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Coordinates: 51°30′43″N 0°07′22″W / 51.51197°N 0.1228°W / 51.51197; -0.1228

Covent Garden
Covent Garden is located in Greater London
Covent Garden

 Covent Garden shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ303809
London borough Westminster
Camden
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district WC2
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Cities of London and Westminster
Holborn and St. Pancras
London Assembly West Central
Barnet and Camden
List of places: UK • England • London

Covent Garden (pronounced /ˈkɒvənt/) is a district in London, England, located in the easternmost parts of the City of Westminster and the southwestern corner of the London Borough of Camden. The area is dominated by shopping, street performers, and entertainment facilities, and it contains an entrance to the Royal Opera House, which is also widely-known simply as "Covent Garden", and the bustling Seven Dials area.

The area is bounded by High Holborn to the north, Kingsway to the east, the Strand to the south and Charing Cross Road to the west. Covent Garden Piazza is located in the geographical centre of the area and was the site of a flower, fruit and vegetable market from the 1500s until 1974, when the wholesale market relocated to New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms. Nearby areas include Soho, St James's, Bloomsbury, and Holborn.

Contents

History

Roman times to the 1500s

A settlement has existed in the area since the Roman times as an outlier settlement near Londinium, the most detailed evidence coming from the area near St Martin's in the Fields, where high status Romano-British burials were uncovered in 2004. After the collapse of the Roman Empire in Britain the area was deserted, but with the arrival of the Anglo-Saxon settlements this area became Lundenwic the principal early medieval township. The Anglo-Saxons largely ignored the intramural area of Londinium, as they had most Roman cities. Alfred the Great abandoned the area, from at least 886, when he occupied Londinium as Lundenburh as part of his reconquest of the Viking occupation. This explains why part of the area is named Aldwych ie 'old town'. There are extensive early-medieval archaeological remains in the Covent Garden area reflecting this settlement and abandonment period and process.

"Covent Garden" (covent being the Middle English form of the modern word convent) was the name given, during the reign of King John (1199–1216), to a 40-acre (16 ha) patch in the county of Middlesex, bordered west and east by what is now St. Martin's Lane and Drury Lane, and north and south by Floral Street and a line drawn from Chandos Place, along Maiden Lane and Exeter Street to the Aldwych. In this quadrangle the Abbey or Convent of St. Peter, Westminster, maintained a large kitchen garden throughout the Middle Ages to provide its daily food. Over the next three centuries, the monks' old "convent garden" became a major source of fruit and vegetables in London and was managed by a succession of leaseholders by grant from the Abbot of Westminster.

This type of lease eventually led to property disputes throughout the kingdom, which Henry VIII solved in 1540 by the stroke of a pen when he dissolved the monasteries and appropriated their land.

King Henry VIII granted part of the land to Baron Russell, Lord High Admiral and, later, Earl of Bedford. In fulfilment of his father's dying wish, King Edward VI bestowed the remainder of the convent garden in 1547 to his maternal uncle, Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset who began building Somerset House on the south side of Strand the next year. When Seymour was beheaded for treason in 1552, the land once again came into royal gift, and was awarded four months later to one of those who had contributed to Seymour's downfall. Forty acres (16 ha), known as "le Covent Garden" plus "the long acre", were granted by royal patent in perpetuity to the Earl of Bedford.

1600s to 1800s

The modern-day Covent Garden has its roots in the early 17th century when land ("the Convent's Garden") was redeveloped by Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford. The area was designed by Inigo Jones, the first and greatest of English Renaissance architects. He was inspired by late 15th century and early 16th century planned market towns known as bastides (themselves modelled on Roman colonial towns by way of nearby monasteries) and the Place des Vosges the first planned square in Paris. The centrepiece of the project was an arcaded piazza. The church of St Paul's, Covent Garden stood at the centre of the western side of the piazza. A market, which was originally open air, occupied the centre of the piazza.

The area rapidly became a base for market traders, an area to which foreign travelers resorted. Exotic items from around the world were carried on boats up the River Thames and sold on from Covent Garden. The first mention of a Punch and Judy show in Britain was recorded by diarist Samuel Pepys, who saw such a show in the square in May 1662. Following the Great Fire of London of 1666 which destroyed rival markets towards the east of the city, the market became the most important in the country. Today Covent Garden is the only part of London licensed for street entertainment, with performers having to undertake auditions for the Market's management and representatives of the performers' union and signing up to timetabled slots. In 1830 a grand building reminiscent of the Roman baths such as those found in Bath was built to provide a more permanent trading centre.

