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This popular neighborhood is close to all of the London action. Surrounded by famed museums, chic shops and restaurants, Covent Garden visitors will be in the glittering heart of the city.
Covent Garden is the beating heart of London, full of boutiques, bustling craft stalls and family run restaurants. Street performers and antique stalls are nestled cozily amongst well-known stores. Visit the lively historical theaters and traditional Victorian pubs, or take a short walk to Chinatown for a multicultural experience. Iconic buildings such as The Royal Opera House and a diverse range of museums and attractions make this one of our most popular vacation rental neighborhoods. With great transportation links and an extensive selection of dining and shopping options, this is an exciting taste of London life. Here’s just a small selection of things to see and do during your stay in the truly unique neighborhood of Covent Garden.
Originally the expansive garden of Westminster Abbey until 1630, Covent Garden is one of London’s most eclectic boroughs. British architect Inigo Jones was commissioned to build the courtyard of St Paul’s church in the 1600s, as well as the fine houses that have now been transformed into stores. Theaters such as Drury Lane were constructed in the 18th century, drawn by the lively atmosphere created by the crowds that came to watch the street performers and traveling plays. The central square is a former fruit and vegetable market and is now home to a diverse range of stores and dining options.
The Royal Opera House
A Grade 1 listed building constructed in 1858, the Royal Opera House is home to the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet. Start your day by reclining back in the opulent decor and drifting off as the Royal Orchestra rehearses. Evenings are a different character altogether. Watching a classical performance under the subdued Victorian lamplights is a glamorous and dramatic experience, a truly memorable evening for visitors to this cultured neighborhood. Book in advance to experience a backstage tour of the dressing rooms, set and costume design studios and orchestra pit.
St Paul’s Church
“The Actor’s Church” was designed in 1633 and is located in the west side of Covent Garden’s Piazza. A peaceful stroll through the attractive churchyard brings visitors to memorials of many famous British actors. St Paul’s Choir give engaging and uplifting recitals on weekday evenings and Sunday mornings. Find a bench and enjoy this serene haven amongst the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden’s Piazza.
A most infamous district, the reputation of its energetic and edgy nightlife precedes it. Open all hours, explore the cobbled Victorian alleyways to find specialist bookshops and independent music stores. French patisseries, Italian restaurants and European alehouses are on every corner and have been run for generations by the same families. A bohemian and creative district since the 18th century, this is the center of the British film and media industry, as well as publishing houses and small art galleries. It offers a unique and charming character – the libertine of London.
This neighborhood has been a colorful foray into the Orient since the 1950s. Tens of thousands of Chinese live and work here. Take a stroll down the central street under the elaborate lanterns and through the dramatic gates, the “entrance” to another world. A broad selection of Chinese cuisine, herbalists, interesting furniture stores and grooming salons sit next to busy market stalls selling wares from their homeland. Events and festivals are held all year round, with spectacular firework displays, dragon parades and music. The residents are mostly English speaking, so no worries about mix ups with your food order! Find this bustling community just off Shaftesbury Avenue in Soho.
Weaving through London is the England’s most famous waterway, the Thames. Taking a leisurely walk along the embankment brings visitors to some of London’s hidden gems, such as the mysterious Cleopatra’s Needle and the peaceful Victoria Embankment Gardens. The river bus service is a great way to see London from a different perspective. Sailing past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament you can go to Hampton Court Palace, the grand and stately home of Henry VIII. Crossing the Millennium Bridge opposite St Paul’s Cathedral is the Southbank, a hive of cultural institutions including the iconic Tate Modern museum.
A sprawling 18th-century building, Somerset House is one of England’s largest grand homes. Its occupants long gone, it has been transformed into one the capital’s finest art and culture institutions. Winter nights are spent gliding on the romantic ice rink whilst summer evenings are filled with live music. Daytimes see visitors browsing the art collections, photography exhibitions and soaking up the history. Somerset House is home to the outstanding Courtauld Gallerycollection located in a separate wing, but you’ll also find richly diverse exhibitions and events in the main house. For those style mavens, this is where London Fashion Week and sample sales are held, showcasing the capital’s most edgy young designers. Fashion exhibitions also run throughout the year.
