Leicester Square - London

Leicester Square LondonLeicester Square is the spiritual home of the UK's film industry, playing host to movie premiers in some of the country's largest cinemas, and co-hosting the London Film Festival. The Square itself contains little of any note but does provide a focal point for many visitors due to its central location amidst many of London's top tourist attractions.

The story of Leicester Square began when Robert Sidney, the Earl of Leicester, built Leicester House on the site between 1632 and 1636. Formerly a piece of open land, the local parishioners petitioned that part of Leicester House's grounds should remain open to the public. The local council granted this request and Leicester Square was born. Ironically, in the 18th century Leicester House had fallen into such a state of disrepair, following a brief period as a museum of natural curiosities known as the Holophusikon, it was demolished - the Square and the name remained.

Despite its demolition, The Holophusikon had established the Square's reputation as a place of entertainment, with numerous attractions in residence until the late 19th century when the Empire Theatre of Varieties was opened along with oyster rooms and Turkish baths.

Following a period of decline in the late 1980s and early 90s, the Square underwent a period of regeneration and now boasts a small park with statues of Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds, all former residents of the area in the 18th century.

The 1990s saw Leicester Square put firmly back on the map as a London attraction and main stage for the UK movie industry. Westminster council are currently planning major works in Leicester Square to allow it host much larger premier events.