Welcome to Leicester Square Gardens
One of London’s best known public Squares and hub of entertainment and activity. The square has become the capitals’ prime location for hosting film premieres, and hosts various celebrity events.
This site is currently closed for re-furbishment.
The whole overall area of Leicester Square was pedestrianised in the 1980s, making the entire space feel like a public space, however, the specific leciester square gardens are situated at the heart and centre of the Square.
The gardens have a central marble fountain which contains a 19th century statue of Shakespeare, grass areas and a group of mature London plane trees creating a significant tree canopy overhead. There are four gates at each of the corners of the square each with a bust of a notable historical figure - Sir Isaac Newton, the scientist; Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first President of the Royal Academy; John Hunter, an early surgeon and the artist William Hogarth. The square also contains a statue of Charlie Chaplin.
The Square takes its name from Robert Sidney the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who in 1630 bought 4acres of land in St. Martin's Field, and by 1635, had constructed a large residence called Leicester House. He then set about enclosing the rest of the land surrounding his new home, thus preventing the other inhabitants of the St. Martin's Parish any access to the land. Interestingly, as this land had previously been common land, the local people appealed to King Charles I, who in turn appointed three members of the Privy Council to arbitrate, resulting in Lord Leicester being ordered to keep a section of his land open for the parishioners of St Martins.
This designated land was called Leicester Field, later becoming known as Leicester Square. Leciester House was demolished in the 1790’s. After various disagreements as to whether or not the land could or could not be built upon, in 1874 Albert Grant (1830–1899) bought the freehold of the land, payed for a garden to be created and donated it to the Metropolitan Board of Works (at that time the equivalent of the council) as a gift to the city. Ownership of the square was subsequently passed on to all the various succeeding public bodies and consequently the site is now owned and managed by the City of Westminster.
The square is currently being redesigned with plans to transform Leicester Square into an appropriately contemporary urban public space that can comfortably accommodate all its wide range of various events and visitors.
If you would like to hold an event or film in this park please visit the Special Events website at www.westminster.gov.uk/specialevents or call 020 7641 2390.