Party Earth Review The one-time abode of the Prince of Wales – and a former transient hangout until a major cleanup in the early 90s – Leicester Square is now considered the heart of London’s entertainment district and a buzzing hub for... ... read full review
London WC2H 7
Northern, Piccadilly Lines: Leicester Square
Central London, London –
The one-time abode of the Prince of Wales – and a former transient hangout until a major cleanup in the early 90s – Leicester Square is now considered the heart of London’s entertainment district and a buzzing hub for theatergoers, tourists, and raucous street performers.
Home to some of the largest cineplexes in the city and many of the West End’s most popular live theaters, the Square is a nonstop center of activity – and with more than twenty million visitors each year, it’s quite possibly London’s busiest crossroads.
During the height of the tourist season, jam-packed crowds compete for space with a variety of characters, from mimes and street preachers to shifty pickpockets looking for an easy score. But weary globe-trotters can always find some solace at the small park in the center of the Square, taking a seat in the grass and drawing inspiration from the garden’s statue of Shakespeare or the nearby church of Notre Dame de France.
Equally vibrant at night, the Square attracts hordes of partiers who show up to toss back pints at the local pubs, while the theaters are besieged by paparazzi and stargazers ready to flash their bulbs when the occasional Hollywood or West End star steps out on the red carpet.
Evoking the theatrical flair of New York’s Broadway with a hint of Tokyo’s stunningly crowded Shinjuku Crossing, Leicester Square offers a dizzying but always ebullient array of cafés, entertainment, and nonstop people-watching.
Mostly tourists of all ages.
Street entertainment includes cartoonists, human statues, magicians, musicians, and the odd political rant. Other venues include casinos, cinemas, nightclubs, and comedy clubs.
Plenty of restaurants, pubs, fast food chains, and coffee shops.
Varying prices at the different venues.
Friday and Saturday nights when the square is bustling.
Chinatown for the restaurants.
Major cinemas include the Odeon Leicester Square and Empire (both in the square) and Vue (3 Cranbourn Street).
Good choices for afternoon at the pub are The Imperial Pub (5 Leicester Street) and Brewmaster (37 Cranbourn Street).
Nightlife options include All Bar One (48 Leicester Square), Fudge (18 Bear Street), Zoo Bar (13-17 Bear Street), The Casino at the Empire (5-6 Leicester Street), and The Comedy Store (1A Oxendon Street) for stand-up and improv shows.