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Leicester Square

Leicester Square (43)

The heart of the liveliest late-night London is this packed square in the West End that pumps out fun, partying and noise at all hours. In the past, it was an exclusive residential area and favoured spot to settle questions of honour through duelling, and was designed around 1670. Its name comes from the fact that it was south of Leicester House, one of the oldest royal residences. 

At night, an amalgam of tourists, street musicians and people of a thousand and one nationalities mix with the people who are queuing up to get into the dance clubs of Equinox, Maximus or Hippodrome.

If you prefer, in Leicester Square there are great cinemas, such as the Empire or the Odeon, which feature amongst the best in London. The relationship between this square and the cinema goes back to the 1930s, when celluloid was responsible for finishing off the music halls of the Victorian period. Perhaps you will be lucky and even see a Hollywood star attending the premiere of their latest film. 

In the tree-filled area in the centre you will come across a box-office where you can buy discounted tickets for the theatres in the area. Also, several busts and statues pay homage to famous residents of this corner of London, such as Isaac Newton, William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds painted part of his oeuvre at number 46 of the square.

This part of Leicester Square is surrounded by a fence and closed to the public at night. Until the early 90s it was though to be a rather dangerous spot, since it was the meeting place for drug addicts and petty criminals. Today things have changed, so it is also recommendable that you go and see the monument dedicated to William Shakespeare and the statue of Charlie Chaplin, work of the sculptor John Doubleday. 

When you are hungry, remember that Chinatown is close by, so do not miss the opportunity to enter into its fascinating atmosphere and enjoy a delicious and well-priced meal.

Discover one of the busiest areas of the city, both during the day and at night.

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