Bordered by the Strand to the south, St Martin’s Lane to the west, Sevens Dials and the Yards to the north, and Aldwych to the west, this jewel sits at the center of the West End. Even if you have been to Covent Garden before, every time you visit here you will be greeted by a new mix of theaters, museums, upscale fashion and beauty boutiques, high-end restaurants, old-school pubs, underground bars, and a vibrant patchwork of ancient London and present.
The main neighborhood is centered around its sprawling traffic-free Piazza and the historic Covent Garden Market. This historical spot is also within a walking distance of the River Thames, Soho, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square.
If you are looking for things to do, stuff to buy, drinks to drink, or even stuff to eat in Covent Garden, this is your guide.
Explore the Amazing Neal’s Yard
Tucked away on the tiny side sections of Seven Dials, Neal’s Yard can be easy to miss. But you will regret it if you did, as it is one of London’s prettiest enclaves. Inside this buzzing, colorful corner street, you will find everything from wild food caves to pizza. Most of the businesses are all-natural and organic.
Not too long ago, you won’t believe what occupied this street. It was a dumping spot filled with bins. So, you would probably find more rats than people capturing those eye-catching Instagram shots. Today, it is filled with small indie shops and quaint alleys, thanks to Nicholas Saunders who oversaw a total rejuvenation.
Royal Opera House
Situated on the breathtaking spots of Bow Street, Royal Opera House is oozing with world-class performances by Royal Ballet and Royal Opera companies. This building, which dates back to 1858, has been entertaining the city’s hoi polloi for centuries. They have a regular calendar of entertaining activities including opera, theater shows, ballet and dances. You won’t miss the Royal Family popping in for a show at this spot. You should be warned that you need to book in advance, as tickets sell out quickly.
Even if you are not interested in live performance, you will find it relaxing to enjoy a glimpse of the gilt and velvet decorated auditorium.
Visit the Covent Garden Market
You can’t simply take a joint around this attraction spot and miss visiting Covent Garden Market, which sits at the heart of Covent Garden. This beautiful market parades as one of London’s top attractions. Dating back to the 17th century, this piazza stands tall with a curvy glass roof.
This attraction features a range of well-designed stalls that offer everything from household goods and handmade sweets to jewelry, crafts, and specialist antiques. The area is divided into three main sections: East Colonnade, North Hall and South Piazza. Interestingly, goods sold on these sections rotate daily.
While most of the stuff here is readily available on most well-heeled high streets, you will marvel at the architecture. Speaking of which, the Piazza itself has an abundance of great shops and market galore. Next to it is the more traditional Jubilee market.
London Transport Museum
If you are fascinated by the history of London’s transport, this museum is the place to visit. It has all you could ask for, be it the world’s first underground steam train or even the world’s oldest underground network.
The best part was that it is just a few feet shy of the Apple Market. Who knows, you may get caught in London’s infamous little showers. This place will provide a great indoor activity to escape the rain.
Explore Some of the Best Cocktails or Indulge In Some Retail Therapy
With a range of high-end clothing, boutique cosmetic, and gadgets stores, shopping at the Covent Garden is never a boring experience. One of the popular spots with visitors is the flagship Apple Store. Besides shops, there are unlimited choices of luxury eateries and drink outlets, including champagne bars and luxury patisseries.
The focal point of the area is the 19th Century Plaza, which usually hosts many cultural events all year round. And if you are in for a good cocktail after a day-long of exploration, then you will not lack choices. For a more lively affair, head to Blame Gloria. Their pretty potent cocktails are uh-mazing. But don’t stop here.
Eve bar near Frog Restaurant will also serve you the tastiest cocktail prepared by resident mixologists. And if this is not your thing, why not head across to Mr. Foggs for the best gin cocktail experience. Just remember to book a table early, as this gin parlor is small, so it tends to fill up fast.
Attend Events at Somerset House
While some may argue that the iconic Neoclassical Somerset House is not part of Covent Garden, you can access it from the heart of the Garden. It is one of the few remaining gorgeous and stately constructed palaces that used to line the Thames. This iconic building was constructed by Sir William Chambers in 1776 on the top of an original Tudor palace.
Nowadays, the palace hosts several concerts, music and art exhibitions, and other similar events, especially on its stately piazza. While the Courtauld Gallery of Somerset house is currently being renovated, you will still find a range of entertaining events.
This building is popular for filming, especially for Hollywood movies like Tomorrow Never Dies and James Bond films GoldenEye.
Pay a Visit to St Paul’s Church
The beautiful Saint Paul Parish, which dates back to 1633, is found within the heart of Covent Gardens. Sometimes, locals called it The Actor’s Church because it hosts regular dance and theatre shows. Besides this, there are several amazing, award-winning gardens within the Churchyard. This enables visitors who are tired of the bustle and busy life of London to enjoy the stunning, tranquil surroundings.
Honestly, if you are visiting London for the first time and are looking for iconic landmarks, the best palaces and famous neighborhoods in the city, then a wander through the Covent Garden is a must-visit.