Leicester Square (say it like Lester) is a cultural hub and entertainment center in London. From great dining, shopping, theatres and casinos, Leicester Square has something for everyone! Read on to discover just what you can do during your visit.
London’s Chinatown is a great stop near Leicester Square for some yummy food and shopping. You’ll find the streets lined with red lanterns as you pass through the grand Chinatown Gates (what a great photo op!). I’d suggest grabbing some authentic East Asian cuisine (there’s over 80 restaurants, cafes and bars). While you’re at it, stop by the Golden Gate Cake Shop. They have delicious custard buns! Get your shopping in too! There’s Oseyo, a supermarket filled with Korean essentials. Or pick up some cool knick-knacks (I adore their maneki-neko cats). Plus, if you time your visit right, you can experience a festival as well (Chinese New Year, anyone?).
2. Let’s Go LEGO!
Become a kid again when you visit the world’s largest LEGO store right here in Leicester Square! Not only is there a seemingly limitless collection of LEGO kits (build to your heart’s content!), but you’ll find some cool LEGO builds throughout the store (yay, more photo ops!). There’s a 6.5m Big Ben (the clock works too), a Royal mail postbox, and a Leicester Square tube sign. You can even sit between a royal guard and Shakespeare inside a life-size LEGO tube carriage!
3. M&M’s World, YUM!
If you love chocolate, Leicester’s M&M’s World is the place for you! In fact, this is the only M&M’s World in Europe! It is home to the world’s largest chocolate wall (wow!) and has sooo much to see (and buy). You can take photos alongside M&M characters, try a M&M colour mood analyser, and even have your face printed on an M&M candy! Most importantly, you get to eat a lot of chocolate!
4. Theatre Time
You can fulfill your London theatre experience at Leicester Square (it’s known for several red-carpet film premieres). For last minute tickets and good deals, the square has the TKTS, a ticket booth run by the Society of London Theatres (SOLT).
I’d suggest going to the Prince Charles Cinema (the only independent cinema left in London!). While they don’t show the latest releases, you can watch a great selection of classic, arthouse films, or try a movie marathon. Also, they have Sing-a-long events (so you can join in the show!).
There’s also the restored Leicester Square Theatre which is home to any cabaret, comedy, magic, dance, music, and theatre shows (there’s something for everyone). It has only 400 seats and a few bars but it’s been graced by major talents from Michael McIntyre to The Sex Pistols!
If you want to experience film premieres, look towards Cineworld Leicester Square or ODEON Luxe Leicester Square since these venues contain the latest and greatest film releases. You’ll get to lay back and relax while watching the latest film with the latest movie tech.
5. Leicester Statues
Okay, so we’ve established that Leicester has a bunch of theatre opportunities but did you know that there are iconic movie statues scattered around the square? Simply take a walk around Leicester Square Gardens and see what beloved characters you can spot!
You can fly with Harry Potter, search for Batman and Wonder Woman, sit and eat with Paddington Bear or Mr. Bean, recite poetry with Shakespeare, pose with Mary Poppins, or laugh with Bugs Bunny!
6. Pit Stop: Trafalgar Square
Not far from the Leicester is Trafalgar Square with its historic buildings and beautiful view! It’s home to various street performers, public events (even protests), and Britain’s smallest police station! The National Gallery also stands in the square where you can see works by da Vinci, Van Gogh, and so much more. Come check out the cool plinths, fountains, and lion statues while you’re at it!
7. Try Your Luck at the Casino
For those of you that like to test you luck, there are several casinos you can try! There’s the Hippodrome Casino with 5 gaming floors (even a private poker room). Or try the Vegas-like Empire Casino where you’ll find a sports bar and games from poker to blackjack. You’ll surely have an interesting time!
8. Piccadilly Circus
Five busy, busy streets connect at Piccadilly Circus! You might be wandering why it’s called a circus when, in fact, there isn’t a real circus act. Well, in this case, circus refers to its original use as a roundabout (or circle!). Still, millions visit every day. It’s a great meeting spot and photo destination since you can capture the iconic advertising screens or sit by the Eros statue!
9. Swiss Glockenspiel
The Swiss Glockenspiel (that’s fun to say!) has 11 moving Swiss figures and a traditional Swiss alpine background. But that’s not all! It also has 27 bells, 2 clocks, and 4 bell ringers. Five times a day, the bells will chime in a five-minute performance!
10. Don’t Forget THATMuse!
I’m happy to say that we’ve launched virtual street hunts in London that will take you around places like Leicester Square. We’ll test your knowledge and ask you to take silly pictures. All you need is a great pair of walking legs and your phone. So get ready to explore and learn all about the history surrounding London’s streets!
Whew! There’s so much to do around Leicester Square. As always, if there is anything you think we missed (and deserves a spot on our list), let us know! We’d love to hear from you.