Trafalgar Square is one of those must see sights for any of the thousands of tourists visiting London every week. It was near the top of my list when I first visited the city years ago. It has changed a bit since then as there is not now traffic on all sides of it.
It is still an iconic sight, though beyond taking pictures there is not much to actually do in the square on any normal day. Finding a seat isn't easy for a rest and even taking photos is not too easy because there are so many others all trying to take pics of the same things, the lions, Nelsons colomn etc. The best view and picture if the square as a whole is looking down from the steps of the National Gallery next to the square. The best time to experience it is during a special event when there is usually a great atmosphere. I go to the Chinese New year free celebrations every year. There is also events for Diwali and Christmas. New years events are now ticketed though. If you do just want to see the square you need to research if events are happening there because some do close it off to the general public during the event or sometimes the day before it while setting up is taking place.
I think that the square looks lovely in winter with the enormous Christmas tree lit up there. This tree is an annual gift from the people of Norway which always touchea my heart to see.
Trafalgar Square is right by Charing Crias Station and Embankment Tube Station. Bus 23 stops there from Paddington station too. The Cafe in the Crypt in St Martins Church next to the square is really good and sources eco friendly food.
I do recommend visiting the Square if going to London.
Trafalgar Square - LONDON
There are no greater contrasts than to traipse up Snowdon (3,560 ft) and then find days later you're in the tourist cement hovel known as; Trafalgar Square (110 x 110 metres). Snowdon epitomizes 'freedom', as Trafalgar Square mainly restricts freedom; due to, tourists, pigeons, York stone and granite structures, and mega-phoned performers. A hive of daily activity on concrete - it is hard to see the attraction. Apart from the fact, crowds tend to be magnetized to any forms of urban spaces, regardless of what it is made of, the colour and notably, purpose.
Unsurprisingly pigeons were reared on the square, so you can see that their honing device system is still set at this location. Nature playing out an evil trick, as there once was feeding holes and five star treatments for pigeons. It's not that they can complain in pigeon-English, or sit-on Nelson and cr** on his plinth as a means of protest - or dive bomb an ice-cream to get noticed. This is old hat, it's been going on for years - it is acceptable pigeon behaviour. They'll better off making a twiggy banner saying: 'Where's our homes - our seeding holes? We're fed-up at being bottom of the pecking order!' - We'll continue to c*** on your monuments until justice is done! And march the circumference of the square - taking flight over the stony stares of Landseer's lions. They look as if they're destined to wake from the shackles of their bronze shell - frozen in time since 1867, four years before their creator's death. Commissioned at 3,000 GBP each - the spectacle fits in with the wonderful neoclassicism of the National Gallery as a backdrop - notoriously, the steps are employed as a meeting place for the lost and found, uniformed entourages and group picnickers - Depicting a National internal and external exhibition of the arts under the story-telling Column of Admiral Horatio Nelson, a sandstone commemoration from Baily; thirty five years after the Battle of Trafalgar. Standing at 51.6 metres high, you get the gist that Will Railton (the Column designer) was engrossed in the Greek Corinthian style of architecture than showcasing the work of Baily. Thank goodness for the modern contraption of long lenses. I hasten a guess that by the time the twenty third century elapses I cannot help but feel the history of Trafalgar could be replaced by recyclable stoned Capitalistic entities such as; Starbucks Coffee House, a Debenham's Sale held-up by a posse of all-weathered mannequins, and a MFI Sofa melting down a column - this represents a depiction that our capitalistic existence would automatically take-over historical events as landmarks for intrigue. In a weird way, it is happening today: hoards of tourists taking digital images of the Starbucks logo, they queue up to get the best position; lesser the solar glare the better. Meanwhile, fifty yards down the road is a famous tower - no-one is about! A brief insight was the use of the fourth plinth. I did marvel at Marc Quinn's, 'Alison Lapper Pregnant'. A breathe of fresh air on a dreary square. Visually, it broke the rigidity of straight lines, the neoclassic moulds, and the pigeon excrement stone. The freshness of the voluptuous form was far more representational of human-kind than the masterpieces of the nineteenth century - Quinn's use of the white marble poured colour onto the square, a momentary light fantastic which attracted a magnetism of bewildered tourists as well as a bombardment of pigeon poop. I suppose it was a welcomed respite for the permanent Trafalgar Square stoned residents; albeit, too stoned to notice.
