How to Spend 24 Hours in Covent Garden

Covent Garden, London
Covent Garden, London | © David Mcconaghy / © Culture Trip

Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor

Situated in the heart of London, Covent Garden is a shopping and theatre district popular with locals and tourists alike. The site of a thriving market since the 17th century, the area is now home to street performers, designer stores and some of the West End’s best entertainment. This is our guide to 24 hours in the area.

Start in Covent Garden Piazza

Kick off your day at the pedestrianised cobblestone square of Covent Garden Piazza, where talented street performers can be found entertaining the crowds. Take in the handsome columns of St Paul’s Church, dominating the western side of the square, before heading into the Market Building opposite. Built in 1830 to house the food and flower traders who had established a popular trade in the area, the Neoclassical building is the heart of Covent Garden today, filled with food and craft stalls as well as high-end boutiques.

Covent Garden Market Square, London

Peruse independent and big-name shops

Paul Smith Shop signs, Floral Street, Covent Garden

Appreciate the arts at the Royal Opera House

Fans of the arts can’t miss London’s Royal Opera House, taking up a corner of the Covent Garden Piazza (though the main entrance can be found on nearby Bow Street). The world-class theatre is home to the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera and the ROH Orchestra. Tickets for guided backstage tours and Royal Opera and Royal Ballet performances need to be booked in advance, but the building itself is open during the day to the general public. The Paul Hamlyn Champagne Bar, inside the Opera House, is the perfect spot to enjoy a midday refreshment and soak up the regal atmosphere.

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden

Lunch on traditional British fare

For lunch, head to the trendy but sophisticated Holborn Dining Room for traditional British cuisine with a twist. Complete your afternoon with a pint at The Lamb & Flag, a historic 18th-century pub that was a favourite watering hole of Charles Dickens. If you’re in the mood for something more upscale, go celeb-spotting at The Ivy, a London institution favoured by A-list clientele and theatre-goers.

The Ivy restaurant and St. Martin’s theatre, Covent Garden

Visit the London Transport Museum

The London Transport Museum offers a fascinating insight into the history of London’s public transport system, one of the oldest in the world, and its link to the city’s growth and cultural development. Children get free admission, and adult tickets are £16 when purchased online in advance.

The London Transport Museum, England

Discover St Martin’s Courtyard, Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials

Stroll through St Martin’s Courtyard, a beautifully-designed, open-air shopping lane, and then head down Neal Street and turn into Shorts Gardens to discover Neal’s Yard – a brightly-coloured, tucked-away courtyard with shops and restaurants. Pop into the original Neal’s Yard Dairy for tasty cheeses, and Neal’s Yard Remedies for organic skincare.

Head up the road to Seven Dials, a historic intersection of seven streets. Each spoke of the dial offers its own charms, from quirky jeweller Tatty Devine, unusual shoes at Poste Mistress, sweet treats at Cybercandy, sci-fi megastore Forbidden Planet and the Moomin Shop. Finish the day at The Barbary, one of our top London restaurants, with a stunning menu that reflects the former Barbary Coast (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia).

Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article