The name Charing Cross derives from the last of the 12 commemorative crosses erected by a grieving Edward I in 1290. The crosses marked each stopping place of the funeral cortège of his queen, Eleanor of Castile, as it made its way from Nottinghamshire to Westminster Abbey.
The cross that now stands in the forecourt of the station is a 19th century replica. This cross is the point from which all UK road distances to London are measured.
Both the monument and the Charing Cross Hotel were designed in 1863 by E M Barry, the architect of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
From the riverCharing Cross Station, on the site of the former Hungerford Market, was built for the South Eastern Railway (SER), and opened in 1864 as an extension from their London Bridge terminus.
In 1992 a new office block and shopping centre was built above the station platforms. This building, designed by Terry Farrell, dominates its neighbours and resembling a great ocean liner, with portholes looking out over Villiers Street. The building is seen at is best from the river.
The railway arches behind the station have also been modernised and now house a suite of small shops and cafés and a new venue for the Players Theatre.
At the mouth of the station stands Hungerford Bridge, the only Thames bridge in central London to combine rail and foot traffic.The footbridge has recently been modernised.
Charing Cross Station was once the gateway to Paris and the Continent. In 1923 the newly formed Southern Railway decided to concentrate its Continental traffic at Victoria. Today Charing Cross serves south-east England, including Dover, Folkestone and Ramsgate, and is mainly a commuter station.