Your Guide to London Charing Cross
Where is Charing Cross?
Visit Charing Cross and marvel at some of the best artwork in London, on display at the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. Most famous for its railway and tube connections, this important yet miniscule district actually surrounds a road junction (Whitehall, The Strand and Cockspur Street) in the borough of Westminster, inside the congestion charge zone. Covent Garden, St James’s and Soho are just some of the noteworthy districts that surround Charing Cross. The area is also swamped with some of the finest attractions in London for you to visit, including Trafalgar Square. You’ll find yourself ideally placed in zone 1, with Charing Cross tube and mainline stations enabling you to explore all four corners of London and beyond.
History of Charing Cross
Charing Cross truly is home to the centre of London! It is used as the heart of the capital in measurements to London from all over the country, because King Edward I created a landmark here more than 700 years ago. He demanded a cross be installed here as a memorial to his late wife, Queen Eleanor of Castille, as the last of 12 crosses placed on the route of her funeral procession from Lincoln to London. The name Charing Cross itself comes from this Eleanor cross, originally placed just south of Trafalgar Square. Today you can see a blue plaque, which was laid in commemoration, and a replica designed by A.S. Barry in 1863 can be found just outside the train station.
In the mid to late nineteenth century, the area began to experience a lot of change. During this time, Charing Cross Station was designed by John Hawkshire and opened in 1864. In 1877 Parliament granted that two new thoroughfares were to be constructed in order to improve links between Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury: one was Shaftesbury Avenue and the other was Charing Cross Road. The development of Charing Cross Road enabled the destruction of some of London’s poorest slums and gave way to extensive regeneration. Today, Charing Cross is a lively, bustling part of London, with a huge range of famous attractions, so why not come and experience it for yourself!
The Positives of Charing Cross
One of the best things about Charing Cross is that you will find some of London’s most famous tourist attractions in the region, including Trafalgar Square. Nelson’s Column can be found here, and you’ll also discover some of the most impressive and historic artwork on display in the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. You’ll also find an eclectic range of people, as everyone from students to professionals and young to old flock to this part of London. As well as having a range of affordable accommodation, there are a number of excellent value-for-money restaurants, cafes and bars. Another bonus is the amount of shopping you’ll find close by, with Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Regents Street all within walking distance. For everything else in the capital, you can hop on a tube or train from well-connected Charing Cross Station.
Need to Know Charing Cross
There really aren’t many negatives about Charing Cross, but as with all areas of Central London, there is the problem of road traffic. You don’t really have to worry though, as you’ll either be walking to the many attractions or using the excellent rail and underground links to travel further afield. The only other issue you may have is if you are looking for a quiet, sedate place to stay, Charing Cross certainly isn’t quiet! Due to the number of landmarks and tourist sites, there are literally thousands upon thousands of people here day and night. The pure weight of numbers creates a noisy throng of people, which whilst not ideal for a relaxing holiday, allows you to be part of a lively and exciting atmosphere.