Covent Garden Area Guide
As you take your first steps towards Covent Garden, live music will greet you along with the scent of fresh flowers and food smells.
Heading towards the piazza, you’ll encounter street performers and emerge to designer shops and an abundance of theatres.
Covent Garden is certainly packed with culture, featuring neo-classical buildings, old traditional pubs and cobbled streets. It is one of the prettiest and serene parts of London, despite its popularity with tourists.
Originally most famous for its huge market, it is now renowned for its opera houses, shopping and eating out. It is a place to be seen and a retreat from the more bustling parts of London.
Where is Covent Garden?
Covent Garden is the definition of central, flanked by neighbouring Leicester Square, pulsating Soho and in the heart of the West End.
It is perfectly located to hop on and off the tube at multiple stations and is in walking distance from many of the main attractions. For example, the British Museum is just over a 10 minutes walk one side and Trafalgar Square is the same distance on another.
Covent Garden station is on the Piccadilly line and is located on the corner of Long Acre, right where the action is. However, Leicester Square is recommended during busier periods as Covent Garden tube can be a little slower during rush hour.
Holborn and Embankment are also both within walking distance, so are also handy options.
You can also catch a bus that can take you to any of the surrounding areas, and then follow the road signs to Covent Garden.
And if you are driving here, it is probably best to park outside of the area as well, as parking is limited – but Long Acre and Bow Lane are two of the main roads in.
Things to do in Covent Garden
Anyone headed here is already in search of appreciating some quality time. With a reputation as the entertainment heartland of London, it is home to the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet and over twenty theatres.
So, first things first, when it comes to things to do in Covent Garden, taking in a show has to be ticked off the list.
Then, you need to sample the unique charm of the Piazza with street entertainment and the eclectic mix of stalls inside the Market. Depending on which day you visit, there are a wide range of different types of independent traders. You’ll find everything from crafts, food and clothes to unique art.
When it comes to what to do in Covent Garden, shopping has to be one of the main things but we’ll come back to this in a moment. However, other unmissable places to go are the National Transport Museum and the National Portrait Gallery for a taste of culture.
Shopping in Covent Garden
The opportunities are endless when it comes to Covent Garden shops; vintage, designer, high street, cosmetics, jewellery, tech, shoes…
With so many professionals and creatives working in and around the area, the latest offerings at the Apple store are often a big draw.
Then heading up the designer fashion offering there is Paul Smith on Floral Street. This is the British designer’s first original London store which was opened in 1979 and is still a huge attraction for shoppers.
Henrietta Street, King Street and the surrounding area is a hotspot for designers like Burberry, Chanel and Jo Malone.
Check out Long Acre if you’re looking for some high street brands like Gap, Zara and All Saints.
But no experience of shopping in Covent Garden is complete without a visit to the previously mentioned Market, however. There really is something for everyone and its history as a world famous fruit and vegetable market is legendary.
The Apple Market is your one stop shop for special gifts and souvenirs to take home with you. Handmade items and fine crafts are on show from Tuesday through till Sunday and on Monday you can even sample antiques. There is also the East Colonnade Market with even more specialist stalls to be explored.
Places to Eat in Covent Garden
The area is regarded by many to have the very best restaurants in London. Although you may find fine dining in Mayfair and a plethora of choice in Soho, the imagination of Covent Garden restaurants is well documented.
It is also the perfect place for a coffee or quick breakfast while doing a spot of people watching. From pretty patisseries to cool coffee shops, it has it all. There are plenty of quaint spots with original features, but Grind is one of the most popular with coffee lovers.
Meanwhile, for lunch, Balthazar is an all day brasserie that boasts five stars. It is one of the most talked about places to eat in Covent Garden. Open seven days a week, it serves up French bistro food and also houses a boulangerie next door, where you can eat in or take out a range of sandwiches, pastries and artisan breads.
For something special, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is a delight. Robuchon was awarded the more Michelin stars than any other chef and was heralded as the ‘Chef of the Century’. A renowned chef, his legacy lives on after his sad passing in 2018, with the restaurant famed for its simplicity and theatre of the open kitchen, on the first of its three floors.
Just walking around, however, you will come across so much choice for restaurants near Covent Garden. Take a look at their menus as you’re wandering around doing sightseeing and then choose your favourite for later on. There’s something for everyone, with chains as well as independents and high profile eateries.
And crucially, if you’re going to see a show, don’t forget to check out the early dinners, prix fixe menus and later opening hours of some restaurants.
Covent Garden Nightlife
If cool, hidden bars and secret speakeasies are your thing, then you’ll love going on a magical mystery tour of Covent Garden bars.
From bars you find behind golden hand-shaped handles like something from Alice in Wonderland (let us introduce, Blind Spot) to underground dens that used to be public toilets but are now serving up cocktails with a Berlin and New York twist – and also a part time secret cinema venue (hello, CellarDoor).