The recent London Olympics of 2012 added a spot of colour on Admiral Nelson's nod. Decorated for our Queen's Jubilee and stayed put throughout our glorious Olympics. Fitting attire for those who've got long lenses - not that a vast number noticed - every now and again, a smidgeon of British kitsch tend to plunk itself on the desk at the City of Westminster Borough, which ignites British eccentricity. No doubt, the Duke of Wellington chose the most eccentric Trafalgar Square design in 1839 when bids were made. Grey was the new fad and straight lines was deemed as highly regimented - what do you expect from a Duke? Little did he know that the British on state occasions would indefinitely parade royal events and triumphant teams in one hundred and fifty years time among the crusty pigeon c**p stone, for hundreds of nations to see on Satellite TV. It is hard to see an Admiral in favour of such a spectacle, prior to a button polish or at least a sandstone wash, ironically, fountains sit nearby at his feet within the square. Harboring filth, the only purification comes from strategically placed holes, spurting out with a force - a bigger force, thanks to a new pump in 2009, which gives the indication the water is clear for a very brief moment - algae festers on the stone lips. The fountains were introduced to create a cathartic ambiance, and to restrict robust demonstrations. Oddly enough, the square is the starting point for vocalizing opinions - Canada House, and other Edwardian architectural establishments are the first to witness democracy at full vocal pelt. 'Bloody Sunday', was the earliest notable demonstration latterly in the nineteenth century and in 2011 a not dissimilar protest on Budget Cuts paraded their disgust, it won't be the last. Such protests happen; the square is a homing device for disenchantment and in no time, the few become a mass and then a crowd, many of which get swept along after trying to pass through innocently. The fountains become a playground for the overtly gregarious - even on quiet days the drunken wade through and pollute the polluted water. For me, I unintentionally end up there, and blur into the surroundings, if I stood still for five minutes, people will lob money at you, thinking it is an act. Urbanity isn't so bad, coinage glitters the ground.
I visited London first time in December 2005. On a sunny afternoon in December 2005 I took a bus from London Bridge without knowing where it was heading for, to explore the city. I was still completely a stranger in London then. It is my nature to explore cities in this fashion. I just go here and there and in the process I get to know whereabouts of places. I was getting excited as I was coming across all the beautiful buildings (I did not know then) on both sides of the street while the bus was on the move towards its destination. My eyes were fixed on various statues (sculptures) when I caught sight of the beautiful roundabout. I realised that it must be one of the most important city centres. I got off the bus and when I saw the distant Big Ben I was sure that it must be a famous place since it is round the Big Ben and parliament house (I red and learned about it long ago, so knew it) but still would not know what this place is called. The trip of that day is still vivid in my memory.
Trafalgar Square is the heart of London. It is one of the most iconic places in London, famous and a must see place for any visitor. It becomes beautiful in the evenings and people from all over the world can be found in and around this place. They are busy chatting, taking pictures, singing, film-makers recording scenes etc all kinds of colourful activities take place there. It has such a strong impact on the minds of people as I can feel. The nearest underground station is Charing Cross Tube Station and Leicester Square Underground Station. The place is connected very well by London Buses. There are numerous buses that stop round the square at many different bus stops.
Trafalgar Square is used as a public place too. Film makers from around the globe, professional and amateur photographers, singers, and people from all walks can be seen here. Besides the beautiful and famous sculptures, it is such a beauty when the fountains glitter with the lights on in the evening and the Big Ben shines just a short distance away. Among other notable places round here are the National art Gallery, Canada House, the Big Ben and Parliament House(some distance away), Leicester Square to name a few.
People who do not like big crowds or intimidated by crowds may have some difficulty in enjoying their way here. Keep your belongings safely.
No tour to London is complete without visiting Trafalgar Square. There is so much so to do round this place really.
Trafalgar Square is one of the most iconic places in London and despite being crowded, busy, still traffic-filled (though the removal of the lanes that used to separate the National Gallery from the middle bit definitely helped) and polluted, a definite must-see. In fact, it's an excellent placed to start a one-day (or a first-day) tour of London.