On 7 April 1779, the pavement outside the Covent Garden playhouse was the scene of the notorious murder of Martha Ray, mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, by her admirer the Rev. James Hackman, who was hanged twelve days later.[1]

Covent Garden was a well-known red-light district in the 18th century. The activities in Covent Garden were documented in Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, a titillating list providing the addresses of prostitutes and whore houses, as well as details of their “specialities”. During its heyday (1757 to 1795), Harris’s List was the "essential guide and accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure".[2]

Modern-day period

The exterior of Covent Garden market
The interior of Covent Garden Market
Street view down to Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market with Christmas lights at night

In 1913, responding to political feeling against large holdings of real property, and wishing to diversify his investment portfolio into less politically sensitive fields, the Duke of Bedford agreed to sell the Covent Garden Estate to the MP and land speculator Harry Mallaby-Deeley for £2 million. The following year Mallaby-Deeley sold his option to buy to the pill manufacturer Sir Joseph Beecham for £250,000. After delays caused by the First World War and the death of Sir Joseph, the sale was finalised in 1918, the purchasers being Sir Joseph's two sons, Sir Thomas and Henry. The transaction included the market, 231 other properties, and sundry other rights. The property was part of Beecham Estates and Pills Limited from 1924 to 1928 and from 1928 it was owned by a successor company called Covent Garden Properties Company Limited, owned by the Beechams and other private investors. This new company sold some properties at Covent Garden, while becoming active in property investment in other parts of London. In 1962 the bulk of the remaining properties in the Covent Garden area, including the market, were sold to the newly established government-owned Covent Garden Authority for £3,925,000.[3]

By the end of the 1960s, traffic congestion in the surrounding area had reached such a level that the use of the square as a market, which required increasingly large lorries for deliveries and distribution, was becoming unsustainable. The whole area was threatened with complete redevelopment. Following a public outcry, in 1973 the Home Secretary, Robert Carr, gave dozens of buildings around the square listed building status, preventing redevelopment. The following year the market finally moved to a new site (called the New Covent Garden Market) about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms. The square languished until its central building re-opened as a shopping centre and tourist attraction in 1980. Today the shops largely sell novelty items, though street performers can be seen almost every day of the year, both on the pitches within the market, and on the West and East Piazza's/James Street outside. More serious shoppers gravitate to Long Acre, which has a range of clothes shops and boutiques, and Neal Street, noted for its large number of shoe shops. London's Transport Museum and the side entrance to the Royal Opera House box office and other facilities are also located on the Piazza.

In August 2007, Covent Garden launched the UK's first food Night Market. Fresh produce from over 35 different stalls included Neal's Yard's specialist cheeses, Spore Boys' mushroom sandwiches, Gourmet Candy Company, Ginger Pig sausages and Burnt Sugar fudge. The aim of the Night Market was to bring Covent Garden back to its roots as the "Larder of London". Organisers are hoping to make it a permanent event in 2008 as part of a wider initiative to regenerate interest in the Covent Garden area.

Covent Garden Market and Piazza was bought by Capital and Counties in August 2006 for £421 million.[4] In March 2007 Capco also acquired the shops located under the Royal Opera House.[5] The complete Covent Garden Estate owned by Capital and Counties consists of 550,000 sq ft (51,000 m2). and has a market value of £650 million.[4]

Covent Garden Market reopened as a retail centre in 1980, after the produce market was moved to its current location in Nine Elms. Currently one of the most famous and popular parts of the covered Covent Garden market is Apple Market, a small subsection of the main market. [6] Street entertainment at Covent Garden was first mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary in 1662.[7] Today Covent Garden is the only part of London licensed for street entertainment with performers having to undertake auditions for the Market's management and representatives of the performers' union and signing up to timetabled slots.

Currently performers operate in a number of venues around the market, including the North Hall, West Piazza, and South Hall Courtyard. The courtyard space is dedicated to classical music only. There are street performances at Covent Garden Market every day of the year, except Christmas Day. Shows run throughout the day and are 30–40 minutes in length.

