Piccadilly Circus is London’s answer to New York’s Time Square, boasting a huge collection of neon lights and flashing TV screens. Despite its name, elephants and dogs riding bikes are not part of its history, with this particular Circus tracing its etymology to the Latin word which translates to “ring” or “Circler line”. This name is perfectly for Piccadilly Circus, as the location forms a circular space. And since its construction, the circular “square” has been gradually expanded and modernised, though its iconic architecture is thoroughly retained and integrated.
Though today, many use Piccadilly Circus as a congregation point for their shopping trips, with the Crossing within walking distance from destinations such as Leicester Square, Soho and Trafalgar Square. However, less materialistic elements are also prevalent. A primary example is Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, situated in the centre of the crossing where five road junctions meet. The fountain was built to celebrate Lord Shaftesbury for his support of the poor.
Photographers (and selfie pros) should also take advantage of the many neon signs featured at Piccadilly Circus, with the most popular amongst which is the Coca-Cola sign. Though the use of the neon lights for advertising in the square begun around 1908, the Coca-Cola sign and its 1955 origins is the oldest one that remains.
With all these fun draws, remember to drop by as a visit to the crossing is free, and can easily access be accessed via the Piccadilly and Bakerloo Lines at Picadilly Circus Station.