Covent Garden

Outdoor Activity / Shopping Area
Covent Garden Rimmed by St. Martin's Lane on the east and Drury Lane on the west, Covent Garden is a vibrant shopping and entertainment district that has been drawing shoppers, theatergoers, and lots of tourists for hundreds of years. London England 51.512201 -0.123188
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Covent Garden - Outdoor Activity | Shopping Area in London.
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Party Earth Review Rimmed by St. Martin's Lane on the east and Drury Lane on the west, Covent Garden is a vibrant shopping and entertainment district that has been drawing shoppers, theatergoers, and lots of tourists for hundreds of years... ... read full review

  • Tube:

    Piccadilly Line: Covent Garden

  • Phone:

    087 0780 5001

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    24/7

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Covent Garden Schedule of Events

Oct06Mon
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Oct07Tue
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Oct08Wed
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Oct09Thu
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Oct10Fri
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Oct11Sat
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Oct12Sun
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Party Earth Covent Garden Review

The Scene

Rimmed by St. Martin's Lane on the east and Drury Lane on the west, Covent Garden is a vibrant shopping and entertainment district that has been drawing shoppers, theatergoers, and lots of tourists for hundreds of years.

Rimmed by St. Martin's Lane on the east and Drury Lane on the west, Covent Garden is a vibrant shopping and entertainment district that has been drawing shoppers, theatergoers, and lots of tourists for hundreds of years.

Every day, its large namesake piazza fills with knife jugglers, sword swallowers, human statues, dance troupes, and accomplished musicians who entertain the crowds.

Outdoor pubs around the piazza offer the perfect vantage point for people-watchers, while shoppers head straight for the nearby Apple Market, an indoor shopping gallery with fashion boutiques, gift shops, specialty stores, stalls of fancy goods, and an astounding selection of restaurants, watering holes, and cafés.

The piazza’s surrounding streetscape of pedestrian-only walkways provides budget-minded university students with some terrific window shopping, including the chance to drool over gadgets at one of the largest Apple Stores in the world.

At night the whole district is alive with theatergoers on their way to one of the Garden’s several West End theaters or the famous Royal Opera House, while nearly two dozen taverns and bars – all within easy walking distance – overflow with mixology snobs and down-home beer drinkers alike.

Should the expats pounding Strongbow’s feel a sudden chill while sitting at a Covent Garden pub in the wee hours, it’s probably just the ghost of Admiral Lord Nelson or Anne Boleyn, both said to haunt this famous area.

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Tip from Emma:

Keep an eye out for promoters handing out flyers and discount cards for the bars and clubs. Discounted drinks and free cover charge? Sign me up!

  • Crowd

    All ages and walks of life.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Free performances by street performers, magicians, puppeteers, and musicians, though tipping is encouraged.

    Entertainment and sightseeing venues include over a dozen theaters, the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, St. Paul’s Church, and scads of shopping.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Real Food Market, located in the East Piazza most Thursdays, features seasonal produce by artisanal traders from around the UK. Most of the nearby pubs also serve food.

  • Prices

    Prices vary by venue, but trend higher due to the tourist draw.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: gowns and tuxedos for opera goers, jeans and t-shirts for pub crawlers and shoppers.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any afternoon.

  • Close By

    Punch & Judy (40 The Market) is a quaint two-story pub with a fantastic outdoor patio overlooking the square. Also worth checking out are the nearby Nags Head pub (10 James Street), The White Lion (24 James Street), and Roadhouse (35 Covent Garden Piazza).

