Covent Garden

Covent Garden
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Covent Garden WC2

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9, 13, 15, 23, 24, 139, 153, RV1 – Bus tickets in London
Charing Cross BKL NRN, Covent Garden PCL, Embankment BKL CRC DSC NRN, Holborn CNT PCL, Leicester Square NRN PCL
The nearest train station to Covent Garden is Covent Garden
Plan your train journey from Earl’s Court, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo or another London tube station:
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Accommodation near Covent Garden
Inside the Covent Garden Piazza Downstairs in the Piazza Jubilee Market Jubilee Market, at Covent Garden St. Paul’s Church, in Covent Garden St. Paul’s Church
Covent Garden is #25 in our London Bucket List

Craig’s London blog> Read Craig’s review of Covent Garden  Check out my London blog for a full review, with photos and a video

Good for kids? Value for money? n/a Worth a visit?

Covent Garden is No.9 in the Top 10 things to do for free in London.

Covent Garden was designed by Inigo Jones in the 1630s. A small fruit and veg market was added in 1670, and became the longest running food fair in London.

Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden was not always the pleasant place that you see today – prisoners were dragged down the track on their way to be hanged at Tyburn. The area around St. Giles was the site of London’s first leprosy hospital, and it was here that the Great Plague took hold in 1665.

During Victorian times, Covent Garden was known as the city’s worst slum – a fact attested to by Dickens in his numerous novels.

The site was acquired by Henry VIII in the mid 16th-century. It was originally owned by the monks at Westminster Abbey, as a place to grow their vegetables. But when he scrapped the monasteries in 1536, he also grabbed their land. When Charles I came to power in 1625, he granted the Earl of Bedford a licence to build, and hired Inigo Jones to create a piazza.

Jones’s classical designs were rather wasted in 1670, when a fruit and veg market settled in the square. It expanded rapidly, attracting more and more vendors to the area – and changed forever Covent Garden’s make-up. Out went the wealthy nobles—moved to better premises in St. James’s and Whitehall—and in came the lowly street traders.

Covent Garden Piazza, and Bow Street Runners

With the influx of street traders came the brothels, crime and undesirables. The authorities soon came up with a novel solution – the Bow Street Runners.

The Bow Street Runners were established in 1751 to tackle rising crime. This voluntary group ran in opposition to the constables, who were rumoured to be in collusion with the criminals. They were disbanded in 1839, ten years after the creation of the Metropolitan Police Force.

A stunning new market hall was added in the early 19th-century (what we now call the Piazza), and contains small shops, stalls and the Punch and Judy pub.

The ground outside is now permanently filled with buskers, acrobats, mimes and various other kinds of street entertainment.

  •  Guest – “Hi is there any nearset to the station.”
  • Admin – “There's an underground station called covent garden, on the Piccadilly line.”

> Talk about this attraction

> Craig’s review of Covent Garden – “Covent Garden used to be a big fruit and vegetable market. If you wanted some fish you'd go to Billingsgate. If you wanted some meat you'd go to Smithfield. If you wanted a carrot you'd come here. For three hundred years this went on, but then the 1970s came along and that was the end of that. The surrounding businesses got sick of all the early morning traffic cloggi… continued”

Events at Covent Garden

Street performers at Covent Garden From

If you enjoy this then try: Leicester Square (you can walk it in 7 mins); London Transport Museum (you can walk it in less than 2 mins); Royal Opera House (you can walk it in less than 2 mins); St. Paul’s Church (you can walk it in less than 3 mins) and Trafalgar Square (you can walk it in 7 mins).

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