In March 2008, Capital and Counties proposed to reduce street performances by approximately 50%. In the Courtyard, shows currently run back to back from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm, with short breaks in between each show, allowing for two shows each hour. Under the new proposal, performances would be cut to one 30-minute show each hour. The musicians and performers staged a demonstration "busk" in the Piazza against these cuts on 27 March with the opera singer Lesley Garrett who is supporting their campaign.[8] They have organised a petition which so far has over 5,000 signatures including Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick, Vasko Vassilev, Brian Eno and Victoria Wood.

A street performer in front of the Market

Royal Opera House

The Floral Hall, now part of the Royal Opera House

In the 1960s an extension to the rear of the Royal Opera House had somewhat improved its facilities, but as time passed, it became clear that a major remodelling was needed. In 1975 the government gave adjacent land for the modernisation, refurbishment and extension of the house and, by 1995, with the availability of National Lottery money, significant funds had been raised. A major reconstruction of the building took place between 1996 and 2000, involving the demolition of almost the whole site (except for the auditorium itself), including several adjacent buildings, to make room for a major increase in the overall scale of the complex. In terms of volume, well over half of the complex is new.

The new opera house has greatly improved technical, rehearsal, office and educational facilities, a new studio theatre, the Linbury Theatre, and much more public space. The inclusion of the adjacent old Floral Hall, long a part of the old Covent Garden Market but in general disrepair for many years, into the actual opera house created a new and extensive public gathering place. The venue is now claimed by the ROH to be the most modern theatre facility in Europe.

St Paul's Church

In 2005 the path leading up to the front of St Paul's Church was given plaques similar to those in Leicester Square and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which became known as the Avenue of Stars. The plaques quickly deteriorated and only lasted a year before being removed.

Transport and locale

Location in context

Also nearby

Nearest stations

Cultural connections

The marketplace and Royal Opera House were memorably brought together in the opening of George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion, as well its musical adaptation by Alan Jay Lerner, My Fair Lady. In both, Professor Henry Higgins is waiting for a cab to take him home from the opera when he comes across Eliza Doolittle selling flowers in the market.

In the mid-1950s, before he directed such films as If.... and O Lucky Man!, Lindsay Anderson directed a short film about the daily activities of the Covent Garden market called Every Day Except Christmas. It shows 12 hours in the life of the market and market people, now long gone from the area, but it also reflects three centuries of tradition in the operation of the daily fruit and vegetable market.

Alfred Hitchcock's 1972 film, Frenzy, likewise takes place amongst the pubs and fruit markets of Covent Garden. The serial sex killer in Frenzy is a local fruit vendor, and the film features several blackly comic moments suggesting a metaphorical correlation between the consumption of food and the act of rape–murder. Hitchcock was the son of a retail greengrocer in North-East London and would have known the area, so the film was partly conceived (and marketed) as a nostalgic return to familiar streets from the director's childhood.

Streets

Neal Street

Neal Street, named after Thomas Neale (1641-1699) who designed the Seven Dials development and set up the first central postal service in the American colonies, was home to the punk club The Roxy in 1977.[9] It is the centre of a fashion-focused mid-market retailing district which caters mainly for young people.[10]

Bibliography

  • Boursnell, Clive, Covent Garden Market, London: Studio Vista, 1977, ISBN 0-289-70806-0 (mainly author's photographs of the Market activities and people)

References

External links

London/Covent Garden travel guide from Wikitravel


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to London/Covent Garden article)

From Wikitravel

Part of Covent Garden Piazza
Part of Covent Garden Piazza

Covent Garden is a district of central London.

Understand

This is one of the main shopping and entertainment districts of the English capital and is hugely popular with visitors, who swarm to its shops, bars and restaurants, especially at weekends. Covent Garden incorporates some of London's Theatreland and also forms a smaller extension to London's gay village that is centred on the neighbouring district of Soho.

Covent Garden takes its name from history; it used to be Convent Garden many years ago and over the years this has changed to Covent Garden.

This is an extensive area of high density building and narrow streets, officially bounded by High Holborn and New Oxford Street to the north, by Kingsway to the east, by The Strand to the south and by Charing Cross Road to the west. For all practical purposes, however, the district can also be seen to extend down to The Embankment along the Thames between Northumberland Avenue and Hungerford Bridge and to The Temple.

