Trafalgar Square Sights

Tourists by The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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    Trafalgar Square in London

    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, walk down Whitehall to Parliament Square and see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, or walk down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, plus a popular Harry Potter Film Location in London.

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    Nelson's Column

    Nelson Column At Trafalgar Square In City Against Cloudy Sky
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    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, by Edwin Landseer, 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 for photo opportunities, but the lions are now out-of-bounds for health and safety reasons.

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    St. Martin-in-the-Fields

    People At St Martin-In-The-Fields Against Sky
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    A James Gibb's church, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, is in the northeastern corner of Trafalgar Square. There has been a church on this sight 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.

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    National Gallery - Trafalgar Square

    National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
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    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, John Julius Angerstein.

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    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 its original neoclassical interior.

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    Fourth Plinth

    Blue Cockerel sculpture on the Fourth Plinth
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    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.

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    Admiralty Arch

    Admiralty Arch, on the Mall, designed by Sir Aston Webb, completed in 1912, in Westminster, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
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    Admiralty Arch marks the entrance to Trafalgar Square from The Mall, the tree-lined road 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.

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    Whitehall and Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

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

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    South Africa House

    High Commission
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    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.

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    National Portrait Gallery

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