Trafalgar Square Sights

Tourists by The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
••• Kimberley Coole / Getty Images
  • 01 of 10

    Trafalgar Square in London

    Trafalgar Square
    ••• Trafalgar Square's fountains and King George IV statue. Diana Jarvis/Visit Britain

    Trafalgar Square was designed by John Nash in the 1820s and constructed in the 1830s. It is both a tourist attraction and site for political demonstrations. Every December, Norway donates a marvelous Christmas tree to thank Britain for liberation from the Nazis.

    How to Get There

    The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross and Leicester Square.

    What to See

    Trafalgar Square itself has many interesting sights including Nelson's Column, The National Gallery, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. You can see these and more on this self-guided tour.

    What's Nearby?

    Within walking distance of Trafalgar Square you can easily go shopping in Covent Garden, have a meal in Chinatown, see blockbuster shows in the glittering West End, walk down Whitehall to Parliament Square to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and walk down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. And you can explore a popular Harry Potter Film Location in London.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Nelson's Column

    Nelson Column At Trafalgar Square In City Against Cloudy Sky
    ••• Brendan Mccarthy / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Nelson's Column arrived in Trafalgar Square in 1843 ​and commemorates the one-armed, one-eyed admiral who died defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The column is 169 feet 5 3/4 inches (51.659 meters) high, and the monument is more than triple life-size.

    The four bronze lions at the base of the column were designed by Edwin Landseer and didn't arrive until 1868. It's a bit of a scramble to get up there although you are allowed to climb onto the base of the sculptures for photo opportunities. The lions themselves are now out-of-bounds for health and safety reasons.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    St. Martin-in-the-Fields

    People At St Martin-In-The-Fields Against Sky
    ••• Gerwon Choi / EyeEm / Getty Images

    A James Gibb's church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, is located at the northeastern corner of Trafalgar Square. There has been a church on this site since the 13th century; the present building was completed in 1726. Its magnificent Corinthian portico has been much copied in the U.S. where it became a model for the Colonial style of church building.

    St. Martin-in-the-Fields is the official parish church for Buckingham Palace. Inside, there is a royal box on the left of the altar and one for the Admiralty on the right.​

    There is a shelter for the homeless and a very good cafe in the crypt, as well as the London Brass Rubbing Centre.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    The National Gallery

    National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
    ••• Simon Montgomery / Getty Images

    The National Gallery takes up the entire north side of Trafalgar Square. It showcases works by prolific artists including Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Hogarth and Gainsborough.

    The neoclassical National Gallery was founded in 1824 when the government agreed to buy 38 paintings belonging to the Russian businessman John Julius Angerstein.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Canada House

    Canada House, Trafalgar Square
    ••• Canada House, Trafalgar Square. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

    Canada House is on the west side of Trafalgar Square. It is made from warm Bath stone, and was devised by Robert Smirke who also designed the British Museum. Canada House has retained much of its original neoclassical interior.

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    The Fourth Plinth

    ••• The new Fourth Plinth sculpture by British artist David Shrigley in Trafalgar Square. Jack Taylor/Getty Images

    The fourth plinth in the northwest corner of Trafalgar Square was originally designed by Sir Charles Barry and built in 1841 to display an equestrian statue. Due to a lack of funds to create a suitable statue, it remained empty until 1999. The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, an independent committee informed by public opinion, select the ongoing series of temporary works of art commissioned from leading national and international artists. The art installation is changed about every two years.

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Admiralty Arch

    Admiralty Arch, on the Mall, designed by Sir Aston Webb, completed in 1912, in Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
    ••• Stuart Forster / Getty Images

    Admiralty Arch marks the entrance to The Mall from Trafalgar Square. This tree-lined road leads to Buckingham Palace, along the side of St. James's Park. This regal entrance was built in 1910 to honor Queen Victoria. The central gate is only opened for royal processions.

    There are plans approved to turn this iconic building into a luxury hotel.

    Find out more about the London Nose that can be found on Admiralty Arch.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Whitehall and Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

    England, London, View from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to Big Ben
    ••• Julian Love / Getty Images

    At the south of the square, Whitehall connects Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. Since the 16th century, ​nearly all of the key governmental ministries have been housed on this street.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    South Africa House

    High Commission
    ••• Adina Tovy / Getty Images

    South Africa House is on the east side of Trafalgar Square and is closed to the public. It was erected in 1935 and features keystones depicting African animals.

    A non-stop vigil was held outside during the 1980s and early 1990s until the end of Apartheid.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    National Portrait Gallery

    London, Trafalgar square and National Portrait Gallery
    ••• Alberto Manuel Urosa Toledano / Getty Images

    The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856. It houses portraits of prominent Britons from Tudor times to the present day.