Trafalgar Square is the heart of London! It is the largest square in London, and has been a popular gathering place through the ages. It was redeveloped in 1812 by John Nash, as appointed by the Prince Regent (later King George IV), and was finished in the 1840s by architect Sir Charles Barry. It is so named to honor Lord Nelson’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar. But the square is so much more than a square.There are four main plinths around the edge, with statues atop. There are two fountains. But the single most recognizable thing in Trafalgar Square is Lord Nelson’s Column, which is 185 feet tall, including the statue of Lord Nelson on top! Surrounding Trafalgar Square are the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery (both art museums), and St. Martin in the Fields – the parish church of Buckingham Palace.
Download a larger image and share the photo with your class, then try these discussion questions and classroom activities:
- Why was the Battle of Trafalgar so important? How are national heroes recognized, historically? Discuss the history of the battle, and the war between France and England – and then try to do battle yourselves, with this animated map of the Battle of Trafalgar.
- Let’s visit the National Gallery, which is a free art museum that houses the national collection of European art (13th-19th centuries). What kind of art do you love? Take a look at the art collection at the National Gallery and pick your favorite. Be prepared to discuss why you chose it – maybe the colors, or subject, or artist? What drew you to this painting?
- Now, people come to Trafalgar Square for many reasons – events, gatherings, art, history, food, music, etc. Take a look at this webcam – what do you see? What surprises you about current life in Trafalgar Square?