Nearest Tube: Leicester Square
|Robert Sidney, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, first laid out this square in the1670s hence the name. At first only houses were permitted on the square, but by the end of the 17th century shops were starting to encroach on the area.|
For many years this square was a very exclusive part of London and it was the residence of many aristocrats and professionals. Some of the square's more famous past residents include the artists Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth.
By the late 18th and early 19th centuries the private houses had been superseded by shops, hotels and museums. And by the mid 19th century the square was also becoming famous for its theatres, a connection which continues to this day.
During this century the square had gone somewhat downhill and by the late 1980s the whole area had an unsavoury reputation. But in 1993 Westminster Council initiated a big clean-up campaign and the square has once again become one of the most popular night-spots in the city.
The film association of the square is continued with a statue of Charlie Chaplin. Other statues in the square include William Shakespeare and busts of Isaac Newton, William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds and John Hunter.
Alongside Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square is one of London's most popular meeting places so you can expect it to always be busy. Friday and Saturday nights draw huge crowds.
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