Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square, London 2 - Jun 2009.jpg
View of the square in 2009
Trafalgar Square is located in City of Westminster
Trafalgar Square
Location within Central London
Former name(s)Charing Cross
NamesakeBattle of Trafalgar
Maintained byGreater London Authority
LocationCity of Westminster, London, England
Postal codeWC2
Coordinates51°30′29″N 00°07′41″W / 51°30′29″N 00°07′41″W / 51.50806; -0.12806

Trafalgar Square (ər/ FAL-gər) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

The site of Trafalgar Square had been a significant landmark since the 13th century and originally contained the King's Mews. After George IV moved the mews to Buckingham Palace, the area was redeveloped by John Nash, but progress was slow after his death, and the square did not open until 1844. The 169-foot (52 m) Nelson's Column at its centre is guarded by four lion statues. A number of commemorative statues and sculptures occupy the square, but the Fourth Plinth, left empty since 1840, has been host to contemporary art since 1999.

The square has been used for community gatherings and political demonstrations, including Bloody Sunday in 1887, the culmination of the first Aldermaston March, anti-war protests, and campaigns against climate change. A Christmas tree has been donated to the square by Norway since 1947 and is erected for twelve days before and after Christmas Day. The square is a centre of annual celebrations on New Year's Eve. It was well known for its feral pigeons until their removals in the early 21st century.


Trafalgar Square is owned by the Queen in Right of the Crown[a] and managed by the Greater London Authority, while Westminster City Council owns the roads around the square, including the pedestrianised area of the North Terrace.[2] The square contains a large central area with roadways on three sides and a terrace to the north, in front of the National Gallery. The roads around the square form part of the A4, a major road running west of the City of London.[3] The square was formerly surrounded by a one-way traffic system, but works completed in 2003 reduced the width of the roads and closed the northern side to traffic.[4]

Nelson's Column is in the centre of the square, flanked by fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1937 and 1939[5] (replacements for two of Peterhead granite, now in Canada) and guarded by four monumental bronze lions sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer.[6] At the top of the column is a statue of Horatio Nelson, who commanded the British Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Surrounding the square are the National Gallery on the north side and St Martin-in-the-Fields Church to the east.[6] Also on the east is South Africa House, and facing it across the square is Canada House. To the south west is The Mall, which leads towards Buckingham Palace via Admiralty Arch, while Whitehall is to the south and the Strand to the east. Charing Cross Road passes between the National Gallery and the church.[3]

London Underground's Charing Cross station on the Northern and Bakerloo lines has an exit in the square. The lines had separate stations, of which the Bakerloo line one was called Trafalgar Square until they were linked and renamed in 1979 as part of the construction of the Jubilee line,[7] which was rerouted to Westminster in 1999.[8] Other nearby tube stations are Embankment connecting the District, Circle, Northern and Bakerloo lines, and Leicester Square on the Northern and Piccadilly lines.[9]

London bus routes 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 pass through Trafalgar Square.[10]

A point in Trafalgar Square is regarded as the official centre of London in legislation and when measuring distances from the capital.[11]

Trafalgar Square, 1908
Trafalgar Square, 1908
A 360-degree view of Trafalgar Square
A 360-degree view of Trafalgar Square in 2009
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Trafalgarplein
asturianu: Trafalgar Square
azərbaycanca: Trafalqar meydanı
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Трафальгарская плошча
brezhoneg: Trafalgar Square
Esperanto: Placo Trafalgar
français: Trafalgar Square
Bahasa Indonesia: Alun-Alun Trafalgar
íslenska: Trafalgar Square
македонски: Плоштад Трафалгар
Bahasa Melayu: Dataran Trafalgar
Nederlands: Trafalgar Square
norsk nynorsk: Trafalgar Square
português: Trafalgar Square
sicilianu: Trafalgar Square
Simple English: Trafalgar Square
slovenčina: Trafalgar Square
slovenščina: Trafalgar Square
српски / srpski: Трафалгар сквер
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Trafalgar Square
татарча/tatarça: Трафальгар мәйданы
українська: Трафальгар-сквер