Address: London W1J 9HP

900m from Charing Cross

0m from Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is the epitome of glitzy London with the well known huge neon advertising board dominating the area and forming one of the most famous London landmarks.

Geographically, it’s the meeting point of a number of important roads. To the north east is Shaftesbury Avenue which is theatreland and near Soho, to the south are Regent Street and Haymarket which lead to the Houses of Parliament and the Thames and to the west are Piccadilly which goes towards Buckingham Palace, and the other part of Regent Street that leads to the main shopping area that includes Oxford Street. This is why, in the UK, people will often say of any busy place ‘it’s like Piccadilly Circus’.

The name ‘circus’ comes from the Latin word for circle and is used at times for road roundabouts, nearby Cambridge Circus being an example, whilst the word ‘Piccadilly’ comes from the name of a local 17th century tailor’s shop. This was called Pickadilly Hall and was famous for selling piccadills, which were stiff collars. The nearby road called Piccadilly was formerly called Portugal Street after the country of birth of the wife of King Charles II.

Piccadilly Circus came into being in 1819 as one of two links to join up the three parts of John Nash’s great creation of Regent Street, the other link was to the north and is named Oxford Circus today. In those days it was named Regent Circus North, with Piccadilly Circus being called Regent Circus South. The latter joining Regent Street to Piccadilly.

Apart from the lights, the focal point and most famous part is the Statue of Eros. This was erected in honour of Lord Shaftesbury, a politician who did much to help the welfare of poor children. The statue was erected in 1893 and moved to the south west corner in the 1980’s following road changes. Today it’s an extremely busy traffic junction with a nearby entrance to the London Underground.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.