Leicester Square offers a peek into the cinematic and theatre world of the British capital. The area has seen many movie and theatre premiers and has had its fair share of stars and starlets walk its plains.
There are many things to do in Leicester Square, London. It also has a decent amount of restaurants, attractions, and shops along this buzzing strip.
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If you find yourself with only 24-hours in London, this pedestrian entertainment hub is worth a visit. But, what to do in Leicester Square?
This area has something for all kinds of tourists, from the young at heart to more mature audiences that want to relive the golden times of the past.
Whether you’re a bit of a sweet tooth or a cinephile, take a trip to Leicester Square in order to get your fill of entertaining gems.
Leicester Square is a pedestrian square in Central London’s West End. This square is close to many popular neighbourhoods you can reach by foot, such as Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, and Chinatown. This means there are as many things to do around Leicester Square as there are things to do in the quad.
Fortunately, Leicester Square is in Central London, making it relatively easy to reach this buzzing pedestrian shopping area.
Walk: You can easily reach Leicester Square through a London walking tour as it’s close to many trendy tourist spots. The pedestrian centre is approximately a 20-minute walk from Buckingham Palace and a 15-minute walk from the British Museum.
Tube: The closest tube station is, of course, Leicester Square Station on the Piccadilly and Northern Lines. This line will stop a mere stone’s throw away from the shops in Leicester Square. However, other nearby tube stations include Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, and Charing Cross stations.
Bus: There are a few bus lines that pass the centre, namely stops 14, 176, 24, 29, 6, and 94. The closest bus station is Leicester Square Station, but Chinatown and Trafalgar Square Stations are also within a five-minute walk away.
Leicester Square is a historically significant and star-studded area with many past influential tenants and current film stars. As a result, there are many entertaining attractions in the area to keep you busy and amused.
The Leicester Square Theatre shows a variety of acts, from theatre shows to stand-up comedies and musical performances.
For the kids, there are family and magic shows to enjoy. But, if you’re looking for something for a more mature audience, there are also a few regular cabaret shows for your viewing pleasure. On occasion, there are meet & greets after the shows to meet your performance heroes.
If you love to laugh (who doesn’t?), the theatre is also associated with the Museum of Comedy, which is just a few minutes away. You’ll be folding in two and wiping away tears as new and established comedians tell their best jokes.
Leicester Square is a great place to stop by for a good laugh. There are a few comedy clubs in and around the area, such as the Museum of Comedy.
The 99 Club is in the heart of Leicester Square with four venues all situated near this entertainment hub. The closest venue is Ruby Ble, which is about a two-minute walk from the tube station.
It won the Chortle Award’s ‘Best London Comedy Club’ award for ten years and has seen both upcoming and a few familiar-faced UK comedians on its stage.
Comedy Carnival is another comedy club that will leave you in stitches. Its stage welcomes the top local and international comedians every Thursday to Saturday night. The theatre offers comedy and dinner packages for a truly spectacular night of fun.
Follow their websites to see what’s happening on Leicester Square’s comedy scene.
The TKTS stand is the go-to place for all discounted theatre show tickets. While its location is in Leicester Square, you can buy tickets at this location for musicals, comedy shows, and drama productions all over the city.
The ticket booth is open every day, where you can buy tickets to shows on the day or up to a week in advance. Discounts range depending on the day, the show, and demand, but you can score a considerable deal here on very popular shows.
TKTS allows you to get added bonuses out of your tickets by also offering discounted dining, shopping, travel, and hotel stays. Simply show your ticket and confirmation email to redeem your discount at the available TKTS affiliate places of business.
Check their website to see which restaurants offer meal bargains, but some go as far as to provide pre and post-theatre discounted meals valid seven days after the show. This perk makes it totally worth the wait in the winding line outside the ticketing booth.
Since it first premiered at the Odeon Luxe cinema in Leicester Square in 2001, London cannot get enough of ‘the boy who lived’. Many scenes were filmed right there in the British capital.
