About Piccadilly Circus
Breaking the suspense, the widely held Piccadilly Circus is not a circus in reality. It is a place that was named after a tailor Roger Biker, who once upon a time became famous for selling piccadils. Roger used to make Piccadils (Large broad collar of cut work lace) which were worn by the gentrified in the late 17th century.
The place was a circle-shaped public area in the initial days but with time it has turned out to be a busy square. It is also considered to be one of the busiest junctions in the city that is full of life at all times. Now, Piccadilly Circus, located close to London’s West End is one of the top tourist attractions in the city.
It is in the vicinity of some of the famous places like Leicester Square, Haymarket, Regent Street, Oxford Circle, and Shaftesbury Avenue.Piccadilly Circus becomes more beautiful and bustling after sundown.
People come to this place to witness the famous Eros Statue and catch a glimpse of the bustling city of London. The Eros Statue is officially known as Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, which was built in the memory of the great philanthropist Lord Shaftesbury.
How to Reach Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is situated at a distance of only 0.2 miles from Central London and it would on no occasion be a problem for you to reach this famous square in London. Most of the travellers coming to London prefer walking down the streets of London in the evening to reach the square so that they can explore the beauty of the city.
There are three ways in which you can reach the famous Piccadilly Circus from the London City Centre.
1. Metro: You can travel through the underground metro by taking the Piccadilly or Bakerloo line.
2. Train: If you want to travel by train then you would need to catch the Charing Cross train.
3. Bus: If you want to travel by bus then you would need to catch any of the buses numbered 2, 3, 12, 88, 159, 94, 3, 12, 88, 159, 453, N3, N109 and N136.
What Not to Miss at Piccadilly Circus
Some places to visit near Piccadilly Circus:
1. Buckingham Palace: Considered as one of the most loved tourist attractions in London, Buckingham Palace is the official residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch. The palace is located in the City of Westminster and is known for its royalty.
2. St. Paul’s Cathedral: The cathedral of St. Paul is popularly known all over the world for its intricate detailing in the interior, which entices lots of tourists every single day. Featuring a great historical significance, this iconic building is the place where Prince Charles had married Lady Diana Spencer back in the year 1981.
3. London Eye: Formerly known as the Millennium Wheel, London Eye happens to be the heart of the city. The wheel rotates gracefully over the Thames River and is situated just opposite to Parliament houses and Big Ben.
Activities to do in Piccadilly Circus
1. Sightseeing: There are numerous places to be explored in the course of your trip to Piccadilly Circus. Don't miss exploring the Trafalgar Square, statues of William Shakespeare, King George IV, Swiss Glockenspiel, The Curve, The Statue of Eros, The Criterion Theatre, The Trocadero, Gambling Casinos, and The Cafe de Paris.
2. Theatre Visit: There are more than a few theatres close to Piccadilly Circus where you can enjoy many famous musical concerts and performances. The Criterion Theatre happens to be a completely underground theatre with the box office on the surface only. In the initial days, the management had to pump in fresh air to protect the audiences from the harmful emissions of the gas lights.
3. Shopping: The Piccadilly Circus is also known for its amazing shops that make it available for an unforgettable shopping experience for the visitors. You will find shops selling souvenirs from Regent Street to Oxford Circus.
Other Essential Information About Piccadilly Circus
- Location: The famous Piccadilly Circus is located at the junction of the five main streets of London - Shaftesbury Avenue, Regent Street, Coventry Street, The Haymarket, and Glasshouse Street.
- Timings: The Piccadilly Circus opens at 10 AM in the morning and closes at 11 PM in the evening.
- Entry Fee: There is no entry fee for visiting the popular Piccadilly Circus.
- Photography allowance: Photography is allowed at the Piccadilly Circus.
- Distance from London city centre: The Piccadilly Circus is located just at a distance of 0.2 miles from the London City Centre.
History of Piccadilly Circus
The Piccadilly Circus got its name from the famous tailor named Roger Biker. Roger used to make and sell Piccadills in the local markets of London and with time, he moved ahead to become one of the richest people in the city. Back in the 17th century, piccadils were much loved by the individuals who had an influence and power in society.
They used to be very fond of the apparel and carried it off with aplomb. The Piccadilly Circus is also widely held for its amazing fountain that was built in the year 1893 by the Duchess of Westminster and was designed by Gilbert. The outcome was a bit different from what Gilbert had actually planned.
