Top 10 Covent Garden

Follow our 10-step guide to Covent Garden in Central London: a great spot for shopping, history and culture, amazing food and some of the West End's best entertainment.

1. Start at Covent Garden Piazza 

The traffic-free cobblestone square of Covent Garden Piazza is ideal for your first taste of Covent Garden. Enjoy fantastic free entertainment from street performers then step inside the Market Building to browse food and craft stalls as well as some big-name retailers.

2. Want more shopping? 

There's stores on all sides of the piazza including Apple and cult label Fred Perry (a favourite of British cycling champ Bradley Wiggins). North of the piazza, don’t miss Floral Street, where you’ll find a good selection of menswear labels including Paul Smith's flagship store.

3. Royal Opera House

London's Royal Opera House forms one corner of Covent Garden's Piazza, although its main entrance is on Bow Street. Here you can see world-class performances by the Royal Opera or Royal Ballet companies (you'll need to book well in advance) or take a tour backstage to enjoy a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the sumptuous gilt-and-velvet decorated auditorium.

4. London Transport Museum

Also on the piazza, don’t miss London Transport Museum (LTM), a fantastic, family-friendly attraction. Explore the then-and-now of one of the world's oldest public transportation systems with interactive exhibits and decommissioned vehicles. The LTM gift shop has an impressive selection of models, toys, books and homewares, plus vintage Tube and bus posters. (read more about London's Museum Gift Shops)

5. St Martin’s Courtyard 

St Martin's Courtyard is a small oasis of calm off Long Acre that offers a bit of everything. Shop at Cos, Barbour, Jack Wills and The White Company, pamper yourself at luxury day spa Relax then grab a bite at Bill's or Jamie's Italian.

6. Take a walk down Neal Street

Stroll down Neal Street and pop into any or all of the shops that take your fancy, then turn into Shorts Gardens to find Neal's Yard, another tucked-away courtyard that offers delights including the original Neal's Yard Dairy for tasty cheeses and Neal's Yard Remedies for organic skincare.

7. Continue west to Seven Dials

At Seven Dials' historic intersection of seven streets, each spoke of the "dial" offers a wealth of retail and gourmet goodies. Don't miss quirky jeweller Tatty Devine, unusual shoes at Poste Mistress, sweet treats at Cybercandy, sci-fi megastore Forbidden Planet and the Moomin Shop.

8. Feeling peckish? 

Sample traditional British dishes at the hot new Holborn Dining Room or play it cool with the celebs at The Ivy. For something different, try reggae-flavoured fare at Dub Jam, or take a punt at PipsDish, which has no menu and you just eat what you're given!

9. Horrible histories...

It's hard to believe nowadays but Covent Garden was once one of London's biggest slums! If you've got a taste for the past, step back in time at 18th-century pub The Lamb & Flag (formerly known as the Bucket of Blood) and visit London's oldest restaurant Rules.

10. Staying in Covent Garden? 

This area is a fantastic base for London tourists with a good range of accommodation. There's the newly-refurbished Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street at Seven Dials and the Philippe Starck-designed St Martins Lane in London's theatreland. Good budget options include Travelodge Covent Garden and LSE Grosvenor House.

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