49.1 F
HomeAttractionsLondon Places: 10 Facts and Figures About Piccadilly Circus in London That...

London Places: 10 Facts and Figures About Piccadilly Circus in London That You Probably Didn’t Know

London Forecast

scattered clouds
49.1 ° F
50.4 °
46.6 °
59 %
40 %
48 °
50 °
49 °
48 °
48 °
USD - United States Dollar

Free London Newsletter

Get the latest news on London's history, culture, travel, exhibitions, and more right in your inbox!

Popular London Tours


New Tube map with Elizabeth Line published by Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has released a new Tube...

London 101: What does Mind the Gap mean in London?

'Mind the Gap' is an iconic phrase that has...

The Tube: 10 Interesting Facts about the Circle Line

The Circle Line is one of London’s oldest Tube...

Top 10 London: Top Ten Things to See in the Tate Modern Art Museum

Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate...

How London Became the United Kingdom’s Capital

Long one of the greatest cities in the world;...

Londinium: 10 Interesting Facts and Figures about Roman London

  Londinium was the Roman name given to the settlement...

London Underground: Ten of the Best-Looking Tube Stations to Visit

In cities throughout the world, we use public transportation...


Piccadilly Circus has to be the most famous road intersections in the world. It’s iconic for several reasons – the unique architecture surrounding it, the iconic advertisements that adorn the buildings, the statue of Eros in the middle. It’s a place that’s known all over the world.

And while it’s a challenging intersection to navigate on foot – and in a car – tourists flock there year in and year out to have their picture taken there.

Here are some interesting bits of information about the intersection that we dug up that many people may not know.

The Statue to Eros is not Actually Eros

The monument is topped by Alfred Gilbert’s winged nude statue originally intended to be the Greek god Anteros, sometimes referred to as The Angel of Christian Charity but generally known as his brother, Eros. While the statue is generally believed to depict Eros, it was created as an image of his twin brother, Anteros. The sculptor Alfred Gilbert had already sculpted a statue of Anteros and, when commissioned for the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (atop which the statue sits), chose to reproduce the same subject. Like how we all call Elizabeth Tower Big Ben, we will continue to call the statue Eros.

The Statue of Eros is made of aluminum


The famous statue is actually made out of aluminum, which is a rather strange material to build a statue out of, especially in the late Victorian Era as aluminum was a very expensive material to produce at the time (smelting Aluminum requires lots of electricity).

About Those Signs

Piccadilly Circus was surrounded by illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, starting in the early 1900s, but only one building now carries them, the one in the northwestern corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Glasshouse Street. The site is unnamed (usually referred to as “Monico” after the Café Monico, which used to be on the site); its addresses are 44/48 Regent Street, 1/6 Sherwood Street, 17/22 Denman Street and 1/17 Shaftesbury Avenue, and it has been owned by property investor Land Securities Group since the 1970s.

The Advertising is Incredibly Valuable

While exact numbers are not available, the value of advertising on the new electronic billboards in Piccadilly Circus is worth many millions of dollars. Why is this? Well, 100 million tourists pass through it every year, which leads to billions of pictures being shared with the ads in them.

Coca-Cola Has Been Longest Serving Advertiser

Coca-Cola has had a sign at Piccadilly Circus since 1954. The current placed sign dates from September 2003, when the previous digital projector board and the site that had been occupied by Nescafé was replaced with a state-of-the-art LED video display that curves round with the building. The screen also displays information about line closures and delays on the London Underground.

One Ad Board Has Shown a Film

On 23 November 2007, the first film was broadcast through the board.  Paul Atherton’s film The Ballet of Change: Piccadilly Circus was allowed five minutes to show the first non-commercial film depicting the history of Piccadilly Circus and the lights.

Check it out below:

It Features the Only Tube Station Where Everything is Underground


The Piccadilly Circus station on the London Underground is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus itself, with entrances at every corner. It is one of the few stations which have no associated buildings above ground and is fully underground. It is itself a Grade 2 listed building. The station was opened 10 March 1906, on the Bakerloo Line, and on the Piccadilly Line in December of that year.

American Soldiers Loved It

During World War II many servicemen’s clubs in the West End served American soldiers based in Britain. So many prostitutes roamed the area approaching the soldiers that they received the nickname “Piccadilly Commandos”, and both Scotland Yard and the Foreign Office discussed possible damage to Anglo-American relations.

The Moving Statue


The statue of Eros has moved many times in its life. During the Second World War, the statue was removed and was replaced by advertising hoardings to protect it from German bombs. It was returned in 1948. When the Circus underwent reconstruction work in the late 1980s, the entire fountain was moved from the centre of the junction at the beginning of Shaftesbury Avenue to its present position at the southwestern corner.

Why Piccadilly?

The name ‘Piccadilly’ originates from a seventeenth-century frilled collar named a piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making piccadils lived in the area. The word ‘Circus’ refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated. However, it’s not a roundabout anymore.

Have you been to Piccadilly Circus? Let us know in the comments!

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

Free London Newsletter

Get the latest news on London's history, culture, travel, exhibitions, and more right in your inbox!

Book London Tours Now!


  1. I loved the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus when we took our Girl Scouts to London in 2011. We even used the statue of Not-Eros as a meeting place after dinner one evening. 🙂

  2. Je ne connais pas Londres encore , mais ca reste pour moi un rêve à réaliser avec amour ! Merçi pour ts ce que bous m éclairer i love you too

  3. I travelled to England a few years ago and went through the Picadilly tube station as the plays were letting out and the bars were filling up. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.

  4. Piccadilly circus used to be the home of a theatre named the pavilion and in later years it was turned into a cinema which has now gone –as to the remark about Big Ben which we alll know is the bell and the tower now called Elizabeth tower but I will always know it as it should be and that is St.Stepens Tower.

  5. Worked for Tower Records at 1 Piccadilly Circus from 1986 – 1990, loved the vibrancy of the area! Miss it!

  6. Ive been there before bot didn’t pay attention to many things bcz i was in a rush so i had to go, the only thing i did i saw all the buildings and structures around and now i know that i am one of 10000000000000 guys who had been there and i’m really proud that im living in such country…

  7. Visited London in May this year, spent a few days hanging around Piccadilly Circus. A fabulous time, an amazing place. Took home lots of memories.

  8. I worked at the H.Samuel right underneath the advertising in 1994. It was great to tell friends back home in Canada that I worked at Piccadilly Circus.

Comments are closed.

Free Weekly London Newsletter

Latest London News and Events Every Thursday