Leicester Square is one of the landmarks of the West End of London. It is a short walk from Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden and has its own tube station served by two lines.
The name derives from the Earl of Leicester who bought land and built a house here in the 1630s. By the19th century it was home to numerous entertainments, a precursor of its current position at the heart of the entertainment district. The three cinemas round the Square are the locations for major film premières, and nightclubs, bars and restaurants front the Square.
The Square is now pedestrianised and at the centre is a small garden. There are statues of Sir Isaac Newton, William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds, all of whom lived in the vicinity. The statue of Shakespeare is a copy of the one in Westminster Abbey. The statue of Charlie Chaplin is more recent, as are the bronze hand prints of film stars set in the pavement.
Plans have been drawn up for a major refurbishment to upgrade the Square and its surrounding streets and incorporate a venue for open-air entertainment.