The Heart of the City: Piccadilly


Piccadilly Circus is quite simply the centre of London life; not only is it right next door to the world famous West End, it also links well-known shopping streets, such as Regent Street and Oxford Street; it is a short walk away from film premiere capital Leicester Square and it is a hop, skip and a jump from two major art galleries, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. It is a huge tourist attraction so there is little wonder as to why it has its very own tube station and a line named after it.

piccadilly circus

The Piccadilly line can be found on the tube map in the colour dark blue, making it easy for those who have procured a London West End Package in one of the best hotels in West End London to find their way to their accommodation. It comes in fourth in the busiest tube line category with a staggering 210,000,000 passengers travelling on it every year which is hardly surprising when considering that the Piccadilly line runs through stops thats are home or near to some of the most famous tourist spots in the city, including Harrods, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus (obviously), Covent Garden and Hyde Park. The Piccadilly line is also a direct link to the busiest airport in Europe, Heathrow airport, and holiday makers and people on business are regular travellers on this underground line. The Piccadilly line runs through Zone 1 and is the second longest line after the red Central line as well as coming second in the category of most stations on a line, number one being the District line.

The Piccadilly line started life as the Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway which was owned by the UERL, Underground Electric Railways Company of London. The line opened in December 1906 and it started from Finsbury Park and ran all the way to Hammersmith. In 1910, all of UERL lines were merged by an Act of Parliament and they became the London Electric Railway Company and, after extensive work on the lines and stations, Piccadilly Station was open to the public in December 1928. The station was the top of the range with brand new escalators replacing lifts and an underground booking hall; this station became the the poster station for the entire railway network renovation programme.

Renovations had to take place earlier than originally planned due to the 7/7 bombings in 2005. A Piccadilly line train was bombed between Kings Cross Station and Russell Square, sadly killing 26 people, as well as two attacks on on the yellow Circle line and one in Tavistock Square that took place on a bus. The entire tube line was evacuated and an extensive rebuild took place with parts of the line reopening the next day while the affected areas resumed their schedules four weeks after the attacks.  Today, echos of the original station can still be seen, despite the terrorist attack, but there are plans for a Piccadilly line renovation where the station and line will be brought up to the modern age.