Built in the 1820s, this expansive square with monumental fountains surrounds the impressive Nelson’s Column. At 200 feet tall, it’s a dramatic edifice to the Battle of Trafalgar. Perfect for people watching, there are plenty of benches and birds to feed in Trafalgar Square, which is reminiscent of scenes from iconic British films. Both the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery are located by Trafalgar Square. With temporary and permanent exhibitions, the National Portrait Gallery showcases portraits of some of the world’s most famous faces, from the historical Tudor Family to Princess Diana. Just next door you’ll find the National Gallery, home to one of the finest collections of Western European art.
St. Martin in the Fields Church
The historic church overlooking Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most surprising music venues. Check their events schedule for modern rock and pop concerts, religious and non-religious choral and classical recitals under the church’s candle lit candelabras.
After heavy bombing during WWII, local residents turned this space between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road in Soho into a tranquil and refreshing garden for locals and visitors. With emphasis on ecology and habitat creation, the concept is fitting as, of course, Covent Garden was the vast, lush fields of Westminster Abbey up until 1630 when the land was sold off. Phoenix Garden offers a real personal and relaxing little treasure in the heart of a bustling neighborhood.
The “village” of Covent Garden, these characteristic lanes were constructed in the 17th century. Famous for its layout, it comprises a central monument with the seven lanes stretching out from it that are full of independent boutiques, heritage brands, vintage stores and indulgent beauty and grooming salons. You’ll find a diverse selection of dining options with brasseries, restaurants and international cuisine. Cutting edge productions can be seen at The Donmar Warehouse, aproduction house with a history of stellar line-ups and ground breaking performances. Tristan Bates Theater is the home of experimental performances and new plays for the curious and the brave.
The National Gallery
Overlooking Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is one of London’s most impressive art museums.With a collection of more than 2,300 Western European paintings, you’ll discover works by famous artists, including Da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks, Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors, the beautiful Rokeby Venus as well as works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and many of the most famous names in art history.
The National Portrait Gallery
Situated a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square on St Martin’s Place is the world renowned National Portrait Gallery, established in 1856. The most recent addition to this expansive collection of famous British figures past and present is a large portrait of Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
London Film Museum
A recent addition to London’s cultural repertoire, the London Film Museum is dedicated to the British Film Industry and the craft of filmmaking. From blockbusters to art house, the contemporary museum houses props, memorabilia, costumes and sets from some of Britain’s finest feature films. A permanent exhibition of over 140 photographs taken by Magnum Photographers gives a view into the backstage life of some of cinema’s most famous and notorious faces. Interactive displays and the most up-to-date camera technology are housed in the huge brick vaulted venue, formerly Covent Garden’s flower cellars.
London Transport Museum
Nestled cozily in the central Piazza, the London Transport Museum is a unique museum completely dedicated to London's transport heritage. Before you hop on the famous London Underground, or flag down classic black cab, have a glimpse of what traveling through London above or below ground was like in the past.
Located in the Somerset House just off the Strand, the Courtauld Gallery presents the marvelous art collection of philanthropist Samuel Courtauld. One of London’s finest small museums, here you’ll enjoy one masterpiece after another, including works by Rubens, Botticelli, Bellini and an outstanding Impressionist and Post Impressionist collection with paintings by Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Pissaro, Monet and Modigliani to name just a handful. The gallery also hosts outstanding special exhibitions throughout the year.
Benjamin Franklin House
Located along quiet Craven Street between Trafalgar Square and the Thames, the Benjamin Franklin House is a charming small museum set in the house where Franklin lived from 1757 to 1775 leading up to the Revolutionary War. Often considered the first de facto American embassy in England, this is the only remaining Franklin home in the world. Learn about Franklin’s life and work in England along with the turbulent history during his time in London.
