Covent Garden is frequently used as shorthand for the Royal Opera House, which has been located in Covent Garden since the first of its three buildings was constructed in the 1730s. The current structure has been standing since the 1850s, when the second fire to ravage the Opera House destroyed its second building. This structure is home to the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet and the Orchestra (of the Royal Opera), which marks a radical change from its original usage as a theatre for plays. Although the neo-classical façade now on display is the basic core of the building that was erected in the 1850s, the Royal Opera House was comprehensively renovated in the 1990s, allowing for improvements in acoustics and presentation requirements, as well as expansion into adjacent buildings. As a result, the original façade is complemented by some modern architecture, as well as Belle Époque-style additions that were maintained when it moved into sections of the Convent Garden markets.
The use of the term Covent Garden can sometimes be confusing. This confusion largely stems from the fact that the name refers to two different attraction: the market area and the Royal Opera House (well, maybe three: the subway station too). Covent Garden takes its name from the fact that the fields in this location were walled off and gifted to Westminster Abbey in the 13th century. In the 16th century, they were seized by Henry VIII and transferred to the Earls of Bedford. The Earls built London’s first Italianate plaza here in the latter part of the 16th century and the early 17th century, and it was, like Soho, an area intended to attract London’s wealthier residents. The area fell into disrupt soon after it was developed, and attracted quite the opposite of the hoped-for tenants. This situation remained until the early 19th century, when Parliament decided to bring the seedier activities under control and funded the construction of neo-classical market building that stands in the centre of the Plaza. This plan worked, and soon other respectable businesses flocked to Covent Garden. It became so busy that the main market had to be moved to New Covent Market, and today Covent Garden is largely a tourist area that attracts street performers, out-of-town visitors and Londoners looking to enjoy the specialty and artisanal stalls in the hall and to spend a bit of time outdoors before heading to the nearby cultural attractions. Covent Garden can still get quite busy, especially on the weekends, but luckily its pedestrian traffic, and quite conducive to enjoying oneself outside.
St. Paul's Church was built in 1631 for the parish of Covent Garden and soon was known as the actor's church because of the theatres that were found in the community. The Earl of Bedford demolished buildings in the area and the first formal square in London was known as Covent Garden Piazza with St. Paul's Church attributed to Inigo Jones, the first church built in London after the Reformation. The church was renovated several times and Margaret Ponteous, the first victim of plague was buried there in April 1665. The Orchestra of St. Paul's is resident at the church but performs throughout England.
Since 1654 Covent Garden was the market to buy fruit and flowers but now it caters mainly to the tourist trade, with cafes, pubs and shops selling tourist trash, but the building itself is worth a look at.
It is quite interesting to visit during the Xmas season as it is decorated with lights and there is even a Xmas tree made completely of Jack Daniels wooden barrels, a gift from the people of Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Covent Garden is a district in the administrative area of London City of Westminster, Greater London.
Here is also the shopping and entertainment area Covent Garden Market often associated with, which is near the entrance of the Royal Opera House.
One of the many homeless of London. Covent Garden. Thampton street (a side street off Strand Street).
The nearest metro stations are 'Covent Garden' and 'Leicester Square'.
My latest visit to this place is in late November 2009, and about 4 weeks before Christmas. Covent Garden is experiencing a festive mood. Crowds too seem to be getting into the same mood. Not that this place isn't merry on other weekends of the year but it is even more merrier when the year is ending and the holiday mood is setting in. If you are in London at year end please dont miss the opportunity to visit Covent Garden Market, especially on the weekends.
Covent Garden Market is at the West End. This is the most famous market in the whole of England and offers several markets such as Apple Market (where traders sell many collectible items), Jubilee Market (selling antiques) and Covent Garden Market, selling fashions, gifts, toys, cigar and much more.
To get a taste of London go to: Covent Garden, Leceister Square, take a walk near the Thames, Natural History museum, Madame Tussauds, Science museum, Tate Modern Art Gallery, Hyde Park, Regent Street, Oxford Circus
Outside of central London try Richmond and Kew Gardens
Interesting towns nearby - Guildford
This picture shows the Apple Market housed within Covent Garden. It has many colourful stalls, selling handicrafts, specialised gifts, too many here to mention. There are small shops around the outside area of the stalls, but under the roof.
