Leicester Square Overview

Leicester Square is an entertainment hub in the West End of London that is famous for its bustling pedestrian friendly streets and dynamic nightlife. Entertaining the city of London since 1670, Leicester square houses prominent movie theatres, beautiful gardens, intriguing casinos, luscious food stalls and quaint art galleries. The locality also features different colourful cultural shades from all over the world.

Leicester (Less-ter) Square in London is one of the most vibrant and eclectic places, which has been in the spotlight since the 16th century, and quite literally at that! Initially a residential area for the aristocracy, it is now one of the most vibrant & unique places in the UK.

Home to some of the best cinemas in the UK, this is where a lot of A-listers walk the red carpet at the time of movie premieres. The square, built around a garden, houses world-class theaters that host a variety of theatrical performances and musicals throughout the year. Experience the glamour with our best Europe tour packages.

Leicester Square is a space, which incubates contemporary free-wheeling art-based performances by escapologists, mime artists, stand up comedians, etc. In fact, through Leicester Square, the ‘new’ London gives a beautiful homage to the ‘old’ London. You will see the statues of icons like William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Hogarth, Durham, Charlie Chaplin, and Joshua Reynolds. This landmark-pedestrianized zone has colourful cultural hues from around the world in its very essence, be it food, people, sights, and sounds. In fact, the Chinese New Year is celebrated with quite an aplomb at Chinatown here.

The square houses two of the largest outlets of M&M’s and Lego in the world. And that’s not all! The square has some of the largest and best casinos in the UK that don’t let the evenings fade. The Leicester Square, named after Robert Sidney, the second Earl of Leicester, was laid out in the late 16th-century. It lies in the City of Westminster surrounded by Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, and Cambridge Circus.


• Spend a day at Leicester Square exploring the buzzing streets, eclectic cinemas, flavoursome street food and animated nightlife at the pubs.
• Visit some of the best theatres in Leicester Square including Vue Cinema, Prince Charles Cinema and Cineworld that have hosted red carpet premieres and Hollywood parties.
• Go on a rejuvenating retail therapy and shop for authentic Japanese goods at the Japan Centre or buy exclusive Lego sets at the Lego Store.
• Indulge in an exciting game night at Empire Casino where you can play poker and gamble all day while gorging on delicious food and drinks.
• Take a walk through Chinatown and witness the magnificent Chinese architecture built in traditional Qing style and adorned with Chinese symbols and dragons.
• Dine at some of the best restaurants serving traditional cuisines and authentic street food from all over the world like sushi, bubble waffles and Udon noodles.

How To Reach

By Car: The driving distance between London City Airport and Leicester Square is around 14 kilometres (32 minutes). You can take Hartmann Road to Connaught Road and proceed to Catherine Street via Lower Lea Crossing & Henrietta Street and reach Covent Garden. Alternatively, you can opt for an Uber. The closest parking space is Q-Park Leicester Square, after which you will be required to walk. 

By Bus: You can get to Leicester Square via bus numbers- 29, 55, 6, 87, and 94.

By Train: Reach Leicester Square via Southeastern train.

By Tube: You can choose from Northern or Piccadilly Tube.

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Best Time To Visit

Leicester Square is crowded throughout the day especially during the peak summer tourist season. The best time to visit Leicester Square is at night so that you can experience the lively nightlife when the square is full of life. If you wish to avoid the heavy crowds, go during the morning or afternoon hours. 

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Other Essential Information

History Of Leicester Square

The story of the Leicester Square begins in the 1630s when it was named after Leicester House, which belonged to Robert Sidney, who was the 2nd Earl of Leicester. In fact, it is difficult to imagine this spectacularly chic place as one where women used to lay out garments for drying and comprised of cattle fields initially. 

The Windmill Street here actually had a windmill and a few houses. It housed a hospital for lepers and an ancient church. 

Towards the late 17th-century, it became the residential area of well-known people like Prince of Wales, Joshua Reynolds, Karl Marx, etc. Shortly after this when the famous tenants started leaving, the glory of the square began to fade with the illustrious houses reducing to shambles and the streets getting deserted strewn with filth. In the later years of the 1800s, the place attracted the attention of the Parliament finally, which cleared the square for beautification. 

Albert Grant, who purchased the square, started the redevelopment and the rest is history! The central area was converted into a beautifully landscaped garden. As more and more people started visiting, shops housing hairdressers, garment designers, and perfumers began to come up. This was followed by the construction of theatres, cinemas, casinos, and bars.

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Places To Eat At Leicester Square

1. Tandoor Chophouse:

This Indo-British eatery offers the best roasts and drinks. Don’t miss to try the black pepper chicken tikka and masala boti rubbed ribeye, which taste the best when paired with sumptuous naans. 

2. Angus Steakhouse:

One of the most popular places to eat in the area, Angus Steakhouse offers the ‘near-perfect’ steak, as claimed by people who have eaten here. You can choose from as many as 11 cuts in 18 sizes.

3. Busaba Bangkok Thai:

Try some of the most amazing and authentic Thai dishes here like Seafood red curry, Tamarind duck breast, and Wok broccoli. The place is famous for its beautifully lit ambience with long line wooden tables that offers a community-style experience. 

4. Byron Hamburgers:

Enjoy the best burgers in town like Smashed avocado, Chilli, Bulleit bourbon smokey, and the classic cheeseburger at Byron Hamburgers. 

5. Browns Covent Garden:

This amazing brassiere has a warm vibe and food to die for. Don’t miss to try the pre and post-theatre foods like fish pie, steak and chips, and lemon tart. The place is also famous for its huge range of cocktails and wine selections. 

6. Hawksmoor Air Street:

Another place to enjoy a rich juicy steak, the place now offers delicious seafood including charcoal-grilled lobster and a huge range of fish dishes.

