You cannot help but feel the excitement of London when standing in Piccadilly Circus. All the noise and hustle bustle, the shops, the eating houses and the crowds. Then at night the flashing neon adverts make the place become even more alive.
It is safe to say that at Piccadilly Circus you are inside the very heart of vibrant London.
Originally built in 1819 to connect Regent Street to Piccadilly, the Circus quickly became a major junction come meeting place. What has been one of the busiest regions of London for the best part of two centuries includes a memorial to the great reformer, Lord Shaftsbury. The statue is nearly always referred to as the statue of “Eros,” but in actual fact the statue is an image of Eros’s brother, Anteros.
Besides being the home to famous and historical memorials, Piccadilly Circus is most famed of all for its advertising in neon lights. In fact the region’s mesmerising blur of dazzling neon is en par with Tokyo or Times Square in New York City.
The exact date that the very first electrical neon signs went up in Piccadilly Circus is a little contentious, although it is widely cited that electric advertising signs have been lighting up Piccadilly for around 100 years.
Some of the world’s most famous and elite have exploiting the unique advertising exploits offered in Piccadilly Circus. In 2002, Yoko Ono paid £150,000 to display her late-husband’s famous words, “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” The story goes that Yoko only got a couple of months advertising for the six-figure price tag.
It is difficult to believe that in more recent years the cost to rent a billboard in Piccadilly Circus has increased significantly, which has inevitably led to advertisers pulling out, leaving the high walls of Piccadilly’s advertising space comparatively vacant and deserted.
Although it would take nothing short of a meteorite to hit Piccadilly Circus to leave one of London’s busiest areas stagnant and empty and you can rest assure that the hub of the British capital still has plenty of colour and life left in it.