If it’s more traditional Covent Garden pubs you’re looking for, however, then you won’t find more quintessentially English pubs than here. For sheer history, you can’t beat the Lamb and Flag; a favourite with Charles Dickens and London’s oldest pub.
Then there’s Punch and Judy, thought to be named after the famous puppet shows that were performed here. An 18th century listed building, it overlooks the Piazza so you can enjoy a beer on the balcony while watching the evening’s offering of street performers below. You’ll struggle to get a more iconic experience of Covent Garden than this!
There’s obviously the unrivalled theatre scene on offer too, so no guide to Covent Garden nightlife could go without recommending a show. Whether you prefer musicals, comedies, dramas, ballets or operas, you’re bound to find some entertainment you’ll enjoy.
And then it’s onto finding out what the Covent Garden bars have to offer. It is the perfect place to bar hop, as you won’t need to stumble far from one to find another gem. Choose to start off by either sipping on a fashionable cocktail at the trendy and Instagram-friendly, Blame Gloria; Dirty Martini for a sophisticated drink of the same name or other, or just another place you stumble across and fancy the look of.
Hotels in Covent Garden
There is a constant stream of diverse visitors to Covent Garden, all here for a variety of reasons, equally as diverse. Be it a weekend trip, an overnight stay to take in a show, as part of a business trip, or a longer stay, there are a host of hotels near Covent Garden available.
Due to the excellent transport links in Covent Garden too, it is a very popular place to stay with tourists. It also offers a different perspective on London with its beautiful historic surroundings and slightly less hustle and bustle compared with other parts, such as Leicester Square or Oxford Circus.
Covent Garden Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in Covent Garden. Its just 5 minutes’ walk away from the Royal Opera House and right in the heart of Theatreland. Sat amongst boutique shops, quirky coffee shops and fine restaurants, it is in an enviable part of town and offers a high quality hotel for a special trip.
However, if you’re just looking for somewhere relaxed and on a budget, then the Hub by Premier Inn Covent Garden is a great example. It offers a cosy room on St Martin’s Lane with great access to Charing Cross station. Its unique appeal is that everything from booking to controlling the room settings is done through the app!
Living in Covent Garden
The area has seen a lot of change in recent years. Traditionally, the community has defended it against any redevelopment to preserve its history. However, in 2006 the Piazza buildings were sold to a property company as part of plans to improve the area.
Since then, Covent Garden has seen the arrival of luxury shops and restaurants in the square, while maintaining its character and charm.
With all of the culture of its past, coupled with its stylishness and vibrancy; living in Covent Garden is highly sought after.
It is a very desirable area to live in, although properties are mostly apartments as there are a limited number of houses. Most properties for sale or rent are above commercial businesses, but there is plenty of choice in terms of style from modern spaces to historic apartments.
Many buyers choose it as a place to have a second home in London, while there are lots of international buyers as well as long term residents. Covent Garden’s beating heart is the arts and so it has a legacy of famous creative residents and is still as popular today with actors, musicians and artists.
St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School is and nearby Ark King Solomon Academy are both good examples of schools. They are both rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and have good reputations.
Meanwhile, transport links are well catered for with Covent Garden underground on the Piccadilly Line, Leicester Square underground only 10 mins walk for the Northern line, and many buses serving the area.
Working in Covent Garden
There is a genuine creative feel about working in Covent Garden – from overhearing media types discussing their pitches over a lunchtime drink, to the constant stream of events happening at trendy venues like The Hospital Club.
You are likely to see artists heading to auditions at the various theatres on your daily commute as you pass the street performers. And you’ll probably be tempted by the artisan stalls at the Market on your way home before you stop for a bit of people watching at a café.
The atmosphere is exciting but much more calm compared with other parts of London, partly due to the car free streets around the Piazza. And this vibe is exactly why it is so popular with many industries as the ideal location for holding meetings and finding new business in the thriving environments.
The area is the ideal place to wine and dine, have brainstorming lunches or hold a networking event, where everyone will feel inspired and relaxed.
It is therefore important that any Covent Garden office can stand up alongside neighbouring offices. It needs to be attractively laid out with the latest technology on hand as well as in an attractive and well positioned location.
Workpad gives you the choice of several such appealing office spaces in Covent Garden. Just take a look at the available options and the facilities on offer, before deciding on the best for your requirements.
The beautifully furbished office spaces from Workpad give you everything you need, while providing an innovative environment. We look forward to servicing your requirements during your time working in Covent Garden.
Set in the heart of Seven Dials, 1 Neal’s Yard offers an address to impress, and is an unquestionable location for the creative minded.
Parallel to The Strand and in the midst of Theatre Land, 32 Tavistock Street is located on the doorstep of the medieval Fruit and Vegetable Market.
42 Tavistock Street, located in the trendy Opera Quarter, and moments away from the Royal Opera House, is set in the heart of Covent Garden.
34 Tavistock Street, a period building located in the trendy Opera Quarter, is moments away from the most popular eateries, shops and entertainment Covent Garden has to offer.