Trafalgar Square, London

4.5 out of 5 stars 247 Reviews

Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN, UK +44 20 7983 4750
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    Trafalgar Square, London
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    Trafalgar Square, London
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    Trafalgar Square, London
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  • Galaxy31's Profile Photo

    Britain's Smallest Police Station

    by Galaxy31 Updated Feb 6, 2016

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    Britain's smallest police station is located by the south east corner of Trafalgar square. I'm sure a lot of people and tourists alike had walked past it without realising that it used to be a police station before it became a cleaning storage. The police station it was big enough to hold a single policeman or two prisoners.

    In Trafalgar Square demonstrations were held as early as 1920's so the Metropolitan Police wanted to build a Police station there to keep an eye on the demonstrators, so after the Second World War they wanted to renovate the temporary one that it was on the site but they were refused,because the public objected to it,so they had transformed an old light fitting column by making it hollow inside and installing small windows around it so they could have a clear observation around the square. The police station had a direct line to Scotland Yard and when there was trouble around and the phone it was picked up the light on the top it would flash to alert other officers around the area, that assistance was required. The light on the top is believed to be from Nelson's HMS Victory ship and it was installed in 1826.
    Now the Police Station is used to store the cleaner's brooms and brushes.

    First and Second photos: Britain's smallest Police Station.
    Third photo Trafalgar Square.
    Fourth photo The 14 feet Blue Cockerel on the Fourth Plinth by Katharina Fritch.
    Fifth photo Celebrating World Falun Dafa Day with meditation and exercises and learning about Falun Gong.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN

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  • EasyMalc's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by EasyMalc Written Oct 10, 2015

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    London’s foremost meeting point for social and political gatherings, Trafalgar Square takes its name from Horatio Nelson’s famous victory over Napoleon’s French and Spanish fleets at Cape Trafalgar in 1805. The battle cost Nelson his life and he’s remembered here with a 170ft column, at the base of which are four lions cast out of his enemy’s bronze cannons.
    What started out as mews for the horses of Whitehall Palace, the area now occupied by the square was transformed in the early 18th century by the architect John Nash. It’s had several makeovers since, the latest being in 2003. The road between the National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery and the square was removed and replaced with a terrace making the whole thing much more pedestrian friendly.
    Apart from that the layout is much the same as it was intended. There are two fountains and four plinths. Three of them have statues - George IV, Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock. Former mayor, Ken Livingstone, tried in vain to get Napier and Havelock replaced with statues of people “ordinary Londoners would know”. The fourth plinth was left empty for years but in recent times it’s become a place for modern artwork. The latest effort is called ‘The Gift Horse’ which has a copy of the FTSE 100 attached to its skeletal body!
    Ken Livingstone did get his way on one thing though - he managed to rid the square of its 35,000 pigeons which were deemed a health hazard. It’s a shame in one way because everyone used to love feeding them, but I suppose he did have a point.
    It goes without saying really, that Trafalgar Square can get busy, but there’s plenty of room most of the time unless you come here when there’s either a political rally, a major event or New Years Eve.



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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    A Homage to Horatio Nelson

    by machomikemd Written Aug 4, 2015

    Them British really love their victories over the french as there are a few monuments and squares in london dedicated to british victories in their never ending rivalry with the french before for supremacy in Europe and Beyond during the bad old days of Colonialism and one of the Monuments and a famous tourist attraction as well is the Trafalgar Square, in the middle of the Charing Cross Area, where the Square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain (Napoleon Bonaparte and the Spanish Armada) in Cape Trafalgar Spain.The square has its center the famous Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base (named after Admiral Horatio Nelson who defeated france and spain in the battle). Around the Square are various statues and scuptures of famous people as well.

    The square opens 24/7

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom. Nearest Tube Station is Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Phone: +44 20 7983 4750

    Website: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/.../trafalgar-squ

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  • grayfo's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by grayfo Written May 8, 2015

    The area was originally the courtyard of the Great Mews stabling, which served Whitehall Palace. In 1812 the architect John Nash started developing a new street that went from Charing Cross to Portland Place and included forming an open public square in the Kings Mews opposite Charing Cross. In 1830, it was officially named Trafalgar Square and commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France and Spain which took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.

