Situated in London’s thriving West End, Covent Garden is alive with culture, housing some of London’s most reputable theatres and attractions: the most iconic of these being The Royal Opera House.
Home to The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera House offers a varied diary of ballet and operatic performances. Shows range from classics like Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, to more contemporary productions, pushing the limits of conventional ballet. The venue also caters for other events such as production workshops, tea dances and family days.
Other notable buildings in the area include the neoclassical Somerset House, itself providing a varied calendar of arts and culture inspired events; the London Transport Museum, where visitors can discover London’s intricate and fascinating transport history; and the National Gallery, displaying a collection of classic paintings ranging back to the 13th century.
Two of London’s most famous squares are also located within the Covent Garden area: Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square. Trafalgar Square is one of London’s liveliest open spaces, with special events showcased in the space throughout the year, including Chinese New Year, St Patrick’s Day and open air cinema.
Leicester Square sees many a red carpet event as the world’s biggest names in film travel to the area to premier their latest features at one of the squares main cinemas: the Odean, Vue, Empire and West End. Leicester Square is a bustling hub of activity, packed full of excellent restaurants, bars and theatres.
By day, the distinct shopping areas of Covent Garden come to life, with premium brands to quirky craft stalls located in The Opera Quarter, Seven Dials, Neal’s Yard, St Martin’s Courtyard and Covent Garden Market.
Often thought of as the heart of London itself, Trafalgar Square is a public space that is enjoyed by tourists and Londoners alike. Designed in the 1820’s by famous London architect John Nash, the square is prominently overlooked by Lord Nelson, a statue commonly known as Nelson’s column. Nelson was one of Britain’s greatest military heroes, famously known for leading Britain to victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Alongside Nelson, stand England’s four iconic stone lions.
Although steeped in history, Trafalgar Square is far from outdated, with the famous fourth plinth making way for cutting edge contemporary art. Originally designed to hold an equestrian statue of William IV and never completed, the fourth plinth is today’s most prominent art exhibition.
Trafalgar Square’s artistic connection doesn’t end there, with many artistic performances and events taking place in the square throughout the year. The square is also a popular area for political rallies and demonstrations, and becomes a hub of activity during annual celebrations of St Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year and Pride.
A visit to Trafalgar Square is a definite must during the festive season, where London’s largest Christmas tree is on display. The tree is donated by Norway each year.
Located in the heart of London’s theatre district, The Royal Opera House is the official home of Britain’s Royal Ballet and Royal Opera. A theatre has stood on the site since 1732, and today it offers a line of classic and contemporary operatic and balletic performances.
As well as world renowned performances, the Royal Opera House also offers a number of behind the scenes tours. Visitors can learn more about the theatre’s colourful history, its stunning architecture and experience the preparations needed ahead of an evening performance.
There are a number of dining options available at the theatre, including pre-show meals in the Amphitheatre Restaurant and Bar, or afternoon tea in the Paul Hamlyn Hall.
The theatre’s well stocked shop is the ideal place to pick up a souvenir, with a wide variety of production related items to choose from.
Priding itself on being a centre of excellence for culture and arts, Somerset House plays host to a multitude of events and activities throughout the year. Located next to the River Thames and London’s theatre district, this neo-classical building offers an array of contemporary art and design exhibitions, open air concerts and films, family workshops and guided tours.
Crowds flock to Somerset House throughout the year to experience their 55 dancing fountains in the summer, exceptional ice rink in the winter and the biannual London fashion week.
The house dates back to 1547, where the original building was constructed for Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. Later in 1775, the building was demolished and rebuilt as it is stands today.
There are a number of opportunities to refuel at Somerset House with several cafes, a fine dining restaurant and bars for every season. Tom’s Terrace offers stunning views across the Thames in the summer months, whilst Tom’s skate lounge offers a cost retreat after a session on the ice rink in the winter months.
Famous for premiering some of the movie industry’s biggest blockbusters in the UK, Leicester Square is often found lined with red carpets and eager film fans. The Odean, Vue and Empire Cinemas dominate the area, screening the latest films with the latest in movie viewing technology.
The Empire in Leicester Square is the flagship site for Empire Cinemas. It offers 9 screens, including IMAX and IMPACT for a bigger, better experience. The Casino at the Empire is adjacent to the cinema, providing 5 bars, 2 restaurants, casino & entertainment.The Odeon Leicester Square offers one main screen, complete with Royal Circle seating, and 5 studio screens.
The Odeon is popular for both UK and World film premieres including Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Expendables 3.
The Vue Leicester Square has also played host to some prestigious premieres, including The Polar Express and Twilight. The cinema offers 9 screens showing both 2D and 3D pictures.
Right in the heart of London’s theatre district, and surrounded by some of the country’s biggest cinema complexes, Leicester Square is the ideal place for entertainment in the city. A buzzing centre offering vibrant nightlife, Leicester Square is home to many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, alongside state of the art cinemas and glittering casinos.
Visitors to the area can often be found enjoying a cocktail at one of the area’s terrace bars, whilst keeping a look out for Hollywood stars gracing the red carpet of the latest blockbuster film premieres.
There is a park in the middle of the square which is a popular spot for buskers, regaling crowds with their musical or artistic talents. Within the park stands a Shakespeare statue, dating back to the 19th century, along with busts of other British greats including Sir Isaac Newton, Charlie Chaplin and William Hogarth.
Adjacent to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’s historic food quarter is the ideal place to enjoy a pre-theatre meal. From award winning restaurants to relaxing jazz bars and chic bakeries, The Opera Quarter has something to satisfy every taste.
Opera Tavern is a tapas bar and restaurant located in the heart of the Opera Quarter. A two storey establishment specialising in Italian and Spanish tapas dishes. Its stylish interior offers a relaxing atmosphere for romantic meals and dinners with friends.
For dessert, The Opera Quarter’s Gelatorino tantalises the taste buds with a fresh take on traditional Italian Gelato. Gelatorino prides itself of having skilled ice cream makers who understand the best combinations of flavours.
The perfect stop off for any special occasion, Champagne + Fromage is a French shop and bistro specialising in the finest champagne s and rustic French cheeses and charcuterie. Indulge in a Champagne Afternoon Tea or treat yourself to Champagne tasting.
The iconic 19th century Piazza, located in the heart of Covent Garden is home to three of the area’s bustling markets. On any day of the week, visitors can browse the stalls for inventive artistic finds, unique fashion, homemade jewellery and fascinating antiques.
The Apple Market is all under shelter, allowing visitors to browse its stalls in relative comfort, safe from the elements. Here you will find an array of gifts and unique souvenirs from London scene artworks to antique telephones and quirky decorative clocks!
The Jubilee Market is a traditional market offering different stocks throughout the week. On Mondays visitors hunt through old fashioned wares to find perfect antiques to complement their homes; consequent weekdays see the market bursting with individual fashion and homewares, with the weekend making way for arts and crafts.
Every Thursday the Real Food Market offers take away meals and gourmet delights to suit sweet and savoury tastes!