Piccadilly Circus

Think cars, not clowns: Piccadilly Circus is a bustling traffic roundabout in the center of London.

While it’s not London’s most quiet place to sit and hang (what with all the neon signs, flashing ads, honking traffic, and scores of schoolkids), Piccadilly is undeniably alive and can even be beautiful in the wee hours when the streets quiet down. The winged statue at the center of it all is a beloved symbol of London, and the surrounding Victorian buildings and red buses could be taken from a postcard.

Best things to see at Piccadilly Circus

Enjoy the historic signs that illuminate Piccadilly Circus, some of which have been in place since the 1950s. Feeling spendy? Grab a bite to eat or do some shopping at one of many storefronts. The central location also lends itself to quick access to other landmarks in the city of London like Leicester or Trafalgar Square, both of which are only a few minutes away. 

Piccadilly Circus directions and parking

Best way to get to Piccadilly Circus

There are plenty of bus lines that stop nearby, including the 6, 13, 23, 139, N13, N18, and N113. If you want to take the Underground, take the Bakerloo or Piccadilly lines at get off at the Piccadilly Circus stop.

Best parking near Piccadilly Circus

Parking is a little rough on the streets, but there is no shortage of garages nearby. Try Q-Park at Leicester Square (a five-minute walk away) or London Soho Brewer Street parking for a slightly pricier alternative.

Piccadilly Circus FAQs

What’s actually at Piccadilly Circus (besides crowds of people)?

There are huge illuminated signs and an almost-entirely underground theatre, called the Criterion Theatre. There are tons of places to shop and eat and of course, people watch.

Are the illuminated advertisements ever turned off?

Nope, unless you’re unlucky enough to come when they have to be doing maintenance work. The signs have also been switched off for special occasions such as the deaths of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana.

Why are these electric signs noteworthy?

The first electric advertisements in London premiered at Piccadilly Circus and many of the signs have been in place for decades. In fact, Coca-Cola has had a sign since 1954!