London Parks & Gardens Trust

The Jubilee Walkway - Western Loop

Leicester Square

Leicester Square

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Directions

If you are starting the walk from Leicester Square Underground station, take the exit for Charing Cross Road (west side) / Hippodrome. Turn right on leaving the exit and right again into Cranbourn Street to reach the Square.

Buses stop in Charing Cross Road, from where you can reach Leicester Square through Irving Street, Bear Street or Cranbourn Street on the west side.

Description

Leicester Fields (afterwards called Leicester Square) were first partially enclosed in 1616 by the Military Company for an exercise yard. In 1630 Lord Leicester negotiated the lease of the Fields, where he planned to build his own private house. The central areas of the Fields were enclosed with 'pallisadoes and fence', and planted in c.1720-25. In 1851 the square deteriorated in prestige, became the site of a temporary exhibition, 'The Great Globe' and was surrounded by advertising hoardings. In 1874 the square was purchased by Albert Grant MP, who laid out the gardens anew with a fountain surmounted by a statue of Shakespeare and busts of famous residents. The square was presented to the Board of Works by Grant in that year. In the C20th the square was progressively rebuilt and has been given over to cinemas and the entertainment industry.