While on a trip to London we had to stop and check out Trafalgar Square. It was really amazing, even though it was cold and we got rained on quite a bit. Lol It is an interesting little square with a lot of history. The square contains a large central area with roadways on three sides and a terrace to the north, in front of the National Gallery. The roads around the square form part of the A4, a major road running west of the City of London. The square was formerly surrounded by a one-way traffic system, but apparently in 2003 some work was done which reduced the width of the roads and closed the northern side to traffic
I also learned that the square was originally called Charing. Later it became known as Charing Cross, after a memorial cross on the square. The nearby underground station (the ‘tube’) is still named Charing Cross.
Obviously, the main thing we wanted to see, and that you can’t miss, is the Nelson Column. Located in the center of the square, it is flanked by fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1937 and 1939 as replacements for two fountains of Peterhead granite (now in Canada) and guarded by four monumental bronze lions sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer ]At the top of the column is a statue of Horatio Nelson who commanded the British Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is quite interesting and we are glad we were able to see it while we were there
While the Nelson Column is impressive, the area around the square is also quite interesting. Besides the National Gallery , which is on the north side, is St Martin-in-the-Fields Church to the east, to the south west is The Mall leading towards Buckingham Palace via Admiralty Arch, Whitehall is to the south and the Strand to the east. Charing Cross Road passes between the National Gallery and the church.
The National Gallery museum is home to an impressive collection of paintings, spanning six centuries. You can admire works from some of the world’s most famous painters, including Rubens, Vermeer, van Gogh, Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Renoir and Claude Monet. They had me at Monet, lol.
If you like churches, the Martin-in-the-Fields Church should be on your list. The church, with a large white steeple and neoclassical portico, was built in 1721 by James Gibbs and was used as a model for many churches, particularly in the United States. It is the fourth church at this site; the first was built in the thirteenth century. At the time this area was still rural, hence its name. It was nice to see.
There are also two incredible fountains that we enjoyed looking at while we were there. Apparently, these are the second set of fountains at Trafalgar Square. The first fountains were installed as part of its development in the nineteenth century. They were replaced by the two current fountains, created in 1939 as a memorial to David Beatty and John Rushworth Jellicoe, admirals of the Royal Navy. The fountains were designed by architect Edwin Lutyens and are decorated with sculptures of dolphins, mermaids and small sharks.
If you are in London, you definitely want to stop and spend some time walking around this area. It is quite historical and very interesting. We were both glad we spent some time checking out the interesting and historical Trafalgar Square.
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