The Square is centred, appropriately for its name, on the Nelson's Column, flanked by four bronze lions. The northern side of the Square is filled with the imposing but attractive building of the National Gallery (fabulous collection of classic art, and free to enter) to which the traffic-free Northern Terrace raises. To the east one can admire the colonnade and spire of the beautiful church of St Martin in the Fields. To the south-west, Admiralty Arch leads to the Mall. Neo-classical Canada and South Africa Houses flank the square in the west and east respectively. Whitehall and Strand extend out from the southern part of the Square. There are fountains and other statuary dotted around and altogether it's not a bad space at all.
It reeks imperial grandeur, obviously, as it was designed and built at the very height of the Victorian might. One can see most of the structures on the square as playing tribute to the might of Imperial Britannia. And yet, the Trafalgar Square is more than a stone-bound triumphal march. It has been a place of political demonstrations, cultural events and rowdy celebrations from its beginnings. Some of these had imprimatur of the official governments of the time, others didn't - from the 19th century Chartists' meetings to anti-apartheid vigils to poll tax and budget cuts riots.
There is a Norwegian Christmas tree at the Square every year and London's New Year's celebrations took place at there (kind of unofficially, but this is where you went for the bells if you were in central London near midnight) until they were supplanted by the official, organised and spectacular mega-show over the Thames.
Although all distances from London are measured from Charing Cross (which is, nota bene, not far from here), Trafalgar Square is as close as London comes to having a central point. And everybody has to have photo on a lion, of course.
No trip to London is complete without visiting the key sites, and there are isn't many more significant than Trafalgar Square.
Whether it's to see the National Gallery, St Martin-In-The-Fields, Canada House, marvel at Nelson's column, to feed the thousands of pigeons or just marvel at the area it is an awe inspiring site.
Many of the site seeing buses include Trafalgar Square as part of their tour, and it is also very accessibale from the numerous bus stops and tube stations (including Charing Cross and Leicester Square.
At the centre of it all is Nelson's column which was completed in 1844, many years after the famous battle and completed after the less famous column in the Caribbean. Created by William Railton it was meant to honour Admiral Nelson for his heroic victory and his sacrifice at the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805. In total the colum is 51.9 metres high, and the sandstone statue of Nelson 5.2 metres was sculptured by Edward Baily. The 4 lions at the base of the column are said to protect Nelson's column and were sculptured over 4 years by Sir Edward Lanseer. Bronze plaques and the decorative elements at the top of the column are from captured/sunken ships with the plaques depicting some of Nelson's major victories.
The other significant feature at the centre of the square is the fountains and statues of mermaids and mermen (the latter completed in 1948 some 104 years after the mermaids).
It is also used for public displays, by film producers, and is a prominent feature of any amateur photograph album of tourists visiting the capital.
I love visiting the square not just for its elegance and heritage, but like many I have paid out a kings ransom in feeding those sodding pigeons! There is a lot to the area and is a place that you could spend many hours - including those on a very cold and wet December 31st waiting for Big Ben to strike.
It is a place I would defintely recommend on any visit you plan to London.
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life,
they say, London , a beautiful city in the heart of
England, boasts of rich culture, diverse people from
all spheres of life, and buildings and landmarks of a
variety of architectural designs.
A well-blended amalgam of all the above
and its influences in politics, arts, commerce,
entertainment, education and fashion contribute to its
status as a global city. It is also a favourite place
to relocate for lost politicians!
After a considerably delayed flight I
landed at Heathrow airport at &am. My bones had
started creaking with all sorts of possible rhythmic
sounds one could imagine courtesy the comfortable
sofas in the waiting lounge. But as soon as I saw
Heathrow's runway, my eyes lit up with excitement and
I forgot all about the jetlag of a torturous flight.
The immigration process went smoothly
and the immigration officer seemed quite tame, and
politely asked me how long I intended to say in
London. Cheerfully I replied, 'one week'. With a
perfunctory smile he said, `thank you for visiting
London`, and off I went.
I stayed at a hotel that seemed to
rower over all buildings on Cromwell Road. I dumped my
luggage and in the enthusiasm to feast my eyes on the
historic city, forgot to tip the hotel boy who gave me
a few dirty looks which I figured later were meant to
make me feel terribly guilty.