The main focus of the Covent Garden district for visitors is the Covent Garden Market Piazza. Further north, a secondary focus is Seven Dials, an intersection of seven streets, marked by a tall pillar with (you guessed it) seven (sun) dials. It is very easy for visitors to move on from here by foot to the attractions around Trafalgar and Leicester Squares, to Soho and to Bloomsbury.

Owing to the London Congestion Charge and the general shortage of parking spaces (plus stringent parking restrictions and fines), it is generally recommended that visitors to the area consider public transport to access the district.

By tube

This district is well served by the following tube stations:

  • Covent Garden (Piccadilly line). Exiting Covent Garden Tube Station, turn right (southwards, downhill) to walk to the Piazza, or turn left (northwards) to find the main shopping areas of Long Acre, Neal Street and also Seven Dials.
  • Leicester Square (Piccadilly and Northern lines). The distance between Leicester Square and Covent Garden stations on the Piccadilly line is the shortest on the whole London tube network.
  • Holborn Station (Piccadilly and Central lines).
  • Tottenham Court Road Station (Northern and Central lines).
  • Embankment Station (District and Northern lines).
  • Charing Cross Station (Jubilee and Northern lines).
  • Charing Cross mainline station services the south-eastern region of England.
  • Charing Cross and Charing Cross Station. Old train station with an enormous office and shopping complex in glass and pale stone.  edit
  • Covent Garden Piazza and Central Market, (tube: Covent Garden). Covent Garden is a covered shopping mall with shops predominantly selling clothing, but also gifts and cosmetics. There is a popular pub, The Punch and Judy Tavern at the western end, with a large balcony overlooking a square where street entertainers perform. At the eastern end, the corresponding balcony is occupied by Chez Gerard, a restaurant selling relatively-expensive but good continental cuisine. In the central area of Covent Garden is The Apple Market, a small market of handicraft stalls (Tu-Su) or antiques stalls (Mo), 10:30AM-7:30PM. Most shops are open 10AM-7PM daily, but may close earlier on Su. Classical musicians will often busk in the lower level of Covent Garden, including extremely talented opera singers.  edit
  • Seven Dials, (tube: Covent Garden). An intersection of seven streets in the northern part of the Covent Garden district. Lots of of mid-range designer clothing and shoe stores  edit
  • St. Paul's Church, Bedford St WC2 (tube: Covent Garden. At the western end of the Piazza). Completed in 1633 to a design by Inigo Jones.  edit
  • Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven St WC2N 5NF (tube: Charing Cross), +44 20 7839 2006, [1]. The only remaining home of Benjamin Franklin in the world. The founding father of the United States lived here from 1757 to 1775. Many exhibits charting his life and achievements as well as original artefacts. A special Historical Experience Show runs at noon, 1PM, 2PM, 3.15PM and 4.15PM We-Sunday all year round. £7, under 16s free..  edit
  • London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7565 7299, [2]. As the name suggests, dedicated to the history of transport in London, past, present and future, old buses and tubes feature in a big way. £5.95, concessions £4.50/2.50, accompanied children under 16 free.  edit
  • Photographers' Gallery, 5 & 8 Great Newport St (tube: Leicester Square), +44 20 7831 1772, [3]. M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Th 11AM-8PM, Su noon-6PM. The gallery is actually split across two galleries, No. 8 houses the main exhibition and an interesting little bookshop (with a small stock of novelty lomo cameras), and No. 5 has a small cafe with more photos on the walls. The exhibitions are wide and varied, from documentary photographers to fine artists, some long gone, and some on their way up. With the crowds and chaos of Leicester Square on one side and Covent Garden on the other, this is a welcome retreat. Free.  edit

Do

Theatres

Along with neighbouring London/Leicester Square, this is the capital of London's theatreland. For current programmes please check the relevant theatre website or the official London theatreland listings here [4]. Budget travellers should look for last minute bookings and off-peak performances.

Most of the booking office numbers given will only work from within the United Kingdom. If you want to make a booking from overseas, use the relevant website.

