Covent Garden is the theatreland of London, booming with more performances and theatric shows like no other place in London. The affluent region has had many faces throughout the years, serving as a green centric area, home to 16th century Londoners, and a huge tourist attraction.
Many Londoners know what Covent Garden is all about, but if you are new to the city, then this is a must-visit region. Whether you are looking for a yummy eatery, a jaw-dropping burlesque show, lovely marketplaces, or world class cocktails, Covent Garden has you covered.
With a rich history and many attractions, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the plethora of destinations. This quick guide aims to give you the best things to do in Covent Garden, from the museums, markets, London’s oldest restaurant, and lovely speakeasies.
Best Things to do in Covent Garden
London Transport Museum
- Address: Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB
- Tickets: £21 annual passes for adults, kids’ entry is free
- Things to do: learn of London’s history, look at cool artefacts, learn of
London’s transport history is documented greatly in London Transport Museum. Not only will you know of London’s ancient underground network but also about the magnificent steam engine trains that gave rise to the industrial revolution.
It is the world’s most visited urban transportation museum, with more than 500,000 pieces, including vehicles, railway systems, and posters. Exhibitions include artefacts from as early as the 1800s, all of which have backstories portraying the day’s culture and economics.
A few of the prominent galleries include the Legacies made of London’s transport Caribbean workforce, the five-star Tube station exhibition, 19th-century transportation in London, the first underground railway in London installation, and documentation on London’s population and transportation growth.
Expect to go around the Transport Museum for at least two hours. The doors open every day from 10 am to 6 pm but remember the last entry is at 5 pm. A canteen on the premises serves quick snacks and refreshments between 11 am and 5 pm.
Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition (former London Film Museum)
- Address: 45 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BN
- Tickets: £20 for adults and £14 for children
- Things to do: take lots of pictures, buy some merchandise
It would be a miss, not to mention one of the most precious exhibitions of all time in London, the Bond in Motion. The museum section in London Film Museum, now the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition, used to house vehicles and props (originals) from all the James Bond movies.
The exhibition was closed after the 2020 pandemic and replaced with Harry Potter-themed memorabilia that has been a favourite for families and young kids. Even though the rare collection of cars isn’t there, the magical filmmaking of the Harry Potter series has taken over with lots of merchandise, art exhibitions, and guest appearances.
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- Address: Seven Dials, Covent Garden, London WC2H
- Tickets: Free entry, each shop with select prices
- Things to do: visit a pub, restaurant, or café, take lots of pictures, relax in the plush greenery
If the greenery on the exterior does not attract you, then the nice play on colours will have you captivated in no time.
Neil’s Yard is a collection of bars, cafes, restaurants, and many colourful shops that are so pretty and bright you would be forgiven for calling it heaven. Located next to the Seven Dials district, the area is just a few minutes from the underground station, where lots of youths go for their Instagram-worthy pics.
If you need some self-care, then Neal’s Yard Remedies and Hair by Fairy products will have your skin shining in no time. Have a seat at the cute cafes, catch up with friends in the serene ambience, and remember to take tons of pictures.
- Address: Street in Covent Garden, less than 5 minutes from Charing Cross and Leicester Square
- Things to do: buy books, search for first editions, bask in the serene ambience of the cute street.
Cecil Court is a quaint little street that has a lot to offer. Do not be surprised if you end up spending hours roaming around.
According to London’s bookworms, it is legendarily known as the Bookseller’s Row. It is an ideal location if you are searching for your next good read. The 20 bookshops serve second-hand materials and original classics in a peaceful environment away from the city’s hustle.
Collector’s copies are plenty, and so are maps, banknotes, and first editions. Cecil Court dates back to the 17th Century, with a fire incident almost bringing it down in 1735 before it was rebuilt in 1764. It was the first filmmakers’ paradise before the 20th Century when booksellers swarmed the area and made it what it is today.
Royal Opera House
- Address: Bow Street, London WC2E 9DD
- Tickets: Start at £25 for adults 16-25 years of age
- Things to do: performing arts events, opera, and ballet
The Royal Opera House is where you will find the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet. It is also the home of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. The performing arts district is well decorated with this magnificent building adorned with Piazzotta’s statue, the Young Dancer.
