Trafalgar Square, London: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips
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About Trafalgar Square

Resting at the heart of London, amidst the bustling town of Westminster, lies the country's most notable landmark, Trafalgar Square. Constructed in 1840, the Square is not only a popular tourist attraction but is also an iconic landmark glorifying the city's rich heritage, history and culture.

From Buckingham Palace and the London Eye to the verdant gardens of St. James's Park, the city's most renowned monuments and destinations are located just a stroll away from the Square. Pearly white fountains are flowing with turquoise water form a decent spot for resting quietly as you admire the intricate sculptures of gorgeous mermaids and fishes carved at the outline.

Bronze statues of four majestic lions glistening in the bright sun form the periphery around the tall facade of Nelson Column. Commemorating the valor displayed by British troops in the Battle of Trafalgar, it celebrates the victory of Britain over Spanish and French forces. With the National Gallery in its north and Northumberland Avenue in its south, Trafalgar Square is the best spot to witness the lively and boisterous city life of London.

How to Reach Trafalgar Square

You can reach Trafalgar Square in less than 30 minutes from the City Centre by cab or taxi. You can reach Trafalgar Square in 30 minutes even with public transport which makes it just as good of an alternative. The time taken in all 4 routes is 30-35 minutes so one can choose whichever route they want.

1. A walk to Bethnal Green station and a ride on Central sub from there would land you at Oxford Circus Underground station. From there, Charing Cross station is just a ride on Bakerloo sub away from Oxford Circus Underground Station. A minute walk from there would get you to renowned Trafalgar Square.

2. This route goes through Holborn station which can be reached by taking a Central sub from Bethnal Green station. You can board the Piccadilly sub from there to reach Leicester Square station, which is a 5-minute walk away from Trafalgar Square.

3. Yet another route consisting of Central sub goes through Tottenham Court station from Bethnal Green station. A short ride on the Northern sub would get you to Charing Cross station. A hop, skip, and a jump, and you’ll find yourself in front of Trafalgar Square.

4. You can also walk straight from Tottenham Court station to Trafalgar square if you want to absorb the city of central London. It might be more than just a short stroll for some people, so you should be prepared to walk for more than 10 minutes.

What Not to Miss at Trafalgar Square

Some activities handpicked amongst the best things you can indulge in at Trafalgar Square are mentioned below.

1. Covent Garden Market -
This is the most famous market in London and a very famous tourist attraction. The different parts of the market are filled with jewellery, antiques, fine prints, beautiful crafts, clothes and even general household items. It is open all week and the type of merchandise change daily.

2. Horse Guards Parade -
The Household Cavalry Museum at Horse Guard Parade is a wonderful example of the rich military history. The museum is the living demonstration of the hardships that came hand in hand with holding a position in this honoured regiment for Her Majesty’s forces.

3. St Martin-in-the-Fields Church -
Meander into the spectacular St Martin-in-the-Fields Church which hosts daily church services, free music every day and even paid concerts around the weekends. Discover and enjoy a meal or a jazz night in London’s hidden cafe – Café in the Crypt.

Places to Visit near Trafalgar Square

Located at walking distances of Trafalgar Square, are these must-visit marvels of the city.

1. Somerset House -
Located between the Strands and the Thames, in the heart of London, is situated the spectacular Somerset House. It is a world-renowned attraction and should be on the must-visit list of anyone visiting London. It has a spectacular dancing fountain in its courtyard and hosts various exhibitions, art and cultural events throughout the year.

2. Big Ben and the London Eye -
Situated along the banks of the River Thames, are the two most famous London tourist attractions. Atop the Big Ben, you can catch the bird-eyes view of the breathtaking panorama of London city. The ride on the London Eye lasts for 30 minutes and offers a peaceful escape up in the sky from where you can view the entire city at a glance. 

3. The National Gallery -
For tourists with cultural inclination, The National Gallery, situated just a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square, is the perfect paradise to satisfy their desire. Open almost throughout the year and free to enter, this place hosts a wealth of fine art with paintings dating as far back as the 13th century. It also conducts various special events throughout, and all are invited to join in.

Other Essential Information About Trafalgar Square

History of Trafalgar Square

Formerly the King’s Mews, Trafalgar Square has an incomparably rich history. It became a noted site in the 13th century, during Edward I’s reign where it was commonly known as Royal Mews. It stayed that way for many other rulers who came into power but an unfortunate fire assisted in the reconstruction of the mews and this time it was given the formation of stables.

