Trafalgar Square, London
Trafalgar Square, the name of which commemorates Nelson's victory over a French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in 1805, was laid out between 1829 and 1851 by Sir Charles Barry. It is one of the city's most popular meeting places for tourists from all over the world.Under the balustrade on the north side of the square, in front of the National Gallery, the Imperial standards of length (one inch, one foot, two feet, one yard, one chain and 100 feet) are let into the stone.Notable monuments on Trafalgar Square include statues of Henry Havelock, General Gordon, Charles James Napier and an equestrian statue of George IV.The buildings surrounding Trafalgar Square include Canada House on the west side and South Africa House on the east side, as well as the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. From the southwest corner the street leads to the imposing Admiralty Arch and The Mall.
Trafalgar Square Map
Transit: Underground: Charing Cross
St Martin-in-the-Fields Church
St Martin-in-the-Fields is the royal parish church (hence the royal coat of arms above the Corinthian portico), and also the parish church of the Admiralty. There has been a church on this site since 1222 at least. The original church was rebuilt in the reign of Henry VIII (1544) and replaced in 1726 by the present structure, designed by James Gibbs, a pupil of Carlo Fontana. The church is Gibbs's masterpiece, notable particularly for its Corinthian portico, its 56m/185ft high steeple and its elliptical ceiling (of Italian workmanship), supported on Corinthian columns. The font belonged to the previous church, of which there are some other relics in the crypt (worth seeing for its own sake, with massive square piers). To the north of the altar is the royal box or pew, to the south the Admiralty box. Above the chancel arch are the arms of George I. The church is notable for its variety of worship, its many musical concerts, and its social care work with the needy.
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ, England
Opening hours: 8am-6:30pm
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Lunchtime concerts Monday, Tuesday, and Friday; evening concerts Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 7:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Transit: Underground: Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment.
London Brass Rubbing Centre
At the London Brass Rubbing Centre in the St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, visitors get a choice of 90 plaques to rub, including medieval knights, Tudor kings and queens, plus Celtic designs. Prices range from £2.50 to £15.00 and include specialist paper, multicolored waxes and expert tuition. Children under 12 get a £1.00 reduction.There is also a free exhibition of studio rubbings created by experts with ready-made and custom rubbings available for sale.
The National Gallery houses an exquisite collection of European paintings and pictures ranging from the 11th century to the early 20th century.
Housing a collection of over 4500 paintings and drawings, the National Portrait Gallery is an interesting attraction. Portraits of prominent people in the history of England can be found in the Gallery.
Nelson's Column ranks with Big Ben and Tower Bridge as one of the great London landmarks. The 56m/185ft high Nelson Monument, or Nelson's Column, by William Railton (1840-43) was constructed of granite from Devon. From the summit of the column a statue of Nelson 9m/27ft high, looks down on the busy activity of Trafalgar Square, with its fountains (designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and erected in 1948), its pigeons, its swarming humanity and its swirling traffic. On the base of the monument are four bronze reliefs, cast from French cannons, depicting Nelson's victories at Cape St Vincent, the Nile, Copenhagen and Trafalgar and bearing his famous words: "England expects every man will do his duty". The bronze lions at the four corners were modeled by Sir Edwin Landseer (1868).
Charles I Commemoration
Charles I Commemoration takes place on the last Sunday in January. Wreaths are laid on the statue of Charles I in Trafalgar Square, and there is a special service in Whitehall outside the former palace to commemorate the "royal martyr".
More Trafalgar Square Pictures
Map of London Attractions