Leicester Square, London is one of the most exciting places in the city, and undoubtedly a must-see if you’re visiting, if only for a short time. Staying close to Leicester Square is ideal for your trip to London as it offers visitors the best in London culture with famed theatres, cinemas, and street performers. No visit to London is complete without at least popping in, but if you’re thinking about things to do in Leicester Square, here are a few suggestions from us.
The Leicester Square cinemas are known to host premiers of blockbuster movies, often pulling out the red carpet to welcome world-famous movie stars. If you want to watch a film in one of these star-studded, top-quality venues, it’s definitely worthwhile. Be prepared to pay slightly inflated prices for your snack and drinks, but enjoy sitting back, relaxing and watching a great film. All the big cinema chains are in Leicester Square including the Odeon, Vue, and Cineworld. Going to the pictures is a pleasant activity to do if the rainy London weather decides to set in.
Leicester Square Gardens
The gardens in Leicester square are the perfect place to catch your breath after walking the streets of London. If you’re visiting the city during the summer, the gardens provide deck chairs for you to put up your feet and take in the fresh air beneath the square’s trees. The gardens are the ideal place to enjoy some outdoor time, especially if your accommodation is nearby and you fancy a walk outside.
If you’re travelling with kids or you’re a chocolate enthusiast, you have to swing by the M&M’s world. The mega-store is made up of 4 stories, each packed with chocolates, M&M’s merchandise and fun activities. You can have your photo taken with the iconic M&M’s Mini Cooper and have your M&M’s mood read in the colour portal. Got a special someone in mind? Get your face printed onto individual M&M’s and give them a present they certainly won’t forget.
Get Photos with Your Favourite Movie Character
The famous film statues around Leicester Square were initially going to be a temporary exhibition, but they have certainly become integrated into what makes Leicester Square special. The statues provide great photo opportunities for tourists and excitement for anyone who loves the likes of Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, Mr Bean, and dear old Paddington Bear eating his marmalade sandwich.
The LSQ Rooftop Bar
This bar is perfect for a drink either before or after the theatre, or just to enjoy the London skyline. Doubling as a viewing point, the bar is situated 9 stories high on top of the Indigo Hotel and gives everyone who visits great views of the city. LSQ also has a restaurant in case you’re feeling peckish, so you can dine in style while taking in London’s vibrant atmosphere. It’s also a great location to end off a busy day before heading back to your London accommodation.
Famous for LED advertising boards, huge shops, the London branch of the Hard Rock Cafe and, of course, the Eros Statue, Piccadilly Circus is just a short walk away from Leicester Square. Despite its name, Piccadilly Circus is not a circus at all, but rather an area of London renowned for bright city lights and a popular meeting place before a night out. You’ll often see protestors and tour groups gathered around the Eros statue too.
West End Theatre Productions
If you want to experience the incredible talents of London’s stage actors and singers, you have to treat yourself to a West End show. One of the most famous ticket sales outlets is the “TKTS” booth in the centre of Leicester Square. The booth sells discounted tickets at the last minute and some shows will even sell for less than GBP 20 if you’re not too phased about where in the theatre you end up sitting. Leicester Square is the perfect location to literally enjoy dinner and a show.
Trafalgar Square is just a short walk down from Leicester Square. The famous London location is often the site of protest and political and social activist demonstrations. The Trafalgar Square fountains sit in the middle of the square and house the magnificent mermaid, dolphin, and triton sculptures designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1935. However, these were only installed in the fountains after the 2nd World War in 1948. The creators of the sculptures were William McMillan and Sir Charles Wheeler. Other famous statues in Trafalgar Square are Nelson’s Column, King George IV and the highly recognisable four lion statues.
The Lego Store
Another must-see attraction for the little ones (or the inner child in you), the Lego Store is jam-packed with any lego configuration you can think of with sculptures of Big Ben, Harry Potter, and Spider-Man constructed entirely out of Lego! If you’re planning a trip to Leicester Square, then the Lego store should be one of your first stops. The queue to get in is always long and winds all the way around the building.
The Swiss Glockenspiel
Make sure you’re in Leicester Square when the clock strikes 12! The Swiss Glockenspiel is actually the creation of the clock-making company Smith of Derby. When the clock chimes, 11 figurines move around the clock to music, giving audiences an almost puppet-show-like performance. There are performances five times a day during weekdays and eight times a day over the weekends. It’s a fun thing to see at noon though, and it’s situated right between M&M World and the Lego Store.
The National Gallery
Another attraction in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is the site of some of the world’s most famous paintings. After a few hours in here, you’ll be astounded by the works of art you come across. As with most of the museums in London, the entrance to the gallery is free of charge, making it the perfect place to kill some time before a movie or a show (or just to get out of the rain). As you wander through the gallery, you can expect to come across works from artists including Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Turner, and Monet.
Enjoy One of the Many Restaurants
After a morning of wandering around Leicester Square, you may start to feel peckish around lunchtime. There are several wonderful restaurants in and around the square, catering to any craving. Angus Steak House is an institution in London that serves some of the best grilled meats around. For something more delicate, The 8 restaurant and the Londoner hotel serve an eclectic take on Japanese cuisine. If you fancy exploring more restaurants, Covent Garden is also just a short walk away if you’re thinking of treating yourself to a luncheon accompanied by a glass of bubbles at one of the area’s many french-themed restaurants.
Watch Street Performers
As you pass the gardens along the main pedestrian walkway in Leicester Square, you’re bound to come across numerous street performers showing off their very niche skills. The floating Yoda performer is one of the most recognisable street performers who frequent the square, along with dancers, street portrait artists, statue imitators and buskers. You don’t have to be sitting in a theatre to enjoy quality London entertainment.
London’s China Town is a relatively new establishment in comparison to the rest of the city’s iconic scenes. As you make your way through Leicester Square, you will probably catch glimpses of the 100s of red lanterns strung up between the buildings that make up China Town. The area of London is the perfect spot for lunch, especially if you are a fan of Chinese food. The quality of food is unparalleled and there is a huge range of options to choose from. China Town is also home to several well-stocked Chinese supermarkets which are worth seeing if you haven’t before.
Leicester Square Casinos
Has the spirit of London got you feeling lucky? Why not try your luck at one of the several casinos in Leicester Square? Even if you’re not a big gambler, the Hippodrome, Empire and Grosvenor Casinos are great places for a drink and a dance if you’re up for it. It’s often quite fun to get dressed up and enter these establishments, which are open 24/7. Be prepared to stand in the queues if you venture to these spots later in the evening but they’re a great bit of fun once you’re in.
Why We Love Leicester Square
Leicester Square, London is the perfect combination of British History and all the excitement, glitz, and glam the city has to offer. If you’re still deciding on where in London you’d like to stay, you should definitely consider somewhere central, just so that you can embrace all the action of the Square and its surrounding areas. Your trip to London will not be boring if you’re close to the Leicester Square and the Soho areas.