Piccadilly Circus is a famous crossroads and busy traffic junction for many London streets that are individually known for their historical sites, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. When these streets merge at the Piccadilly circle, the open space glows with neon lights and has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
The name of the circle originated in the 17th century after Robert Baker, a tailor who was famous for stitching piccadills, or piccadillies (collars). It still holds well for the place, as there are numerous stores in Piccadilly renowned for their fine tailoring of women and men's outfits.
Another highlight of Piccadilly Circus is the dazzling billboards, an indication for tourists emerging from the Piccadilly Circus Tube Station that they have finally arrived in Central London’s most sought after hot spot.
Besides the giant illuminated boards, Piccadilly Circus is a significant location for many famous landmarks. One of them is the statue of Eros. Initially called the Shaftsbury Monument in memory of Lord Shaftsbury, the statue’s exteriors are coated with bronze while the actual statue is made of aluminium.
St. James’s Church ( Visit Site )
A place of worship for those who follow the Christian faith, St. James’s Church in Piccadilly, London is an Anglican church built and designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The church first opened its doors to its worshippers in 1684. The building's architecture gives an insight into the kind of material used during those times, such as red brick, Portland stone, Corinthian columns, carved marble and lime wood interiors. The design of the church is the brainwork of famous woodcarver Grinling Gibbons.
The Church is also a lively market place where every day hundreds of shopaholics come to buy daily knick-knacks and other arts and crafts. Known popularly as Piccadilly Market, this place holds an antiques and collectables market every Tuesday. From Wednesday onwards until Saturday, it arranges for a regular arts and crafts market.
Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain
The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain was built in 1893 to commemorate the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury, who dedicated his life to serving the poor and needy. The fountain comprises of a semi-nude statue of Eros, also known as Angel of Christian Charity. The statue is made up of aluminium, a rare material to be used during Victorian times. One can say it was a groundbreaking decision to carve the statue out of aluminium.
London Pavilion stands beside the Shaftesbury Avenue building and is a part of London Trocadero entertainment complex. At the onset, it served as the venue for London Music Hall until it was merged to become a part of the entertainment complex. The building’s construction was completed in 1885 and was the dream project of its architect James Ebenezer Saunders. Up to 1934, it was known as the London Music Hall, after which F Chancellor rebuilt it into a 716-seat cinema theatre. Later, in 2000, it was sold as a part of the Trocadero Centre. The basement of the building is connected to the Piccadilly Circus tube station providing easy access for visitors. In August 2008, Ripley’s Believe it or not opened one of its branches at the London Pavilion.
Regent Street is a major shopping destination in London’s West End. It was named after the Prince Regent, who later became George IV, King of Great Britain. The street originally conceived and designed by John Nash in 1811 has gone through many renovations and re-designing over the past centuries. Barring the exception of All Souls church, most of the original structures designed by Nash have been replaced for newer constructions. The Street, which originates in Carton’s house in St. James, passes through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus finally winding up at All Soul’s Church. Every building has been granted the status of a ‘Listed Building’ making the area a Regent conservation area.
The street is full of various historical sites and important landmarks such as All Soul’s Church, BBC Broadcasting House, the 18th-century Café Royal, Dickins& Jones department store, Hamley's toy shop, Hollister Co./Gilly Hicks, Liberty department store, Oxford Circus tube station, Paris Theatre and the University of Westminster. Regent Street delivers a wide range of events throughout the year including the annual Regent Street Festival when the whole place is closed for traffic.
Mayfair (originally called The May Fair) is an expensive business district in London bordered by Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Regent Street, and Oxford Street. The district was named after the ‘May Fair’, 16th century fortnightly fair that took place at the Shepherd Market site. Like Regent Street, it occupies an important position on the Monopoly board game as the most costly places to rent in London. The district is a well-developed commercial centre providing high-quality workspaces to various big companies, hedge funds, wealth managers and private banks. There are some exclusive residential properties, but most of the area is now converted into a commercial district to accommodate offices, embassies, shopping centres, luxury hotels, museums and restaurants.
One of the Royal Parks of London, the Green Park is one of the greenest areas in London covering an area of 19-hectares. It is located in between Piccadilly, Constitution Hill and Queen’s Walk. Even though it merges with St. James’s Park at Queens Gardens, it is quite different from it with more wooden meadows and green lands. Until 1668, it was a place for combats and was a part of the Poultney family’s estate. An area of the park of about 40-acres called ‘Sandpit Field’ was surrendered to Charles II who redesigned it to create Upper St. James’s Park. The main purpose of this park is to serve visitors as a place for picnics, sunbathing and relaxing. It is also used as a place to exercise by joggers, runners and fitness enthusiasts.
One of the interesting highlights of this park is that it has no lakes or buildings, but includes only a few monuments such as Canada Memorial by Pierre Granche, Constance Fund Fountain and the RAF Bomber Command Memorial, which opened in 2012.
The Mall in London is a landmark ceremonial route linking Trafalgar square, through Admiralty Arch, to Buckingham Palace. It is bordered by Green Park and St. James’ Palace in the north and St. James’ Park in the south. At the eastern end of the route, you will find the Horse Guards Parade, a large parade ground where the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour take place. For a number of years, the road at its White hall end was the location of London County Council and the Metropolitan Board of Works. However, today, it is mainly used for ceremonial functions and sports events such as the monarch's official birthday, London Marathon, Beating Retreat and more recently, The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Millions of spectators gather at The Mall and near Buckingham Palace to watch the appearance of the Royal family.