Covent Garden User Reviews

Average rating:
It's got everything you need!
Sarah L. Nov 1, 2013
When I think of Covent Garden, I first think of the high-end shopping. A friend from Lyons recently came to visit and wanted to buy a Burberry and Barbour coat, since they are cheaper in the UK. Covent Garden was our one-stop place since it truly has every brand name store you can think of. If you're feeling hungry after shopping all day, head over to Dishoom for what I think is the best Indian restaurant in London. Get the naan, garlic naan, and the curries all for under 15 pounds per person. Try and go for lunch or dinner on a weekday thought because there tends to be quite the queue on weekends. After dinner, if you are feeling like seeing a show, Matilda is currently playing at the Cambridge Theatre. The Phoenix Theatre is also nearby, and they are currently playing Once the Musical. I highly recommend seeing Once; if you've seen the movie and I liked it, you certainly won't be disappointed. I was particularly amazed at how multi-talented the entire cast was. Everyone in the chorus not only sang, dance, and acted, but also played multiple instruments, and then were able to showcase all four talents at the same time! Some times even while holding a prop set during a scene change. On a random note, there's also a gym in Covent Garden that offers a free trial for a first class. I took a really Krav Maga class there and it ended up being a great way to stay fit and meet local Londoners! As you can see, Covent Garden truly has it all.
I literally came here every day for the food, the environment, and street performers for 3 months.
Helen D. Aug 10, 2013
I'm not a Londoner, but as I'm a bit of a world traveler I've been frequenting this place since I was 7 years old. I've watched it grow and flourish and, I must admit that I came here daily when I was living in London in the summer of 2011. The Apple, East Colonnade, and Jubilee markets are all necessary when visiting this area. You can find everything from handmade soaps and jewelry to beautiful antiques and homemade English jam (delicious)! Major perks of Covent Garden are Candy Cakes, Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop (we're all kids at heart), and Rules Restaurant and Cocktail Bar. Candy Cakes offers some of the most decadently flavored and decorated cupcakes I've seen to date. They offer cupcakes shaped like Jimmy Choos and dinosaurs and their flavors are incredible, ranging from rose to rocky road. Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop is a MUST SEE. They have antique toys and puppets on display year round, and if you've got the money, it's possible to take them home with you. Rules Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in London and has been an incredible place to eat and drink for over 200 years. Yes... 200 years. The inside is absolutely gorgeous-furnished and decorated as it was in the good 'ol days. The food is inherently British and delicious by default. Try the saddle of rabbit and sticky toffee pudding. Regarding cocktails, they serve an Aperitif in honor of Kate Middleton that includes Sipsmith, Pinky Vodka, Lillet, crystallised violets & rose petals. Another lovely perk of Covent Garden... watch for the man that tightrope walks, juggles machetes, and then lights the machetes on fire and... continues to juggles them! He's been performing since I was a child.
prepare to be amazed
Janelle A. Aug 6, 2013
Like a little English Alice in Wonderland, you never know what you're going to come across here. Finding my way here after sauntering around London for hours, I never ceased to be amazed at what Covent Garden has to offer. A myriad of tiny shops offering everything from mouthwatering sweets (oh, dear macaroons), to the most impossibly stylish clothing dens--even down to the friendly glass of warm mulled wine in the winter. But my personal favorite is Coco de Mer, the scandalous sex shop clad with leather and lace galore. First time shoppers might find themselves stunned at the selection of fetish masks and glass sex toys, while more experienced veterans can get comfortable browsing beautiful vintage corsets. Slight set back to Covent Garden, though--it's massively pricey. Be prepared to pay up front; but for the less wealthy at heart, walking through the crowded streets is always an amusement in itself.
A charming part of London, and as long as you look for the bargains you'll be alright!
sophie h. May 17, 2013
I'd recommend Covent Garden to those that haven't got up to London much and want to have a little potter about. There's lots of shops, a central market and some nice little bars and restaurents. If you're looking for a huge night out then I'd stay away, there are a lot of other places you could go. I'd say it's more for lunch and a wander with your gal pals rather than a night out on the tiles. The drinks in the bars can be massively overpriced and it's easy to get carried away with the charm of the windy streets and cobbled roads before realising you've spent your weeks' wages on a Mojito. I'd highly recommend the Belgian restaurant Belgo. It's easy to miss (being underground and all) but isn't too far from Covent Garden tube station and has some amazing stuff on the menu. Its' main pulls are it's garlic mussels and extensive beers. The staff dress as monks and chances are you'll be placed on a long table with strangers - giving it a beer hall feel. They also do a 'stop-the-clock' menu which means you pay whatever time it is on the clock . Genius! Covent Garden is pretty and has a certain charm but if you're on a budget I'd head elsewhere.