  • Adelphi Theatre, Strand, WC2E 7NA, +44 0844 412 4651, [5].  edit
  • Aldwych Theatre, Aldwych, WC2B 4DF, [6].  edit
  • Ambassador's Theatre, West St, WC2H 9ND, +44 0844 8112 334, [7].  edit
  • Cambridge Theatre, Earlham St, WC2H 9HU, +44 0844 412 4652, [8].  edit
  • Donmar Warehouse, Earlham St, WC2H 9LX, +44 0844 871 7624, [9].  edit
  • Drury Lane Theatre Royal, Catherine St, WC2B 5JF, +44 0870 890 6002, [10].  edit
  • Duke of York's Theatre, St. Martin's Ln, WC2N 4BG, +44 0870 060 6623, [11].  edit
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
  • New London Theatre, Drury Ln, WC2B 5PW, +44 0844 412 4654, [12].  edit
  • Noel Coward Theatre (The Albery), St. Martin's Ln, WC2N 4AA, +44 0870 950 0920, [13].  edit
  • Novello Theatre, Aldwych, WC2B 4LD, +44 0870 950 0935, [14].  edit
  • Savoy Theatre, Strand, WC2R 0ET, +44 0870 164 8787, [15].  edit
  • Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Ave, WC2H 8DP, [16].  edit
  • St Martin's Theatre, West St, WC2H 9NZ, +44 0844 499 1515, [17]. The theatre which has been showing The Mousetrap continuously for the past 58 years!  edit
  • English National Opera, London Colliseum, St. Martin's Ln, WC2N 4ES (tube: Covent Garden), +44 871 911 0200 (), [18]. A little easier to get tickets here than it is at the Royal Opera House but still difficult for the most notable productions. Look for last minute availability and and off peak performances.  edit
  • Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7240 1200, [19]. One of the world's great Opera venues. Peak time tickets are like gold dust and it is very unlikely that a casual visitor will be able to obtain one. However, tickets are sometimes available for off peak (especially lunchtime) performances and can be surprisingly affordable. Check the website or at London ticket agencies.  edit

Buy

Shoes are a speciality of Covent Garden, particularly in Neal Street where virtually every shop sells shoes, from Birkenstocks to trainers, campers to Doc Martens.

Like its neighbour Soho, Covent Garden has a wide range of clothing shops. Head to Floral Street and Long Acre for a start, but explore the back-streets too as they often house more interesting stores. If you are on a budget, head to Earlham Street for occasional clothing stalls and Oxfam Originals.

