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Leicester Square is a buzzing hub of activity, home to many diverse entertainment options. Once the site of music halls and old-fashioned movie houses, the square is now dotted with trendy restaurants, bars and cinemas. Watch mimes and other street performers, stroll around the central green area or try your luck at the casinos set in historic buildings.
The square was first laid out in 1630, and became a popular entertainment area in the mid-19th century. It was home to Turkish baths, burlesque houses, music halls and then later, movie houses such as the Empire and the Hippodrome. Visit the Hippodrome today and you will find one of the U.K.’s largest casinos. The Empire cinema remains open and is often the setting for star-studded red carpet premieres.
Head to the small garden at the center of the square, which features a marble statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by dolphins. Walk around the edge of the green space to see statues of other famous figures from English history. Look for Charlie Chaplin, William Hogarth and Sir Isaac Newton, among others.
In the northwest corner of the square, find the quirky Swiss glockenspiel. The stand-alone clock is 32 feet (9.8 meters) high and features 27 bells, 11 moving Swiss figures and a glass drum decorated with Swiss flags.
Stroll around the square to enjoy the lively buzz and then watch a movie in one of the cinemas. At the southwest corner, look at the floor plaques with handprints of famous actors, inspired by the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.
The square is one of the most crowded places in London, particularly on weekends. Arrive in the evening and watch its pedestrianized streets come to life with neon lights, revelers and nightclub music.
Leicester Square is on numerous bus routes and also has its own Underground station. While you are here, watch a play or a musical. London's theater district is right on the doorstep.
It's worth giving yourself heaps of time at Leicester Square. Here are some of the most popular things to do:
If you're chasing even more options, check out our London things to do page.
Located in London City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Covent Garden Market, Piccadilly Circus, and London Dungeon. Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km). Charing Cross Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Covent Garden Underground Station is 5 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this spa hotel is steps from Southbank Centre Book Market and Florence Nightingale Museum. St. Thomas' Hospital and Sea Life London Aquarium are also within 5 minutes. Waterloo Underground Station is only a 4-minute walk and Lambeth North Underground Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tate Modern and Coca-Cola London Eye. The Shard and Big Ben are also within 1 mi (2 km). Southwark Underground Station is 8 minutes by foot and Blackfriars Underground Station is 8 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oxford Street and The British Museum. Russell Square and Queens Theatre are also within 15 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is only a 3-minute walk and Goodge Street Underground Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Oxford Street and Queens Theatre. Piccadilly and Leicester Square are also within 10 minutes. Tottenham Court Road Underground Station is 5 minutes by foot and Leicester Square Underground Station is 6 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tate Britain and Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey and Big Ben are also within 15 minutes. Pimlico Underground Station is 10 minutes by foot and Westminster Underground Station is 13 minutes.
Located in London City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps from Nelson's Column and The Strand. St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Trafalgar Square are also within 5 minutes. Charing Cross Underground Station and Embankment Station are within a 5-minute walk.
Located in London City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tower Bridge, Tower of London, and HMS Belfast. Tower Gateway Station is 6 minutes by foot and Tower Hill Station is 7 minutes.