Piccadilly Circus, London
Piccadilly Circus is a public space situated in the heart of London’s West End. It’s located at a busy intersection of five major streets that include Regent Street, Coventry Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly and Regent Street St James. Piccadilly Circus is a recognisable landmark and for many, a popular meeting spot in Central London.
The area around the spot is a lively part of London and resembles a miniaturised version of Times Square in New York City with its brightly coloured advertisements and video displays. There are many nearby attractions, which make Piccadilly Circus a good starting point to explore London. It’s within walking distance to several places of interest including entertainment areas, premier shopping streets and colourful neighbourhoods.
Piccadilly Circus and statue of Anteros by Pablo Costa Tirado
Centre of Piccadilly Circus
At the centre of Piccadilly Circus is the famous statue of Anteros from Greek mythology (often mistaken for his twin Eros) standing on top of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. The memorial is a tribute to the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801-1885) who was a notable philanthropist and social reformer during his time. When the memorial was unveiled in 1893, many were unimpressed with numerous complaints including the statue to be indecent, hideous and inappropriate!
The history of illuminated advertising in Piccadilly Circus began in 1908 with the Perrier advertisement. The earliest advertising signs used incandescent light bulbs and then replaced with neon lights. LED displays eventually replaced neon lamps by 2011. There are currently six LED advertising screens facing Piccadilly Circus from the north side. Companies that previously advertised here include Coca Cola, McDonalds, BASF, TDK, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Kodak and Sanyo. The colourful backdrop makes it a popular with tourists for taking photographs.
Piccadilly Circus at night by Jimmy Baikovicius
A hop from the statue of Anteros is the London Pavilion, a mid-19th century building situated at the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street. It’s a popular shopping arcade and houses the ‘Ripley's Believe It or Not!’ dedicated to the bizarre and unusual. Another is Lillywhites, a popular retailer for sporting goods spread over six vast floors. Explore Piccadilly Circus further including the smaller streets and you will find numerous gems of restaurants, entertainment spots and shops.
Nearby Places of Interest
There are several places of interest nearby Piccadilly Circus. The premier shopping streets of Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street are all within walking distance. North of Piccadilly Circus is the colourful neighbourhood of Soho with its thriving cafes, restaurants, clubs and trendy shops. Within Soho are London’s Chinatown and the trendy shopping street of Carnaby Street. Walking eastward from Piccadilly Circus is Leicester Square, London’s famous entertainment district packed with theatres and cinemas.
Visiting Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is in the very heart of Central London, an area of slow moving traffic and therefore recommended you use public transport. Piccadilly Circus (Underground) Station is beneath and right in the centre of Piccadilly Circus with entrances at several corners. The station serves the Piccadilly Line between Green Park and Leicester Square (Underground) Stations and the Bakerloo Lines between Charing Cross and Oxford Circus (Underground) Stations.
Piccadilly Circus on the Map
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