The pedestrianised area of Leicester Square was originally called Leicester Fields when it was built in 1670. It was named after the then-newly-built Leicester House, which was itself named after Robert Sidney, the second Earl of Leicester. Once a residential area that included notable tenants like Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth, by the 18th century, Leicester Square had become a hub for entertainment. Today, there are still a plethora of cool and entertaining things to do around the square.
Muggles and Wizard-Wannabes Will Love the Harry Potter Tour
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and let’s face it: who isn’t, you will love going on a Harry Potter walking tour of the streets and buildings around Leicester Square that inspired and appeared in the Harry Potter series of films. You will find out interesting facts about your favourite schoolboy wizard and hear about the premier of the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which took place in Leicester Square. Furthermore, you’ll visit a very cool sweet shop where you can sample Dumbledore’s favourite Sherbet Lemons.
Pretend You’re James Bond by Playing Baccarat at the Hippodrome Casino
Located on Cranbourn Street near Leicester Square tube station, the London Hippodrome is worth visiting just to see its elegant magnificence. The building was opened in 1900 as a venue for circus and variety performances. Today, the theatre is one of the most thriving in London. And so is its newest addition, the Hippodrome Casino, which opened in 2013. If you’re a fan of playing games at an online live casino in real-time with real dealers, you are sure to enjoy visiting a casino in the flesh. The Hippodrome Casino has four gaming floors, where you can play games like poker, baccarat, and roulette. But even non-gamblers will enjoy a night out at the gambling establishment, as it contains the fabulous Heliot restaurant, six bars, and The Matcham Room cabaret theatre.
Everyone Will Love Exploring Colourful Chinatown
A little north of Leicester Square, you will suddenly feel as though you are in a distant and exotic place. Chinatown is bustling with authentic restaurants and shops, and colourful decorations. Originally home to Maltese and Huguenot immigrants, the Chinatown that exists today was formed in the 1950s after a handful of Chinese restaurants opened. By the 1960s, Chinatown had become the epicentre for Chinese culture in London. Simply walking around Chinatown is an attraction in itself. In addition to restaurants and shops, you will find Chinese artworks and sculptures, and there are often special events happening, such as the annual Lantern Festival and International Lion and Dragon Dance Festival.
Chocoholics Will Love Visiting M&M’s World London
M&M’s chocolates originated in the United States way back in 1941. Since then, the multi-coloured buttons have become one of the world’s favourite chocolatey snacks. If you’re a fan of M&M’s, you will have a sweet time at M&M’s World London, which is the largest sweet shop on the planet. The 35,000-square-foot store covers four incredibly colourful floors, where you can purchase a variety of items like toys, clothing, and of course, chocolates. Indeed, unlike bags of M&M’s you buy from the shop, at M&M’s World, there are more than 100 colours and mixes available. You’re not obliged to make purchases, though. The venue, which is minutes away from Leicester Square tube station, is worth visiting as an attraction in its own right. And its piece de resistance is the massive chocolate wall, which is the largest on earth.
Film Buffs Will Want to Visit the Odeon Cinema
Sure, you can go to an Odeon cinema anywhere in the UK. But you won’t find another Odeon like the flagship venue in Leicester Square. Over the past few decades, Leicester Square has become a hub for cinema in Britain. There are numerous excellent film theatres in the area. The Odeon occupies the centre of the eastern side of Leicester Square. And with its black polished granite façade and striking blue neon sign, you won’t be able to miss it. Built in the Art Deco style and completed in 1937, the Odeon hosts numerous film premiers from around the world. So, if you arrive at the right time, you could catch some of the world’s leading actors walking down the red carpet.