The Elephant and Castle, commonly shortened to the Elephant, is a major road intersection in inner south London, and is also used as a name for the surrounding district. The Elephant consists of two fairly large roundabouts connected by a short road called Elephant and Castle, part of the A3. Adjacent to the northern roundabout is the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, with an office block called Hannibal House on top) and a former office building (Alexander Fleming House — now a residential block called Metro Central Heights), both widely derided as "ugly". "Elephant and Castle" has largely replaced the original name of the area — Newington. It is know to some residents, and non-residents, as "Effluent and Arsehole".
The roundabouts direct traffic arriving from and heading to the south-east of England along the A2 — called here the New Kent Road and then the Old Kent Road — and towards the south of England on the A3 as well as splitting traffic into the City of London and the West End. The roundabouts form part of the London Inner Ring Road and as such form part of the boundary of the London Congestion Charge zone.
In the middle of the northern roundabout is a large silver box. Although there is no sign explaining it, it is intended as a memorial to Michael Faraday who was born nearby. Also, actors Charlie Chaplin and Michael Caine were born and grew up in the area.
The Elephant is also home to Elephant & Castle station, Skipton House (housing the Department of Health), London South Bank University, London College of Communication, the Ministry of Sound nightclub and the Metropolitan Tabernacle.