Leicester square is in the heart of central London and is a real cultural hub with many historic buildings, street performers and plenty of great places to eat. There are so many Things to Do in Leicester Square with all sorts of entertainment. It is just a stones throw away from Covent Garden and Picadilly circus as well as London’s Chinatown. There are lots of pubs, casinos and cinemas as well as a very cool sweet shop. It has a traditional German Christmas market every year in the square with Christmas food stalls and mulled wine too.
It is the perfect place to take a break during the day when you are in this area of London. There are also plenty of Theatres such as London Coliseum and the nearby making it a great place to grab a pre-theatre show meal.
Ultimate guide on the best things to see and do in Leicester Square London 2023
Where is Leicester Square station and how to get there
Leicester Square tube station is located in the heart of London’s West End. It’s on the Piccadilly line and Northern line of London’s underground station. The station is situated at the intersection of Charing Cross Road and Cranbourne Street and has 4 main entrances.
To get there you can take either the Piccadilly or Northern lines on the underground. Plus several buses also stop near the station, including routes 14, 19, 24, 29, 38, and 176.
Scenes in the Statues
One of the best things to do in London’s Leicester Square is visit the series of bronze statues that you can get up close with and take photos! The Leicester Square Statues are famous stars of film in immortalised in bronze in and around the square. The installation has been in London since February 2020 and is still being added to. Some of the words best loved film characters and iconic scenes have been brought to life! Meet the Mary Poppins statue, Sit next to Paddington bear and eat lunch. You can even take a seat with the Mr Bean statue or see Bugs bunny, harry potter and even Wonder Woman. There is a QR code to scan and a free audio walking tour of the scenes in the square trail.
Take a seat in Leicester Square Gardens
Leicester Square Gardens is a public park in the heart of the Square. The gardens were originally laid out in 1670 as a private garden for the 2nd earl of Leicester but were opened for the public in the 19th century. There is a statue of William Shakespeare in the centre of the park as well as a water fountain and a large lawn great for picnics. You can also discover all of the statues from scenes in the square around the park such as Gene Kelly swinging from a lamp post.
Watch the street entertainers and the Gold Lady in Leicester Square
You can watch Street performers or buskers acting , dancing and performing in the public area of the Square for tips and gratuities from passersby. People gathers around be entertained all year round here. You will see dance groups, singers and even the living statue of the famous Gold Lady in Leicester Square.
Visit the M&M World Store
M&M’s world London is a four-story building that offers a wide range of M&M products. You can find personalised M&Ms, clothes, accessories and more. It also features interactive exhibits and displays. Some of these include a chocolate wall and a London-themes M&M statue of liberty.
Go to the LEGO Store
This is only a few doors down from the m&m world store and is the largest LEGO store in the world. It has two floors which feature a range of LEGO sets, including rare and exclusive items. There are plenty of interactive displays and models made entirely from LEGO bricks. The LEGO store offers the chance to build your own minifigure, a Pick & Build wall where you can buy individual bricks in bulk. They often hold LEGO building events and workshops for children and adults.
Watch the Swiss Glockenspiel Clock
The Swiss Glockenspiel Clock is a replica of the original in Bern, Switzerland. It was installed in 1985 to mark the 700th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation and as a gift from Switzerland Tourism. The clock has a wooden mechanism and 27 bells, which chime every hour and a half. At 12pm and 6pm everyday, a parade of Swiss figures emerge from the clock tower and perform a short show, complete with music and dancing. The clock is located outside the exterior of the Swiss Centre building. The building is also home to Swiss-themed shops and restaurants.
Leicester Square Cinemas
Leicester Square is known as the “home of cinema” in London, and there are several cinemas located in and around the square. They see many red carpet clebrities as it is the home of film premieres
Odeon Leicester Square– This iconic Odeon cinema is one of the largest and most well-known cinemas in the UK. It has hosted many world premiers and features state of the art technology.
Vue cinema – This is much more modern and has nine screens. There are some luxury seating options, including reclining seats and VIP seats.
Empire Cinema– The Empire features a mix of mainstream and independent films and also is known to host premiers and special events.
Cineworld cinema – Much like the Empire, Cineworld shows both mainstream and independent films. It also has state of the art projection and sound systems.
