One of London’s most vibrant open spaces that reflects the rich social history of the capital.
Ever since it’s construction in the early decades of the 19th century, Trafalgar Square has drawn the crowds. It is frequently the site of major celebrations and events, and now it attracts approximately 30 million tourists each year. At weekends, you may well witness its role as a venue for rallies and protests for or against a multitude of political or religious issues.
At the centre of the square, Nelson’s Column towers skywards, standing at 52 metres high. This monument to the victory of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is guarded by four magnificent bronze lions around its base. Two tulip-shaped fountains either side offer the perfect spot to relax and watch the world go by. These regal monuments were once home to thousands of pigeons, but a strict feeding ban is now in place.
Trafalgar Square is also home to what is known as the Fourth Plinth. The other plinths carry statues of George IV and important historical military figures, but curiously, this Fourth Plinth has stood empty. Since 1998, this unique space has been filled by a series of innovative and surprising artworks. One commission called One & Other by the artist Antony Gormley saw the plinth opened up to the entire population: the space was occupied by members of the public for 24 hours a day over 100 days. Yet another example of the deep affection felt by Londoners for this iconic landmark.
Another gem for art lovers is the National Gallery, not forgetting the National Portrait Gallery just next door. Just across the pedestrian plaza, you’ll find a fascinating collection of British art from the 13th Century onwards. Entry is free so you can spend as much or as little time as you like.
Don’t miss out on visiting the beautiful church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, known as the “Church of the Ever Open Door” for its charitable work with the homeless. Experience one of the regular lunchtime and evening concerts, or treat yourself to a delicious meal at the celebrated Café in the Crypt.
The closest Underground station is Charing Cross.