This is one of my absolute favourite spots in London- the magnificent sweeping curve of Regent Street (above) before it straightens directly northwards to Oxford Circus. Both photos were taken from Piccadilly Circus (below) where there are little traffic islands you can stand on, although my husband did not think this was quite safe. What he ACTUALLY said was he was not going to stand around and watch me die which I think was very melodramatic and really just an excuse to go off to the shops.
Piccadilly Circus is a circus in the sense of a circular street junction; there aren’t any dancing clowns or trapeze artists, although I did see a bearded lady. The Circus, built in 1819, connects Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly, where the gynormous Waterstones and Hatchard’s (London’s oldest bookstore) are. It also links to Shaftesbury Avenue, the Haymarket, and Coventry Street, which takes you to Leicester Square.
(images mine, taken from the same spot looking in opposite directions)