As one of the most famous spaces in all of the UK, it’s only natural that London’s Trafalgar Square is featured on our Westminster and Changing of the Guard Tour. Trafalgar Square in London (WC2N 5DN) runs through the majority of the West End, acting as an entryway to the primary shopping area in the city centre. Whether you’re a London veteran or a first-time visitor to London, a visit to Trafalgar Square is a must. Despite this, what fun is a Trafalgar Square tour without all the facts? We’ve selected our favourite facts as detailed below.

It’s Home to the National Gallery

At the north of Trafalgar Square, you’ll find the National Gallery, which was founded in 1824 and is home to one of the world’s most impressive picture collections. This collection includes works from the likes of Raphael and Rembrandt. In fact, the government was persuaded by King George IV to buy 38 major paintings.

Norway Gets the Square a Present Every Christmas

Each Christmas, Trafalgar Square is lit up with a stunning tree. This tree is always a gift from Norway in order to show appreciation for the help that they received during World War II. This help included the hosting of Norwegian Prince Olav, as he lived in exile in London during this time. The Christmas tree is typically nearly as tall as 50 metres and as many as 500 white lights are required for the decoration of such. This tradition has been carried on since 1947, and Trafalgar Square is always a magical place at Christmas because of it.

The Fountains Were Built to Deter Crowds

Upon designing the Square, it became clear that large crowds would see the Square as a place to gather. In order to escape this fate, the architects decided to build large fountains in the Square, so that protestors were unable to gather in the space. Despite this, the fountains weren’t built until the Square had been standing for a significant amount of time.

The Smallest Police Box Can be Found in Trafalgar Square

In 1926, the smallest ever police box was built in Trafalgar Square with the intention of blending into the environment. This was so that police could maintain a low-profile during gatherings and protests that occurred in the space. The box can be found at the southeast corner of the Square with a black lamp above it, and it’s no longer used as a police post. Instead, the box is now used as a cleaner’s storeroom.

It Used to be Home to Thousands of Pigeons

Once upon a time, Trafalgar Square was famous for something that you might not necessarily expect. The Square was once known as a home for many feral pigeons, making bird feeding one of the most popular activities at the Square. Despite this, pigeons were soon perceived as nuisances, and feeding them at the Square was prohibited. At one time, a hawk was even employed to deter pigeons. This method proved successful, resulting in a pigeon-free, and consequently dropping-free, Square. As a result, London Trafalgar Square events are now common, including concerts and other open events.

The Square is in the Centre of London

Trafalgar Square is considered the centre of London; however, this wasn’t determined via geography. Instead, the Square is considered the centre of London, as it was the setting of Queen Eleanor’s funeral procession in 1920. One of the crosses was placed in what we know as London’s Trafalgar Square today, and this was known as Charing Cross. This cross is the location used to measure the distance of other locations to London.

Nelson’s Column Sits at the Centre of the Square

Even if you’ve never visited Trafalgar Square before, you’ve likely seen the colossal statue in the centre. This is Nelson’s Column, which is the main attraction of the Square and was built in 1843. It was built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson’s role in the victory of the British at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Column stands at almost 52 metres, which results in it towering over the remainder of the Square. For decoration, four relief panels have been used, each of which represents Nelson’s most famous battles. These include his battles at The Nile, Copenhagen, Cape St. Vincent, and his death at Trafalgar.

Initially, the column wasn’t intended to be part of the Square, as there was concern that it would diminish the visual impact of the National Gallery.

It’s Home to Lion Guards

Despite Nelson’s Column being the main attraction in Trafalgar Square, tourists are also fascinated by the four bronze lions. These lions sit beside the Column, signifying Nelson’s heroism. The current lions were conceived by Sir Edwin Landseer and were relocated to the Square in 1868. Before this, the Square was home to some stone lions, which weren’t deemed very attractive by onlookers.

Discover Trafalgar Square on a Westminster and Changing of the Guard Tour

In addition to Trafalgar Square, you’ll be able to see plenty of other iconic Westminster sights on one of our tours. Book in today or read more about our private tours here.

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