At the intersection of shopping mecca Regent Street, theater-land on Shaftesbury Avenue, and the grand Piccadilly boulevard, Piccadilly Circus is as central to London as it’s possible to be. The area was first developed in 1819 as a traffic junction, and people have been passing through ever since. It’s a busy meeting place thriving with tourists, souvenir stalls, restaurants, and entertainment attractions.
Often described as the “Times Square of London,” the area features famous buildings and attractions, including the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, most commonly known as “Eros”—one of London’s most popular meeting points—the opulent Ritz hotel, historic department store Fortnum & Mason, a Planet Hollywood restaurant, and more. Many guided tours of the city stop off at this famous location.
Things to know before you go
- Illuminated advertising hoardings have been lighting up the sky here for more than 120 years.
- Take a stroll up the curved crescent of Regent Street to enjoy world-class shopping.
- The name Piccadilly comes from “piccadill,” an old name for a collar or ruff.
- Keep a close eye on your belongings—the area can get very crowded.
How to get there
Piccadilly Circus is located in the heart of the West End, in the W1 postcode. It is served by the Piccadilly Circus Tube (subway) station on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. Many different buses stop here, including hop-on hop-off tourist buses. The area is walkable from Central London destinations, and guided walking tours often visit.
When to get there
A public space, Piccadilly Circus is open 24 hours a day. It is busy with tourists and commuters at all times of the day and night. Plan to visit in the evening when the lights are on for a more atmospheric trip.
Watch a West End Musical
For many people, a trip to London is not complete without seeing a live theater show in the West End. With more than 40 theaters in the area, there’s sure to be a show to suit your taste no matter when you visit. Popular shows can sell out, so book in advance or try your luck at one of the same-day ticket booths.
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