Leicester Square, London
Many visitors to London head for London's Leicester Square because they've heard so much about it. This is where the film premieres are held, but be warned, that doesn't make it a classy area. The A listers certainly don't hang around here afterwards.
As far as food goes, the area houses the standard run of chain burger and Mexican restaurants, Planet Hollywood, TGI Fridays and Chiquitos as well as some awful Italian restaurants and indeterminate bistros with plastic tablecloths and fake hedges outside pretending to be "value for money" but I guarantee will have you leaving with the feeling that London cuisine has little to offer. The final insult to your gastronomic senses, not just in Leicester Square, but across central London are the Aberdeen Angus Steak Houses with their drab interiors, ancient velvet seats and poor service, not to mention awful food!
The square itself is underwhelming with the only point of interest being a small statue of Charlie Chaplin in the gardens themselves. Hardly worth the trip when there are so many better places to be in London.
There is a casino in Leicester Square now, which depending on your interests could be a reason to go there, but my recommendation is, only go to Leicester Square if you have definite plans there, and . Wandering aimlessly here will make you stand out as a tourist and make you vulnerable to pickpockets and muggers, which although they are not exactly rife here will choose a likely looking target in this tourist focussed area. Don't be a victim and take extra care of your possessions in this area.
Finally, don't go clubbing here. It's dire, expensive and you'll probably get into a fight.
Unique Suggestions: You might be lucky enough to see celebrities arriving for a film premier here as all the large cinemas are in Leicester Square. If you find yourself in Leicester Square and need somewhere to eat, try Leicester Square Bar and Restaurant attached to the Radisson Edwardian hotel at the south side of the Square, 3 - 6 St Martins Street, Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7HL. This is a restaurant specialising in seafood with a modern ambience and pleasant service. (Book online through www.toptable.co.uk)
Fun Alternatives: Chinatown and Soho are close by to the north of Leicester Square and offer a far more vibrant and
The area around Leicester Square is tourist trap heaven, lots of subpar restaurants, tourist shops selling souvenirs, "discount" ticket brokers looking to fleece you on theater tickets and you'll not likely encounter many locals while strolling this area. I imagine it's also a good place to find pickpockets although I haven't encountered one, just make sure to keep an eye on your valuables in this area.
Unique Suggestions: One of the reasons to go here is the real 1/2 price ticket booth, look for the free standing building that says "TKTS". If you are looking for a place to eat, find Panton Street which shoots off of Leicester Square and try Stockpot, West End Kitchen or Strada. Or Chinatown is also very close with a lot of options. If you are looking for cheap souvenirs, both in price and quality, this is actually a good place to go, if they don't have it here, they probably don't make it.
Fun Alternatives: I'm not suggesting that you entirely avoid it but just remember that you have a big sign on your forehead that says "TOURIST" and if someone has thought of a way to take advantage of tourists, you will find it here.
I would actually avoid Leicester Square, since there is not much there except overpriced cafes and cinemas, tacky souvenir shops (selling all kinds of useless junk) and masses of tourists and people trying to flock you leftover tickets to the musicals.
The same goes for Piccadilly Circus. There is absolutely nothing to see - except masses of teenagers on the last leg of their language course on the English "Riviera", gathering around one of the statues and taking loads of photos!!
Unique Suggestions: If you must go there, pass through and go somewhere else.
Fun Alternatives: Head to the nearby Govent Garden for less tackier options
Its always been a mystery to me why tourists head to Leicester Square. OK its smartened up its act over the past couple of years, but apart from the cinema's its just full of tacky souvenier shops, and sidewalk cafes overcharging for very average food!
Unique Suggestions: If you do visit...best thing is the discount ticket booth for cheap theatre tickets. Only the one in the photo is official...the rest are just rip off merchants!
Fun Alternatives: If you want a nice square there are loads to choose from...Berkeley Square, Soho Square etc
And just north of Leicester Square in Soho are some really nice restaurants like Imli, Hummus Bros, or Soho Spice!
90% of the poeple wandering around are tourists, so it is unlikely you will meet any Londoners there. All the food places are rubbish and have food lying about for hours and hours because they know someone willl buy it!
Leicester Square is not worth your effort to visit - there is nothing there apart from other tourists, chain restaurants and some of the most expensive cinemas in the city.
Unique Suggestions: There is nothing you can do to make Leicester Square more bearable -don't go! unless you want to queue for a Haagen Daz ice-cream (ooh the glamour)
Fun Alternatives: Much better to walk up to Cambridge Circus along Shaftesbury Avenue (away from the theatres) and then into Covent Garden via the Seven Dials roundabout - lots of quirky individual shops and bars to be found there and there are actually London people around here too!
Enormous cinemas and nightclubs dominate this cheerless, disagreeable square, which is badly in need of a makeover. Although it is central, pedestrianised and stacked with options for entertainment(Britain's glitzy film premieres take place here)it still feels very much like a place to pass through, rather than a destination.
I sometimes walk through Leicester Sqaure and I actually really don't like the area. Its very busy and the all the restuarants charge the earth to eat.
There's a Few nightclubs on the Square which are awful and the cinema on the square is very expensive.
If you go to Leicester Sqaure becareful with your belongings and expect to pay alot of money for a meal.
Unique Suggestions: Walk a few minutes to China Town and get a nice meal there.
Leicester Square at night....
Unless you want to be ripped off, pickpocketed, surrounded by other tourists or stag nights and groped by paraletic city boys on a Friday night, then avoid Leicester Square. Also don't believe anyone who recommends the Hippodrome night club to you! It's possibly worth going there to catch a glimpse of celebs if there's a premiere going on, otherwise aviod it I reckon! Occasionally there's a decent funfair going on in the square in the summer.
If you really have to go there - the moon under water pub is cheap.
WATCH YOUR BAG! I've known of 2 people who have been pickpocketed at Leicester Square tube station and another friend had her bag stolen in the Hogshead pub just off Leicester Square, despite there being a large table of us thinking we were keeping a close eye on our belongings.
Its Leicester Square , everything is designed to seperate you from your money as quickly as possible. Overpriced show tickets ,reheated pizza slices ,planet hollywood ,riduculous bar prices at the zoo bar ,the hippodrome,mobile phone snatchers
Unique Suggestions: Leg it off down the back streets and go and have a wander round Soho.
Fun Alternatives: Leicester Squares only there for the tourists so burn off into Soho and find some trouble to get into. You never know you might even meet some real people.
Picadilly and Leiscter Sq are good to see, but not to stay for a long time. Personally, I did not enjoy myself in the Leiscter Sq area, too many solicitors and drunks! Lots of too expensive shopping there though if that's what you're looking for! There's also a chain of Italian Restauants called Bella Pasta or something, they're everywhere. It's a total waste of money!
Although, I must admit that this guy who was jammin in Leiscter Sq was a riot!