London’s Most Famous Roundabout – Piccadilly Circus

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Probably the most famous roundabout in London, Piccadilly Circus is one of the most famous and recognised crossroads in the city. It also serves as a busy traffic hub for some of the city’s most famous streets that intersect in Piccadilly. The area of Piccadilly is famous for its razzmatazz, neon lights, trendy restaurants, vibrant nightlife and high end shopping etc. It is also home to some very historical sites in the area.

There are some fine boutique hotels to be found in the area like The Piccadilly London West End hotels¸ popular with visitors to the city. The hotel’s unbeatable location in the heart of London, with easy access to the tourist hotspots makes it ideal to stay while in the city.

It is also well connected to the famous theatre district and the chic restaurants of west end London. The area got its rather unique name from Piccadills (frilled collars) that were stitched by Robert Baker, a tailor by profession in the 1700s. The name holds good as there still are numerous trendy bespoke tailoring shops in the area.  The highlight of the area is its large dazzling neon billboards that make it one of the iconic landmarks of the city.

Some of the top attractions to be found in the area are as follows:

St. James’s Church:  The church was designed by master architect Sir Christopher Wren and is an Anglican Church of worship for Christians. It was consecrated in 1684 and its impressive architecture features Corinthian Columns and extensive use of materials like marble, lime wood (for the interiors), Portland Stone and red brick etc. The woodwork of the Church was done by the talented Grinling Gibbons.  The area also hosts a busy market place where hundreds visit daily to shop for arts and crafts and souvenirs. The market is called Piccadilly Market and is famous for its antique sales on Tuesdays. From Wednesday to Sundays there is a standard handicraft market.

Mayfair: The area got its name from a fair ‘May Fair’ that was held every fortnight at a spot that was called Shepherd Market. It was initially called The May Fair and later came to be known as Mayfair. The area is home to some of priciest real estate in the city and shares its borders with Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Hyde Park, Oxford Street and Green Park. It is out of the costliest places to live and its rental spaces are out of the most expensive in the world.  It has a very well developed business centre and houses some of the biggest corporate companies, private banks, hedge fund companies etc. Although there are premium residential spots in Mayfair, most of the location is now commercialised with embassies, high end shopping centres, luxury hotels and trendy restaurants.

Regent Street: London is famous for its shopping venues and Regent Street located in the West End is out of the best. It derived its name from Prince Regent George IV (who later on became the monarch). It was designed in 1811, by John Nash and since then underwent numerous changes and renovations over the years. As a result the only original remaining building in the area is the All Souls Church. The Street begins in Carton’s House at St. James goes through Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus and ends at All Soul’s Church. All of the architecture in the area has been granted ‘Listed Building’ status.  There are a lot of historical attractions and iconic landmarks in the area that include Liberty Desprtment Store, Dickins and Jones Department, Cafe Royal, BBC Broadcasting House, Gilly Hicks, Hamleys Toy  Store, Paris Theatre, Oxford Circus Tube Station and the University of Westminster among other famous sites. Regent Street also plays host to various events and the eponymously titled street festival every year, when the street is blocked for traffic.

Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain: The fountain was built to celebrate the life and times of Lord Shaftesbury, a famous philanthropist of the Victorian era. The fountain has a statue of Eros (actually Anteros, the God of selfless love) that is symbolic of the extensive work done by Lord Shaftesbury for the poor and downtrodden of London. It created quite a stir when it was first made on account of it’s rather risqué depiction (it was the prudish Victorian era), and also because of the use of aluminium that was a rather rare metal in those days.

London Pavilion: The pavilion is part of the Trocadero complex and adjacent to the Shaftesbury Avenue building. Initially it hosted the London Music Hall till it became a unit of the entertainment complex. It was constructed in 1885 and was designed by architect James E Saunders.  It functioned as the London Music Hall till 1934, when it was rebuilt as a cinema theatre. In 2000, it was sold and became a part of the Trocadero Centre. The Trocadero Centre basement is linked to Piccadilly Circus tube station that makes it convenient for visitors. Ripley’s Believe it or Not opened a branch in 2008 at the London Pavilion.

London Trocadero: The Trocadero served as a tennis court initially when it was constructed in the 1800s. Modern Trocadero is a massive entertainment and shopping hub and is located on Shaftesbury Avenue. Located in the centre of the West End it offers the finest in high end entertainment and shopping in London. It is colloquially called the Troc with the complex having a number of cutting edge attractions. It is home to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, nightclubs, UGC cinemas, ritzy restaurants and plenty more. You will also find the world famous Madame Tussaud’s museum that houses realistic wax statues of celebrities and famous people from all walks of life. Other popular spots to visit are Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Ed’s Easy Diner etc.

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