  • The Australia Shop, [20]. M-F 10:30AM-6:30PM, Sa 11AM-6:30PM, Su 11AM-5:30PM. Provides antipodean visitors with a taste of home, albeit at London prices.  edit
  • Ben's Cookies, 13a The Piazza (Inside the Covent Garden Market), +44 20 7240 6123, [21]. M-F 7:30AM-7PM, Sa 9:30AM-6:30PM, Su 10:30AM-6:30PM, bank holidays 10AM-6PM. Very nice cookies. Try their white chocolate with macadamia cookies. Price is about £1 per cookie, and the cookies here are almost twice as big as those at Millie's. They also have branches at 12 Kensington Arcade, Kensington High St; at 39 Leadenhall Market; and at 9 Pelham St, South Kensington.  edit
  • Monmouth Coffee, Monmouth St (Near Seven Dials). Arguably the best coffee in London. Primarily a venue for quality coffee roasters, the shop on Monmouth street has a tasting room, i.e. a café, where you can marvel at the fact that not everywhere in London sells poor chain-café coffee. A selection of goodies such as croissants, pastries, and brownies are also available. As you would expect of a roasters you can also purchase excellent coffee in bean form or ground, with various blends to suit your taste. Helpful and knowledgeable staff can help you make a selection.  edit
  • Neal's Yard Dairy, 11 Shorts Gardens WC2H 9AT (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7240 5700, [22]. M-Th 11AM-6:30PM, F Sa 10AM-6:30PM. A fabulous cheese shop specialising in British cheeses. The smell as you walk up the street can be enticing or repulsive, depending on your preference for fragrant cheese. But regardless, a trip to this shop is well worthwhile. Whether they are busy or not, the staff are always keen to have you taste a few cheeses to ensure you find what you are looking for. Everyone here is passionate about their cheese, and while the prices are higher than you will pay pretty much anywhere else in the world for cheese, the quality and taste are second to none.  edit
  • The New Zealand Shop, 27 Maiden Ln, [23]. M-F 10:30AM-6:30PM, Sa 11AM-6:30PM, Su 11AM-5:30PM. Provides antipodean visitors with a taste of home, albeit at London prices.  edit
  • Stanfords, 12-14 Long Acre WC2E 9LP (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7836 1321, [24]. M-F 9AM-7:30PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su noon-6PM. This is the flagship store of the world's largest map retailer. They have been been selling maps and travel guidebooks of all descriptions from this location since 1901. With three floors of regional maps, walking maps, guidebooks, travel books, a digital mapping service and more this is a huge store that is interesting even if you do not intend to buy anything.  edit
  • Thomas Neal's, 29-41 Earlham St. A nice shopping plaza with clothes shops, design shops and cafes.  edit
  • The George, 213 The Strand, +44 20 7353 9638. Established in 1723, not much of the decor has changed in this traditional English pub, where you can order happily inexpensive, tasty food.  edit
  • Primrose Bakery, 42 Tavistock St, +44 20 7836 3638, [25]. You can get possibly the best cupcakes in London here. They have an impressive clientele that includes U2 and Kate Moss. They also supply Selfridges food hall, Fortnum & Mason and Libertys, where the prices are MUCH higher (£1 more in Fortnum & Mason). They have another branch at 69 Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill. Try their chocolate on chocolate cupcake with cherry filling. Prices start from £1.75 for a regular cupcake.  edit
  • Brown's, 82-84 St. Martin's Ln, +44 20 7497 5050. Always buzzing, this popular restaurant is frequented by hip (often single) clientele, who are served by attentive staff. Meals are good, the braised lamb shank is especially tasty.  edit
  • Cafe des Amis (Cafe des Amis du Vin), 11-15 Hanover Place WC2E 9JF (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7379 3444, [26]. Brasserie and wine bar wihch has been around for a long time in a highly competitive environment. Excellent, uncomplicated French food. The set menus are very good value for the quality of food served.  edit
  • Food For Thought, Neal St, WC2. Tasty range of choices for vegetarians and vegans.  edit
  • Maison Malinowski Brasserie, 63 Neal St. Serves really delicious crêpes among other things. Perfect for a break while shopping!  edit
  • Paul's Bakery, 29/30 Bedford St, +44 20 7836 3304. M-F 7:30AM-9PM, Sa Su 9AM-9PM. A French favourite, now in London, Paul's serves coffee and teas together fine French pastries, tarts, cakes and breads for savouring on or off the premises. Light snacks, lunches and dinners are also catered for, at prices a little higher than your average café (but reasonable for the touristy Covent Garden), somewhat less than a restaurant.  edit
  • Cafe Pacifico, 5 Langley St, +44 20 7379 7728. M-Sa noon-11:45PM, Su noon-10:45PM. London's original Mexican Cantina, serving all your typical Mexican food along with a good range of margaritas and tequila.  edit
  • La Perla, 28 Maiden Ln, +44 20 7240 7400. M-Sa noon-11:30PM, Su 4PM-10:30PM. Another of Cafe Pacifico's venues, this one is slightly smaller with more of a bar feeling.  edit
  • Scoop Fine Italian Gelato, 40 Shorts Gardens, +44 07944779693, [27]. This place is popular among the university students in London. Come here for some genuine Italian gelato or coffee and cake. Try their hazelnut gelato, which is simply amazing. For a large cup the price is around £3.60.  edit