Within walking distance of Covent Garden is England’s most cherished and famous museum, the British Museum. Take a couple of days out to walk through this vast labyrinth with wonders from every corner of the globe. Temporary exhibitions are housed in the cavernous atrium and secrets from the past are revealed in the rooms on the upper levels. Most popular are the Egyptian Rooms, with jewelry, pottery and the iconic mummies. The Lindow Man—now a British Museum celebrity—is the best example of prehistoric life in Western Europe and draws big crowds. Check the info desk for family friendly free talks and tours throughout weekdays and weekends from museum experts.
Hayward Gallery & Southbank Center
This striking, Brutalist building opened in 1968 along the Thames Southbank. It’s worth a visit for the architecture alone. The Hayward Gallery within the Southbank Center displays up to four modern art exhibitions a year. Recent shows include Da Vinci, Munch and Brit artist Antony Gormley. The center itself embraces visual arts, music recitals and concerts, art bookshops and comedy.
Around 40 unique stalls are housed under the magnificent glass roofed market. Stroll through while browsing an imaginative array of antiques, collectables, china, jewelry and gifts.
Covent Garden Piazza
A former fruit and vegetable market designed in 1632, the central piazza is buzzing hive of activity. Street performers and boutiques line the colonnades of this classical style shopping center. Home to individual specialist shops as well as London’s best-known heritage brands. The weekends see the Piazza filled with lively and engaging family friendly performances and events, from live classical music, Shakespeare plays and modern day clowns. Great cafés and bars line the central courtyard, providing the perfect opportunity to watch the spectacles and passers by. Ideally located opposite the Piazza is one of London’s largest Apple stores, with a Genius Bar and plenty of new technology on offer.
This most treasured market has an eclectic variety of speciality arts and crafts stalls, antiques and clothing. Run by a host of local characters, it’s a destination for tourists as it is a great spot to pick up gifts and mementos for those back home. You’ll also find an assorted range of cuisine including traditional English, Indian and Italian.
St Martins Courtyard
A brand new addition to Covent Garden’s shopping and dining directory, this polished new destination has international flagship stores and quirky boutiques. Fresh and modern restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s Italian are sure to keep busy shoppers happy and refuelled. Shops are open until 11pm on some weeknights, so visitors can soak up the atmosphere after dinner. Personal Shoppers are on hand at all times to guide your sartorial choices and a tranquil day spa offers luxurious treatments to invigorate sleepy visitors.
Covent Garden is a food lover’s paradise, just one of the many reasons this neighborhood is so popular. You’ll find global cuisine for the intrepid back to back with comforting traditional British brasseries for those who love their food down to earth. Patisseries and delis are on every corner for the visitor on the go, as well as fresh produce farmers markets and stalls. When you book a vacation rental with London Perfect you will receive our popular London Guide, with further suggestions of restaurants to dine in, shops and attractions to visit near Covent Garden.
Next to Covent Garden tube station is supermarket and British institution Marks and Spencer’s Food, with a wide range of fresh produce and ready meals for busy guests on the go. Whole Foods is situated on Glasshouse Street, a short walk from Covent Garden tube station. Famous for its extensive selection of organic and fresh produce, delicious deli counters and cafe with daily specials. Covent Garden Real Food Market is also known as “The Larder of London.” This market on the East side of the Piazza has stalls offering fresh artisan breads, French cheeses, regional meats and farm fresh eggs. There are great amenities in the Piazza including a Bureau de Change, Banks and cash machines.
Our vacation rentals located near Covent Garden vacation rentals are ideally situated near Tube stations and streets where you can hop on a classic London double-decker bus. You’ll be able to quickly and easily reach all the top sights in London during your stay in the Covent Garden area. From the Embankment Tube station you can catch the Central and District Lines as well as the Northern Line and Bakerloo Line. The Covent Garden Tube station is located on the Piccadilly line, which is very convenient as it is a direct line to the theater district and West End, Piccadilly Circus and great shopping and attractions in Knightsbridge and Mayfair. The Piccadilly line also goes direct to Heathrow Airport.