Deciding which neighborhood in London is prettier is a huge crossroads. However, of all the neighborhoods that make up the cosmopolitan English capital, Covent Garden definitely belongs on this great list (Top it? Possibly). An old fruit and vegetable market, an orchard during the Middle Ages, a shopping center, a theater area, a space where you can have a coffee while watching the “routine go by”, a place where you can photograph the typical residential houses of the city and surely some more attraction that we are not mentioning. All that is Covent Garden.
In this post, we will not only tell you well what it is and why you have to visit this London district but we will also share 10 key things to see in Covent Garden : an amazing place in an amazing city.
What is Covent Garden
First things first, is it a market? Covent Garden is one of many London boroughs, specifically located in the center of the city. Many integrate it within the Westminster neighborhood but its importance, relevance and, above all, visits, make many consider it a unique and differentiated place from the rest of the districts.
- Covent Garden is definitely one of the most famous neighborhoods in London, what are the others? Don’t miss them in our post where we list the 7 most famous neighborhoods in London. Would you leave it out of your itinerary?
Covent Garden, in Spanish, means “Convent Garden” and its main square (today called Covent Garden Piazza) functioned as a vegetable garden, providing for the monks of the Convent of San Pedro.
From the year 1660, a large market for fruits, vegetables and flowers began to be built around the square, making the neighborhood more famous within the city and being recognized as a site of great importance within the English capital. & nbsp; But wait, with so much history, is there something to see in Covent Garden? Of course it is! Let’s find out.
First, how to get to Covent Garden?
We know that Covent Garden is located in the center of London, but the question that many travelers will surely ask themselves is: How to get there? Most travelers choose to stay in the city center, so Covent Garden is most likely just around the corner from the hotel.
Of course, for those who are further afield, Covent Garden can be reached by public transport, either by subway (via the Piccadilly Line, getting off at Covent Garden Station ), by RV1 bus with a stop in Covent Garden or even by tourist bus.
- Traveler advice: to search the gps, it is best to write 21 The Market Building, London WC2E 8RD, United Kingdom, where You will arrive in one of the most central areas of Covent Garden.
What to see in Covent Garden
Covent Garden offers travelers one of the most varied districts in all of London, one of the main reasons why it is estimated that more than 30 million tourists visit it every year. Let’s see what makes it so special:
1. The Piazza, the center of Covent Garden
Lending itself to great confusion, many believe that Covent Garden is just a plaza, others a neighborhood, and still others the district (which it really is). What is real is that the nerve center of the district is Covent Garden Piazza (yes, like that in Italian), a dry square built in 1630 by Iñigo Jones, inspired by the Piazza San Marcos in Venice and being him, in charge of the construction of the residential houses in the surroundings for the London aristocracy.
In other words, Covent Garden Piazza is the place you first come across when you arrive in this curious neighborhood, the most recommended place to start discovering what to see in Covent Garden, from the cobbled square itself towards its surroundings. Buskers, artists, three floors of shops, cafes and restaurants are just some of the attractions that can be found in the most important square in Covent Garden.
- Important travel information: Covent Garden Piazza is open every day of the week, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the night; Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 12 noon to 6 p.m.
2. Apple Market, the most famous market to see in Covent Garden
As we told you at the beginning, the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market was installed to the south of the cobbled square, making the neighborhood even more important within London society for years later of its construction, roofing it, achieving a unique appearance that remains to this day.
Is Covent Garden a great plan to do in London with rain ? Of course, check our post where we tell you the best things to do in London if it rains.
Today, Apple Market (the apple market) does not sell fruits or vegetables, but its nice name remained intact over the years, currently it integrates more than 40 stalls selling handicrafts, antiques, paintings, scarves and designer clothes. There is no one who visits the district and does not know “in a flash” by Apple Market, one of the best things to do in Covent Garden.
3. Jubilee Market, a key place to see in Covent Garden
Just around the corner from the entrance to Apple Market is Jubilee Market, as my grandmother would say, a market with “all the letters”. What does this mean? That in Jubilee Market it is possible to find everything that a market can offer and much more: from greeting cards, clothing, decorative items, antiques and even collections of all time.
In addition, Jubilee Market awaits its visitors with dozens of food stalls, where it is possible to have lunch and dinner but also enjoy an English tea at 5 in the afternoon or even taste the delicacies from an Italian restaurant if you want to “vary the culture”.
- Fun fact: Jubilee Market was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987.
