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Monday brought a visit to Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square, all within walking distance of each other in Westminster. “Circus” refers back to the Latin word for circle, indicating “a round open space at a street junction.” There are several “circuses” in London, including Piccadilly and Oxford. Piccadilly Circus is a popular junction for tourists as it is close to shopping and entertainment in the form of multiple theaters. Its neon signs and video displays remind one of NYC’s Times Square (but on a much smaller scale, of course). The multitude of posters displaying various theater productions are mouth-watering for anyone who indulges in musicals. One that caught my eye was “The Bodyguard” which opened just a few months ago at London’s Adelphi Theatre. I am hopeful that this will make its way to New York soon!
We then walked a few minutes over to Leicester Square, also known as “cinema land” for Odeon, the UK’s largest single-screen cinema. It is where many world-famous film premieres have occurred, including the Harry Potter series and the James Bond films. It also co-hosts the annual London film festival. The square also contains a pretty garden featuring a statue of William Shakespeare.
A few more steps led us to Trafalgar Square, at the center of which is Nelson’s Column, a monument honoring Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This square is popular for political and community gatherings, including New Year’s Eve celebrations and sports events. The square is home to several other statues, decorative plinths, and fountains.
Working up an appetite, we headed to China Town for lunch and enjoyed a delicious meal of noodles and dim sum at an authentic Chinese restaurant. The service and food were top-notch!
Finally, we made our way home early to get ready for a New Year’s Eve party at the home of one of Nirav’s old friends. His home was in Southend-on-Sea in Essex, about an hour from Nirav’s house in Beckton. We rang in the new year with his old friends and watched the fireworks over the London Eye on television. In the future, I’d love to experience the fireworks live! I imagine it is cold and crowded like Times Square, but both are still on the bucket list. Happy 2013!
*All photos taken by my husband unless otherwise specified.