My Top 3
Robyn F. Apr 10, 2013
Awash with places to eat, drink, shop and enjoy, Covent Garden has a huge amount to offer to both the tourist and the London inhabitant. No visit to London is complete without it, and it is a staple in the social calendar of the local Londoners. With so many places to choose from, here are my top 3 venues for snacking, eating and drinking: 1. DAY - Crème de la Crepes Nestled in an archway deep under Covent Garden, there is nowhere better to hide yourself away for a candid catch up with an old friend. Recently featured in "Harper's Bazaar", this chic yet cute eatery will indulge your taste buds with classic favourites as well as house specialties, at a very reasonable price. All the recipes are bonafide French imports, lovingly researched by owner Nick, and the cute and cosy interior design feels like it's wrapping you in embraces. However, expect to wait for a table at peak times: "Crème de la Crepes" is small and in demand! 2. DINNER - Brasserie Blanc Moving into the evening, Raymond Blanc describes his most recent success as "a place for relaxed enjoyment where I can offer you simple, high quality food". But it is so much more than that. Perched on top of the main Covent Garden market, you can enjoy an evening of outstanding cocktails, superb food and first class, friendly atmosphere outside on the heated terrace watching over the wanderings of visitors to London's most glamorous square. 3. DANCING - Covent Garden Cocktail Club There is no better place to finish your day dancing the night away. But be warned: you must book a table or guest list on Friday and Saturday nights. Another petite venue, the Covent Garden Cocktail Club is situated in the basement of the the Arts Theatre by Leicester square, giving it an excitingly prohibition-like atmosphere. 1920s New York with a touch of Victorian London thrown in results in an exquisite "devil-may-care" attitude. The bar men are nothing short of first class (and, more often than not, rather dashing!). Expertly trained by cocktail legend JJ Goodman, they will also lend you their ear, and are always up for a little of that dancing I mentioned... Mission: acquire yourself an invitation to the lock in. It's a night you will never forget!
Shop, Eat, Explore, and Be Entertained
Rachel S. Mar 1, 2013
Covent Garden should be a staple in your London itinerary if you are visiting for more than three days. Yes, it is a tourist attraction, so the crowds can be overwhelming at times, but it's free, casual, and a people-watching paradise. Spend as much or as little time here as you desire. Walk through the open-air market, gather around for a street performance, or grab a seat for a quick snack or lunch. There is shopping for everyone: toy stores, boutiques, specialty shops, London/British paraphernalia galore. Most of the vendors and shop owners are friendly; ask them for local recommendations for bars, restaurants, and more. A great place to stop by and explore before moving on to other London attractions.
Nice way to spend a few hours
Roxanne P. Feb 20, 2013
I found Covent Garden a great place to spend an afternoon and simply wander around. As a student on a budget, I was happy to pick up a Cornish pasty to eat as I took in the sights. The street performers were definitely a major highlight, ranging from beautiful string quartets to outrageous juggling and balancing acts. I don't think I bought anything (other than food), but I still enjoyed wandering the markets, especially seeing the different crafts. Although Covent Garden does have its own tube stop, it can get very crowded, and you must choose between either waiting for and squeezing into a lift, or braving nearly 200 stairs. I'd recommend getting off at the nearby Leicester Square station instead, and walking from there to Covent Garden (only takes a few minutes).
Convent Garden ,- My humble Exciting 2nd home!
Kamaria W. Jan 4, 2013
Convent Garden is the perfect place to shop, eat, find awesome dancing classes, and is a convenient place if you want to travel to other neighborhoods near by. My favorite place to go to while I was there is Pineapple Studios where they have inexpensive dance classes (averaging 6-8 pounds a class.) To purchase a dance card (for 1 month) it is around 28 pounds and classes average around 1 or 2 pounds rather than 8. Convent Garden is also an ideal place for shopping with favorites such as H&M, Ray Ban Store, Mango and Aldo (which offers student and daily discounts.) Down the road from Aldo is a beautiful boutique called JSK London where you can purchase pink, lacy, beautiful one of a kind coats and dresses ( I got a coat from there and love it!) Around this area is Bare Minerals store as well as MAC so ladies you are able to compare make up brands or buy both! Or if you hungry there is an amazing Italian restaurant that serves top of the line pizza pies for cheap and there is a man handing out discount fliers daily for your convenience. There is also a Tube stop that will take you right to this popular place and if the station gets too packed (which it might at certain hours) no worries the Holborn station is a few blocks away! I highly recommend this place for dance classes, food, shopping, and so much more; after your visit here I am %100 sure you will too!
