Leicester Square London
Today I visit one of London’s most famous squares, Leicester Square. Its loved by tourists and seemingly loathed by many Londoners in equal measure. So I’m going to try to see what the tourists see. Check out the video of my visit –
First things first are how Leicester Square should be pronounced. You Just have to imagine the spelling L E S T E R to pronounce Leicester as we Brits do. Lost tourists are a great source of amusement when they try to pronounce it from the written word. Also Leicester Square has a Tube station right on the eastern edge.
Magnet for tourists
I think it is common knowledge that for a long-time Leicester Square has been a magnet for tourists. But also repelled Londoners in equal measure. And there are several reasons for that however in recent years it has changed a lot.
when I was growing up it was a dump. It has always been famous for and a great place to go to the cinema. Some of London’s biggest and best cinemas are in Leicester Square. Discount theatre tickets are available from the official discount theatre ticket shop.
When I was a teenager growing up it was a great place for night clubs. However, in recent years many have been closed or converted into other types of venue. Leicester Square right now definitely looks the best it’s ever looked. The nightclubs all but gone and wardens patrol the gardens in the centre.
For many years, the gardens were a place for London’s drunks to lie and drink super strength larger or super strength cider. And they would bark incoherently at anyone that went near them.
Fifteen million pounds
However, before the 2012 Olympics about fifteen million pounds was spent refurbishing the Square. The central garden painstakingly re-landscaped. Also some less relevant statues were moved.
Leicester Square well this whole part of London was once owned by Westminster Abbey. Until in 1536 when King Henry VIII in an act called the dissolution of the Monasteries appropriated their land and their income. In 1630 this land sold to the second earl of Leicester and he built at the time one of the largest houses in London here. And that is where the square gets its name from the Earl of Leicester.
The Square or field in the centre is historically deemed common ground and is still a garden and public park today. This was a fashionable part of London to live in until the late seventeen hundred’s when the wealthy began to leave the houses here. Residential buildings gradually became replaced by shops, theatres and museums. And ever since the area became known for entertainment.
Discount theatre tickets
The main attractions today for Londoners are the cinemas and discount theatre tickets from TKTS. The shops are popular too especially M&M’s world and Lego. And the restaurants are better than they have ever been but Leicester Square is still not a dinner destination in the minds of most Londoners.
Leicester Square gardens is a popular spot on nice days. And children love to play amongst the water feature surrounding the central statue of William Shakespeare. The central garden is a city of Westminster park. And like all city of Westminster parks they have opening and closing hours. The opening hours also change throughout the year you can check the city of Westminster website for full details. In effect, they track daylight hours all the parks shut just before it gets dark.
During my visit, which you can watch the video of I visit M&M’s World, Gabby’s Deli, MacDonald’s, explore the cinemas look at the Lego store and catch the Swiss glockenspiel striking the hour.
Also Leicester Square is right next to London’s Covent Garden so check out my blog post about that before visiting too.