Located in the boroughs of Westminster and Camden, Covent Garden is popular for its theatre and shopping venues with visitors as well as locals. It initially started out as a vegetables and fruit market in the 16th century and over the centuries evolved into one of the trendier sections of the city.
Covent Garden is now home to some of the biggest designer boutiques, flagship stores, the best of theatres and street entertainers.
If you do plan a visit to London, it is recommended to choose a central location to stay during your trip. This will make it convenient to visit the prominent attractions spread all over central London. The hotels near Hyde Park are a good choice both in terms of value for money and comforts.
One such fine luxury boutique hotel is the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel, a preferred choice of accommodation among business travellers and visitors to this part of town. While there, some of the best attractions to explore in Covent Garden are as follows:
Head to Trafalgar Square
The Square is among the liveliest and most vibrant open spaces in the city and one of the biggest attractions for visitors to the city. A historical location it plays host to famous landmarks like Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. The Square got its name from the historic Battle of Trafalgar, which saw the British Naval Fleet vanquish the French Navy in 1805.
The Square is a hub for events and festivities all through the year including musical and cultural shows. The area is famous for its massive Christmas tree during the festive season, which is an annual gift from the people of Oslo even since 1947. This is in gratitude for the support offered by the British to the Norwegians in World War II. The annual lighting of the tree is an event that marks the Christmas countdown in the city.
Visit St Paul’s Church
The creation of Inigo Jones, it is located in the centre of Covent Garden and built in 1633. It is also described as the actor’s church because of its close association with the theatres in the area. The church regularly organises a series of music and dance shows, with local performers. It links to the theatre date back to the 16th century because of its close proximity to the Theatre Royal located in Drury Lane.
Once the Royal Opera Houses opened close by St. Paul’s relationship with the theatre strengthened over time. It is alleged to have played host to the very first performance of Punch and Judy in the venue, which is celebrated by the MayFayre fair held every year in the month of May. Visitors can drop into the majestic gardens located at the back of the church, which offers a serene getaway to escape the crowds and commotion of city life in the area.
Church services are held on most days of the week as well as on Sundays at 11 am. The place is open for visitors all the days of the week.
Enjoy the best of shopping
One of the best places to shop in London is Covent Garden, which is home to some of the best flagship designer stores as well as electronic gadgets stores spread across the area. One of the most famous is the Apple Store that is a major draw with visitors, apart from plenty of jewellery stores and independent shopping venues. However, Covent Garden is not just all about shopping, with plenty of fine cafes, restaurants and bars and high-street eateries like All Bar One and Bill’s in the area.
One of the highlights in the area is its famous piazza that plays host to various cultural events all through the year. It also is a popular venue for seasonal pop-ups. Covent Garden is a very prominent tourist attraction and is home to various stalls selling an eclectic mix of handicrafts, vintage antiques, household items, jewellery etc.
The market is divided into three areas i.e. East Colonnade, North Hall and the South Piazza with different goods sold at the market daily.
Visit Leicester Square
The area is famous for its iconic cinemas dotted all over the area, with the Odeon the largest cinema in the country. The cinema still has its original stalls and circle and is the sole remaining cinema to do so in London. Although the number of seats has been trimmed from 2100 to 1683, it offers extra legroom and makes for a more enjoyable movie experience.
The area is famous for its grand movie premieres of the latest blockbuster movies both Hollywood and British. Movie buffs can watch their favourite movie legends on the red carpet provided they grab suitable vantage points outside the cinemas on premiere days.
Movie premiere nights are when the area is abuzz with activity, which includes its nightclubs, restaurants and bars.
Explore beautiful Somerset House
One of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in Britain Somerset House was built in 1776, as a residence for Sir William Chambers. It was built upon foundations of once a grand Tudor palace and now plays host to art events, movies and cultural fiestas. It has been used extensively for filming blockbuster movies like Tomorrow Never Dies, and GoldenEye among others.
In the summer, its magnificent courtyard houses more than 50 musical fountains and during the month of August serves as an al fresco cinema showing an eclectic selection of movies. During winter the massive courtyard transforms into an incredible 900-metre rink for ice skating, with a slew of festivities hosted in the area. The place remains open all through the day and the evenings with the place coming alive with club nights featuring the hottest DJs in town. The ice rink opens every year from the month of November through January.