landseer Lions that we loved to climb on when we were young.
    Just standing or sitting in the square there is a lot to see- buses, people

    fountain in Trafalgar Square Floral 'painting' in Trafalgar Square 2011 view from Trafalgar Square to Big Ben Buses and a statue from Trafalgar Square Tourists in Trafalgar Square
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    Admiralty Arch

    by toonsarah Updated Apr 4, 2012

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    Every visitor to Trafalgar Square will spot this grand arch leading from its south west corner, but relatively few know its history. Admiralty Arch was built in 1910, commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria. The Latin inscription along the top of the arch reads:

    “ANNO DECIMO EDWARDI SEPTIMI REGIS VICTORIÆ REGINÆ CIVES GRATISSIMI MDCCCCX“,
    which means
    “In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910”

    The arch leads from Trafalgar Square to the Mall, and as you pas through it you are faced with an excellent view of that road and at its end Buckingham Palace, with (if you look carefully) a statue of that same queen in front of it. But unlike some famous arches elsewhere in the world, this one also includes offices above the archways, which currently house the Cabinet Office and other government departments. None of these rooms is open to the public, which is a shame as I imagine the views, especially along the Mall, must be excellent.

    One famous feature of Admiralty Arch is the so-called “nose”, a small protrusion the size and shape of a human nose which can be found on the inside wall of the northernmost arch. The nose is at a height of about seven feet (that is waist height for anyone riding through the arch on a horse). There is a tradition that the nose is there in honour of the Duke of Wellington, who was known for having a particularly large nose, and that soldiers would rub the nose for good luck as they rode through.

    Admiralty Arch

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  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square: superb for people watching!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Dec 13, 2011

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    Trafalgar Square is a terrific place for people watching - probably one of the best places in London to observe your fellow tourist (since locals tend to avoid it like the plague because of the crowds)!

    Trafalgar Square was obviously named in honour of Admiral Horatio Nelson's famous naval victory over Napoleon's fleet at Trafalgar - Nelson himself occupies pride of place on top of the column that forms the centrepoint to the square. There are a number of statues scattered around the square, commemorating some fairly ho-hum historical figures: George IV (better known as the Prince Regent) and then Major General Sir Henry Havelock and General Sir Charles James Napier by George Cannon Adams who may have been household names in their day but have since slipped into relative obscurity.

    The nicest time to visit Trafalgar Square is in December, when the square plays host to a massive Christmas tree. This tradition dates back to 1947 and the tree is an annual gift from the people of Oslo to the people of London in recognition of the assistance that they extended them in World War II. The Square is also the traditional gathering place in London for people to see in the New Year, although it's quite beyond me why people would want to hang around here for hours in the freezing cold (and often wet) just to hear a clock strike - but I guess that the same could be said of Times Square!

    Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square was a time honoured tradition in years gone by. However, it is now illegal and under the local bylaws you can be fined for doing so - unfortunately pigeons are simply winged vermin and the damage that they do to historic buildings greatly outweighs their dubious insistent charms.

    Lastly, although Trafalgar Square might seem like an obvious place to arrange to meet up with people, it's actually a terrible choice. At most times of the day and night, it is teeming with people, so it's like looking for a needle in a haystack and also it's surrounded by four absolutely identical lions and two fountains that look pretty well the same (so it's hard to be specific). If you're looking for a more reliable rendezvous point in the area, select something more unique the steps of National Gallery or South Africa House - which both face onto the square - or by the Eleanor Cross outside the main entrance to Charing Cross station on The Strand (incidentally the point from which all road distances are calculated in London).

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    Trafalgar Square

    by walterwu Written Sep 17, 2011

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    The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars.

    At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art.

    Panoramic View of Trafalgar Square Nelson Column Church National Gallery The Mall
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    Trafalgar Square

    by uglyscot Updated Jul 13, 2011

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    Ok, I give in. here I am on Trafalgar Square. It has changed so much, become smaller to my eyes, though Horatio Nelson still towers above everything. The Landseer Lions still guard him, but today the fountains were being renovated and the flocks of pigeons are no more. On a sunny but cold spring day there were a lot of people around, many sitting on top of the lions, though for how long as the Heritage Security were preventing people from sitting on the walls.
    June 2009 update: Diosh and I found ourselves at Trafalgar Square. It was a hive of activity. People still sitting on the lions, the fountains working, a few pigeons around,and some ducks in the fountains too.

    Now there is anew attraction- the living painting by 'Van Gogh', in plants.

    Nelson's column a Landseer lion Trafalgar Square from the National Gallery Trafalgar Square July 2011 Van Gogh in plants- July 2011
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    Weekend Festivals

    by Cham Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I don't know if this has always happened or if it's just because Mayor Ken Livingstone didn't want to be remembered for bringing in congestion charging (which has cut traffic by 30% then by adding bus lanes increased traffic in other areas by 50% and to get people to ditch their cars and use public transport increased the prices of buses trains and the tube), but going to Trafalgar square on the weekend is like visiting times square in new york at new years. Throughout the year it's host to many festivals such as St paddy's day (where they made the fountains spew out green water), chinese new year, divali (hindu festival) and many more. The general emphasis of these festivals is to promote their cultures and i've been to a few and they're usually a good laugh, although if it's cold it doesn't seem to be as good...

    I would check first though because sometimes it's reserved for protests and not festivals.

    It's easily accessible from leicester square, covent garden and charing cross, and just look out for a large old school building with pillars and everything (The National Gallery) and a huge open space with two fountains and nelsons column (large column with a little man on top of admiral nelson to remind the French of the battle of waterloo)

    trafalgar square, showing the national gallery
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