4. Neal’s Yard, one of London’s best kept secrets
Who else loves the hidden places in the most famous cities? Neal’s Yard is one of those places in London that, despite being in one of the most famous neighborhoods in the city, few travelers know about it. Picturesque, charming, colorful and peaceful, outside the bustle of Covent Garden Piazza is this oasis in the middle of the city. Neal’s Yard is an explosion of colors in the middle of stately London, it is a square made up of small cafes, sculptures, restaurants and an “alternative” lifestyle than ever one you’d expect to find it in a city like this.
Neal’s Yard is a place to see in Covent Garden and you shouldn’t miss out on anything in the world, a place where you can forget that you are in London and enjoy the tranquility, of a coffee hot or of course yes, tea at 5.
5. Seven Deals, where everything converges
Neal’s Yard is located a few meters from Seven Deals, a kind of “roundabout” or junction of 7 streets in the middle of the city of London, separating the neighborhood of Covent Garden from Soho, another of the most famous neighborhoods of the city. Seven Deals is a great place to see in Covent Garden because of the number of shops that are available in its streets, as well as restaurants where it is possible to rest after so much walking.
- Traveler advice: in addition to shopping, a great recommendation is to “investigate” the small corners that start from the streets, there are many residential houses, photographic spaces and hidden places.
6. Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop, a curious toy store in Covent Garden
If we are talking about curious places, then Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop from Covent Garden should be on the list. Contrary to what can be assumed, although the Benjamin Pollock toy store is located in the center of the neighborhood, in the square, standing out from the rest for the strong red color of the doors, few tourists get to know this historic place, key to see in Covent Garden.
The toy store was founded in 1856, in Hoxton, London, but in 1980 it moved to Covent Garden, it has remained standing ever since.
What stands out the most within the toy store are the theaters made of toy paper, with prices ranging between 9 and 800 pounds (ideal for collectors, right?), as well than puppets, marionettes and toys from the Victorian era.
7. Royal Opera House, the royal theater in London
In addition to the curiosities that can be found in Covent Garden, part of the essence of the district is taken by entertainment, theaters, musicals and the artistic culture that is felt in the different rooms.
One of the must-see theaters to visit in London, outside at least, is the Royal Opera House which, as its name suggests, is the Royal Opera House, the place where, in addition to presenting different shows, is home to the Royal Opera Company and the Royal Ballet of England.
The Royal Opera House was built in 1856, so that its exterior facade draws a lot of attention and & nbsp; Its interior, with a capacity of more than 2,200 spectators, can also be visited, both the “common” rooms and the spaces that cannot be seen commonly, through the backstage tour.
- Traveler fact: a few meters from the Royal Opera House, is the “theater area” of Covent Garden (and London), the place where travelers and residents go to enjoy musicals such as The Lyon King, The Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables, just to name a few.
8. London Transport Museum, one of the most visited places in Covent Garden
Located a few meters from La Piazza de Covent Garden is the London Transport Museum, one of the most fun, entertaining and dynamic museums that the city has, telling the history and evolution of what, precisely, revolutionized the world: means of transport.
Here you will find from horse-drawn carriages, buses, arriving at the time when everything changed for the city: the subway, the world’s first underground transportation method, created more than 150 years ago.
- Traveler tip: traveling to London with kids? This is a great option to enjoy the history of London from another perspective.
9. Shopping in Covent Garden: St Martin’s Countryard
London is a city where fashion is part of the culture of the city, it does not mean that there is a particular style but, as happens in New York, haute couture and Designer stores are not hard to find.
For travelers looking for stores where to shop, beyond the antiques, crafts or designer clothes that can be found in La Piazza, a few meters from the center of Covent Garden, you will find St Martin’s Countryard, an open-air shopping center, a different oasis, where it is possible to access shops such as Banana Republic, Cos or Jaeger London, restaurants, a spa and even The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, a flower and gardening teaching institute.
- Travel Fact: Most of the stores in St Martin’s Countryard are open from Monday to Saturday from 10 to 7 p.m. and on Sundays, from 12 noon to 6 in the afternoon.
10. Tasting flavors of the world: restaurants in Covent Garden
Just as there are hundreds of shops (whatever you can think of), Covent Garden is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner (early, of course). In addition to the Italian restaurant located in the Piazza de Covent Garden, in the surroundings there are also restaurants from other countries and other types of food such as Five Guys or Clos Maggiore, awarded as the most romantic restaurant in London or Sarastro, with live shows almost every night.
Covent Garden, an essential place to visit, walk and photograph during a visit to London, a magical, bohemian and welcoming district that invites travelers to enjoy the most incredible of the cosmopolitan city: English culture.