Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trafalgar Square: London's Most Visited Attraction

Trafalgar Square viewed from National Gallery steps.
Zoom view: Big Ben & Clock Tower in the distance.
At more than 15 million visitors annually, Trafalgar Square is the number one visitor attraction in London as ranked by Forbes magazine. To admire this sight is one thing and to watch the throngs of tourists is another.

Here is what I wrote in a 2007 post to describe Trafalgar Square: "Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson stands atop a 185-foot tall granite column in commemoration of his victory over the French at the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar. Part of this 1842 memorial is made from his victims melted-down cannons. He’s surrounded by spraying fountains, giant lions. Until recently one of the biggest attractions of the square was the thousands of pigeons. London’s mayor had decided that London’s “flying rats” were a public nuisance and evicted the seed salesman. Feeding pigeons is now forbidden. Along the northern perimeter of the square is the National Portrait Gallery, location of the most comprehensive portrait collection in the world; and the National Gallery, home to the nation's collection of Western European art."

National Gallery on north side.
What makes Trafalgar Square so popular? History and sights face visitors from all angles. You could spend a good part of a the day enjoying the square and sights immediately surrounding it. The vast open space is friendly enough to hold the hundreds of visitors that congregate here daily. I've come to learn that where tourists go, other tourists follow. The several roads that lead from the square will likely lead you to other important attractions in the city. The people watching here is interesting especially observing the lengths visitors will go to take a photo (e.g. climbing the base of Nelson's column). Best of all its free to visit and okay to feel like tourist here. (Tube: Charing Cross)

One of two fountains in the square.
From south side looking west towards at the Admiralty Arch.
St Martin-in-the-Field Church at the north east corner.
East side of the square.
Whitehall (street) on south side.
View of square from King Charles Island.


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