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250m from Charing Cross

30m from Charing Cross

Trafalgar Square is situated very close to the exact centre of London and is a public place used for celebrations, gatherings or simply tourist recreation.

The focal point is Nelson’s Column, but there are also a number of other landmarks in view. The National Gallery overlooks from the north side, there’s a statue of Charles I on the south side, George IV to the east (which was intended for the top of Marble Arch) as well as statues of military men and two large ornamental fountains. Two other statues, of Sir Edward Jenner and General Gordon, have been moved to other locations.

The square was part of an area redevelopment instigated by George IV. Eminent architect John Nash redesigned the area and equally famous architect Sir Charles Barry designed the Square itself. It was opened to the public on May 1st 1844 and was nearly called William IV’s Square. The square was built partly on the site of the King’s Mews as was the National Gallery, with the earth removed being used to level nearby Green Park.

The National Gallery was built 1832-8 and a major reason for the Square being built was to allow an unobstructed view of this marvellous building. Nelson’s Column was built 1840-3 with the four lions, sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer, added in 1867. The two fountains were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in 1937-9, these for safety reasons as they broke up a large open area.

Having such a central location, surrounding roads lead from the Square to many of the best London landmarks. Whitehall to the south leads to Parliament, The Mall to the south west leads through Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace, Charing Cross Road to the north leads to Leicester Square and the north east road is the Strand. The Square is the site of New Year celebrations and of the Christmas tree given to the nation every year by Norway.

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.