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Picadilly Circus

Picadilly Circus (8)

This nerve centre of London’s West End at which Haymarket, Shaftesbury Avenue, Regent Street, Glasshouse Street and Piccadilly Street all meet, is the heart of a busy leisure area full of shops, cinemas, theatres and restaurants.

In the centre of this traffic-filled square, you will see the most famous meeting point in London. It is a fountain crowned by a statue that represents a winged angel with a bow. Many people believe that this figure is Eros, the Greek god of love, but in reality it represents the angel of Christian charity, since the monument was erected in 1893 in honour of the philanthropist Lord Shaftesbury. The work of Alfred Gilbert, it was one of the first statues to be sculpted in aluminium. And although it had many critics initially, since a nude figure in a public space was scorned upon at the time, it soon came to be much appreciated by Londoners, and even the Evening Standard newspaper uses it as its symbol.

As a curiosity, the statue originally pointed north with its bow, towards Shaftesbury Avenue. However, during the Second World War it was removed for safety reasons, and when it was returned it was placed with the bow facing south. 

For a long time now, this gateway to the lively Soho district has been mainly surrounded by commercial centres, such as the Trocadero Centre, although if you prefer the theatre, the square is home to the famous Criterion Theatre.

The best time to visit Piccadilly Circus is undoubtedly at night, since the square is flooded by the light from the spectacular neon advertisements that crown the northwest corner of the square. This is in no way recent, however, if you think that the first electric advertisements appeared in 1910.

Inspirer of several songs, the site for numerous photo and painting sessions, its movement, atmosphere, street musicians, jugglers… Piccadilly Circus will surely delight you and you will want to enjoy it by watching the scene even for just a few minutes. 

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