image: Matthias Prinke

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a busy meeting place and tourist attraction in the West End of London close to cinemas and theatres. Half closing your eyes, it might be considered Londons equivalent to Times Square in New York. The name Piccadilly comes from a term used to describe the collars or piccadills produced by a tailor who lived in this area.

A number of interesting buildings surround the Circus including the completely subterranean Criterion Theatre where Dr Watson first met Sherlock Holmes and the Lillywhites sports store founded by the inventor of overarm bowling.

Whilst Eros sitting atop the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain is the most famous sculpture displayed in the Circus, the four horses of Helios can be found on the corner of the Lillywhites store at the end of Haymwarket. Another, more recent addition, are the Daughters of Helios diving gracefully from the roof of the Criterion building. The Eros statue and fountain are a tribute to the great good works of Lord Shaftesbury and is the first public, aluminium statue in the world, the light weight allowing the one legged pose.

The Circus is famous for its illuminated advertising signs. Originally neon these have largely been replaced by LED signs. Coca Cola has had a hoarding here since 1954. The Sanyo sign is currently the oldest signboard, dating back to the late 1980s.

Official website
Piccadilly Circus
London W1
Official website
1 hour
Opening hours
Open every day
00:00 - 23:59
Free entry
Wheelchair access all areas
Assistance dogs permitted
Carer admitted free of charge
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Last update - 20 May 2016
Costs checked - May 2016
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