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.
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.
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.
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
The heart of London, Trafalgar square is a wide and harmonious square, where everybody meets, to make a short brake, and prepare the next stage, under Nelson's supervision from the top of his column.
To Picadilly or from Picadilly?
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“,
“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.
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).
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.
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.
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)
It took more than 10 years to build the Trafalgar Square from 1829 into the 1840s. It was to commemorate the victory of the Spanish Cape Trafalgar battle in 1805 lead by Admiral Nelson. The square, a neo-classical designed by John Nash is surrounded by artistic buildings that include St Martin’s In The Fields and National Gallery. Around the base are 4 huge bronze lion statues designed by Landseer.
The Nelson’s Corner in the center of the square has a fountain and a 185 feet high pole with a 17 feet high statue of Nelson at the top.
It s a good place to people watch at any time, especially since the north end in front of the National Gallery has been pedestrianised.
Its best to visit when something is going political or entertainment.
It was laid out during the middle nineteeth century, and is dominated by Horatio Nelson on his column. Britain greatest naval hero, who died on board his ship, HMS Victory, admidst his and England's greatest visctory at sea, the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
The National Gallery on the northern edge provides a good view along Whitehall towards the Houses of Parilament with its charismatic clock. You can here the chimes of big ben if you listen carefully!
Trafalgar Square, one of London's many icons. In the centre of the square stands Lord Nelson's Column (Lord Nelson was an Admiral of the British Navy, the column is as tall as the highest mast on the ship he commanded, the H.M.S Victory: 185 feet high). There are fountains and it is a popular place for tourists and locals alike (although there are mainly tourists here in the summer).
At the time when I was at Trafalgar Square (the first time) the 2004 Athens Olympics were on - so they had numerous mini-Olympic sporting events set up around the square.
When I was here in August 2007 there were some book stalls set up in the square, nice to have a bit of a look through.
I must have passed this police station at least a hundred times and never noticed it. Only when I went on the Excentric London Walk and the guide pointed it out I saw it. It's hidden in a lamp post on Trafalgar Square. The tour guide said before the age of mobile phones a policeman was on duty in there, where he had access to a landline phone in case of an emergency on the very busy square.
When I started out on my VT "career" some years ago, I had more or less decided I was not going to do tips on the most "touristy" things in London but I have come to the conclusion that it is slightly perverse to write tips on really obscure things if you do not balance your page with the things that people normally associate with this wonderful city. So here it is.
I haven't done it but I would guess that if you were to do an internet search of "London" the top four venues would be Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. I intend to deal with the latter here. Yes, it is true, if you are visiting the city, I will be very surprised if you don't visit it. Some years ago, I worked about five minutes walk away and it was merely a place to walk across to get from point A to point B. I suppose familiarity breeds contempt to an extent. Putting that aside, it is an impressive place and must rank in world tourist terms with Times Square in New York, St. Peters in Rome and Tianemman in Beijing.
Dominated by the statue of Horatio Lord Nelson, the national maritime hero, it is an open pedestrianised square flanked on one side by the National Gallery and the other by Admiralty Arch leading to the Mall. It has numerous features - the fountains, the statues, the lions, and the slightly odd fourth plinth. The fourth plinth was originally intended to house a statue of King William IV but the statue was never commissioned as they could not get the funds. Basically, nobody liked him! In recent times, the plinth has been th subject of much debate and currently relatively short term installations are displayed there.
If you visit London, you are sure to come here. Just remember not to feed the pigeons!