As soon as I left the hotel I took
the red tour bus with open rooftop to go around the
majestic city. The weather was absolutely amazing,
though extremely cold--but London ambience is sure to
make you fall in love with the city.
The first place I visited was the
new Palace of Westminster that houses the parliament,
that is, House of commons & House of Lord. Built
between 1840 and 1850 in neo-gothic style, it surely
is the `mother of all parliaments`. Behind its façade
rises the big Ben, where the sound of the majestic
clock keeps booming and is a major tourist magnet.
Going forward we passed by Westminster bridge near the
Westminster Abbey which is London's most important and
oldest building where English, monarchs and some men
of letters are buried. Interestingly enough, and to
the horror of many, the dead are buried under the flat
surface of cemented floor while people walk all over
Moving ahead we went to see a
great tourist attraction, the London Eye. It's a
densely crowded with queues of people wanting to have
a bird's eye view of the entire city from the grand
London Eye. I must add here that this place appears
mesmerizing with bare autumn trees lining the road
leading to London Eye on either side. The trees are
adorned with electric blue lights gleaming in the dark
and elves might suddenly appear from somewhere!
A very peaceful and most serene
part of my journey was a visit to Trafalgar Square. I
stopped by at the square to feed the pigeons who
appear calm and at ease with people feeding them. The
place is always crowded yet it brings so much calmness
inside that once you sit there, tranquility surrounds
you. At Trafalgar Square, looking at the Lord Horatio
Nelson's column, I was reminded of his oft-quoted,
most patriotic remark, "England expects that every man
will do this duty". I later walked towards Piccadilly
and found a fast-food restaurant, where I went to grab
a quick bite. Perched on its first floor, I had a
beautiful view of the hustle and bustle at Piccadilly
After my bus tour ended, I took a
cab to the Regent's Mosque in London where Muslims
pray in peace and unity. I witnessed with pleasure how
all shades of human race worshipped together with none
interfering with the others methodology of the SALAT
-no clergy trying to impose a particular FIQH. The
trait of `tolerance' which is a cornerstone of Islamic
faith was predominantly visible.
The very next day, while
walking around the area outside Buckingham Palace,
which is the official residence of the British Monarch
since 1837, when Queen Victoria moved to it from Saint
James Palace, I sat down in a park right opposite the
palace, which is also called St. James Park, for a cup
of coffee and a sandwich. An old couple came by and
asked if they could join me at the table. I willingly
nodded. The couple seemed British and every wrinkle on
their skin seemed to be a decade old . . . they must
have been in their 80s but a rather friendly couple.
We started making polite conservation and they asked
if I was from the Mediterranean region (they were
obviously misled by my light eyes). I told them about
myself and my country (should write my countries,
because I live six months in India and the other six
in Pakistan, but I am Indian) India. From Saint James
Park, I made a dash to the most venerable building in
the city, that is, Tower of London, which is an icon
of Norman military architecture. Beginning as a centre
of defence for William the conqueror, the tower has
served as a royal residence, state prison, execution
ground besides housing the crown jewels.
The night was young and the shops
were almost shut but the nightlife had just begun for
which London has always been famous. I walked towards
Leicester Square to add some spice to my tour--the
detailed shenanigans of the clubs and theaters, Madame
Tassaud Museum, Planetarium etc. I shall save all of
that for another time, may be !
