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:
Trafalgar Square, which is normally rammed full of tourists.
Just a handful of people outside the National Gallery.
On a normal day there would be crowd of tourists and buskers along this stretch.
The biggest shock was Piccadilly Circus which was almost entirely deserted.
A lone busker plays to no one.
Charing Cross Road.
Boarded up pub.
A delivery worker wheels in packages towards Leicester Square.
The lockdown isn’t all bad though – at least tacky crap like the Platinum Lace strip club has had to shut up shop.
Closed casino. Oh dear, how sad, nevermind.
The Odeon in Leicester Square displays a tribute to the NHS.
A dreadful pun – but it amused me!
A lone gift shop remained optimistically open.
Shaftesbury Avenue in the heart of London’s theatreland. All theatres closed down on March 17th, and look unlikely to reopen any time soon.
Into an empty Soho.
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.
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.
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.
Just a handful of buses, taxis and bikes on Oxford Street.
New Oxford Street.
One of my favourite stores in London,
New Oxford Street.
Kingsway, heading to the Strand.