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Leicester Square, London

Leicester (pronounced ‘less-ter’) Square is a large public square situated in Central London’s West End. The area dates back to the 17th century but not an area of historical significance and not even a scenic part of London. However, Leicester Square is a major entertainment district in London and home to many theatres and cinemas, earning it the title of Theatreland.

Besides the theatres and cinemas, there are also the casinos, clubs, restaurants and cafes surrounding the square as well as the impromptu street performers to entertain you. It’s a thriving entertainment district and a hive of activities that last late into the evening especially on Friday and Saturday nights. At the centre of the square is a small park to sit and relax for you to watch the hustle and bustle around you.

Leicester Square by InSapphoWeTrust

The Square

Leicester Square gets its name from the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who purchased the land in 1630 and lived in a house named Leicester House situated on the northern side of the square. The house is no longer there but the area retains his name. In the centre of the park there is a fountain with a statue of William Shakespeare who seems to be brooding. The square is pedestrianised and only vehicles carrying goods for delivery to establishments in the area are allowed to pass through.

Leicester Square Garden by Elliott Brown

Theatres

Leicester Square is home to some of London’s West End theatres, which are equivalent to the Broadway theatres in New York City. The West End theatres are renowned for their high quality productions and popular with tourists. Theatres nearby and around the square include Leicester Square and The Harold Pinter Theatres. Further away but within walking distance are the Duke of York, Wyndham’s, Arts, Queen’s, Gielgud, Apollo, Lyric, and Criterion Theatres.

Criterion Theatre by Andy Roberts

Around the square you’ll find several booths selling tickets for various theatre performances. On the southwest corner of the square is the TKTS booth operated by the Society of London Theatres. TKTS is the official and only booth in Leicester Square selling tickets on behalf of the society. The booth offer full price to discounted tickets for shows at various theatres to give you the best deal. You can also approach the TKTS booth for queries or advice without any obligation to purchase.

Cinemas

Leicester Square is the heart of ‘cinema land’ in London due its prime location for many film premieres, festivals and award ceremonies in the UK. Cinemas surrounding Leicester Square include Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon Panton Street, Vue Leicester Square and Prince Charles Cinema. The Odeon Leicester Square is one of London’s largest film theatres and the main venue for red-carpeted film premieres attended by celebrities. Ticket prices for a standard seat at these cinemas are 30-50 percent more than in other parts of London!

Odeon Leicester Square by Danjamz

Visiting Leicester Square

London Underground's Leicester Square Station is located on the eastern edge of Leicester Square on Cranbourn Street and about 5 minutes walk to the central area. The station serves the Northern and Piccadilly Lines. Exit Leicester Square Station, cross Charing Cross Road and walk westward to the central area. Another is Piccadilly (Underground) Station and about 5 minutes walking westwards to get the central area. Piccadilly Station serves the Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines.

Leicester Square on the Map

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