Trafalgar Square is a tourist attraction located in the heart of London and is guarded by the towering monument, Nelson’s Column. Both visitors and Londoners visit the attraction as a place for relaxtion. It is particularly crowded during events including Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, and Christmas ceremonies. Trafalgar Square is also often used as the starting point for a symbolic Central London tour. The name of the square reminds people of the famous Battle of Trafalgar that took place during the Napoleonic Wars and that ended with the British naval victory.
- Nelson’s Column – On top of this Corinthian column, you can see the statue of Nelson that was built as a reminder of the British Victory in Trafalgar. The massive construction was built between 1840 and 1843, but the 4 lions were added 24 years later, in 1867.
- The Statues – Nelson’s Column is not the only statue that you can find in Trafalgar Square. As you walk around it, you will notice the three busts of Lord Admiral Cunningham, Lord Beatty and Lord Jellicoe. The statues of George Washington, James II and Charles I also sit nearby. In the original scheme, 2 featured plinths were created especially for sculptures. Eventually, 3 plinths were designed. Here, you can see the statues of Sir Henry Havelock (Major-General), Sir Charles James Napier (General) and George IV. The Trafalgar Square also has a fourth plinth that is usually used to showcase specially commissioned artworks.
- The Fountains – The imposing Trafalgar Square is also home to two beautiful fountains dedicated to Lord Beatty and Lord Jellicoe. In 2009, the fountains have been restored and now they feature an amazing LED lighting system and a 24-meter jet of water. These fountains are the perfect retreat during the hot summer days and they offer a superb light spectacle at night.
- The National Gallery – After you have lingered for a while in Trafalgar Square, it would be a pity not to visit the neighbouring attraction: the National Gallery. The impressive landmark overlooks the square and inside you will find state-of-the-art exhibitions with a variety of world-class paintings.
- St Martin-in-the-Fields – This church is located in the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square and it is also a shop, a concert venue and a café. Don’t miss it while visiting the square and indulge yourself in great architecture and music.
- The Events – Numerous events take place in Trafalgar Square throughout the year. From concerts to political demonstrations. Visit the London events page to see if there are any events happening in the square while you are in London. You can also see this list of annual celebrations organized in Trafalgar Square.
- London Underground – This is probably the simplest and most affordable way to reach the Trafalgar Square. Take the Bakerloo and the Northern lines to get to Charing Cross Station that is situated less than 1 minute away from the square. There are two other stations located within minutes away. The first is Leicester Square on the Piccadilly and Northern lines. The second is Embankment which uses the Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines. You can use the Oyster Card to travel with the tube or you can get a one-way ticket that costs minimum £4.50 for an adult.
- Bike – There are various docking stations, that belong to Barclay’s Cycle Hire, located nearby the Trafalgar Square. These are: St. Martin’s Place, Orangte Street, St. Martin’s Street and Duncannon Street (all within walking distance). The fee for the bike hire is £2 for the 24-hour access.
- Bus – There are numerous buses running past Trafalgar Square: routes 453, 176, 159, 139, 91, 88, 87, 53, 29, 24, 23, 15, 13, 12, 11, 9 and 6.
In the past, the area that now accommodates the Trafalgar Square featured the King’s Mews. In 1732, they were divided and formed the Green Mews and the Great Mews. The Green Mews were to become the site for the National Gallery and the Great Mews were later transformed into the Trafalgar Square.
The first plans for a large square in Central London emerged in 1826. That was also the year when the ground around Charing Cross was cleared to make room for the beautiful square. The Trafalgar Square was constructed following the plans of Charles Barry who wanted to highlight the National Gallery.
The official opening of the Trafalgar Square took place on 1 May 1844 and it soon became a political and social focus for the Londoners and a one-of-a-kind attraction for the tourists. The square was redeveloped in 2003, when the steps leading to the National Gallery, a café, public toilets and lifts for disabled access were added.
- Every Christmas, Trafalgar Square features London’s biggest Christmas tree. The tree is offered annually by the city of Oslo.
- This is not the only Trafalgar Square in the world. Other smaller and less significant squares with the same name can be found in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, Barre, Massachusetts, Derbyshire town, Long Eaton, Scarborough, North Yorkshire and Bridgetown, Barbados.