Piccadilly Circus London Landmarks

This is one of the most renown landmarks in the city. Upon hearing the term 'circus,' one would automatically think of acrobats, wild animals and clowns; and also of an insane, noisy and overwhelming place or event. Piccadilly has been or is all of these and more, both metaphorically and realistically.

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Piccadilli Circus

As with so many places in human history, the name itself comes from a surprising origin that of course no longer exists. It is derived from a dressmaker who lived in the area during the 1600s during which time he created a frilled collar referred to as a 'piccadil' From a simple piece of clothing, a cultural and popular place was built up.

London's main shopping and entertainment districts spread out from two huge West End intersections. One intersection, Trafalgar Square, is an area of open pavement with statues and fountains. Whitehall, the Strand, and streets from the upper West End meet at the square. At the other intersection, Piccadilly Circus, six busy downtown streets come together. Many of London's finest shops are north and west of Piccadilly Circus, along Bond, Oxford, and Regent streets. Piccadilly Circus forms the centre of London's largest entertainment area. The area extends east to the Strand and north into Soho, a district of restaurants and nightclubs.

Picadilly Circus is considered the most visited site in London and is a hub of activity from morning to night. It is the London equivalent of Times Square in New York.

Picture of Piccadilly Circus

The circus is a place that is at the junction of 6 busy streets. It has been an important landmark due to an interesting twist of fate on what lies in its heart. Backlit by colourful electric displays is a bronze fountain topped by a figure of a winged archer. This statue was a monument designed and built in 1892 to the memory of the philanthropist, the Earl of Shaftesbury. But, it is popularly called Eros, the Greek pagan god of love. It should be called the Shaftesbury monument but no one deigns to do so. The actual figure rises above a fountain made in bronze, but the figure of Eros himself is made out of aluminium, at that time a rare and novel material. What should be an angel of charity has actually become a god of love. People crowd around its steps.

This is a good place to meet before heading off to eat, shop or go to the area of theatres. Soho isn't too far a walk and neither is Trafalgar Square. The fashionable stores of Carnaby Street are also nearby. The area is quite a site in the evening, with colourful and brightly lit advertising signs illuminating the area, high above the streets.