London's Trafalgar Square is well known throughout the world, partly for the distinctive appearance of Nelson's Column, and partly for the hordes of pigeons that still congregate there despite the Mayor's best efforts. It's a popular venue for rallies and public outdoor meetings, in part because of the large open space it provides in central London, and also for historical reasons that I will go into later. WHERE IS IT? Trafalgar Square at the East end of Pall Mall, at the West end of the Strand, at the South end of Charing Cross Road, and at the North end of Whitehall. It's a very central location in the city, surrounded by other tourist attractions, and inevitably therefore picks up a good number of tourist visitors. The nearest Underground station is Charing Cross, and with a bit of effort, you can choose the Undeground exit that comes up in Trafalgar Square itself. This is pretty difficult though – you'll want the exit nearest the Bakerloo line, not the exit nearest the Northern line, which you'll have to walk to before going through the ticket barriers. Otherwise, it's just a few hundred yards walk from the main part of Charing Cross station to Trafalgar Square along the Strand. THE SQUARE The square was built to commemorate Admiral Nelson, and named after the Spanish cape where he won his final battle. Trafalgar Square was built on a slope. Obviously this posed difficulties for the square's design, because the original 1820s design by John Nash, which was constructed in the 1930s, had to be remodelled in 1840 by Charles Barry. This redesign introduced the northern terrace and staircases which we see in the square today. Barry was also responsible for the introduction of the fountains in 1845, which were apparently something of an afterthought. The square itself has changed little since then. Five plinths surround Nelson's column itself, one to
the south on a separate traffic island, two small ones on either side of the column, and two larger ones at the level of the northern terrace to the north of the column. The two fountains are a little to the north of the column. STATUES For many, the main attraction of Trafalgar Square is the statuary on display. Obviously, the best-known piece is Nelson's Column itself. It took three years to erect Nelson's Column, and its height depends greatly on which guidebook you read – somewhere between 165 and 185 feet. The granite column was completed in 1842, and the fourteen stonemasons responsible for its construction held a dinner on the top of the column before the statue was installed. The 17-foot high statue of Nelson was designed by E. H. Baily (who also worked on Marble Arch and Buckingham Palace). At the top of the column are several acanthus leaves, cast from the metal of British cannons. At the base of the column are four massive reliefs, depicting the four great victories of Admiral Nelson. The metal for these reliefs comes from armaments captured from the French. Better known than the reliefs, however, are the four enormous lions designed by Edwin Landseer, which were added 25 years after the column itself was completed. The lateness of the lions, which Landseer continually promised would emerge imminently from his studio, led to many scathing jokes from the press. When the lions were eventually added to the column, they received a very negative reaction. The large plinth, on a traffic island to the south of Trafalgar Square, bears the huge equestrian 'Monument to Charles I', made by Le Sueur in 1633, though which presumably didn't stand on its current site until the late 17th century. The current site of this statue is quite significant, as it marks the original site of Charing Cross – the point from which all the distances from London are measured (or not, depending on which guidebo
ok you read!). In 1290, Edward I erected a cross here – the last of the twelve Eleanor Crosses marking the resting places of the body of his wife Eleanor on its journey to Westminster Abbey. Charing Cross rested on this spot until the Civil War in the mid-17th century. A replica of the cross now stands in the forecourt of Charing Cross station. On either side of Nelson's column stand statues of two distinguished Victorian major generals – Sir Henry Havelock and Sir Charles James Napier. Havelock was a veteran of the first Indian mutiny, and served in Burma, Afghanistan and India. Napier was responsible for quelling the Chartist uprising in the North of England (which will prove significant in Trafalgar Square's history... as we will see later in this opinion), and ended his career by leading the conquest of the hill tribes of Sindh, now part of Pakistan. Why go into so much of the history surrounding these two figures? Well, because Mayor of London Ken Livingstone would like them replaced by "more recognisable figures". An ironic statement given that Havelock once said "Soldiers, your valour will not be forgotten by a grateful country". To the north side of the square, are two plinths. One holds a large equestrian statue of George IV, considered to be one of Sir Francis Chantrey's finest. Costing a shocking (at the time) 9,000 guineas, the statue was introduced to the square in the 1840s. FOURTH PLINTH The final plinth (in the Northwestern corner of the square) was, for a very long period, left unoccupied. However, between 1999 and 2001, it exhibited a series of contemporary British sculpture thanks to the involvement of Sculpture at Goodwood. The first of these pieces, 'Ecce Homo' by Mark Wallinger, consisted of a simple life-size statue of Christ, which stood in sharp contrast to the artificially exaggerated proportions of the other statues in the square. The