  • The Ivy, 1 West St (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7836 4751. Wining and dining rooms of celebrities, the actual difficulty in getting a table these days gives the restaurant slightly more kudos as an eatery than it deserves. Cosy and intimate, serving traditional but diverse restaurant meals. Competent cooking and reasonably good service, but not worth waiting 6 months for. Unless you are an avid star-gazer, go at a time when celebs are unlikely to be around. Average price £40.  edit
  • Joe Allen, 13 Exeter Street, WC2E 7DT (tube: Covent Garden), +44 20 7836 0651 (), [28]. Legendary informal bistro which is incredibly hard to find for the first time - look for the dark, discrete door with a simple plaque on it on the north side of Exeter St. Food is a take on American style grilled fare using the very highest quality ingredients. Steaks amd chops are superb. Favoured by lots of celebs and booking essential, especially pre- and post theatre.  edit
  • The Intrepid Fox, St Giles High St (Next to Centrepoint). The best rock and metal pub in London.  edit
  • Porterhouse, 21-22 Maiden Ln, +44 20 7379 7917, [29]. A modern pub split across multiple levels connected by narrow staircases and walkways, with a selection of over 100 bottled beers from around the world.  edit
  • The Salisbury, St. Martin's Ln. Beautifully preserved Victorian pub. Full of mirrors and lights, cut glass and mahogany, this place is nothing like the dark and dingy pubs that are all too common in London.  edit
  • Waxy's O'Connor's, 14-16 Rupert St, W1D 6DD. Irish themed pub with a fibreglass tree inside it. It is almost invariably unbearably crowded. The smaller Waxy's Little Sister opposite it, however, is generally quieter and more relaxed.  edit
  • Box, 32-34 Monmouth St (At the Seven Dials), +44 20 7240 5828. A trendy gay bar.  edit
  • Rum Bar, 45 St. Martin's Ln, +44 20 7300 5588, [30]. Asia de Cuba, the trendy restaurant located inside the St. Martin's Lane Hotel, also houses the stylish Rum Bar. With tall, 'lean-on' tables designed by Phillipe Starck and a meticulously designed interior this is a great place to meet for a cocktails before or after heading out for an evening.  edit
  • Light, 45 St. Martin's Ln, +44 20 7300 5599, [31]. Stylish, ultra modern space inside the St. Martin’s Lane Hotel. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, many of London's most popular D.J.'s are featured.  edit
  • Kudos, 10 Adelaide St, WC2N 4HZ (off Trafalgar Sq), [32]. Bar popular with Asian guys and their admirers.  edit
  • Fielding Hotel, 4 Broad Ct W2B 5QZ, +44 20 7836 8305, [33]. No frills hotel located right opposite the Royal Opera House. From £90.  edit
  • Strand Palace Hotel, 372 Strand, WC2R 0JJ, +44 20 7379 4737, [34]. Good value hotel in a convenient locatino for Covent Garden theatres and shopping From £65.  edit
  • Travel Lodge Covent Garden, 10 Drury Ln, WC2B 5RE, +44 0871 984 6245, [35]. Popular hotel with visitors and decent value for the area. Convenient for Covent Garden theatres and shopping From £135.  edit
  • The Savoy, The Strand, +44 20 7836 4343, [36]. The famed Savoy is located on The Strand in the heart of the West End theatre district, offering magnificent views of the river Thames. The Savoy opened in 1889 and remains a popular destination in London. The hotel boasts 263 rooms and suites, a nifty blend of elegance and contemporary design. Inventive cuisine can be enjoyed in the Savoy Grill and the more informal Banquette. The theatres, opera, ballet and shopping of Covent Garden are located nearby.  edit
  • St Martins Lane, 45 St. Martin's Ln, +44 20 7300 5500, [37]. Ian Schrager (he of Studio 54 fame) is known worldwide for being an innovator in the ‘hip’ hotel business. His first foray into London, St Martins Lane, is a playful and urbane destination in the West End theater district off Trafalgar Square that combines urban cool and modern design (via design guru Philippe Starck). Unique features to this trendy-meets-luxury hotel include Asia de Cuba restaurant, the popular Light Bar and interactive light displays in every guest room that encourage guests to personalize their own individual space.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

COVENT GARDEN, formerly an open space north of the Strand, London, England, now occupied by the principal flower, fruit and vegetable market in the metropolis. This was originally the so-called "convent garden" belonging to the abbey of St Peter, Westminster. In the first half of the 17th century the site of the garden was laid out as a square by Inigo Jones, with a piazza on two sides; and as early as 1656 it was becoming a market place for the same commodities as are now sold in it. Covent Garden Theatre (1858) is the chief seat of grand opera in London. The site has carried a theatre since 1733, but earlier buildings were burnt in 1809 and 1856.


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Simple English

Covent Garden is a district in London, England. It is just to the east of the West End (the most famous shopping area). The famous central square of Covent Garden used to be a market for fruit and vegetables. Nowadays it is full of small shops for tourists. The Royal Opera House is often called "Covent Garden". The opera house stands on the north-east side of the square.









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