Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, London: Hours, Address, Trafalgar Square Reviews: 4.5/5

Trafalgar Square
Points of Interest & Landmarks
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
A 145-foot-high monument, bearing a statue of Lord Horatio Nelson guarded by lions, marks the spot considered the center of London.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Neighbourhood: Covent Garden
Whether you're headed here to check out the multitude of shops, theaters, cafes, pubs, and restaurants, or simply to be among the multitude of people who pass through this pretty part of town, you'll love soaking up the festive and historic atmosphere in and around Covent Garden. Even if you don't have tickets to the opera or a show at one of the many famous theaters here, don't be surprised if find yourself captivated by some impromptu act of a street performer wowing the crowds in Covent Garden's Piazza. If you do have tickets, you'll be pleased to note that many of the local eateries accommodate theatergoers with prix fixe menus, early dinners, and later than usual opening hours. 

How to get there
  • Leicester Square • 4 min walk
  • Covent Garden • 4 min walk
Popular mentions

8,105 reviews
Very good

London2,532 contributions
A must do whilst in London
Jul 2020
Directly in front of The National Gallery, its easy to see both together. A huge space with plenty of areas to wander, look at statues, the fountains and Nelsons column. It hosts many events and gets very busy on weekends, especially in the summer. Its actually been lovely during covid as it was almost empty some days. Worth having a wander around, but you wouldn't spend all day there unless an event was on.
Written 12 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Amy C
London, UK298 contributions
Great London feature
Jul 2020 • Friends
Since ever I loved this square , a top tourist British sight that is for all to visit when we get back to a new normal
Written 5 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Basildon, UK10,940 contributions
Londoners return
Apr 2021
I moved out of London 30 years ago but do have family here still. Visited yesterday and was astonished at the fourth plinth, the rest remains the same. Still the odd political event, with the emphasis on odd!
A joy to be back, but just for the day
Written 18 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Milton Keynes, UK7 contributions
Trafalgar Square London
Apr 2021
Trafalgar Square is a great spot to visit in London. It's central to everything, lots of tourist sites and easy access by public transport. I did a tour which took us through the history of the square and Nelson whose statue is in the middle opposite the National Gallery. It's a good place to hang out and get some rest whilst walking around London
Written 15 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Hastings, UK2,944 contributions
Aug 2020 • Friends
It's the place you have to go in London. Great to be a tourist in and admire, aka climb on, the lions. Make sure you admire whatever the new sculpture is on the 4th plinth.
Written 12 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Brian T
London, UK3,855 contributions
It's worth a visit if you are doing the tourist trail in London!
Jan 2021
Most tourists visiting London will end up at Trafalgar Square at some point during their visit. And you certainly should visit! It’s one of those iconic London landmarks, wedged between Charing Cross and Leicester Square, though you’ll probably remember it for the throngs of people that seem to gather there day and night, rather than the beautiful space it is. At least the pigeons which plagued the square for years have gone!

It’s a historic square, and you should visit it to check out its features and curiosities. The current square was laid out in the 1840s, when Nelson’s Column and the fountains were erected, though there had been an open space here since the 14th century when it served as a courtyard of the stables which served Whitehall Palace. The bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s Column were added a bit later, in 1867, and the bronze statues which sit on top of three of the four granite plinths were not added until 1948.

Its main features are unavoidable, and there are a number of them.

Nelson’s Column takes centre stage. William Railton designed the column and statue to honour Admiral Horatio Nelson, after his victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It stands, in total, about 170 feet tall; the graceful Corinthian-style granite column is topped with a sculpture of Nelson, surveying the realm. The statue of Nelson is about 15 feet high and stands on a bronze platform made from old guns from the Woolwich Arsenal Foundry. Around the base are four descriptive plaques, made from metal recycled from French guns. The four huge bronze lions at the base of the column are said to protect the column.

And then there’s those two huge fountains, curiously shaped, with edges perfect for sitting on to watch the passing parade. The fountains were added in 1845. The mermaids, dolphins and tritons (the male figures with tails like fish) were installed later.

In each corner of the square you’ll see a granite plinth. Three of them have a bronze statue of a notable figure on them. You’ll spot King George IV on the horse, General Sir Charles James Napier on the south-west corner, and  Major General Sir Henry Havelock in the south-east corner.