See if you can recognise any familiar places from the Wizardly World with this Harry Potter guided walking tour. The tour begins with a sorting hat ceremony to find out which Hogwarts house you belong in.
From there, your walking tour commences where you answer trivia questions to win prizes for your houses.
On this walking tour, you’ll get to follow in the footsteps of the characters Harry and Hagrid as they purchased his first wand in Diagon Alley.
You’ll also see the iconic Leaky Cauldron and the bridge Harry battled the Death Eaters in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. Amongst these exciting places, the tour takes you to over 15 more places to wander.
Note: This is a two-and-a-half-hour engaging walking tour, so remember to pack in comfortable shoes.
Canada House is a work of art inside and out. You cannot miss this building built in a Greek Revival architectural style and proudly surrounded by fluttering Canadian flags.
The house is home to the High Commission of Canada offices and a gallery within its vicinity. Unless you’re planning a trip to Canada, you’ll want to visit the art gallery. The gallery showcases exhibitions from Monday to Saturday and is free to the public.
Here, you’ll see Canadian artists’ historical and contemporary art and designs using different mediums. Oftentimes in addition to the art shows, they’ll also host various seminars, conferences, and film screenings for their audiences.
Tip: You can still view the exhibitions if you’re not in London, as they also have virtual tours available for budding art lovers.
Japan Centre is a three-minute walk from the square and brings the vibrant streets of Tokyo to London. This centre is a supermarket, homeware store, and restaurant all in one.
The supermarket sells everything you need to make a nutritious and tasty Japanese meal at home. Its fridges are stocked with fresh and frozen vegetables, fish, and various meats. You can also find pantry staples like tofu, miso, rice, noodles, and Japanese sauces.
Although the store focuses mainly on Japanese cuisine, it sells groceries and ingredients popular in Chinese, Korean, and South-East Asian kitchens as well.
The homeware section sells the required kitchen utensils and tools you need to cook these fantastic dishes. After buying your ingredients, pick up some Asian kitchen essentials like a rice cooker, cleaver, and chopsticks to get the full experience. Or, pick up a DIY cooking kit that has everything you need already packaged together for a no-fuss cooking experience.
While you can buy a bite to eat from the supermarket’s diversely stocked fridges, the basement floor is where you need to go for an authentic Japanese dine-in meal.
Here, you’ll find open kitchens serving local Japanese favourites like fresh sushi, steamed buns, and crispy fried chicken.
The Square has a few cinemas in the area, which is why most of London’s movies are premiered here.
If you’re ready to see your favourite actors strut on the red carpet, head to the Odeon Leicester Square, Cineworld Leicester Square, and Vue Cinema London for the best chance to catch a glimpse.
If you miss a premier, you can still catch some of the stars on the big screen at the cinemas in the area. Another iconic cinema, The Prince Charles Cinema, shows the latest blockbusters, but most visitors go for the screening of cult classics and arthouse films which can go as low as £1 on occasion.
Leicester Square Gardens is in the heart of the Square. It is just a few metres away from the famous Leicester Square Fountain with a statue of William Shakespeare at the top. The gardens is a popular resting spot for busy Londoners looking for a break or a nice picnic spot.
Visitors also love this area of greenery because it has a few familiar faces in the form of statues nearby that they can spot in the ‘Scenes in the Square’.
This enchanting sculpture trail is like an adult Where’s Wally game for movie lovers. On the trail, you can try to spot as many movie stars and characters in statue form as you can.
The trail starts at the Vue West End Cinema and circles around the square and gardens. There are many notable stars on the path like Gene Kelly, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, and Oliver Hardy.
See if you can spot other popular movie and pop culture characters like Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Mr Bean, and Bugs Bunny. You can also get a free audio walking tour to accompany you on your walk.
On this tour, you can test your movie knowledge, listen to fun movie clips and hear interviews from some of the stars.
