Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

London Sights

Piccadilly Circus

  • Neighborhood/Street

Updated 02/27/2014

Fodor's Review

The origins of the name "Piccadilly" relate to a humble 17th-century tailor from the Strand named Robert Baker who sold picadils—a stiff ruffled collar all the rage in courtly circles—and built a house with the proceeds. Snobs dubbed his new-money mansion Piccadilly Hall, and the name stuck.

Pride of place in the circus—a circular junction until the construction of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1886— belongs to the statue of Eros (although even most Londoners don't know that the 1893 work is a representation of Eros's brother Anteros, the Greek God of requited love). The creation of young sculptor Alfred Gilbert is a memorial to the selflessness of the philanthropic Earl of Shaftesbury (the god's bow and arrow are an allusion to the earl's name). Gilbert cast the statue in the then-novel medium of aluminum. The other instantly recognisable feature of Piccadilly Circus is the enormous bank of illuminated advertising hoardings on the north side; if you're passing at night, frame them behind the Tube entrance sign on the corner of Regent St. for an unforgettable photo.

Sight Information


London, W1J ODA, England

Updated 02/27/2014


What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in London

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss



No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.