second sculpture, Bill Woodrow's 'Regardless of History' stood on the plinth for longer than originally anticipated due to its popularity. The work consists of a large head, with a book resting on top, kept in place by the massive root system of a tree that has grown on top of the sculpture, and whose roots extend down around the plinth. The third sculpture, Rachel Whiteread's 'Untitled (Empty Plinth)' continues Whiteread's preoccupation with encouraging public awareness of space. In her sculpture, an inverted likeness of the plinth itself, made from water-clear resin, stands on top of the stone plinth. SURROUNDING BUILDINGS Around the square itself are several impressive buildings. The most imposing building is unquestionably the National Gallery on the North side of the square, designed by Wilkins. To the West side of the National Gallery is the Sainsbury Wing, which holds the Gallery's collection of Medieval art. The first design for the Wing (which, thankfully, was not approved) was famously described by Prince Charles as a "monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend". To the North-east of the square can be found St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, one of the most architecturally significant churches in the city. It was designed by James Gibbs, completed in 1726, and went on to become the model for colonial churches in the United States. If you're at a loose end in the city for something to do of an evening, see if you can get to one of the candlelit concerts at St Martins. To the East side of the square is South Africa House, which features African animals on the building's stone arches. Opposite that, on the West side of the square is Canada House, designed by Sir Robert Smirke, who also designed the British Museum. Canada House often hosts exhibitions which are open to the public, and these are usually worth a visit so that you can admire the
original classical interior. To the South-west of the square is Admiralty Arch, beyond which you can see down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. The arch itself serves well to separate the sedate pace of the Mall from the hurried feel of Trafalgar Square, consisting of a triple arch. Traffic passes through the outer arches, and the central arch is only opened for royal processions. To the South of Trafalgar Square, you can look down Whitehall, towards Parliament. THE SQUARE IN USE Back in 1848, the Chartists assembled in Trafalgar Square, and since then it has been a favourite meeting place for demonstrators and marchers, as it provides such a large open area within which to congregate. Of late, it seems that efforts have been made to discourage public demonstrations in the square, as at one time you could scarcely walk through the square without encountering a small demonstration. Nonetheless, major demonstrations still regularly take place in the square. Even in George Orwell's '1984', the renamed Victory Square (the site of Trafalgar Square) had a column replaced Nelson with a massive statue of Big Brother, and was the site of public rallies where the proles would come to hurl abuse at prisoners of war. In addition to protests, the square is often used as a venue for major events. Recently, for example, the square played host to a South African freedom day concert, with music from REM, and every year, the square is the centre of the Hindu Rath Yatra festival in London. THE PIGEON WAR In 2001, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone refused to renew the licence of the last bird feeder in Trafalgar Square, in his efforts to clear the square of the hordes of pigeons with which it has become synonymous throughout the world. It's not been a particularly popular decision, particularly with animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who argue that the pigeons
will starve. Livingstone argues that the pigeons provide something of a health hazard in such a major tourist attraction. At the time of writing, there are still quite a few pigeons in Leicester Square, but numbers are vastly down on those before sales of bird food were prevented in the square. CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR Every December, the people of Norway send an enormous Christmas tree to Britain, in thanks for British involvement in the liberation of their country during the Second World War. After dark, the tree is regularly visited by groups of carollers at this time of year. Every New Year, thousands of tourists descend upon Trafalgar Square, which is absurd really, because there aren't actually any clocks within sight of the square. Usually, a dot-matrix display is installed at the base of Nelson's Column, so that they can have some cue from which to count down the final seconds of the year. On a normal day, you could hear Big Ben in Trafalgar Square, but not when there are thousands of revellers there! CONCLUSIONS Trafalgar Square is one of London's major tourist attractions, and being just a square, it's completely free for tourists to visit. While something of the atmosphere of the place has been lost with the abolition of the square's pigeon food vendors, it remains an impressive place, with some superb architecture on display. Also, since the square is surrounded by so many tourist attractions, a visitor to London is bound to walk through it at some point.
I used to work for four years just by trafalgur square, and it still is special. If you like pigeons, then act now and feed them while you have the chance I think its 25p a bag of seed but it wont last long if Westminster council have there way. The fountain are on most of the time, and the view at night is spectacular. Please note as it is crowded place be careful of pick pockets, and at night it can get quite rowdy. A place you must see. Give my respects to Lord Nelson
So beautiful it is, especially in the evening when the lights are on in the fountains and you can see Big Ben shining some distance away. It is busy in daytime and you'd see people from all over the world, which is interesting as well. but just mind the pigeons and their droppings... that's why i recommend go there in the evening. Also keep your bags close. My bag was snapped in a twinkling of an eye! Also, the icecream is bad. Coffee Republic across the street is a better place to go.