As dusk descends on the city of London, Leicester Square starts bustling with entertainment activities. There is a popular phrase, which goes – “If London has a heart it must be Leicester Square”.
Today, Leicester Square is visited by a staggering 22 million people every year. Some of London’s most popular cinema halls like Curzon Soho, Odeon Leicester Square, Odeon West End, Prince Charles Cinema to name just a few are located at the periphery of the square. Apart from Cinema Halls, Leicester square has good restaurants, nightclubs, portrait painters and street musicians and life itself is one big party at Leicester Square.
Leicester Square has a bit of history too. In the past, the square was a posh residential area and people of the stature of Isaac Newton, who is credited with the invention of the concept of gravity and renowned artist Hogarth were past residents of Leicester Square. Incidentally, in the year 1801, Leicester Square’s first quality restaurant was launched at Hogarth’s house itself.
If you walk to the North of the Square, you will come across the famous Swiss Center which is a Leicester Square landmark, renowned for its hourly chiming clock.
Leicester Square is the most sought after place during weekends and holidays. You will find a replica of Shakespeare Memorial in Westminster at the center of the square. The statues of Charlie Chaplin, William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds too are strategically placed.
Not many are aware that towards the end of the twentieth century, Leicester Square was an unattractive area and the square came into prominence only during the 1990s when the local Westminster Council, pumped in a lot of money to give it a whole new look. Apart from the bewildering array of entertainment options at Leicester Square, there is also a tranquil place for contemplation – the St. Martin’s Church. This church is the authorized church of Buckingham Palace and the design is avant-garde, which has become a role model for all colonial churches anywhere in the world. A visit to the church will reveal its gorgeous interiors much like the Georgian churches
Some of the most famous sons of the soil like Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth, and Thomas Chippendale have all been buried here at this hallowed church. Admission to the church is absolutely free and the church conducts choirs from time to time with visiting orchestras.