    December 2014

    Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

    Directions: The Square is located in the heart of the city

    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7983 4100

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    The center of London at it's finest

    by jlanza29 Written Apr 3, 2015

    The center of London is a well known meeting place for both locals, travelers, and tourist .... people gather here at all times of the day and night ... flanked by the Canadian Embassy to the west the National Gallery to the North and various restaurants and businesses ... there isn't a better meeting point in London for those who aren't familiar with London's other places ....

    Great place to people watch ... have a city picnic by the fountains are watch the numerous entertainers trying to make a living ....

    Truly one of the world's great square's ...

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    can't miss it .... dead smack center London

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  • SallyM's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square - The 'Fourth Plinth'

    by SallyM Updated Mar 29, 2015

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    Over the past few years, the so-called 'Fourth Plinth' in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square has been used for the exhibition of new modern artworks, under the auspices of the Greater London Authority.

    Since March 2015 the plinth has been occupied by 'Gift Horse' a skeletal equine bronze by the German artist Hans Haacke, which incorporates an electronic ticker with a feed showing share prices.

    The previous artwork on the plinth was a piece called 'Hahn/Cock' - a 4.72m high rendition of a domestic farmyard cockerel saturated in intense ultramarine blue, by Katharina Fritsch. (See picture). This artwork generated a few jokes about the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, which I will not repeat here!

    Previous commissions include Elmgreen and Dragset's Powerless Structures fig. 101 and Yinka Shonibare's Ship in a Bottle.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Website: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/fourth-plinth

    Gift Horse by Hans Haacke Hahn/Cock by Katharina Frisch Gift Horse
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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by solopes Updated Oct 22, 2014

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    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 Piccadilly or from Piccadilly?

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar square

    by mindcrime Written May 27, 2014

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    Walking up Whitehall avenue we ended up at Trafalgar square one of the most popular squares in central London. It was designed in early 19th century and was named after the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) that took place off SW coast of Spain near cape Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars. The royal Navy fought against French and Spanish navies and managed to win destroyed 22 ships of the enemy without a single british ship being lost. The 27 british ships were led by Admiral Lord Nelson which was shot and killed during that battle.

    A monument was built in the centre of the square to commemorate Nelson. It was constructed in 1843, a 53meters high Corinthian column that is topped by a sandstone statue of Nelson. The four bronze reliefs on the pedestal were added 6 years later showing the battle of Cape St.Vincent, the battle of the Nile, the Battle of Copenhagen and The Death of Nelson (pic 4) while the statue and the four bronze lions on the base were actually added in 1867.

    On the north side of the square you can see the National Gallery, a large art museum with more than 2,300 paintings (from 13th century to late 19th century). It is usually full of people which is always a good reason for me to avoid it. The National Portrait Gallery nearby is less crowded but way too boring. Now I pass by from Trafalgar square only because I walk up Whitehall avenue or because there’s some kind of event on the square (usually a music concert).

    I remember lots of traffic and dozens of pigeons during my first visit at Trafalgar square in mid 1990s but this changed dramatically the last years.

    There are some fountains near the Nelson’s Column but also some other statues, pic 2 shows the equestrian statue of Charles I that was probably cast in 1633 by the French sculptor Hubert Le Sueur. The giant blue rooster on pic 5 wasn’t there some years before, I thought it had to do with some exhibition in the national Gallery but they told me it’s a normal custom the mayor organizing an art contest to fill the only vacant plinth of the square. This one was made by Katharina Fritsch and was named Hahn/Cock, to symbolize male-dominated Britain!

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Trafalgar square equestrian statue of Charles I Nelson's statue The Death of Nelson lion and rooster!
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  • cleocat's Profile Photo

    A Central London Landmark

    by cleocat Written Feb 12, 2014

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    When we first moved to London, I had no sense of direction in the city. I couldn't tell which side the river would be and could walk in circles for a long time just to find out what I was looking for is just behind me. These days Trafalgar Square has become a good beacon of direction. Nelson's Column and the fountain make good backgrounds for those necessary touristy photos.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Trafalgar Square
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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Eleanor’s Cross at Charing

    by wabat Updated Oct 14, 2013

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    On the death of his long time wife, Eleanor of Castile, at Harby in Nottinghamshire, close to the city of Lincoln, in 1290, King Edward I, commonly known as Edward Longshanks due to his tall statue for the time, was grief stricken and distraught and spoke of his “Queen of Good Memory” as he referred to her thus: “whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love”.

