About Leicester Square London | Things to Do in London's Iconic Square

Global icon, cultural hub, entertainment epicentre. Leicester Square exists to entertain.


Known throughout the world as the beating heart of London’s West End, the square and surrounding area welcomes over 2.5 million visitors each week. Visitors can experience some of the best shows and theatres in the city as well as over 52 star-studded red carpet film premieres each year. Some of the largest children’s stores on the planet make for unforgettable family days-out. Combine all this with the glitz and glamour of the greatest casinos, clubs, hotels and restaurants.

For nearly 400 years, Leicester Square has always been a space for the public.


In 1631 the 2nd Earl of Leicester started construction of a large residence which included a large square open to the public in 1750. Leicester House was demolished in 1792 but over history welcomed other notable figures including The Prince of Wales, William Hogarth and Sir Isaac Newton. In the 19th century theatres moved in along with hotels, museums and exhibition centres, becoming a popular attraction for locals and visitors.

Throughout the 20th century the area became known for its opulent hotels, audacious casinos, grand theatres and music entertainment venues. The 1960s saw the likes of Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, The Who and The Clash play early gigs at the legendary Cavern in the Town – now Leicester Square Theatre. In 2012 the square was renovated to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and today the square continues to evolve and make history with ever bigger and bolder attractions.

Frequently Asked Question's

How do you pronounce Leicester Square?

Reveal Answer
It’s not ‘Lie-chester’ it’s pronounced ‘Less-ter’ and it is named after the 2nd Earl of Leicester who lived in a large residence in the Square in the 17th Century.

Is Leicester Square family friendly?

Reveal Answer
It sure is. The square boasts a vibrant mix of destinations for families including the world’s biggest Lego store, a gigantic sweet shop and many fun restaurants. You can even catch the latest family blockbuster at one of the square’s many cinemas or grab discount tickets for an award-winning West End musical.

How do I see a film premiere in Leicester Square?

Reveal Answer
Tickets to see a film premiere are hard to come by and usually require an invitation. However, if you want an autograph or selfie with a celebrity or cast member then you can pitch yourselves among the paparazzi watch the stars arrive via the red carpet in the square itself.

Can I drive to Leicester Square?

Reveal Answer
You can but parking is limited and driving in central London is not easiest way to get around. If you do, then the closest place to park is Q-Park Leicester Square. Why not explore the area on foot from the nearest tube station or bus stop. Who knows what you’ll discover.

Can I cycle to Leicester Square?

Reveal Answer
Cycling is easy around Leicester Square and the surrounding streets, however the square itself is pedestrianised which means walking only. Remember to securely lock your bike up if you leave it or take advantage of the city’s own bike hire scheme here.

What’s the best time of day to visit Leicester Square?

Reveal Answer
Leicester Square entertains London 24/7 and throughout the day it offers something for everyone.

Did you know?

Leicester square has been home to a number of historical figures. Statues of William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Hunter and Sir Isaac Newton have all featured in the gardens, which at the centre, permanently showcases William Shakespeare.

The tube journey on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Covent Garden is London’s shortest, travelling only 260 metres. It lasts only 45 seconds and at £29.81 per mile, is one of the worlds’ most expensive rail journeys – enough of an incentive to take the scenic route and walk.

Throughout the 17th century, Leicester Square was a notorious duelling location. Famous duels are said to have occurred here, including one between a Captain French and Captain Coote.

In 1849, whilst in London, Karl Marx lived in the German Hotel, which is now Leicester House.