ROH has undergone many renovations and changes, with the current building being the third theatre on the same site. The best facilities to visit when visiting are the Paul Hamlyn Hall, Linbury Studio Theatre, and the High House Production Park, used for operas and ballets.
- Address: Jubilee Market, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8BD
- Tickets: Free entry, each shop with select prices
- Things to do: shop for art, antiques, general market goods
Covent Garden is known for its markets, and Jubilee is one of its main attractions at the heart of Covent. It is filled with various stalls, shops for collectables & antiques, arts & crafts sections, and numerous food outlets for international cuisines and good old-fashioned ice cream.
The general market is where you will get your gift cards and souvenirs, while the art market is full of creative traders selling hand-painted goods. Jewellery and paintings are in plenty, and you are bound to find the best antique professionals here selling collectables from the Victorian Georgian and Edwardian eras.
- Address: The Apple Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RF
- Things to do: take pictures, shop for antiques and art
The Apple Market started as a vegetable and fruit market but has grown to include loads of other goods, from prints to crafts and handmade jewellery. It is open every day of the week from 10 am to 6 pm except on Sundays when it opens late at 12 pm.
Buy imprinted crafts from the Metal Sign Co. or hand-painted prints at the market entrance. Take a look at the antique stalls situated in every corner and take a picture of the sizeable carving of 19th Century traders surrounded by farm products and handcrafted baskets.
Seven Dials Market
- Address: Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LX
- Things to do: eat and drink
Seven Dials area was founded during the late 1690s by Thomas Neale, organizer of the first lottery in England (lotteries in the Venetian Style). Thomas established the foundation on which multiple houses were built, catering mainly to respectable people like tradesmen and lawyers.
The street gets its name from the six sundials and centre sundial pillar installation that Edward Pierce built.
Today, Seven Dials Market is a hot spot made of various pubs and cool food courts in London. It is a creation of KERB aiming to improve food creation, diversity, and flavour in London’s streets.
- Address: 35 Malden Lane, London WC2E 7LB
- Things to do: eat, drink, take lots of pictures
It is not every day you dine in the oldest restaurant in London. The five-star restaurant was established by Thomas Rule back in 1798 when London was in its infancy. It is popular among the locals and boasts as one of the few Michelin Star restaurants in Covent Garden.
As a UK staple, you can expect to find all the best of traditional British dishes, but it is important to note it used to be an oyster bar when it opened. The Winter Garden Cocktail bar is located upstairs, where elegant drinking finds a relaxing hidden gem prominently visited by the likes of Edward VII and Lillie Langtry.
- Address: The Strand, Covent Garden, London WC2R 1LA
- Things to do: open-air cinema, skating rink, attend events, visit the gallery
The Somerset house has its roots back in 1776 and currently acts as a great venue for hosting magical shows and world-class events. Some of the most anticipated shows include the Horror Show, which exhibits London’s cultural heritage and vision.
Every year, there is also a contemporary art fair showcasing various artefacts from different cultures. Visit the Somerset House studios, where artists and thinkers converge to share ideas and experiment with their visions.
Somerset House is dedicated to spreading London’s art history and creativity through social and artistic innovations. Go in to escape the mundane routines of the day and immerse yourself in a high-energy and effectively creative atmosphere.
- Address: 2 Floral Court, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9FB
- Things to do: feast on signature Italian delicacies
Petersham is an eclectic a la carte Italian restaurant with an Autumn tasting menu starting from £102.15 per person. Get ready to feast on dishes well presented with an exquisite plot for each meal.
Enter the Floral Court to dine in an al fresco fashion during the summer and spring. The oasis is well decorated with impressive overhanging chandeliers, greenery in each corner, and elegant décor with walls adorned with impressive art pieces and paintings.
Covent Garden Infinity Chamber
- Address: Conduit Ct, London WC2E 9LD
- Tickets: Free Entrance
- Things to do: take lots of pictures
The Infinity Chamber in the Conduit Garden was created to encourage passersby to partake in the restorative colour therapy the venue is built around. It is a chamber that will take five minutes to walk through, filled with many LED bulbs on the walls.