In 1826 plans for clearing and redevelopment of a major part of the site came forward headed by John Nash. But John Nash’s untimely death left the construction of this iconic site incomplete for a while. The construction again started post his demise and the square was decided to be named after the victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

After John Nash’s death William Wilkins was brought on board for the construction of Trafalgar Square. William designed the national gallery built on the northern side of the square but he too, unfortunately, passed away before his plans could be officially accepted. A few weeks later, Charles Barry was called upon and his plans were accepted with immediate effect.

The square officially opened in 1844, after considerable changes were made in the national gallery. Although part of the design wasn’t completed until 1867, a statue named Nelson’s Column was erected in 1843 which was planned independently from the square. Some major changes took place in an eighteen-month redevelopment which wrapped up in 2003. The construction led by W.S. Atkins incorporated public toilets, café, and 2 lifts.

Places to Eat in Trafalgar Square

Serving the finest tastes from exquisite gourmet are the following restaurants near Trafalgar Square.

1. Café on the Square -
This is a beautiful café with outside chairs and tables, providing a beautiful view along with delicious food. Serving home-made sandwiches and cakes, the menu offers traditional café fares.
Location: Charing Cross
Timings: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

2. Café in the Crypt -
This is an exquisite hidden café inside the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Field Church serving food buffet style. The food here is great in taste and light on the pocket.
Location: Trafalgar Square
- Monday – Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
- Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
- Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
- Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3. Tandoor Chop House -
This part British – part north Indian restaurant serves mouthwatering meat dishes made with Indian spices in traditional tandoor ovens. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience and delicious food with friends and family.
Location: 8 Adelaide St
Timing: Noon – 11:30 PM

Places to Stay near Trafalgar Square

Numerous star rated as well as affordable luxurious accommodations are easily available around Trafalgar Square. Here are some of the best picks. 

1. Strand Palace Hotel -
The closest hotel to some of the best sightseeing spots in London, Strand Palace Hotel has numerous rooms with an opulent modern decor. The hotel has its fitness centre, bar, snacks bar and a coffee shop. 
Location: 372 Strand
Distance: 0.3 km

2. Club Quarters Hotel -
This Victorian-style property was originally the Northumberland House and was later renovated into a contemporary hotel. It has classic rooms and luxurious suites. 
Location: 8 Northumberland Avenue, Westminster
Distance: 0.4 km

3. Thistle Piccadilly Hotel -
Located just a stone's throw from top restaurants in the city, Thistle Piccadilly Hotel is a popular pick to stay near the Square. It has spacious suites equipped with fully stocked minibars and coffee machines. It also has a workout room and sauna.  
Location: Coventry Street
Distance: 0.4 km

Statues and Foundations at Trafalgar Square

When visiting Trafalgar Square, keep your eyes open for the following statues and landmarks.

1. Nelson's Column -
Built atop a bronze platform, this historic memorial was constructed in 1843 to honour the valor displayed by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar. Hence, this 52 m column has a stone figure of Lord Nelson on its top.  

2. Landseer Lions -
Named after their sculpture Edwin Landseer, the four majestic bronze lions symbolize power and strength of Lord Nelson. 

3. Fountains -
With intricate sculptures of mermaids and dolphins outlining the periphery, the beautiful fountains of this Square are filled with crystal clear water. 

4. Bronze Statues -
There are three notable statues on plinths located in Trafalgar Square. In the northeast corner is a statue of King George IV sculpted by Sir Francis Chantrey. In the southwest corner, there is the statue of General Sir Charles James Napier while in the southeastern corner, there is Major General Henry Havelock.

Travellers’ Tip before Visiting Trafalgar Square

A heads-up about some important tips to keep in mind before visiting London's most notable Square. 

- Though pigeons used to rest here in thousands, there are close to no pigeons in the Square now. But even if you spot any, do not feed them as it has been banned and is heavily fined.

- Respect the historical importance of the lions and click pictures only from a distance. Avoid climbing on these statues as it can cause irreversible damage to the sculptures.

- Though there is no entry fee for the Square, the public restrooms in the area have some charges and are open for a limited time only.
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People Also Ask About Trafalgar Square

  1. What can you do at Trafalgar Square?

    When at Trafalgar Square, the best thing to do is to engage in sightseeing. You can watch the street artists put on plays or watch a flock of pigeons hooting. You can stroll in the gardens at St. James's Park or marvel at the displays in the National Art Gallery.
  2. How do you get to Trafalgar Square?

    You can easily reach Trafalgar Square by taking the tube to Charing Cross Station. Or else, you can always hire a taxi.
  3. What is the building in Trafalgar Square?

