London: Trafalgar’s Square, Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus

London has many famous landmarks, from Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge (not to be confused with the London Bridge!), and of course the British Museum, which we just finished.  After the museum, we looked on the map and decided to make our way to Trafalgar Square. It is a public square in front of the National Gallery, in the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place in October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar, Spain.

From the distance of Trafalgar Square, we could make out London’s famous clock: Big Ben, the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, or the Clock Tower.  It was about a 15 minute walk toward the tower.

We passed by government buildings, including 10 Downing Street, home to the Prime Minister.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t see if the PM was home, because the police blocked our view.  When we made it to Big Ben, it was going under a 4-year major renovation, so we didn’t get to hear the famous chimes this visit.

Passing the tower, we walked along the River Thames, made a slight U-turn back before walking toward Piccadilly Circus.

There’s no animals in Piccadilly Circus. It is a road junction and public space of London’s West End that connect Regent Street with Piccadilly. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning “circle”, is a round open space at a street junction.  Piccadilly now links directly to the theaters on Shaftesbury Avenue, as well as the Haymarket, Coventry Street and Glasshouse Street.

The Circus is famous  for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side.  I remembered it being like a little “Times Square” and was so excited to show Stephen.  Unfortunately, in January 2017, the famous digital billboards were turned off to make way for one large ultra-high definition curved Daktronics display, and our visit was pretty much a bust.  This is what Stephen saw compared to what it used to look like before the renovation.

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