A holly jolly place for holiday fun
Craig B. Dec 11, 2012
I stumbled upon Covent Garden with some friends toward the end of my stint in London, in late November or early December, and it was a lovely little market. Maybe I was too inebriated to explore it all, or maybe I don't remember it terribly well, but I don't remember it being as big as the write-up above makes it sound. There was a lot of holly, and the booths were all scrunched pretty tightly together. I remember that the buskers were fun and very engaging and that somehow I wound up with a big cup of mulled wine. Oh, and I think I bought some presents too, but they were probably just touristy trinkets.
Overrated
Tara R. Dec 6, 2012
Covent Garden is fun and cutesy, full of stores like a punk ice cream shop and a toy store, with the Actor's Church right next door and street theatre acts consisting of people juggling chain saws and lighting various objects on fire and trying to juggle the chainsaws with the various things on fire. That said, the street performance is probably the best part of the whole market—the rest is just a bit too touristy and packaged and expensive for my taste. If you’re already in the area, it’s worth passing through, but don’t carve your day around it.
fun place to walk around
Hayden F. Dec 5, 2012
there are always street performers who can entertain you for hours and there are lots of great stores - high end designers and more regularly priced items as well. there are lots of good food options at all price points too! this is a fun place to go no matter how old you are and who you're with. could be fun to go with your family, your friends, or your significant other. i went fro an evening one day after work and you can always go on the weekend. after work is definitely less crowded as any place would be.
Best place in Central London
Alisa S. Nov 3, 2012
A great central shopping destination - a lot of the major high street names are here, as well as a great range of independent boutiques, restaurants, and bars without the hassle and traffic of Oxford Street and Regent Street nearby with a cobblestoned charm. The street performers also add to a lively atmosphere and many of London's unique events take place throughout the year here as well.
Great Mix of Art, Shops and Fun!
Gregor G. Oct 2, 2012
Nicest time ever in Covent Garden - wonderful street scene, solid theatre, great food choices and a super mix of stores. Food choices are wide-ranging: from bars, pubs and clubs to sit-down dining of any stripe. Personally, I'm a big fan of outdoor markets - so, if you are too, don't miss the antiques, artwork and gift-stuff available at the Covent Garden Market. It's a different vibe than the Portobello Road antique scene (more polished than Portabello, without the swap meet feel). Great place to pick up something memorable!
Shopping Spree, anyone?
Kira A. Sep 27, 2012
Covent Garden is definitely one of the most touristy areas in London, mostly because of the great shopping. Covent Garden has small boutiques and larger stores as well, giving shoppers many different options and places to wander. Since Covent is an all-day type of visit, there are also tons of restaurants and all different types of cuisines to choose from. My personal favorite is a restaurant called The Forge- it's classy yet reasonably priced and its tucked a way in a quiet little alley away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. If you're just visiting London for a short while, Covent Garden is a must-go!
Fun area!
Paula P. Aug 8, 2012
Covent Garden is such a fun little area in London. You can just walk down the cobble-stone streets until you find a pub or a restaurant that you'd like to mosey on into. A lot of said restaurants and pubs have outdoor seating so you can also people watch or catch a glance of the street performers that frequent the plaza. One of the best things about Covent Garden is Laduree (a famous parisian dessert shop that is known for their delicious macaroons!) I also went to a fabulous wine bar in Covent Garden (it's a shame I can't remember the name) a couple of times with friends and we all had a blast. Oh and don't forget there is a little antique market in Covent Garden, I'm not sure if it's every day but I know that it's earlier on in the day so if you happen to stumble upon it definitely check it out for some reasonably priced, beautiful antique jewelry.
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