Piccadilly Circus, London


In London's historic West End stands Picadilly Circus. If you want to bump into everybody you know, hang out for awhile in Picadilly Circus. Come with me, we'll see what it's all about.


In the early 1600's, a tailor named Robert Baker became famous in the city of Westminster for making and selling "piccadills" – or gentlemen's collars. The street on which his shop was located became known as Pickadilly Hall, though the actual name was Portugal Street, named for the then-King's cohort (another story for another time). In 1819, the prince-regent lived on – what else – Regent street. Picadilly Circus was constructed to connect Regent Street with the shopping district on Picadilly Street. Circus is the latin term for "circle", or in this case, a round open space at a street junction. This area became a prime spot for shopping, entertaining, and socializing.
Piccadilly Circus, London, England
Today, there are 5 major thoroughfares that meet at Picadilly Circus. Although it has lost it's round shape, it is still a major area for shopping, entertainment, and social meetings. In the center of Picadilly Circus sits the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Erected in 1893, the fountain commemorates the philanthropic works of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper. The fountain is topped with a naked angel, named Eros, which caused quit a bit of angst for the staid British; however, to this day, the iconic (and naked) Eros remains.

The areas around Picadilly are equally intriguing to visit – Chinatown, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and the Soho district to name a few. Visiting Picadilly Circus today is quite easy. On each corner of the circus is an entrance to the underground rail system, or the tube, as it is known. It is still the cultural meeting center it became centuries ago, and is complete with theatres, nightclubs, bars, major retail shopping, and neon, neon, neon. Some have compared it to a miniature Times Square in New York, New York. The circus is rife with street entertainers and food venders, trinket sellers and pubs. It is definitely worth a visit if you get to London.



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