This led to a big dispute and Gilbert refused to attend the grand opening ceremony. The initial name of the place was not Piccadilly Circus. It was known as Portugal Street in the times gone by as it was credited to be the home nation of Catherine of Braganza, the wife of Charles II. The name was changed to Piccadilly Circus in the middle of the 17th century.
Places to Eat in Piccadilly Circus
1. Ristorante Granaio: If you love to have Italian food on your plate, then this is the place you need to head to. It is one of the much-loved places in London to have authentic Italian cuisine. You will not only be amazed by the food served here but you will also be lured by the overall ambience and service offered by this place.
2. Angus Steakhouse: This restaurant is located in Coventry Street and is very popular amongst American food lovers. Serving a plethora of American delicacies, this place is best known for its amazing steak, just as its name suggests.
3. HaiDiLao Piccadilly Circus Brunch: If you have a fondness for Chinese cuisine, then there is no better place to relish it other than the famous HaiDiLao. This outlet offers widespread authentic Chinese delicacies and very attentive service as well.
Places to Stay near Piccadilly Circus
1. The Rosebery Aparthotel: The Rosebery Aparthotel is located at a walkable distance from the Piccadilly Circus. This accommodation facility has luxury suites and apartments that are fully furnished with all modern amenities.
2. Big Ben Vintage Room: Big Ben Vintage Room is one such place in London that will give you a taste of the times gone by. The place is furnished with old-style furniture and vintage artefacts.
3. Arosfa Hotel: Known as one of the treasured places in the history of the Bloomsbury District, Arosfa hotel is a Georgian townhouse that is about 200 years old. Once considered to be the house of Sir John Everett Millais, one of the famous artists of that era, this accommodation facility is now a family-run hotel.
Secrets Of Piccadilly Circus:
There are a number of lesser known facts about the famous busy central area of London, Piccadilly Circus. It is a place which accommodates more than half a million individuals in a single day. Here are some secrets of the famous Piccadilly Circus .
1. You might have come across the statue of Eros in the Piccadilly circus. But it is not the statue of Eros. Its official name happens to be the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. It is also known as the Angle of Christian Charity. It was built in the year 1893 to honor the famous Philanthropist of that time, Lord Shaftesbury.
In the course of the Second World War, the statue was replaced by a number of hoarding to keep it safe from being a point of attack. It was also covered in the year 2013 by an inflatable snow globe in order to keep it safe from drunken festive revelers.
2. Many tourists come to this place in search of a circus. But unfortunately, there is not even a single act of circus at the Piccadilly circus. The word circus was used to denote the complete roundabout or circle at that place. Although after the construction of the Shaftesbury Avenue in the year 1886 marked the end of the complete circle however, the name was not altered. In the year 2012, a circus festival was also organized in the course of the London games.
3. The name Piccadilly Circus came after the famous shopping street of Piccadilly. It was home to Fortnum and Mason and the house that belonged to the tailor was renamed to Piccadilly hall.
4. One of the most amazing parts of the Piccadilly Circus are the light boards. The very first advertisement that was lit on the Circus was an advertisement from Perrier in the year 1908, which made use of the incandescent light. In the early 1940s, neon advertisements were introduced in the Piccadilly Circus. You will find a piece of advertisement in nearly all the walls at the place except the ones leased from the Crown Estate.
5. There is a complete underground theatre at the place known as Criterion Theatre. It has all the things underground except the box office. This theatre was built in the year 1873 and at that time fresh air was pumped in the course of the performances to protect the audiences from the harmful toxic fumes emitted from the gas lights.
6. The Piccadilly Circus Station is a completely underground station in the whole network. The station was built in the year 1906 with a surface level office for buying tickets. However, in the year 1920, the station was revamped and was listed Grade II.
7. A film has also been made in the area. The movie titled The Ballet of Change: Piccadilly Circus was shown in the year 2007 and it talked about the history of the place and how things have changed with time. The total duration of the film was only 4 minutes and it was also the only film to have been broadcasted on the screens meant for advertisement.
Travellers' tip before visiting Piccadilly Circus
Here are some things that you should keep in mind when visiting the famous Piccadilly Circus with your loved near and dear ones.
1. You should visit the beautiful Piccadilly Circus after sundown as the place comes into life once the sky darkens. You will fall in love with the atmosphere as well as the liveliness of the place at dusk.
2. You should be very careful about your belongings when at Piccadilly Circus as the place is generally very crowded.
3. You should choose to stroll through the streets and explore all that they have to offer rather than moving in a cab.
4. You should find time from your busy schedule to watch a play or a musical performance at the famous theatres near Piccadilly Circus in the course of your stay in London.