Whether you're an art aficionado or history buff, a visit to the grandly impressive Trafalgar Square is a must on any London itinerary. Technically the geographical centre of the capital, the square is a meeting point, the scene of many rallies and marches and a drawcard for its historic, artistic and scenic attributes.
Conceived by George IV to commemorate Britain's naval power and gentrify the area, he died before it was laid out in 1843. All the elements are here starting with the focal point – Nelson's Column, a Corinthian plinth topped by a statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Famous features of Trafalgar Square include granite fountains and four bronze lions as well as statues of Victorian military heroes in three of the corners with a modern sculpture added to the fourth in 2005. Admiralty Arch serves as the gateway to Westminster and Buckingham Palace. Sadly for the pigeon fanciers, feeding those ubiquitous feral birds is now banned, so the flocks have now flown and no longer soiling the structures.
Neo-classical buildings abound in Trafalgar Square including the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and the newly renovated St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The National Gallery (open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm and until 9pm on Fridays) is considered one of the world's great art museums and is the place to view over 2,300 masterpieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Monet and more for free. The National Portrait Gallery at St Martin's Place (open Saturday to Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 9pm) is also free and contains over 185,000 portraits from the 16th century to now. St Martin-in-the-Fields is a fusion of Neo-classical and Baroque architecture and a landmark church known for its classical music concerts and being the parish church of Buckingham Palace. It's open outside of services and concerts daily to visitors.
To get to Trafalgar Square, the closest tube and rail station is Charing Cros and then less than a minute's walk around the roundabout.