Covent Garden: A Visitor's Guide

 

Situated on the eastern edge of the West End, Covent Garden is surrounded by an abundance of theatres, shops, bars, restaurants and eccentric street performers and is recognised as London’s hub of entertainment and leisure.

Covent Garden’s piazza-style environment is home to three popular markets, The Apple Market, East Colonnade Market and Jubilee Market, which sell an array of goods from crafts to antiques. The area is, therefore, a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, wander or experience the area’s heritage, Covent Garden has plenty of things to do and see. There really is something for everyone here.

 

What to do in the evenings

After a hard day at work, Covent Garden is a perfect place to unwind, with a range of things to do and see. The world-famous Royal Opera House is a great place to enjoy the performing arts. It's home to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and so offers a variety of spectacular music, dance and drama.

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a great meal out, the area has a wide range array of places to eat and drink, ranging from carnivorous cult favourite MEATmarket (unsurprisingly a favourite with meat lovers!) to fancy French treats in baroque surroundings at Laduree. There are also plenty of popular bars and pubs to enjoy. Our favourite is Green Man & French Horn, which is known for its exceptional wine list and eclectic surroundings.

However, you don't have to spend money to enjoy Covent Garden and there is plenty to see whilst walking around. The area is well known for its street performers so you can relax and enjoy the performances, which draw locals and visitors locals and visitors alike to watch.

 

Where to grab a quick coffee

As a famous shopping area, Covent Garden is full of fantastic coffeeshops to suit all tastes. You could visit The Black Penny, which mixes great food and drink with a trendy but relaxed atmosphere, featuring exposed brick walls and vintage wooden panelling. For the serious coffee lover, it even has its own bespoke blend of espresso from The Roastery Department. Alternatively, Grind serves a range of coffees fresh from their roastery in Shoreditch. And, if you come back after work, they make a great espresso martini too!

 

What to do on the weekend

Covent Garden is best known as a retail and leisure district and it lives up to this reputation. There is a plethora of premium retailers and one-off craft stalls to explore during your time off at the weekend. The area is notably fashion-forward, with brands including Burberry Brit and Rugby Ralph Lauren having launched their first UK stores here. At the heart of the 19th-century piazza, Apple, Jubilee and East Colonnade markets offer an eclectic mix of craft, antiques and jewellery.

If you’re interested in the area's rich history then why not join a walking tour and discover the story of Covent Garden? It dates back to the sixth century so there's plenty of history to soak up. For something more sedentary, the famous London Transport Museum is in the area. It's housed in a beautiful Victorian iron and glass building (formerly Covent Garden’s fruit, vegetable and flower market) and explores the history of transport in London.

Why not refuel after your shopping spree with some gourmet fast food? Shake Shack and Sticks ‘n’ Sushi are both local favourites.

 

Transport

Getting to and from Covent Garden couldn’t be simpler, with a range of transport links at your disposal. Covent Garden tube station is on the Piccadilly Line and is just a short walk from the Market building at the end of St James Street. Other popular stations such as Leicester Square and Charing Cross are also good alternatives. They are often less busy than Covent Garden station and the short walk allows travellers to explore the surrounding area. For more information on London tube transport, click here.