Colour shows range from impressive rainbow shows to bright white illuminations that make for a great Instagram-worthy shot. It is a beautiful venue to visit with your loved ones. Moreover, entrance to the chamber is free every day of the week from morning to afternoon.
St Paul’s Church
- Address: Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9ED
- Tickets: Free Entrance
- Things to do: take lots of pictures and visit memorials
Did you know that St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden has memorials in memory of Sir Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Holloway, Richard Greene, and Ivor Novello. It is a 17th Century Chapel that is famously known as ‘the actor’s chapel’ due to its many connections to the theatre groups.
The church is also considered an archaeological exercise because of its décor, rich history, and prominent events held in the venue. Visit the Covent Garden Sinfonia orchestra located in the church to see their world-class performances.
K2 Telephone Boxes
- Address: All around Covent Garden
- Things to do: take lots of pictures and learn about London’s telephone booth history.
The K2 Telephone boxes are no longer used by most Londoners but were very popular in the mid-1900s. It is estimated that there are over 20,000 working telephone boxes today, but only 1500 K2 boxes were ever made in history.
Even though you won’t want to use the K2 boxes, you are free to walk around Covent Garden to find a functional booth. Take many pictures in the once-popular communication beacons and marvel at the technological advancements made since 1924.
Covent Garden Academy of Flowers
- Address: Symes House High Street, Chipping Campden, GL55 6HB
- Things to do: learn about floristry
It is no surprise that the greenery-centric region of London is home to the Academy of Flowers, where thousands of students have been taught the art of floristry.
Founded in 2010 by mother and daughter, the establishment has thrived in promoting flowers and creativity in the Covent Garden flower market. Whether you want to learn how to grow and take care of flowers or marvel at the many species, the Academy of Flowers is a must-visit for first-time visitors in Covent.
- Address: 7 Mercer, Walk, London WC2H 9FA
- Things to do: buy maps, charts, and travel books
Established in 1853, Stanford’s has served London as the leading place to go for maps and travel books. It is a bookshop open every weekday from 9 am to 6 pm, 7 pm at the latest.
It was named after Edward Stanford, who specialized in collecting useful maps, maritime charts, and globes. Today, it is regarded as the world’s largest collection of rare items. One great fact about Stanford’s is that it was a key player in the supply of cartography to the James Bond movies and the British Armed Forces.
Bryars and Bryars – Antique Maps
- Address: 7 Cecil Court, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4EZ
- Things to do: buy travel books and first editions
An alternative to maps and books is Bryars and Bryars at Cecil Court. The main focus of the bookstore is travel books, most of which are first editions and rare gems in London. They also have a great collection of early printings in Greek & Latin, as well as literature classics dating back to the 1500s.
Find Bryars and Bryars between St Martin’s Lane and Charing Cross Road. Tim and Pinda Bryars run it with a lot of experience dealing in collectables and old paper. Feel free to go through their blogs on the website for new items and interesting facts about what they have in store.
Top Secret Comedy Club
- Address: 170 Drury Lane Covent Garden, London WC2B
- Tickets: starts £1 for adults
- Things to do: watch comedy shows
Main shows at the Top Secret Comedy Club air from 8 pm every Sunday through Thursday. As you can guess, there is nothing so secret about the club since it is one of the most famous comedy show venues in London.
The best standup comedians in London have graced the underground bunker space to try out their new sketches. Pints are in plenty at the bar from £3, and you can get wine or spirits for the same price. Despite the low prices, the most impressive part about the club is you can enter the venue with any amount you cap par from Sunday to Wednesday.
- Address: Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JF
- Tickets: from £20 for regular shows
- Things to do: catch a Frozen Show or concert
This West End theatre is famously referred to as The Lane and is the fourth reincarnation of the 17th-century theatre built at the same site. The First theatre of the same name was established in 1663 but was later replaced by another in 1674, followed by a 1794 theatre and the current modern one in 1812.
