The Circus is in Town!

The circus is in town!

Piccadilly Circus lies in the heart of Downtown London.  It is practically a crossroads for all of London.  Some might call it London’s version of Times Square in New York, or the British equivalent of Shibuya Scramble in Tokyo.  You’ll be immersed in a sea of neon, billboards, underground roundels, great restaurants, shopping, bars, and endless cacaphony of honking taxis and buses.  London may be a city steeped in history and medieval landmarks, but Piccadilly is where you’ll find a modern and noisy oasis from the castles and churches of yore.

One of London’s most famous icons!

Piccadilly Circus is a junction road in the West End of London that links several streets in a circle or circus.  The name “circus” comes from the Latin word for “circle”; it is a round open space at a street junction.  The birth of this roundabout came around 1819, when it was built to connect Regent Street with the major shopping district of Piccadilly.  Now, Piccadilly links the many theaters of West End with Haymarket and Coventry Street.  At the center of the circus is a statue of Anteros, the Greek god of unrequited love.  The statue is often mistaken for the god Eros, the brother of Anteros who was the Greek god of one-sided love.  The statue has become something of an icon in London.  Many use this statue as a popular meeting point, and the angel atop the monument as even become the symbol for the British newspaper The Evening Standard, to which the angel appears on its masthead.  One popular myth about the angel is that the arrow is being pointed in the direction of Parliament, while another myth says that the angel points his arrow down Shaftesbury Street, as way to pay tribute to Lord Shaftesbury, a famous Victorian-era philanthropist and politician.

Anterros the Angel, NOT Eros!

Around the base of statue, you’ll usually find a small mob of people, as the statue is well known meeting place.  And just like the subway stations of New York City, break dancing is quite common around here.  At any given day, you’ll find a group, or rather, dance troupe busting out the slickest moves this side of the South Bronx.

Breakin: British Boogaloo!

While in the circus, you can catch a show at the Criterion Theatre, do some shopping at Lilywhites for sporting goods, or shop for beauty products and snacks and Boots.  But for more serious shopping, head to nearby Regent Street, Bond Street, or Knightsbridge for the upscale merchandise.

The most happening place in London

The first electric ads were installed around 1910, and from then on, the signs around Piccadilly Circus have undergone many changes.  The ads have evolved from cigarette ads in light bulbs, lavish neon signs, and full on digital billboards and TV screens.  In a way, the ad space around Piccadilly has evolved in the same way Times Square in New York has.  The amount of digital screens dwarfs the number of classic neon signs.          

“This stop is, Piccadilly Circus.”

Getting here is almost too easy.  Just take the London Underground to Piccadilly Circus station, walk upstairs, and there is an electric playground just waiting for you.  The correct lines to take are the Piccadilly line (dark blue) and the Bakerloo line (brown).  Just make sure you watch your step when you cross the street; those double-decker buses can from out of nowhere!  You might say that all trains and buses point to Piccadilly Circus.


About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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