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Trafalgar Square embraces the past and the present of the city in a single sweep, forming the vibrant core of Westminster. The public square hosts a lively milieu of events throughout the year and features the magnificent National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery along its hem. Trafalgar Square was named thus to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805, an event that marks the fall of the French naval fleet, securing Britain from invasion. A column with a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the summit is the centerpiece of the square, honoring the man responsible for this momentous victory. At the base of the column are the renowned Landseer Lions, flanked by babbling fountains. Renovations in 2003 removed traffic lanes to make room for a sizable staircase, connecting the National Portrait Gallery to the square, with spellbinding views of Big Ben to be had from its highest point. The beating heart of the neighborhood, Trafalgar Square is forever bustling with tourists making their way to the galleries and locals passing through.
Located in London's West End, the bustling Leicester Square houses its fair share of pedestrians. The middle of the square features a small park, which contains 19th century statue of William Shakespeare. Visitors often take advantage of Leicester Square for a night on the town. With a number of movie houses, restaurants, theaters and nightclubs within walking distance, Leicester Square is packed on Friday and Saturday nights.
For many years, Piccadilly Circus, at the junction of five busy streets, has been a major London landmark, seen by many as the capital's center. In the heart of Piccadilly is a fountain topped with the aluminum statue of an archer. Although affectionately known as Eros by Londoners, it's actually the Angel of Christian Charity by Sir Alfred Gilbert, and it was so unpopular when first unveiled that he opted for self-imposed exile. Today, the statue is one of London's most famous sites and a popular spot for tourists and romantic couples alike. In the daytime Piccadilly Circus is a bustling area filled with shoppers, business people and visitors. But in the evening the area really comes alive, with its illuminated signs and heady mix of clubbers and couples heading for a big evening out. This is truly the gateway to the West End.
Covent Garden is a historic district that is famous for its street performers, shops, restaurants, bars and theaters. The most well known attraction in the area is the Royal Opera House. Before it became the capital’s premiere destination for entertainment and leisure, Covent Garden served as the largest fruit and vegetable market in England. Currently, the Apple, East Colonnade and Jubilee markets are held in the piazza area. Visitors can browse through antiques, artwork, jewelry and clothing that can be found among the market stalls.
If you're in the city of London, the West End is one of the areas you absolutely must visit. Although known mainly for being home to Theatreland, there are many other aspects to it as well. At the West End, you will find a plethora of dining, shopping and entertainment options that attract locals and tourists alike. If you're looking for a fun day out with family, the Disney Store and Rainforest Cafe would be ideal. For a wild day out with friends, a meal at The Living Room followed by a few hours at the Hippodrome Casino are perfect. As for enthusiastic shoppers, Carnaby Street, with its stylish boutiques, and Jermyn Street, with its many men's tailors, is sure to delight.
One of Central London's most iconic green spaces, every blade of grass at Hyde Park is drenched in history dating back to the early 1600s. Laden with a myriad of historic spots, the park's prime attractions include the symbolic Speakers' Corner, the restful Serpentine Lido swimming area, and the famous Serpentine Gallery. It is also bedecked by stunning sights such as the Isis statue and the Diana Fountain. Nature lovers can head toward Hyde's southern frontier to find themselves in the midst of blissful Rose Gardens. A fantastic place to spend the day, Hyde Park is a must-visit during a sojourn in London.
Union Chapel is a Gothic-style Victorian church that doubles as one of London's premier entertainment venues. Serving the local community, the church hosts Sunday prayer services and provides shelter, food, and clothing for the homeless through its Margins Homelessness Project. On other days, the church is transformed into a venue hosting well-known local and touring bands, comedy shows, film screenings, and other events. The Heritage Officer of Union Chapel Church and Chairman of Islington Archaeology and History Society gives a free, guided tour of the chapel on the first Sunday of every month.