Prince Charles Cinema– This is an independent cinema just off Leicester Square. It screens a mix of classic, cult and contemporary films, as well as regular sing-along and quote-along showings.
Famous public events include some of the movie premieres of films such as;
- Frank Sinatras film 1958’s Me And The Colonel)
- Batman v Superman European Premiere at the ODEON
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Premiere at ODEON Leicester Square in 2017
- Suicide Squad European Premiere at ODEON in 2016
- Most recently Dungeons Dragons Cineworld in 2023
Leicester Square Casinos
Leicester Square is also known for its lively entertainment scene. There are several casinos around the square. ID is needed to enter all of these casinos and all are exclusive to over 18s.
Hippodrome Casino– This is located on Cranbourne Street, so just off Leicester Square. It is one of the largest and most popular casinos in the UK, with three floors of gaming space, a theatre, several bars, and restaurants. It is also currently home to the show Magic Mike. There are many games, such as slot machines, table games, and a poker room. The Hippodrome also houses several bars and restaurants and a theatre
Address: Cranbourn St, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7JH, United Kingdom
Hours: Open 24 hours
Grosvenor Casino– This is on the south side of the Square and has a variety of gaming options on offer, from table games to electronic roulette. There is also a bar and restaurant.
Address: 3-4 Coventry St, London W1D 6BL, United Kingdom
Hours: Open 24 Hours
Empire Casino– Empire Casino is on the north side of the Square and has two floors of gaming space with a poker room, table games and slot machines. There are also several bars and restaurants.
Address: 5-6 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7NA, United Kingdom
Hours: Open 24 hours
Horizons Casino once Napoleons Casino– This casino is located on Queens House, just off Leicester Square. There are table games, slot machines and a roof top bar overlooking the square and a restaurant.
Address: Queens House, 1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7RN, United Kingdom
Hours: 12pm -6am
Explore the National Art Gallery
The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar square it sits just around the back It is home to some of the world’s finest collections of Western European paintings, ranging from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It was founded in 1824 and has remained in its current location since 1838. Many famous artists are featured, including Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci. There are several temporary exhibitions each year which focus on a particular artist or theme.
Opening times: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm (open till 9pm on Fridays) (Closed 24-26 December and 1 January)
Search for the Time capsule plaques in Leicester
Leicester Square is home to a number of time capsule plaques, which were installed in a 2010 renovation project. These plaques commemorate various events and organisations associated with and its history. Some of these include:
Leicester Square– The main plaque itself is located in the centre of the square and commemorates the entire renovation project.
First Cinema– This commemorates the first cinema in the UK that opened in 1896 and can be found on the northside of Leicester Square. It mentions a brief history of its operation.
Empire Theatre– This is on the southside of the park commemorating the Empire Theatre which was once on the site. It mentions some of the famous performers who appeared there, including Charlie Chaplin and Judy Garland.
Go inside the Church of Notre Dame de France
The Church of Notre Dame de France is a French Roman Catholic Church. It was established in 1861 to serve the growing French community in London. The current building was constructed in the 1950s and features a distinctive modernist design by Jean Cocteau. The church offers regular Masses and other religious services in French and English, as well as confessions, spiritual counselling, and other pastoral services. Visitors are asked to respect the solemnity of the church and to dress appropriately.
Visit the TKTS booth for cheap theatre tickets
In the centre of the square is a large ticket building called TKTS. TKTS London is the number one place for discount theatre tickets for London’s West End shows. The world famous Ticket booth is in the heart of Leicester Square and is open daily to purchase some of the best price theatre tickets. You can also view and purchase last minute tickets on their website. This is the only authorised theatre ticket booth on the Square for all of the main theatre shows in London.
Have a laugh at the Comedy Store
The Comedy Store is a popular comedy club in Leicester Square. It was established in 1979 and quickly became one of the most popular comedy venues in London. The club has played host to many of the UK’s most famous comedians such as Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand. It seats around 400 people and has a bar and restaurant serving a range of drinks and snacks. It has a strict over-18s policy and those aged 14-17 must be accompanied by an adult.
See a show in leicester square theatre
Other Places just a short walk from Leicester square are:
- China Town
- The British museum
- Holborns many museums
- Covent Garden
- Piccadilly Circus