Have a look at the Covent Garden Website for more information.and click onto the visual tour
"Covent Garden is the Capital’s capital when it comes to culture, cuisine and commerce. With a globally renowned arts scene, fabulous dining experience and terrific shopping the whole world comes to Covent Garden."
Covent Garden is a great place to while away an afternoon! It has a large market offering everything from antiques and crafts to beauty products. . The street performers in the area are some of the best I've seen. Located adjacent is the Seven Dials/Neal Street area which offers such popular shops as Diesel and a very interesting Astrology Shop.
Covent Garden is situated in the West End of London. This is connected with where the former fruit and vegetable market was held (which was a short distance away) but now it attracts high street and independent retailers, restaurants, cafes and also an established tourist attraction. There are two markets: Apple Market, an arts & craft market, and another market is held in Jubilee Hall. The central square is lively with its street performers.
There is also The Royal Opera House, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the London Transport Museum that are situated nearby. There are some historic buildings worth noting such as the St Paul's Church and Inigo Jone's Italianate arcaded square.
The name 'Covent Garden' came from the 16th Century when Henry VII acquire the Abbey land in that name and the area became popular since then and over the centuries.
I must start by stating that I am not a Freemason myself, although I have friends and family who are. I have long been fascinated by the organisation and it's role in history.
For example, nine of the men who signed the US Declaration of Independence and thirteen signers of the US Constitution were Freemasons. I have also heard it claimed that the pyramid and "all-seeing eye" on the US dollar bill are Masonic symbols. George Washington was a Freemason. Closer to home, Prince Michael of Kent and Prince Edward are members, as are Phil Collins and footballers Fabien Barthez and Laurent Blanc.
UK headquarters for "the Lodge" is the impressive art Deco Freemasons Hall, completed in 1933. Despite the perceived secrecy of the organisation, I was surprised to find that free guided tours are available and duly went on one. It was absolutely fascinating. The architecture alone is worth the visit, as is the one and a quarter ton bronze door that is so perfectly balanced it can be opened with one finger!
The tour is given by one of the Masonic staff and is very well presented. The Library where you wait for the tour to begin is also interesting.
I liked that place a lot. You can spend whole day there. Outside there are artists who make some show. We were laughing like crazy for 20 min. Who said that British humor is not good?
Also you can visit the market. It’s pretty big and you can find old stuff sold there, different collections too. The transport museum is at the same square so it would be a good end of the day. Don’t miss to have a coffee there
This is a mecca for street performers and has a cool flea market at the weekend. A great place to just hang out on a suny day but there's also plenty of shelter if it's raining. The London Transport Museum is here, good shopping along Longacre and Neal Street. The area is part of "Theatreland" and many restaurants in this area have a "pre-theatre" menu at a very reasonable cost in the early evening. Not only is this a cheap way to eat, you often get much faster service if you mention you have theatre seats at a certain time (no need to prove this).
Neal Street, to the West of the tube station is a particularly cool area with a surfer/hippy feel to it. To the south of the tube station, towards the piazza and market square is a bit more quirky. At Christmas there is a huge Christmas tree erected in the piazza and usually a Santa's Grotto and mulled wine stall too! Obviously this isn't a cheap experience, but it's lovely to soak up the atmosphere even if you choose not to take out a small mortgage for the traditional beverage!
Covent Garden is a huge meeting place and lots of people tend to hang around outside the station, so it's always busy. A good place to star spot too. It's a vibrant, arty and very trendy place to just wander round and explore.
Inigo Jones designed the Italianate arcaded square along with the church of St Paul's (not the St Pauls) opposite the square in the 1500s and around 1654 a fruit and vegetable market opened in a corner of the square but in the main the square became an area of taverns and coffee houses and it was in 1830 the area became London's principal fruit and vegetable market. It stayed like this until 1974 when traffic congestion caused it to be no longer suitable as a traders market. In 1980 it opened as we see it today - an area of shops, cafes, bars - an area with something for everyone.
There are street entertainers, changing displays of for example new cars or fashion displays and it is never boring here.
The tube station can be very busy and Leicester Square is a good alternative. The public toilets in the square are not Londons best. However a good central attraction in the heart of the west end.