Regardless of your reasons for visiting London (business or pleasure) you should make the time to swing by Covent Garden for some shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing. Although you might think of it as an antiquated portion of the city, there’s a lot more to it than an old marketplace. It’s true that this was once a central meeting place for neighboring farmers to sell their wares. And you can definitely marvel at some of the many architectural masterpieces that line the streets. But in this particular area of London, you will find a unique marriage of old and new, a blending of classical buildings with modern inhabitants. You can see some old-school theatre and immediately follow it up with a trip to the movie house. You can shop both vintage and modern clothing stores. And when it comes to food, you can find anything from traditional pasties to the best in modern culinary arts. In short, Covent Garden embodies the best of what London has to offer.
If you’re looking for a day of sightseeing and you’ve already worn out the major attractions such as Big Ben, the Parliament, and the infamous Tower of London (who can miss a chance to lampoon the stolid beefeaters?), then head over to Covent Garden. The famous Piazza is ringed by buildings designed by Inigo Jones (including St. Paul’s church, which has been under renovation). In fact, much of the square has been subject to upgrades, leading to an interesting historical palette of architecture. And of course, there’s the famous Royal Opera House, the central market, and the Seven Dials to see (although you might be surprised to discover there are actually only six).
But there’s a lot more to do than look at the buildings. If it’s entertainment you’re after, there’s plenty to be found in Covent Garden. You can see an opera, play, or ballet at the Royal Opera House (or visit any number of other theaters in the area). You can also check out the London Transport Museum to get a look at the travel history of London through their many passenger vehicles over time. And of course, there are a diverse array of shops to tempt you, from an Apple store that displays the old-world flare of the area, to a costume shop that houses six floors of potential disguises (Angels Costumiers), to a vintage shop run by a pop star (Lily Allen’s Lucy In Disguise), to modern skate shops and high-end retailers.
And of course, there are plenty of options for dining, as well. Any type of world cuisine you want is available in this diverse district, from French to Italian to Greek to a variety of Asian, African, and Latin options (and even American). Plus, you can easily find traditional British fare as well as a number of hopping pubs for food, drinks, and a look at the soccer scores. Regardless of what you’re looking for in your trip to London, or the amount of time you have to see the sights, you’re going to find it all in one place. With loads of history and a lot of modern amenities, you can see the best of London by going to Covent Garden.
Emma Martin writes for TripBase, a personalized travel website. Whether you are searching for transatlantic cruises or even find cheap hotels in Glasgow, TripBase is sure to meet all your travel needs.