Able to seat more than 2,000 guests, the Theatre Royal has established itself as a hallmark for London theatre with shows like Frozen the Musical from Disney and concerts featuring famous musicians, comedians, and dancers.
Donmar Warehouse – drama
- Address: 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London WC2H 9LX
- Tickets: start at £10 – £65, depending on the show
- Things to do: performing arts
Donmar Warehouse is a smaller theatre than most performing arts venues in Covent Garden. It has 251 seats and serves mainly as a non-profit theatre.
The thrust stage is enchanting, giving the guests three sides to view the performances. Donmar Warehouse is the place to be if you are searching for an intimate activity with your loved one close to the Cambridge Theatre or Phoneix Theatre.
Since it is a non-profit, shows at Donmar Warehouse rely a lot on donations, and you can check out their website if you want to support them. Also, please remember that most of the tickets sell on select dates only because members have priority bookings.
- Address: 167 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PG
- Things to do: enjoy the nightlife, karaoke, and burlesque shows
There are many restaurants to visit in Covent Garden, most of which bring you impressive brunches, burlesque shows, happy hours, and signature cocktails. However, few have set themselves apart, like the Italian Restaurant Bunga Bunga.
If you are in for a wild ladies’ night filled with lots of nightlife and karaoke, then Bunga Bunga is not a miss. The bar & restaurant is known for its shows, from Wednesday pizza-making parties, brunches on Saturday afternoon, karaoke Thursday – Saturday nights, and the new Secret Supper Club shows on Thursday and Friday.
The Secret Supper Club is hosted by the Don of Bunga Bunga, bringing you a crowd-pleasing immersive singing dinner show in the underground space. It is all singing all night so prepare your vocals because you won’t stop singing once the drinks start flowing.
- Address: 20 Benford Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9HP
- Things to do: bottomless brunch, disco brunch, and lots of wild parties
When it comes to wild parties, there is no better place to visit than Blame Gloria. The sway bar & restaurant is a cocktail den known for its extensive list of cocktails and upbeat ambience, well paired with its captivating décor.
The live music will pull you in, and the warm lighting will keep you asking for more. The order of the day is cool vibes and endless drinks for party lovers. Get to know Gloria, after whom the den is named, a legendary figure who had the best legs in Soho and is rumoured to have dated Hendrix and thrown wild parties back in the day.
Also Read: Best Bars in Covent Garden
- Address: 35 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9LD
- Things to do: take pictures of the amazing décor, drink signature cocktails, socialize
The Escapologist cocktail & wine bar is a site to behold. Not only does it offer competitive cocktails, but it also has an immersive décor with colourful lights, shimmering graffiti, blinding neon lights, and captivating paintings.
It delivers what it offers, an escape from the London city escapades by drowning in an atmosphere decorated as an escape den.
Eating and Drinking in Covent Garden
As you can already tell, Covent Garden is easily the party state of London. Filled with lots of cocktail bars and world-class wine dens, Covent has a lot to offer in terms of dining and partying.
Visit the Covent Garden Social Club if you want a more upbeat partying environment but head over to Hawksmore for a great combo of cocktails and steaks. Milk Train is the place for cold-shivering ice cream, but Café Pacifico got you covered when you want tacos alongside margaritas.
Ping Pong brings a great selection of tempting meals for dim sum lovers with famous cocktail accompaniments. Head over to Oystermen for the best oysters in town but stop by at Mabel’s during the weekend for crowded bottomless brunches.
How Do I Spend a Day in Covent Garden?
With your stomach full and thirst quenched, you will find it extremely fun to partake in one of the many city’s self-guided Street Walking Tours that take you through the many markets, museum roads, theatres, and hidden gems.
What is Covent Garden known for?
Covent Garden is known for its many dining venues, world-class nightlife, theatres, opera houses, and impressive collection of markets and shopping destinations.
Why Is Covent Garden a Popular Place for Tourists?
Covent Garden is part of London’s West End, known for its artistic performances, museums, and crowd-shuttering shows. It is home to the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and the oldest Restaurant in London, Rules.