Simply enable your phone’s NFC function and tap the black disk on the character map and you’re ready for an auditory film experience.
Experience the West End’s lively nightlife when the sun sets with this Central London bar crawl and nightlife tour. On this tour, you’ll see the best bars and clubs in Leicester Square and the surrounding areas with VIP access. Tickets also include complimentary shots and discounts at selected bars.
This square is a pedestrian-only place, so visitors can have an uninterrupted shopping and dining experience. Here are a few shops to visit while you’re there and possibly buy some souvenirs to remember your visit.
You’ll love this Lego flagship store if you’re a fan of childlike wonder. The store has all the blocks you’ll need for your next build in every colour, shape, and size.
Take a photo in the Mosaic Maker booth to find out which blocks you’ll need to build your own Lego clone. But, if you’d like to make an original figurine, visit the in-store The LEGO Minifigure Factory.
This store is the world’s biggest sweets store, with four floors packed with tiny rainbow treats. The store has a chocolate wall with a selection of over 100 M&M’s to choose from.
Here, you can also design your own M&M by selecting a colour and printing your face or text on these tiny sweets.
This free-standing clock in the square is now a landmark of the Square and stands 10 metres tall. The original clock was a gift from Switzerland Tourism in 1985 but was demolished to make room for more hotels in the quad.
A few years ago, this new replacement got installed and has been ticking in the Square since.
The interesting clock has Swiss-inspired figurines all around it and 27 bells hanging from it. These bells chime five times a day and eight times on the weekend, so you’re bound to hear the cheery sound.
The National Gallery is free to all visitors and showcases art from contemporary and modern artists. Painting exhibitions change regularly and the gallery has seen paintings from notable artists such as Picasso, Raphael, Gaugin, and more. Modern art exhibitions include film and VR pieces.
The National Portrait Gallery displays prints, paintings, and photographs of notable people as well as ordinary folk. There are over 215,000 portraits in their system, some dating back to the 16th century.
Both galleries offer workshops and drawing classes if you’d like to refine your artistic skills. They also host regular events, so keep an eye on their websites to see upcoming events.
Leicester Square has a few casinos in the area, but the Empire Casino is located right across the square. Hippodrome Casino and Grosvenor Casino are a few metres away from the square but equally as thrilling.
While they all offer a few chances to turn the slots, the Hippodrome Casino is the overall winner with its diverse activities within the premises.
Besides the game floor, the Hippodrome Casino also has live events, bars, lounges, and a steakhouse. Visit the rooftop bar for sweeping views of the city or pop in for a cup of tea at the Boozy Tea Room.
Both these areas have specially crafted cocktails, but if you’re in the mood for a show, move to the piano bar or the showroom.
While the area is full of things to do, Leicester Square is also close to many wonderful neighbourhoods. Take a look at the top things to do near Leicester Square.
Trafalgar Square is about a five-minute walk from Leicester Square and another vibrant area of London. The area has a big artistic community and is well-known for its museums, galleries, statues, and street performers.
There are a few fun things to do in Chinatown, and it’s practically down the street from the Square, so it’s definitely worth a visit. The best time to visit Chinatown is during the Lunar New Year when you can join in on the New Year festivities.
If you miss it, there are still plenty of places to visit and enjoy some mouth-watering dishes at its eateries.
Piccadilly Circus is a five-minute walk from the Square and, despite the name, does not have any clowns or performing acrobats. Circus is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘circle’. This area has many sculptures, shops, and live performances worth checking out.
Refuel after a long day exploring what’s in Leicester Square. These restaurants nearby have both local and international cuisines for all types of appetites.
If you’re craving a tender steak loaded with flavour stop by Steak and Company. This steakhouse on Leicester Square serves matured steaks of different cuts of meat and cooks them to your liking.
You can customise your dish by choosing the butter, salt, and sauce used to cook your meat. While they specialise in steak, they also have a few fish, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. Pair these with their curated craft beer and bubble tea menu for the optimum foodie experience.
