3 Must-Know-Facts about Trafalgar Square & Nelson’s Column ~ 3 min read

I already talked about how to get to Trafalgar Square, what to see there, what landmarks are in a walking distance and that little but extremely curious fact about the square. If you have missed it then click here to check it out, otherwise lets get to those facts.

The Lamp posts


Curious Pavel nelsons column fleet ship the mall trafalgar square
Lamp post next to Admiralty Arch

Why would anybody pay attention to the details of a lamppost? You need to be a huge “detail geek” or to know what you are looking for. Well, next time you go there you will know. As you can see from the photo, the lamppost has a ship on top of them. They all do. Every lamppost on the Mall, starting from Admiralty Arch all the way to Buckingham Palace, has a ship on top of it. It is know as “Nelson’s fleet” and is just another detail connected to the Battle of Cape Trafalgar.

The Lions

trafalgar square lions nelsons column national gallery curious pavel
One of the 4 lions on the square

You just cannot miss those 4 huge lions next to Nelson’s Column. But there is something about them. If you look closely you may spot that there is something wrong with the way they lie down.

Here is what and why… The time when this monument was erected (1843, lions were added in 1867), lions were type of animals that were not very well known. That did not stop their designer (Sir Edwin Landseer) who took the details from a dead lion and the posture from a dog (!).

Let me save you some time because I know what your next action will be: to Google “How lions lie down” 😉 Here’s how…

curious pavel lions in trafalgar square


Nelson’s Column

Trafalgar Square Secret, Nelson's column, London, Curious Pavel
Nelson’s Column

Let me give you 2 mind blowing facts:

  1. The whole monument (from the bottom, all the way up to Nelson’s hat) is almost 52 meters (169 ft 3 in) high. I know, boring details… BUT during a refurbishment in 2006 it was found that the monument was 4.4 meters (14 ft 6 in) shorter (!) than what was previously quoted.
  2. The second fact has something to do with the lions I already mentioned. Each of them weighs 7 tones and is made out of bronze which was taken from the French and the Spanish cannons who were captured at the battle of Cape Trafalgar(!). Same goes for the 4 “pictures” on the plinth. They are also made out of bronze and “capture” moments of 3 of Nelson’s greatest battles (The Battle of Cape St Vincent, The Battle of the Nile and The Battle of Copenhagen) and his death at the Battle of Cape Trafalgar.



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There are so many tourists climbing onto the backs of the lions. Think about this for a second… all these people (and kids) are climbing there to have their photo taken, to proof to their friends/parents they can do it or simply for fun but if you only knew where this metal has came from. Basically you are touching a piece of history! This climbing have caused considerable damage to the sculpture and in 2011 consultants for the Greater London Authority recommended banning the tourists of doing that.


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