    Edward married, a prearranged marriage, Eleanor when she was 13 in 1254 and over the next 36 years the couple appear to have grown very close, a closeness that produced 16 off-spring. Of the 16 children only five lived to adulthood with the 16th being the only son so to do. By virtue of this he became Edward II. Unlike most medieval Edward I had no known bastard children or mistresses.

    Very little is known of Eleanor, women of the day, even Queens, were not considered to be terribly important.

    On her death Edward had Eleanor’s body embalmed and dissected at the Priory of St Catherine with her viscera (stomach and guts) buried in Lincoln and the rest of her body returned to London.

    The lavish procession took twelve days to reach London and at each place the body stopped overnight Edward had a memorial cross built in her honour– the 12 Eleanor Crosses. While the crosses were a mark of Edward’s love and respect for his wife they were also undoubtedly erected to encourage his subjects to pray for Eleanor’s soul. The final stop for the cortege prior to reaching London’s Westminster Abbey, where the remainder of Eleanor, excluding her heart, was buried, was the then hamlet of Charing. Here a final cross was erected. For those intrigued, Eleanor’s heart is buried in Blackfriars’ monastery also in London.

    The Eleanor Cross (pictured) at Charing Cross Railway Station is not the Eleanor Cross of Charing but rather a much-embellished replica of the original cross. Nor is the replica actually at Charing. The real Charing is a few hundred metre’s from Charing Cross Railway Station in Trafalgar Square at the point where Whitehall enters the south of the Square. It was here that the final Eleanor Cross was originally constructed at the location which is nowadays most generally accepted as being the centre of London (see my separate tip - Centre of Empire – or least London for more details on the ongoing significance of this location).

    While the original Eleanor Cross at Charing was not as elaborate as the current replica it was the most elaborate of those built. While the other crosses were built of cheaper stone this one was built in marble and was much larger and grander than the others. The original cross was destroyed on the orders of Parliament during the English Civil War in 1647. The current equestrian statue of Charles I replaced the cross in 1675.

    The Victorian Gothic design replica cross outside Charing Cross station is 70 feet high and was built in 1865 by the South Eastern Railway Company when they built the railway station and hotel. While based on drawing and fragments of the original cross, held by the Museum of London, the current cross is rather more ornate. It is of Portland stone, Mansfield and Aberdeen granite and was designed by the station/hotels architect, EM Barry, perhaps better known for his work at Covent Garden.

    Of the twelve original Eleanor Crosses only three remain – those located at Geddington, Hardingstone and Walthan Cross.

    Address: Charing Cross Station

    Directions: Charing Cross Tube

    Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross Station Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross Station
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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Centre of Empire – or least London

    by wabat Updated Oct 14, 2013

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    Where exactly is the centre of London and indeed is there any such thing?

    If one were the try and draw the limits of “London” on a map and somehow managed to establish a geographic centre today, by tomorrow it would have moved.

    While the geographical centre of London cannot be defined what is generally agreed upon are various points from which distances from London were and are measured including the Marble Arch, St Paul’s Cathedral, Hicks Hall in Clerkenwell and the doors of St Mary-le-Bow church among others. In Roman times and for some centuries afterwards the London Stone (see separate tip) fulfilled this role.

    While the above points have been and indeed still are used as points from which to measure distances the best known and accepted as the main point (perhaps the official unofficial point!) is Eleanor’s or Charing Cross. That said some official documents do refer to Charing Cross when discussing the centre of London. What is not well known is the location of this, in so far as it relates to measuring distances. Most people will automatically think of the Eleanor’s Cross outside Charing Cross Railway Station – my fourth picture and separate tip thereon.

