About Covent Garden
One of the most popular shopping and tourist sites of England, Covent Garden is a bustling neighbourhood situated in London’s famous West End. What was once a huge fruit and vegetable market and home to London’s Royal Opera House is now a sought-after recreation spot.
The northern part of the neighbourhood has several independent shops and boutiques, while the south has some typical London treats like street performers, historical buildings, theatres, world-famous museums, and the central square. Some of the preferred visiting spots in Covent include Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Odhams Walk, and Seven Dials.
Since the mid 1980s, this amazing place has been home to pubs, craft markets and themed shops. Even before that time, the design of the garden was one of a kind and was used as an inspiration to develop other modern estates in and around London. While there, do not forget to explore the towering arcades and vintage buildings.
As a tourist, you can either choose to shop, dine, or get yourself a healthy dose of London’s history at the Covent Garden neighbourhood. Do not forget to visit the Jubilee Hall and the Central Building. You can also visit the Largest Apple Store of 2019 in the Piazza at Covent Garden.
How to Reach Covent Garden
1. The Covent Garden tube station on the Piccadilly line covers the area. If you are travelling from central London, you can easily take a subway from Trafalgar Square.
2. The Covent Garden station can only be accessed via lift or stairs. Overt congestion sometimes results in the closing of some of the platforms. Since the Charing cross tube and railway station are right outside the Covent Garden Station, you can also simply walk to the Central London Area.
3. Take a cab to Covent Garden from London City Centre. You will easily find cabs on the main street.
What Not to Miss at Covent Garden
Some places to visit near the Covent Garden:
1. Covent Garden Market: One of the most famous shopping streets of London, the Covent Garden Market is a must-visit for all the shopaholics who want to visit big branded stores, London's toy shops and local artisans and boutiques.
2. Theatre Royal: London is known for its elaborate plays and exquisite theatres where iconic dramas have been recreated time and again. The Theatre Royal is one of the best theatres anywhere in the world. It was opened in 1812 and remained standing with the same grandeur.
3. London Transport Museum: London has an excellent transport system and flaunts it in the Transport Museum near the Covent Garden. It houses the London Electric Railway vehicles and the Omnibus. Visit it if you wish to revisit London’s scientific history.
Things to do in Covent Garden
1. Shopping: With some of the best quaint boutiques and shops in the city, spending a few bucks while treating yourself to a fantastic shopping experience is the best thing to do in Covent Garden. Do not forget to check out the local toy shops and if you are travelling with family.
2. Watching a Musical Concert: Musical Concerts at the Theatre Royal are widespread. Some of the greatest musical artists have performed in this theatre. Book yourself some tickets for a show and have a marvellous time.
3. Explore History of Cinema: British Cinema has been rich and vibrant for years. Head to the London Film Museum if you want the pleasures of historical cinema and watch some of the best film pieces ever made.
Other Essential Information About Covent Garden
1. Location: Covent Garden is situated at the eastern side of the West End in London, between St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane.
2. Timings: The usual timings to visit Covent Garden are from 10 am to 8 pm. On holidays such as Boxing Day and Christmas, these timings either shorten or extend.
3. Entry Fee: Entry to Covent Garden is free.
4. Distance From London City Centre: Covent Garden is located about 0.5 miles from Central London. It takes about 5 minutes to travel between the two places.
History of Covent Garden
During the Roman period in London, the area around Covent Garden was part of the Antonine Itinerary. Later excavations that occurred in the St. Martin in the Fields pointed towards the sacred nature of the place. However, Anglo Saxon settlements in the region turned it into a trading district called Lundenwic around 600 AD.
The walled Garden first came into existence when the monks of the Abbey of St. Peter, Westminster owned it. By 1515, the French term for Convent, “Covent” was used for the Garden. A document also names it the Garden of the Abbot and Convent. The Dissolution of the Monasteries in the late 1500s was followed by King Henry VIII acquiring the area around Covent Garden and Long Acre. Later, the Earl and the Duke of Bedford owned the land one after the other.
Francis Russell, the Earl, commissioned an architect to build a church, a three terraced house and a piazza in the neighbourhood. During the time that the Bedfords owned the Covent Garden, many luxury shops and houses were built there. It became a popular hang-out spot for the wealthy of the time.
From 1924 to 1928, the Beecham Estates and Pills Limited owned the Land of Covent Garden. By the 1960s, the entire area was remodelled due to the heavy traffic congestion and soon became a famous wholesale market. The redevelopment was stopped for a while but later resumed when the modern governments decided to uphold the historical significance of the place even after renovation.
Places to Eat in Covent garden
1. Frenchie Covent Garden: If you want to try the joys of French food, try the Frenchie Covent Garden restaurant. The site has a pleasant ambience, and you can also enjoy a few delicious cocktails.
2. The Oysterman Seafood Bar and Kitchen: The Oysterman bar and Kitchen is one of the best seafood restaurants in Covent garden. It has a chic ambience and provides luxury seafood dishes.
3. Clos Maggiore: This French restaurant uplifts the cuisine and the dining experience with a private dining lounge. You should try some traditional French desserts here.
Places to Stay in Covent Garden
1. The Waldorf Hilton London: The Waldorf Hilton is a luxury hotel in London where you can enjoy facilities like Indoor Pool and free wi-fi. Stay here for a gorgeous view of London’s streets.
2. Covent Garden Hotel: Another luxury hotel in London, the Covent Garden hotel has a day spa and also a screening room. The rooms have a chic décor and come with free wi-fi facility.
Traveller’s Tip Before Visiting Covent Garden
1. If you are planning to shop in the convent garden, carry a small backpack with you, so you do not have to take lots of shopping bags in your hand.
2. Covent Garden is a vast area where you will have to walk around a lot. Always wear comfortable shoes like sneakers or loafers, so your feet do not hurt at the end of your day.
3. If you are planning to attend any events, book tickets or them in advance either online or physically. Standing in queues as a tourist is not a pleasant experience.
4. The Covent Garden has a lot of historical significance for the locals. The best way to explore the locality is to take a thorough tour of all the museums and historic landmarks of the region.
5. London has unpredictable weather, especially in winter. Carry with your umbrellas and raincoats even if you are not travelling in monsoon. Also, carry bulky sweaters and jackets.
6. Take the subway whenever possible. Most major tourist spots have their metro stations and can be accessed most easily by them.