WHEN I FIRST visited London on a family holiday I was seven and one of my most distinct memories was Trafalgar Square. This was back in 1994 when the square was famous for its pigeons and my family and I were among the many tourists who came to buy feed and throw it to the birds. I don’t have many memories of that trip but what I can remember is that I laughed my head off while I had pigeons crawl all over me and I ran around the square chasing them. Now however, the thought of having a pigeon within a metre of me makes me shudder and I’m glad that Trafalgar Square is finally pigeon free.
I’m sure many of use have come across Trafalgar Square in our time (I mean who hasn’t) but there is much more to the famous landmark than Nelson’s Column, street performers and the London Olympic countdown clock. It is not only a place for tourists to crawl over the lion statues and sit around the fountain but it’s the home to the National Gallery (#58 in the Top 100 but that’s for another time) where you can see paintings from world famous artists. The gallery isn’t the only place you can spot art in Trafalgar Square with the ‘fourth plinth’ used to feature different sculptures and art installations throughout the year. The most recent installation, ‘Powerless Structures – Fig 101’, was unveiled just last week.
If there is a celebration or protest happening in London – you will most likely find it happening in Trafalgar Square. It’s the perfect place to get amongst the crowd and celebrate anything from the lighting of the Christmas tree lights to the upcoming St Patrick’s Day party. The Irish aren’t the only ones who take over the square with the Chinese celebrating Chinese New Year and the Dutch covering it in orange for Queen’s Day. One of my favourite celebrations held in T-Square was on a more personal note when we stopped by Chando’s Place pub on the edge of the square on my birthday ‘Monopoly Board Pub Crawl’.
The ‘Square’ is also the pickup and drop off point of #62 on our London list – Riding the Routemaster. The Routemasters are the gorgeous traditional old red busses that you hop on and off from the back. The buses accept travel cards and normal tickets and you can jump on the Number 9 which heads down to South Kensington or the number 15 that goes to Tower Hill via St Paul’s Cathedral. The buses leave every 15 minutes but on the weekends can be extremely popular so I had to wait for one bus to pass before I could nab a seat. I was lucky enough to get one on the top deck and had a good view of the city as we rambled along.
Whatever the reason you find yourself in Trafalgar Square you won’t be disappointed as there is always something going on and you can see why so many people are drawn to this historical place every day.
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