Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

The ongoing coronavirus lockdown has reduced the once bustling centre of London into a ghost town, with almost all its shops, businesses, cafes and bars remaining closed for over two months.

I walked up from Brixton and took a stroll around town, and was genuinely shocked by the silence around normally thriving areas like Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.

Here’s 45 photos from my walk:

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Westminster Bridge.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Hungerford Bridge.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Trafalgar Square, which is normally rammed full of tourists.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Just a handful of people outside the National Gallery.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

On a normal day there would be crowd of tourists and buskers along this stretch.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

The biggest shock was Piccadilly Circus which was almost entirely deserted.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

A lone busker plays to no one.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Charing Cross Road.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Boarded up pub.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

A delivery worker wheels in packages towards Leicester Square.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

The lockdown isn’t all bad though – at least tacky crap like the Platinum Lace strip club has had to shut up shop.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Closed casino. Oh dear, how sad, nevermind.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

The Odeon in Leicester Square displays a tribute to the NHS.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

A dreadful pun – but it amused me!

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Chinatown.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

A lone gift shop remained optimistically open.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Shaftesbury Avenue in the heart of London’s theatreland. All theatres closed down on March 17th, and look unlikely to reopen any time soon.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Into an empty Soho.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

The legendary French House has had to launch a crowdfunding campaign to stay alive during the lockdown.

Happily, at the time of writing, they were just £3.4k short of their £80,000 target.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Signs of life coming back as the Admiral Duncan pub erects a rainbow flag outside the pub.

Back in 2005, Westminster City Council embarked on a catastrophically stupid campaign which ordered the removal of all pride flags, insisting that they constituted illegal advertising. Local pressure soon reversed the council’s decision.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Shaftesbury Avenue.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Shaftesbury Circus.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Shaftesbury Avenue, looking east. By this time I was desperate for a coffee, and the lights of Pret A Manger looked enticing.

Sadly, I learnt that they all closed at 2.30pm with the only alternative seen on my travels was Starbucks – and their coffee is undrinkable.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Amen.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Just a handful of buses, taxis and bikes on Oxford Street.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

New Oxford Street.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

One of my favourite stores in London,

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

New Oxford Street.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Kingsway, heading to the Strand.

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, June 2020

See more lockdown photos

In photos: The eerie emptiness of Waterloo station in rush hour lockdown
Lockdown in Brixton – photo features

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Central London photos – parks, buildings, street scenes and London life

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One Comment on “Deserted London: the empty streets of Soho, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and Trafalgar Square, June 2020”

  1. I had one trip into the centre of London a few weeks ago but found it too depressing to see it deseterd and boarded up like that.

    I find it more reassuring to stick to my local parks, like Kennington Park, where there’s a semblance of normal life going on.

    Btw New Oxford Street construction looks a bit ridiculous.

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