    What fewer people realise is that the cross outside Charing Cross station is in fact a “replica” (I will explain more on that term in a separate review on the cross) of the original cross which was located a couple of hundred metres to the west in Trafalgar Square at the point where Whitehall enters the south of the Square.

    Specifically the original Eleanor’s Cross ( erected in the 1200s) and thus the point from which distances from London are measured is where the equestrian statute of King Charles I has stood since 1675 looking down Whitehall (to his place of execution!). A few metres back from the statue and easy to miss unless you are looking for it is a plaque (picture three) on the ground which reads:

    “On the site now occupied by the statue of King Charles I was erected the original Queen Eleanor's cross a replica of which stands in front of Charing Cross station. Mileages from London are measured from the site of the original cross.”

    The chap in my first picture appears to be taking a picture of it!

    Given its acceptance as the point from which distances are measured, the statue of Charles I is also now generally accepted as representing the centre point of London – if only for want of general agreement on any other point.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Closest Tube: Charing Cross

    King Charles I - Centre of London King Charles I - Centre of London The Centre of London - Plaque Today's Eleanor's or Charing Cross
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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by Paul2001 Updated Jul 21, 2013

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    Trafalgar Square is the most famous square in London. Named in honour of the most famous naval figure in British history, the square is dominated by a large 44m column called Nelson's Column. Trafalgar was the naval battle fought by Nelson against the French and Spanish fleets in 1805. Nelson won the battle but paid the ultimate price as he was mortally wounded. The battle is considered to be one of the most strategically important in military history as it cemented Britian's control of the seas during the Napoleonic Wars.
    The square is where Londoners like to congregate when important events take place such as New Year's Eve celebrations and political demonstrations. A highlight of the visit here is the surrounding buildings. On the northeast corner is St Martin' Academy in the Fields, on the northside is the National Gallery and on the northwest corner is Canada House. All are wonderful examples of Victorian architecture and gives the square a very regal atmosphere.
    This regal feel can be spoiled then they set a television screen to show football matches as they did when I visited London in 2010 for the World Cup. The square is also frequently used for live free concerts.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Pigeons, Trafalgar Square Lord Nelson's column St Martin's Academy in the Field Canada House Large television set up in Trafalgar Square
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  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by antistar Updated Jul 10, 2013

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    Why is one of London's most famous squares named after a quiet cape off Cadiz on Spain's Atlantic coast? The answer lies in Nelson's Column. Today the great man fights daily bombardment from the square's feral pigeon population, but in 1805 Horatio Nelson defeated the combined fleets of Spain and France in the Napoleon wars. The battle sealed Britain's reputation as master of the seas, and paved the way to victory over Napoleon at the later Battle of Waterloo. Despite his great victory, Nelson died at Trafalgar to a French sniper, uttering his famous final words: "Kiss me, Hardy".

    Today Trafalgar Square is a British Times Square - here the biggest New Year's Eve party is held every December 31st. It's popular for gatherings of people for events both celebrated and reviled. Victory in Europe was celebrated here, thousands gathered to watch England play Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, but also some of the biggest protests have centered here, notoriously the Poll Tax Riots of 1990, but later protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It's no surprise then that the fountains in Trafalgar square were not built by the original designers to brighten up the square, but rather to discourage the rebellious rabble from gathering.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar square

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Jun 23, 2013

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    Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. It is in the borough of the City of Westminster.
    The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France.
    Trafalgar Square, at the heart of London, is one of the city’s most vibrant open spaces.
    No visit to London would be complete without spending some time in Trafalgar Square. It is home not only to Nelson's Column but also to other statues and historic features.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

    Website: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/arts-culture/trafalgar-square

    Trafalgar square Trafalgar square Trafalgar square Trafalgar square Trafalgar square
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  • mirchica's Profile Photo

    Trafalgar Square

    by mirchica Updated Jun 3, 2013

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    When somebody asks me:”What did you like most in London?” and I say: "Trafalgar square." I can’t explain it, I just felt freedom and – people sitting and reading there, others laughing and talking. The fountain there and in addition – architecture and nice buildings around and Bib Ben in the distance. I’ve visited so many squares but that one just grabbed me.

    Address: Trafalgar Square, WC2

    Directions: Charing Cross or Leicester Square tubes

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