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Places To Stay Near Leicester Square

1. Assembly London: Located just a stone’s throw away from Leicester Square, this is one of the best boutique hotels in the area. It offers 12 rooms ranging from single to triple occupancy rooms. The hotel is located at 27-31 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H OLS.

2. Radisson Blu Edwardian, Hampshire Hotel: This stunning 5-star property is famous for its contemporary restaurants and beautiful terrace space overlooking the square. It is located at 31-36 Leicester Square, WC2H 7LH.

3. Hotel Indigo: The hotel is popular for its theatrically styled rooms that overlook the square. Its rooftop bar offers undulated views of the beautiful skyline of the city. It is located at 1 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA.

4. W London: Famous for its quirky interiors, spa, and an amazing cocktail bar, W London ranks amongst the best places to stay in the area. It is located at 10 Wardour Street, W1D 6QF.

5. Thistle Piccadilly Hotel: Located only a short walk away from all the attractions of Leicester Square, this hotel is known for its excellent customer service and experience. It is located on Coventry Street. 

6. Victory House Hotel: The hotel is known for its unique architecture that looks like a cinema complete with a screen and a stage. This boutique hotel is located at 14 Leicester Place, WC2H 7NG.

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Travellers' Tip before Visiting Leicester Square

- Travellers generally get the pronunciation wrong. The name of the place is pronounced as ‘Less-ter Square’!

- For the best experience of the place, start your walking tour from Piccadilly Circus alongside Coventry Street to reach the square. Take your way out through Cranbourn Street towards Covent Garden.

- Keep a check on your valuables, as the place tends to get extremely crowded.

- To avoid spending a bomb on the theatre tickets, you can purchase discounted and last minute tickets from the TKTS Booth. It is located at The Lodge, on the southern side of the Square.

- Leicester Square is a walking zone. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. Since you will be strolling outdoors a lot, your clothes should be weather appropriate.

- If you want to watch a movie without shelling out too much money, go for the afternoon screenings. Movie slots on the weekends and in the evenings are expensive. 

- If you are driving, the closest parking space is Q-Park Leicester Square. You can also use the city’s bike hire scheme (bikes can go only up to a point as the square itself is a walk-only zone).

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Point of Interest for Leicester Square


Leicester Square is open 24X7 with no shortage for entertainment, thanks to its theatres, restaurants and shops. If you are looking for places for family outings, date nights or to hang out with friends, Leicester has it all. There are famous theatres like Apollo, Cineworld and Garrick where iconic concerts and performances are held. You can indulge in a game of gambling at the Empire and Hippodrome casinos or visit Mosh and Waikiki night clubs for an exhilarating nightlife experience.

Food and Drink

Food and Drink

Satisfy your hungry taste buds with a mouth-watering meal at some of the finest restaurants in Leicester Square that serve dishes from all over the world. Dine at Bella Italia for a scrumptious pizza, sip a lip-smacking coffee at Ellamia or gorge on a midnight feast at Angus Steakhouse. Leicester Square is also the home to modern bars and pubs like Bear and Staff, All Bar One and Zoo Bar and Club for a taste of flavorful cocktails.

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Prepare to go on a wild shopping spree at some of Europe’s largest shopping centres in Leicester Square. Shop exclusive lego sets at The Lego Store, world-famous colourful M&M candies at M&M’s World and traditional Japanese cooking essentials at the Japan Centre. You can also visit TWG Tea to discover 800 varieties of whole leaf teas and exclusive tea blends that match your taste.

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Leicester Square FAQs

What is Leicester Square?

Leicester Square is the pulse of London’s West End area that’s visited by millions of people from around the world. This erstwhile 16th-century residential space is now the focal point of where all action takes place, be it movie premiers & screenings, exhibitions, and theatrical performances. It is also famous for its casinos, food outlets, bars, and hotels.

What is there to do near Leicester Square London?

- Visit the iconic Trafalgar Square to see thousands of fluttering pigeons and the world-famous Nelson’s Column & Fourth Plinth. 

- Take a stroll amidst the colourful Piccadilly Circus area and see the London Pavilion and Shaftesbury Memorial.

- See the world’s largest collection of portraits of Tudors, illustration, and contemporary portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.

- Take the London Ghost Walking Tour that will take you through an underground tube train ride, a ride on the Thames, to the Tower of London.

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Is Leicester Square a street?

Leicester Square is much more than a street. It is one of the world’s best known cultural & entertainment hubs with some of the best theatres, cinemas, hotels, casinos, and shops squarely built around a central park.

How many cinemas are there in Leicester Square?

1. Cineworld:

This 9-screen cinema is located at 5-6 Leicester Square, WC2H 7NA.

2. Empire Cinema:

This 9-screen cinema is located at 63-65 Haymarket, SW1Y 4RL.

3. Odeon Lux Leicester Square:

This is the first Dolby Cinema in the UK and is located at 22-24 Leicester Square, WC2H 7LQ.

4. Prince Charles Cinema:

This is West End’s only independent cinema and is located at 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY.

5. Vue Cinema:

This 9-screen cinema is located at 3 Cranbourn Street, WC2H 7AL.

6. Picturehouse Central:

This cinema, famous for its monthly dog-friendly screenings, is located at the corner of Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7DH.

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What Tube line is Leicester Square on?

The Leicester Square lies on the Northern (Southbound & Northbound) and Piccadilly (Westbound & Eastbound) Lines of the London Underground network.

Is Leicester City in London?

No, Leicester City is located in the East Midlands of England. It edges along the River Soar and close to the National Forest area on the eastern side.

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What time does Leicester Square station close?

The Leicester Square Station closes at midnight each day.

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