    Towards the north corner of Trafalgar Square, you can locate the white facade of a majestic building. This building is the National Gallery, London's renowned art museum. Since its establishment in 1824, the museum has preserved the notable artworks of British history and houses more than 2000 murals in its galleries.
  4. What is close to Trafalgar Square?

    Almost all the major tourist attractions are in proximity to Trafalgar Square. Some prominent names include Somerset House, National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Park, Big Ben, the London Eye and Westminster Abbey.
  5. Is Trafalgar Square free?

    Yes, there is no entry fee to Trafalgar Square.
  6. What is Trafalgar Square famous for?

    Trafalgar Square is built in honour of those heroic forces of the British army who fought under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson to defeat the French and Spanish forces. It commemorates the wit and valour displayed by Lord Nelson, and his unfortunate death while fighting, which turned him into a national symbol of gallantry. Hence, there is a famous column erected right in the middle of the Square and is dedicated to Lord Nelson.
  7. How far is Trafalgar Square from Buckingham Palace?

    Buckingham Palace is situated at a distance of approximately 1.3 km from Trafalgar Square and can easily be reached on-foot by a 15-minute pleasant walk.What buses go to Trafalgar Square?
  8. What buses go to Trafalgar Square?

    Many bus routes are leading to Trafalgar Square, some that pass it on the way, and some that terminate at it. However, some of the buses you can take to reach the Square are 453, 139, 159, 176, 91, 29, 88, 6, 11 and 9.
  9. How far is Piccadilly Circus from Trafalgar?

    The distance of Piccadilly Circus from Trafalgar Square is just 0.6 km and can easily be reached on-foot by an 8-minute pleasant walk.
  10. Can you climb on lions at Trafalgar Square?

    Earlier, there used to be a lot of tourists trying to climb on the back of those lions. However, over the years, a lot of accidents have been reported of tourists who got injured by falling from these statues. Also, it was observed that there were signs of damage to these sculptures as well. Hence, climbing or going near the bronze lions is prohibited now.
  11. Why are there lions in Trafalgar Square?

    Since ancient times a lion has been glorified as the kind of animal kingdom. It is a symbol of power, majesty and strength. For the same reason, you will find lion statues erected at many historic places throughout London, including Trafalgar Square as a memoir to Lord Nelson for his heroic death in the Battle of Trafalgar.
  12. What do the four lions in Trafalgar Square represent?

    The four lions fringing the tall Nelson column portray the justice and courage displayed by Admiral Horatio Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar. It represents his alertness and valour overpowering in all four directions.
  13. How far is Trafalgar Square from Covent?

    Trafalgar Square is located at a distance of approximately 0.55 km from Covent.
  14. What is the statue in Trafalgar Square?

    Apart from the sculptures of four majestic lions, there are three bronze statues in Trafalgar Square. They belong to General Sir Charles James Napier, King George IV, and Major General Sir Henry Havelock.
  15. What is Trafalgar Square used for?

    This historic landmark is a popular site in British democracy for gatherings and peaceful demonstrations. Tourists come here to relax and enjoy capturing the various aspects of city life. On some days there are fun events and concerts held in the middle of the Square.
  16. What does Trafalgar mean?

    Trafalgar is the name of that cape in Spain where the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 took place. Cape Trafalgar is hence, a historic landmark, which is located in Cadiz towards the southwestern coast of Spain.
  17. Can I walk from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace?

    Yes, you can take a walk from Trafalgar Square and reach Buckingham Palace within 15 minutes at the max.
  18. How far is Trafalgar Square from Westminster?

    The distance between Westminster and Trafalgar Square is roughly 1.35 km.
  19. Why was Trafalgar Square-built?

    It was built to memorialise the braveness of Admiral Lord Nelson and his troops which brought the victory of British over the Spanish and French forces in the Battle of Trafalgar. Originally it was called Fourth's Square. However, in 1835, it was renamed after the popular suggestion put forward by architect George Ledwell Taylor.
  20. How far is Oxford Street from Trafalgar Square?

    Trafalgar Square is located at a distance of roughly 1.25 km from Oxford Street.
  21. Who sculpted the four lions in Trafalgar Square?

    The bronze lions erected in Trafalgar Square were sculpted by the architects Edwin Landseer and Baron Marochetti.
  22. What are the Trafalgar lions made of?

    The four lions at Trafalgar Square were sculpted by Edwin Landseer and are made of bronze.
  23. Why is there a statue of George Washington in Trafalgar Square?

    Honouring the first president of the United States, the statue of George Washington was actually a gift to Britain from Virginia. It marks the friendship and harmonious bonding between the two countries.