Covent Garden neighbourhood guide: What to see, where to eat and drink, and more in central London
If you’re going into central London, it’s likely that you’ll visit Covent Garden. Famous for its street performers and shopping district, did you know that over 44 million people each year visit the area?
There’s over 60 pubs and restaurants to choose from, as well as flagship stores and popular tourist sites. With tons of shows around every corner, deciding what to do in Covent Garden can be daunting for tourists and locals alike.
We’ve put together a neighbourhood guide pinpointing all the best bits of Covent Garden, including theatre, restaurants, bars, and points of interest.
Theatres in Covent Garden
Want to be in the home of West End theatre? Then you’ll want to visit Covent Garden. As you walk around the area, why not see a show at one of the West End theatres listed below. Or, if you’re wanting to enjoy a night at the ballet or an opera, scroll down below to discover more about the Royal Opera House, tucked in a corner of the Covent Garden Piazza. Here are West End theatres in Covent Garden.
32-34 Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU
Opening in 1930, the theatre sits on a triangular site, occupying one of the Seven Dials. In the 1980s, the theatre was converted into a venue-specific site for London magic performances, but this commercial plan aborted a year later. The Cambridge Theatre has become synonymous with long-running musicals including Chicago, Jerry Springer – The Opera, and Matilda.
41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX
Although the Donmar is not considered a West End venue, the theatre regularly stages British premieres of new works, as well as classic plays. Opening in 1977, the Donmar eventually became an independent housing producer in 1992; Sam Mendes and Josie Rourke have been artistic directors.
3-5 Catherine St, WC2B 5LA
Opening in 1929, the Duchess avoided an ancient lights rule by constructing most of the theatre underground. This didn’t equate to audience hits, as one show, The Intimate Revue, ran for just half a performance before it was called off forevermore. The theatre has become synonymous with plays; Our Boys, Fences, and The Play That Goes Wrong have all been staged here.
Russell St, Holborn, London WC2B 5HH
Built after World War One, early years at the Fortune Theatre were dominated by the British military, especially when the Entertainment National Services Association would provide light relief to those fighting. Behind the Arts Theatre, it’s the second-smallest West End theatre. The Fortune has been the home of The Woman in Black for over 30 years, pairing up the spooky ghost story and intimate theatre space together.
166 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PW
Now named in honour of the British choreographer and director, a theatre has been on this site for over 150 years. Its West End history began in the early twentieth century, becoming a home for Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals including Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and School of Rock. The theatre is the first London theatre to be named after a woman.
21 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7RQ
Once the site of the English Opera House and also a grand ballroom, the Lyceum Theatre is now best known as the home of The Lion King. Highlights in its eclectic history include Madame Tussauds opened the first London exhibition of waxworks, as well as male dining clubs gathering together to eat steak and be merry. In May 2020, the Lyceum Theatre flooded, leaving the orchestra pit submerged under water.
Catherine St, WC2B 5JF
Home to the first ever West End theatre in 1663, four theatres have been on the site of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane that exists today. The theatre that stands in the West End currently has been open since 1812, with productions ranging from operatic affairs to American musicals. Notable productions include The Lord of the Rings, which remains the most expensive production in West End history. It’s currently being renovated ahead of Disney’s Frozen.
Restaurants in Covent Garden
Whether you’re looking for a breakfast at sunrise or a last-minute snack to curb those late-night hunger pangs, there’s a restaurant in Covent Garden for you. We’ve listed a few of Covent Garden’s famous eateries that are all at affordable prices.
33 King Street, WC2E 8JD
Taking your partner on a date? You’ll want to book a table at Clos Maggiore, voted the most romantic restaurant in the world. Take your pick from over 2,500 types of wine and a contemporary European menu, curated by Michelin star chef Marcellin Marc. Soak up the sun with a table in the summertime, or wrap up warm by the fire and sit under the stars for a serene dining experience.
2 Burleigh Street, WC2E 7PX
For over 40 years, Joe Allen has served mouthwatering American dishes to the whos-who of the theatre world. Quickly gaining a reputation as the West End’s canteen, it’s a great place to spot your favourite stars while having a bite to eat. Even Joanna Lumley agrees, saying that once you eat at Joe Allen, “you will fit in here forever, they take care of you.”
Tuttons Covent Garden
11-12 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ
Located in the Covent Garden piazza, you’re guaranteed a fresh, seasonal meal at Tuttons Covent Garden. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the capital, serving up fine British cuisine in a relaxing environment. With classic dishes and modern takes on traditional recipes, grab a table by the window and watch the world go by at Tuttons.
Bars in Covent Garden
Consider yourself a cocktail connoisseur? Looking for a bar to keep the night going? Here’s some of our top picks for bars in Covent Garden, where you can be guaranteed a night packed with drinks and entertainment.
20 Bedford Street, WC2E 9HP
Looking for a bar to spruce up your Instagram? You’ve come to the right place. Get ready to dance the night away with a cocktail or a glass of wine; just bring your dancing shoes. Throughout the year, Whether you’re popping in for a drink after the show or spending a few hours at the bar with a disco brunch, it always feels like Saturday night at Blame Gloria.
Wellington Street, WC2R 0HS
Ever wished you could be in a production of Cabaret? Take a trip to CellarDoor. Situated underneath the Aldwych, enjoy a tipple or two while watching live acts on stage. In previous decades, writers and actors like Oscar Wilde and John Gielgud were seen at bars around CellarDoor. Will you follow in their footsteps?
21-22 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7NA
In the heart of Covent Garden lies London’s largest pub. As you drink a refreshing pint of Irish beer or stout that’s brewed in Dublin, sit back and relax while watching a game of footy. There’s three levels to The Porterhouse, including a whiskey bar and a basement that’s home to live music on the weekends.
What to see in Covent Garden
If you're spending time in Covent Garden before or after a show, then you'll want to check out everything in the local area. Here's where you can visit in Covent Garden.
Covent Garden Market
From the deals to be had at Covent Garden’s markets, to the historical discoveries you can find in museums, let Covent Garden be your London playground of dreams. Here are our favourite ways to spend time in the area.
Covent Garden Market
14 James Street, WC2E 8BU
Covent Garden is home to multiple markets, each offering their fair share of stalls to tempt anyone in. Traders at Covent Garden’s markets have been selling for decades, so get in there and discover a treasure trove of goods! From arts and crafts to jewelry, or local food, drink, and antiques, find yourself a bargain in the heart of the West End.
London Transport Museum
Covent Garden, WC2E 7BB
Once you’ve travelled to Covent Garden, why not discover more about how Londoners get around at the London Transport Museum. There’s over 450,000 items on display including artifacts, maps, and signs in the museum, where you can explore over 200 years of transport and travel history. Perfect for families and history buffs, this is one journey back in time you won’t forget.
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