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Trafalgar Square, London

Trafalgar Square is a famous public square in Central London. The name of the square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars when the British navy defeated the navies of France and Spain off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain. The square is a large area with roads on three sides and a terrace to the north facing the National Gallery.

Trafalgar Square is a bustling area and a must visit destination for visitors to London. Its prominence in Central London makes it a popular meeting spot for Londoners as well as visitors. There are many interesting attractions surrounding the square. The famous National Gallery is towards the north, the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace towards the south and the Strand towards the east. Whitehall is a major road in London running south from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square.

 Trafalgar Square by David Iliff

Pigeons at Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square was once famous for the hordes of pigeons frequenting the area. Feed sellers once sold birdseeds here, encouraging the pigeons to flock in hordes. The local authorities considered the droppings from birds a hazard, disfiguring the stonework at the square. In 2003, the authorities banned the feeding of birds at Trafalgar Square and began to engage handlers to release hawks in the early morning to scare the pigeons to reduce their numbers.

See & Do

Nelson’s Column is a prominent monument situated in the centre of the square and commemorates Lord Nelson, the Vice Admiral who led the British naval forces to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. The monument stands at 51.6 metres (169 feet 3 inches) from the bottom of the pedestal to the top of Nelson's hat. Four bronze lions are at the base of the column. There are also two fountains and illuminated at night with coloured lights.

Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square by Another Believer

There are four plinths for statues at the four corners of Trafalgar Square. There are the bronze statues of General Sir Charles Napier in the southwest, Major General Sir Henry Havelock in the southeast and King George IV in the northeast. The fourth plinth in the northwest is for specially commissioned artwork. There are busts of Lord Jellicoe, Lord Beatty and Lord Admiral Cunningham north of the square. There is also a bronze statue of King Charles I on horseback.

Statue of Sir Henry Havelock by klndonnelly

Trafalgar Square is a popular site for political demonstrations, cultural events, performances and shows. It is also a popular venue for sport related events including victory celebrations such as England’s victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics in 2005. Trafalgar Square is home to the largest Christmas tree in London, an annual gift from the Norwegian city of Oslo. Every New Year Eve, crowds gather at Trafalgar Square waiting for the strike of midnight when the area turns into a party atmosphere with some jumping into the fountains.

Visiting Trafalgar Square

Charing Cross (Underground) Station is the nearest London Underground station from Trafalgar Square. The station serves the Northern and Bakerloo Lines and the entrance is actually on the southeastern corner of the square. Underground stations further away but about a 10 minutes walk from Trafalgar Square are Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines), Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly Lines) and Embankment (Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo Lines) Stations.

Trafalgar Square on the Map

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

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