That brings me to the curiosities of Trafalgar Square - stuff which I think is worth checking out and which makes this public space even more interesting. First, and most controversial it seems, is the saga of the fourth plinth in the north-west corner. You can’t help but notice it, as it’s currently adorned with a huge piece of art work resembling an ice-cream, complete with cherry on top and huge fly. It seems out of place with the history and character of the square, but it wont’t be there forever, as it will be replaced after two years with something equally as controversial. ‘The Fourth Plinth’ is a public art commission, and since its launch in 1998, it has become known around the world for its diverse commissions and commentary on complex and contemporary issues. There’s been a ship in a bottle, a giant blue cockerel, and a boy on a rocking horse.

But that’s not the only curiosity in the square. One of the smallest, and most overlooked, is a small plaque which marks the official centre of London, the original point to which all distances to the nation's capital are measured. It’s behind a statue of King Charles I on the south side of the square. It’s London’s ‘Zero’ point! There’s more. Located rather surreptitiously at the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square is a rather peculiar and often overlooked world record holder - Britain’s Smallest Police Station. It looks like an over-sized lamp post. It was built in 1926 so that the Metropolitan Police could keep a surreptitious eye on the goings-on in the square, through very narrow windows. Apparently with a direct phone link to Scotland Yard. My favourite curiosity, however, is just off the square, at the start of Northumberland Avenue. There, on a lamp post in the middle of the street, is a painted sculpture of a cherub with a tear falling from his/her eye. It’s probably only a paint run that was’t wiped up, but it’s certainly a curious talking point. It’s often called ‘The Weeping Angel’. A little further on, underneath the north-east opening of the Admiralty Arch, you’ll notice a small nose sticking out about seven feet above the road. It’s been there your years, puzzling pedestrians. Go sniff it out. And at Christmas time you’ll see a huge Christmas tree with vertical strings of lights. It’s an annual gift from the people of Norway. Visitors to the square are very vocal, negatively, about the decorations, failing to realise that it’s done in traditional Norwegian style.

On my last visit to Trafalgar Square, it was virtually empty due to the pandemic. It created an eerie vista. But in normal times, the square heaves with tourists. It’s often the venue for small music festivals, and demonstrations and political gatherings. So its historic beauty may be overshadowed by heaving crowds. If you are ever fortunate to take a tour of Canada House which overlooks the square on its west side, you will get a fabulous view of the square from above, looking down on it from outside terrace of Canada House.

Of course there’s a number of other attractions at the doorstop of Trafalgar Square. At the top of the stairs is the phenomenal National Gallery, with the National Portrait Gallery around the corner. Opposite is the beautiful St Martin-in-the-Fields church. You’ll see the curious Admiralty Arch, currently being converted into a luxury Hotel. And the likes of Leicester Square, Covent Garden, The Mall, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey are all within comfortable walking distance. Charing Cross is the nearest underground station.
Written 1 February 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ian C
London, UK23,985 contributions
Christmas has arrived
Dec 2020 • Solo
In this strange year, it is good to see that some traditions continue. In Trafalgar Square that means the arrival of the tall tree, a gift from the people of Norway, along with the Nativity crib.

As is the case all across London, maintenance projects are going ahead in these quiet times - that seems to include the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

I work nearby and it is always enjoyable to walk through the square at different times of year.
Written 13 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories18 contributions
One time visit is enough
Jan 2020
It was a nice walk to the Trafalgar Square. You can find locals, artists, and tourists.
It's a must if you are visiting London for the first time. There isn't much to do, but enjoying a nice breezy evening.
Written 13 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Stevenage, UK1,296 contributions
Grand Square
Dec 2020
Trafalgar Square is a grand meeting place in the centre of London.

It is a short walk from Leicester Square and the West End. Charing Cross Railway station is also close by along with the Tube station which is served by the Northern and Bakerloo lines. It's also a short walk away to the Palace of Westminster and the River Thames. The National Gallery is on the edge of the square and is free to visit if you enjoy art. You can also walk along to Mall to Buckingham Palace and Green Park.

In the centre of the Square is Nelson's Column which has a statue of Horatio Nelson atop it.

It's a focal point in London and well worth checking out.
Written 4 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Amy C
London, UK298 contributions
Its OK
Jan 2020 • Friends
Not big on this square ok its near art but just not a big deal 4 me like its near bus stops to go home
Written 10 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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