If you’re planning a visit to London, you’ll definitely want to include a visit to Trafalgar Square in your sightseeing itinerary. Filled with ornate fountains and historic statues, and with Nelson’s Column towering overhead, Trafalgar Square is up there with Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge as one of the most iconic London landmarks. In this blog post, we’ll share four fascinating Trafalgar Square facts, including a few lesser-known details that tourists often overlook!

It’s the official centre of the city

Trafalgar Square is right i n the middle of London — literally. The exact centre of the city is just behind the statue of Charles I to the south of Trafalgar Square. In fact, this is the official point from which all distances to and from London are measured.

This spot was chosen because it was once the site of one of twelve ornate statues known as Queen Eleanor crosses. The original cross is no longer there, but a small, burnished plaque just behind the statue of Charles I marks the central spot. It’s quite easy to miss, meaning that many visitors pass over it without ever realising they’re standing right in the centre of London!

You’ll see the world’s smallest (former) police station

Even seasoned Londoners might not have spotted this hidden curiosity. Tucked away in the southeast corner of the square is a small, circular stone structure with black-painted doors and an ornate glass lamp on the roof. It may not look like much, but this tiny, easily overlooked box was once the smallest police station in London (and probably the whole world). Little more than a hollowed-out lamppost with a telephone inside, the old police box would have housed a lone officer who kept an eye on what was happening out in the Square. Just don’t expect to see a bobby in it these days: it’s now used as a broom cupboard by the Council cleaners.

… and some very famous faces

To the North of Trafalgar Square is the imposing façade of the National Gallery, which houses more than 2300 famous artworks. You’ll find masterpieces from the likes of Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, and Turner, to name just a few of the visionary artists whose work now resides in the centre of London. Admission to the The National Gallery is free, and you can also buy a guided audio tour for £5 if you want to learn more about the famous faces who line the walls.

And let’s not forget Trafalgar’s most famous resident: Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who watches over the square from the top of his eponymous 169-foot-high column. Be sure to get a closer look at the four bas reliefs at the base of the tower, which tell the story of Nelson’s most famous naval battles and were supposedly cast from the melted-down bronze canons taken from defeated French ships.

It’s a great spot to see contemporary art

At the four corners of Trafalgar Square, you’ll find four tall stone plinths, three of which are now home to statues of British Army generals and kings. But there’s one plinth you’ll certainly want to stop and take a closer look at: the Fourth plinth, on the northwest side of the square. Since 2005, the plinth has showcased a variety of modern artworks, ranging from the thought-provoking and sombre to the avant-garde and absurd. At the moment, the plinth is playing host to a recreation of a lost Iraqi sculpture called the Lamassu, and symbolises the artwork and industries destroyed by war.

No sight-seeing visit to London would be complete without a trip to Trafalgar Square. If you’re looking for an unusual way to explore the sights that London has to offer, you’ll love our Foxtrail London treasure trail. The devilishly cunning fox has left tricky clues all over London, and you’ll need to put your heads together to crack the codes, decipher the clues, and follow the trail across the city. You’ll stop by at a range of must-see landmarks, including this famous square, so it’s perfect if you’re new to the city and want to see as much as you can!

Looking for more things to do in London? Check out the Foxtrail blog to find even more things to discover, for tourists and Londoners alike!

The 2019 Easter break is finally here and, for many of us, that means it’s only a matter of time until we’re fed up of hearing cries of “I’m bored!” from our kids. Fortunately, we’ve put together this round up of six exciting things to do in the Easter holidays in London, including ideas for fun in the sun, free days out, and a few educational activities for good measure.

Play in the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace

Looking for a way to tire out hyperactive kids this April? Why not let the kids run riot in a magical fantasy-themed garden, complete with a castle, battlements, jousting tents, and fountains to explore? The Magic Garden at Hampton Court is a dream come to true for imaginative kids with energy to burn. Just don’t wake up the huge Chinese dragon who’s snoozing in the sandpit! Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for children, which also includes entry to Hampton Court’s famous maze.

Follow a treasure hunt of clues

If you’re looking for a new way to explore London’s hidden nooks and crannies, why not take the kids on our Foxtrail London trail? Your family will need to work together to follow the clues left behind by the fiendish fox across the city, visiting some of the capital’s most famous landmarks and parks along the way. Plus, as you’ll be out and about on your feet for a few hours, it’s a great way to get the kids out of the house and soaking up the sunshine (hopefully!).

Explore the city in bloom

Easter is towards the end of April this year, which means many of the city’s parks and green spaces are (finally) coming into full bloom. So, why not make the most of it by heading out to explore London’s parks? If you don’t fancy making your own sandwiches, you could even order a ready-made posh picnic hamper from The de Beauvoir Deli on Southgate Street before heading over to Victoria Park — kids will love the playground, complete with extra-long slides and a splash pool.

Changing of the Guard

During fine weather, the Changing of the Guard happens twice a day out in front of Buckingham Palace. Performed by the Royal Foot Guards in their iconic red uniforms and bearskin hats, this ceremony has going on for centuries, and is as much a part of the city as the palace itself. April is a great time to see the ceremony, as there’s likely to be fewer tourists about at this time of year than later in the summer.

The Changing of the Guard takes place every other day at 10.45am from April to September, and is completely free to watch, but you might want to arrive early to get a good spot. It. Any changes or updates are announced on the official Twitter account, so be sure it to check this out before planning your visit.

Dig for dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

Why not get the kids hunting for fossils instead of chocolate eggs this Easter? The Natural History Museum is running free fossil-digging workshops for kids aged 5–11 that will let young palaeontologists have a go at uncovering fossil specimens, teaching them all about how dinosaurs looked and lived in the process. The workshops last around 20 minutes and will take place from the 16–18th April — visit their website for more info.

We’re lucky to have some of the world’s best museums right here in London, any of which would make a fun (and educational!) day out. It’s the ideal activity for a rainy day, and best of all, many are free to visit. Take a look at our museum round-up to find one which is up your alley.

Walk through the sky at Kew Gardens

Those with a head for heights can get a real bird’s eye view this half term with Kew Garden’s Treetop Walkway. Towering 18 metres over the famous botanical gardens, this walkway will give budding natural scientists a chance to get up close and personal with ecosystem in the canopy of the surrounding trees. Entry is included with the price of a day ticket to the park. There are 118 steps to the top of the walkway, so leave it’s best to leave the buggy at home for this adventure!

Stuck for ways to keep the kids busy over the long break? There’s no need to panic — any of these fun things to do in the Easter holidays should keep even the most adventurous little ones busy for at least a few hours! We’re always sharing ideas for new things to do in London, so remember to check out the Foxtrail blog to find more days out that are fun for all the family.