The first leg of my vacation is over – I am currently on a train from London up to Scotland for part two. I had an amazing time in London visiting friends and exploring the city, but hands down my favourite part was the day I spent around Covent Garden. Covent Garden had some sort of existence all the way back in the 1200s, but it officially became a market in 1654, which is so long ago that it’s amazing it still has that purpose. Over the years, it’s been built up, and it’s now an incredibly cute neighbourhood with great shopping, food, and entertainment.
Covent Garden has a large number of your traditional retailers, including classic British brands like Marks and Spencer, Zara, and two separate Burberry shops. They also have a super high percentage of beauty stores, so be careful if you are a sucker for new makeup.
The area is probably best known for its craft markets – it has two! The first is the Apple Market, which has several different vendors that do everything from making soap to creating jewellery to painting to sculpting. Jubilee Market is a little lower end, with great items to bring back as souvenirs as well as fun things like palm readings and snacks.
There is so much to do in the few blocks that make up Covent Garden, even beyond the shopping. You can find live music and street performers, not to mention participate in pop up events like the exercise class that was taking place when I was there. If you prefer some more structure, you can explore the area in a guided tour or go to the really interesting London Transport Museum. If you love the theatre, you have several options. Covent Garden leans right up against West End, so you’ll have your choice of incredible quality plays or musicals. The Royal Opera House is also right there, if you’d prefer to listen to the classics.
And, as your day wears on, there are lots of places to eat. There are several British pubs around if you are in the mood for fish and chips or other hearty fare. There are also a number of local restaurants with food ranging from sandwiches to Indian. And, of course, there’s a Laduree, which has the most amazing macarons and other excellent desserts with which you can treat yourself at the end of a long day walking around.