This contemporary restaurant is just below the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel. It serves a modern take on Mexican and Peruvian entrées and appetisers.
The lounge bar has a similar theme to the restaurant cuisine, which serves drinks like Habanero and Guava Margaritas and wines from South America. The drinks menu is more global than their food menu, so you have a variety of mixes to try.
The Bosporus brings Turkey to the UK with traditional Turkish dishes, baklava, and nargiles (shisha pipes). The restaurant faces the square and has a terrace where diners can people-watch while enjoying their food and drinks.
In the winter, the patio is covered and has heaters to give you a warm dining experience, just as the Turkish do.
Ready for a surf and turf menu like no other in London? Burger and Lobster specialise in, well, burgers and lobster.
Choose between a beef or vegetarian burger or a whole lobster drenched in butter. If you can’t decide, their combo dishes will give you the best of both worlds. Pair these indulgent dishes with a sparkling drink or cocktail.
All Bar One is a wonderful restaurant to stop by whether you’re dropping in for your morning brew or looking for a dinner with a nightcap.
Their menu is extensive with dishes from all over the world with choices like Phad Thai, Chicken Katsu and Quesadillas. They also have a selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes available.
If you’re wondering where to stay in London near or in Leicester Square, these few places will have you in the heart of the area and offer a comfortable stay on your trip.
This red-brick faced 5-star hotel is right on Leicester Square. Relax in the lap of luxury after a long day of exploring the Leicester Square attractions. Each Radisson Blu Edwardian room features spacious beds, workspaces, hot drink facilities, and bathrooms with marble trimmings.
The hotel’s bar and restaurant serve contemporary dishes and drinks, which you can enjoy indoors or on the terrace.
The Victory House is right across the street from Leicester Square Gardens and overlooks the pristine plains. Despite its Victorian exterior, the hotel is relatively modern with subtle nods to various cinematic leads of the past like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor.
Rooms are spacious with grandstand views of the theatre and cinema premiers happening below. Bathrooms are equally modern with relaxing rainfall showers and complimentary robes and toiletries.
St Martin’s is a stylish hotel with a minimal yet eccentric style. As you enter the green revolving doors, you’re greeted by decorative pieces such as the oversized gold teeth sculptures and chess pieces in the lobby.
Rooms are equally aesthetically pleasing with colourful mood lighting to balance the minimal setting of white bedrooms with custom furniture. Refresh in your monochromatic and clean-lined bathroom before heading downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant and bar.
This majestic hotel towers over the West End courtyard and is a great way to see the city in all its glory. Rooms come with a desk, coffee facilities, televisions, and a seating area. The hotel also has state-of-the-art hypnos beds with temperature-controlled mattresses.
The hotel’s restaurant only serves breakfast, but that’s not a problem as the accommodation’s ideal location means you’re within walking distance of many wonderful restaurants and cafés.
Travel back to the Great Gatsby’s era with this 4-star hotel heavily inspired by the 1920s film stars and art-deco style. Rooms are decorated with gold fixtures and movie star stage lighting throughout this establishment.
Framed pictures of celebrities and movie scripts from yesteryear line the walls all the way to the en-suite bathrooms. Enjoy a drink fit for a star at the rooftop bar overlooking the city or enjoy a meal at the à la carte restaurant.
Leicester Square is a busy area with great places dotted along to keep you engaged. Visit the square for everything, from international cuisine to custom-made sweets with your face on them.
Besides food, there are also a few star-studded attractions like catching a movie premiere or witnessing a theatre production.
Of course, if you miss the shows, you can still walk in the Leicester Square Gardens for an auditory experience as you spot the world’s favourite fictional characters.
One good thing about the big city of London is that most places are within walking distance or a quick tube ride, including some amazing museums and trendy neighbourhoods.
After a long day of sightseeing in this lively part of the city, plop down at the many hotels nearby for a good night’s rest before doing it all again tomorrow.