London's Most Beautiful Roundabouts

Chloe Koura
By Chloe Koura Last edited 87 months ago

Last Updated 24 March 2017

London's Most Beautiful Roundabouts

Roundabouts can be beautiful, there are no two ways about it (there should only ever be one way around a roundabout).

Alas, no London roundabouts made the top 12 most attractive roundabouts in the world; indignant, we made a list of our own.

1. BFI London Imax

The BFI Imax is something of an artistic triumph. Four metres above the tube and surrounded by whirring traffic, the glassy cinema seemingly shoots up from underneath the road, and was awarded the 1999 Design Council Millennium Product Award.

Catch it while you can — this roundabout will soon be gone (the cinema will remain though, phew).

The BFI Imax. Photo: ArUK5

2. Old Street Roundabout

Old Street Roundabout is more of a square-about. Our ode to the roundabout describes the many reasons we love it — mostly because of the mix of traders who work beneath. But we like the sculptural forms above ground too, and the video screens that forever tell us what people are googling.

Unfortunately the roundabout is also notorious for cycling accidents; this will hopefully change with TfL's plans to drastically re-gig it in the coming years.

Old Street roundabout from above. Photo: Jack Torcello

3. Hatton Cross Roundabout

A roundabout, surrounded by five mini roundabouts, Hatton Cross Roundabout in Hounslow is the roundabout dream. And the worst nightmare of anyone taking their driving test.

Hatton Cross roundabout. Photo from Google Maps.

4. Isle of Dogs

The Traffic Light Tree planted on the site of an old plane tree in Trafalgar Way features 75 sets of traffic lights; these were originally intended to reflect the stock exchange movements but that proved too expensive.

Situated outside the entrance to Billingsgate Market, the sculpture designed by Pierre Vivant was originally situated by the Westferry Roundabout, moving to its current location in 2011 due to remodelling work.

The Traffic Light Tree in Trafalgar Way. Photo: Juliana Lauletta

5. Westway Roundabout

Also known as The Northern Roundabout, the Westway Roundabout near Latimer Road station opened in 1970.

Since then, it's been referenced by some of the coolest bands in history, including Blur, The Jam and The Clash (who sang "I'm up and down the Westway, in and out the lights. What a great traffic system, it's so bright."). And is it just us, or from above, does it look like a giant grey roundel?

The Western Avenue extension 'Westway' from White City to Marylebone Road. Photo: The National Archives UK

6. Sun in the sands

Named after the pub next to it, Sun in the Sands was used as a stopping point by King Henry VIII and his sixth wife Katherine, when riding from Greenwich to Shooters Hill.

The roundabout itself was built in the late 1960s and Greenwich Council made it a Conservation Area in 1995.

Sun in the Sands Roundabout. Photo: Google Maps

7. Arnold Circus

Surrounded by the world's oldest council estate, Arnold Circus has a listed garden and a Grade II-listed bandstand.

On the border of Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, it's often used as a venue for weddings and festivals like the African Street Style Festival. It's built on the rubble of the slum that once stood here.

Arnold Circus. Photo: Gary Etchell

8. Finsbury Circus

The biggest public outdoor space within the City of London has a lawn bowls club in the middle of the green that has existed since 1925.

Public protests stopped plans to demolish the circus in the 1860s to create a train station, and since 2010 it has caused contention as one of the main sites for the Crossrail development. The gardens will be restored once work has finished.

The buildings surrounding Finsbury Circus. Photo: Phil Donachie

9. Seven Dials

Situated in the heart of the West End, Seven Dials connects Covent Garden to Soho with a roundabout of no fewer than seven exits.

The sundial column in the middle of the roundabout is representative of the time it was installed — a walk from Whitehall to Seven Dials in the late 17th century would have encountered around 20 sundials.

Seven Dials. Photo: Jim Malone