Piccadilly Circus owes its peculiar name to a certain Roger Baker, a tailor famous for making piccadills, the frilled collars fashionable in the 17th century. The word “circus” refers to the circular motion of the traffic, which whisks around beneath the statue of the Greek god Anteros. Today, the name conjures images of flashing lights, entertainment and the exuberance of a city very much on the move. The area has become a must-see spectacle, attracting both locals and tourists throughout the day and night.
Piccadilly Circus marks the junction of Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly and Haymarket. It also connects a number of major areas including Trafalgar Square, Soho, Chinatown and Leicester Square. At its centre is the statue of the winged archer, Anteros, soaring above the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. Designed by Alfred Gilbert and erected in 1893, it was the first statue to be cast in aluminium. Today it’s a popular meeting point, and a great place to watch the passing crowds.
From Anteros, choose the direction that suits your mood. Feed your shopping addiction on Regent Street. Take a dramatic turn and catch a show at the Theatre Royal, one of the many venues that make “the circus” the heart of London’s theatre district. Spend an hour or two admiring the landscapes at the nearby Royal Academy of Art, or enjoy a good belly laugh at The Comedy Store, which hosts big-name acts and newcomers with fresh gags.
Piccadilly Circus is also known for its flashy neon signage, even though only one building is illuminated nowadays. The dizzying atmosphere remains, however, with lively street performers adding to the commotion. When it all becomes too much, relax with a beer in one of the surrounding pubs or catch your breath in a cosy café.
Piccadilly Circus is located in the heart of London. The nearest Underground station is Piccadilly Circus.