Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most impressive spaces, but these ten facts about this famous destination will help you see it in a whole new light…
1. The Battle of Trafalgar
Ever wondered why it’s called ‘Trafalgar Square’ in the first place? The famous square within easy reach of the Park Grand London Paddington is named after the Battle of Trafalgar, one of Britain’s most famous military victories. The battle was fought on the 21st October 1805, though Trafalgar Square wasn’t opened until 1844.
2. Trafalgar Square Pigeons
The square was once known as the adopted home of thousands of pigeons, but in the early 2000s, the then-Mayor banned feeding them, in the hope of driving down numbers. Today, the population has dropped dramatically, but you’ll still see pigeons feature heavily in historic artwork and photography of Trafalgar Square.
3. Nelson’s Column
Arguably the true ‘centerpiece’ of Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column was built in commemoration of Admiral Horatio, Lord Nelson, a famed naval commander who led British troops to win the Battle of Trafalgar. The column stands at 14ft 6 inches, and underwent a full refurbishment in 2006, helping to restore the monument to its former glory.
4. The Crown Estate
Trafalgar Square is part of the Queen’s Crown Estate, giving her de-facto ownership. The square is now managed by a combination of the Greater London authorities and Westminster City Council, who own the roads surrounding it.
5. Festive Traditions
The Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square each year is a gift from the Norwegian government. This tradition is in honour of Britain’s involvement in assisting Norway during the Second World War, and if you’re staying at budget accommodation in London during the winter, it’s well-worth visiting this impressive piece of ongoing history.
6. The Fountains
Trafalgar Square is also known for its iconic fountains, which create a stunning water feature in the middle of the square. They haven’t always flowed as freely as they do today, however – in 2012, the fountains were turned off due to a summer drought.
7. Police Box
The square is home to the world’s smallest police box, located in the southeast of Trafalgar Square. In the 1920s, this police box featured a phone line which connected visitors to the local police station, but these days it’s used as extra storage space for the council. Nonetheless, it makes for a picturesque addition to the square during your stay at the Park Grand London Paddington.
8. The Lions
Trafalgar Square’s lions are crafted from bronze, reclaimed from melted cannons. These impressive sculptures were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer, and installed here in 1868.
9. National Gallery
The National Gallery is located to the north of the square. Founded in 1824, it includes one of the world’s most impressive picture collections, including works by artists like Rembrandt and Raphael.
10. Designing Trafalgar Square
The square itself was designed by architect Charles Barry, and prior to its installation, the area was known for housing a royal stables and royal hawks.