- Tube stations: Holborn, Covent Garden, Leicester Square
- Location: Bordered by Charing Cross Road in the west, Kingsway in the east, the Strand in the south and Shaftesbury Avenue and High Holborn in the north
- Borough: Westminster (www.westminster.gov.uk), Camden (www.camden.gov)
- Postcode: WC2
The crowds at Covent Garden Market (www.coventgardenmarket.com) and the buildings of the Royal Opera House (www.royaloperahouse.org) are unmistakable for any Londoner.
Covent Garden Market, which has been attracting shoppers for centuries. Although nowadays it’s always crowded with tourists and those annoying guys who pretend to be statues, it’s still a good place to browse for gifts.
Tourists, buskers, the inevitable pickpockets that follow and a smattering of office workers.
Originally (and not surprisingly) a part of Westminster Abbey, Covent Garden was developed into a piazza-style market in the 17th century by architect Inigo Jones. The square held a fruit and veg market since 1649, and although it headed for Vauxhall in 1973, the area still continues to draw shoppers.
Pub quiz facts:
When London’s first ballet was performed at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane in 1717, the theatre manager expressed his doubts that anyone would be interested in watching the newfangled dance.
Alfred Hitchcock grew up in Covent Garden, and his father was a food trader at the market. He set much of his 1972 film Frenzy in the area.
When it’s hot:
The Market is a big spot for office workers on their lunch breaks. Watch the buskers (and your bag) and wind your way through the maze of shops and stalls. Unlike other markets, this one is top quality – you won’t find batteries and mobile phone covers here.
When it’s not:
There’s a wealth of culture to check out. Try the Photographers’ Gallery (www.photonet.org.uk), the Royal Opera House (www.royaloperahouse.org) and London’s Transport Museum (www.ltmuseum.co.uk), which is currently being refurbished and is set to re-open for summer 2007.