Triumphal Nelson's Column, amazing statues & art atop celebratory plinths and the National Gallery await all who travel to Trafalgar Square.
What you need to know about Trafalgar Square
City: London, United Kingdom
Transport links: Leicester Square tube station (Piccadilly and Northern lines).
Access: As a public square there is no charge to access the area. It is totally pedestrianised with cars, buses and taxis swarming the busy streets around, but not through it.
Fact: The famous plaza Trafalgar Square in Central London is named after the Battle of Trafalgar where Lord Nelson was victorious in 1805. The giant colmn - Nelson's Column - stands proudly in the middle of the square in his honour as Britain's greatest maritime hero.
Look up and marvel at Nelson's Column
Standing almost 170 feet tall, Nelson's Column is a fitting tribute to a truly great Britain. Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson led HM naval forces through excursions and battles around the globe before finally succumbing to injuries sustained at the Battle of Trafalgar. He fell in battle having led his fleet to defeat the combined forces of Spain and France in a viciously bloody battle.
Trafalgar Square is named after that very battle and his eponymous column stands tall in salute to his achievements.
Featuring lions at the base of the column, it is often adorned with decorations to mark various London festivities or to celebrate occasions such as Christmas, when a Christmas Tree is erected near the column in a show of friendship between the UK and Norway. This festive gift from Norway has been a tradition since 1947 and sees a giant pine tree placed near Nelson's Column every year.
Trafalgar Square houses the National Gallery
A few feet from Nelson's Column is the impressive front of the National Gallery. A top tourist attraction for years, visitors can travel through various wings of the gallery and see masterpieces from British greats such as Holbein, as well as world renowned artwork from Van Gogh, da Vinci, Renoir and Botticelli.
There are also a number of bespoke exhibitions available throughout the year that can be viewed for an entry fee. The main gallery is free so just walk up the stairs from Trafalgar Square and enjoy the incredible collection of art from around the world.
Check out the measurements from years gone by
Every wondered just how long a foot is? Wish things were a little more imperial and a little less metric? There is an old addition to Trafalgar Square that defines precisely how long measurements like a foot and a yard are. Take a look at one side of the square and you will find the pre-metric measures finitely defined in public. What better way than this to solve and disputes about the length or breadth of something.
The measurements may have died out in terms of specific use - the adoption of the metre and its bigger and smaller measurement cousins saw to that - but it's still a pretty cool thing to be able to see an official measure from history still in place for posterity. That nod to the past is something that always gets the Globedge sign of approval!
The fourth plinth
There are several plinths that house statues and sculpture in Trafalgar Square. The fourth plinth was originally intended to be the site of a tribute to William IV. That project ran into financial difficulties however so the plinth has instead been used a to showcase a number of pieces of art - each with limited tenure - in recent years including a giant thumbs up, a blue cockerel and most fittingly Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare, MBE. That ship in a bottle piece actually features an exact scaled down replica of Lord Nelson's famous ship the HMS Victory!
The practice of continuing to update the artwork on show on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is set to continue for years to come and the artwork featured has become a source of discussion and debate amongst Londoners.