Covent Garden these days is not full of fruit and vegetables like it used to be but a place to be seen or to spot those that want to be seen! With so many wonderful theatres in the area, the craft market, and all the rather exclusive shops, it is an ideal place to sit back at one of the cafés or pubs and enjoy the ambiance.
Covent Garden is constantly changing keeping up with the needs of the local area and its visitors, there has been a market on this site since Roman times if not before – with the Saxons, as it was a trading post called Lundenwik. The source of it’s name lies way back in the 13th Century at the time of King John. There was a Convent or Abbey to St.Peter on the site and the monks/nuns would sell vegetables and fruit and so it being known as the place to get produce.
During the Reformation, the religious building of course was no more, and there were a few years of trading off the land between various ‘nobles’ until 1630 when the Earl of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones the architect to build houses of a certain grandeur. Jones traveled through Italy and being the Renaissance, brought back some of that influence to what would become the Piazza of Covent Garden and the first open square in England. Central to the Piazza, is the grand church of St. Paul which now allowed the area to become it’s own parish. This now provides a backdrop to street performers and also a place to sleep for the occasional homeless person.
During this time, many a good pub was also built and The Lamb and Flag public house on Rose St. is the oldest in Covent Garden. Rose St. is also as old as 1630 and has many a tale to tell. I can list so many high fashion and top designer outlets but this would become a ridiculous list, if you can think of someone then they are probably here! Now there is one place in Floral St. that attracts interesting clients and that is The Sanctuary, a spa and getaway, you never know who you’ll see here, so have cameras ready!
Covent Garden has always been the place to go to for entertainment and starting back in 1642, Samuel Pepys the diarist, saw the first Punch and Judy show here. These shows didn’t just attract children but many writers and artists. Today we have the Punch and Judy Pub, which faces the church, this can also attract a similar clientele. While you are looking for famous people, look up and check out the lights, there are actually pineapples on them, well not real ones, but they are a symbol of the wealth of the area.
If you were to visit all the different theatres in the area you are bound to bump into some actor as they go in or finish their evening’s work. The stage door at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane is always a good place but you can stand at the Lyceum the Coliseum and check out what is on at the theatres and how famous the actors are, then you can up your chances of seeing them leave by that route.
Not far from here is the Savoy Hotel and the Waldorf Hilton Hotel further up is The Strand, well you never know! But be careful that you don’t end up becoming a stalker!