Top Things To Do in Covent Garden For Free, at Night & More
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Looking for the best things to do in Covent Garden? From the colourful Neal’s Yard and historic Apple Market to hidden alleys and mouthwatering restaurants, there is much to see and do.
This detailed guide contains Covent Garden highlights that you shouldn’t miss seeing during your visit.
Covent Garden is one of the most exciting neighbourhoods to explore on a trip to London. You can discover the many alleys and courtyards, step into stunning independent stores, and dine at cute cafes and excellent restaurants.
This is not your typical London touristy area, and so it manages to maintain a unique charm.
If you’re looking for more on London or planning a trip to the Big Smoke, then read my London travel tips.
Here’s my guide to some of the best experiences in Covent Garden at night, things to do for free, and beautiful places to explore.
Covent Garden: Things To Do For Free
This district is famous for its stunning streets, squares, and cobblestone alleys. Here are some of the best free things to do in Covent Garden, London.
Wander Around Neal’s Yard
Neal’s Yard is an essential place to visit in Covent Garden. This courtyard is a kind of hub surrounded by trendy cafes, shops, and an unbeatable atmosphere.
You just have to spend some time around Neal’s Yard, taking in the colourful details of the old buildings and admiring the heart of the neighbourhood.
Simply wandering around here is one of the best free things to do in Covent Garden.
If you start heading down Neal Street, though, you will also find some of the best shopping in the neighbourhood.
READ MORE | FAMOUS SHOPPING STREETS IN LONDON
Visit Rose Street
On your way to some of the shops, you should pass down the pretty Rose Street. This little gem is extremely photogenic – showing off some of the best architecture in the neighbourhood.
Rose street is absolutely one of the top things to see in Covent Garden. Be sure to check out the famous Lamb and Flag pub while here, which claims it’s one of London’s oldest pubs.
For more places to spend happy hour, have a look at these quirky bars Covent Garden has to offer.
Take Instagram Worthy Photos on Broad Court
Broad Court is just a small lane, but it is a quintessential Covent Garden attraction. If you are looking for a photo opportunity that will really capture this area, then a walk down Broad Court should provide you with just that.
This lane is well recognised for its line of classic red K2 telephone boxes. There is also a pretty famous ballerina statue that is worth checking out.
This is a very iconic and Instagrammable spot in Covent Garden.
What To Do in Covent Garden For Entertainment
There are many reasons to visit this historic West End neighbourhood. Besides the overall charm and beauty, there are plenty of great activities and attractions to be enjoyed.
From unusual and fun things to do in Covent Garden to must-visit landmarks, this is a place that will keep you busy all day. Here are some of the best things to do during your visit.
Relax at St Pauls
Neal’s Yard can get rather busy in the afternoon, and visiting it might lead you to want a bit of peace and quiet.
The perfect way to get this is by visiting the little courtyard garden behind the church of St Paul.
This tucked-away slice of calm is perfect for a stop at a cosy cafe or simply sitting on a bench and reading a good book.
This is one of the prettiest places to sit and relax in the area. So if you’re looking to unwind after exploring the many attractions in Covent Garden, this is a wonderful spot to visit.
Note: While it’s free to attend a service, if you want to explore the cathedral and its historic galleries, you’ll need an entrance ticket.
READ MORE | CAFES IN COVENT GARDEN
See the Evolution of the City at London Transport Museum
Transport systems have played a massive role in shaping London into the city that it is today. Be sure to head over to the London Transport Museum to learn all about this.
The museum is located in the heart of the neighbourhood, and it is a really interesting museum for those wanting to learn more about the history of the city’s transport system.
A visit here will allow you to learn about the famous red London bus, horse-drawn trams, the underground system, and more.
There are some awesome displays on offer there, too, including exhibitions dating back to the 1800s.
This is certainly one of the best museums in Covent Garden, especially for train enthusiasts.
So if you’re looking to immerse yourself in history and discover hidden gems in Covent Garden, grab a London Transport Museum ticket.
Catch a Show at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
If you want to experience the best of Covent Garden, then a trip to the theatre should definitely be on the cards.
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane is one of the best and most famous theatres in London’s West End.
This stunning building stands on the oldest theatre site in London that is still in use. With performances taking place here dating all the way back to 1663, you could definitely say that this theatre is a historic gem.
If you are lucky enough to get tickets to one of the fantastic performances, then that should be a must-do activity.
Otherwise, simply admiring the beautiful theatre and appreciating its important history is well worth doing.
READ MORE | NON-TOURISTY TO DO IN LONDON
Tour the London Film Museum
The London Film Museum is a must-visit for any movie lover wondering what to do in Covent Garden. This museum is dedicated to British cinema, with loads of exciting exhibitions on display.
The James Bond exhibition is a particular highlight – with the largest collection of Bond vehicles to admire.
Besides James Bond, there are all kinds of interesting memorabilia and original items from famous British movies.
This is a great place to spend some time learning more about the local film scene.
Book Here | Check out this tour if you want to experience more James Bond sights.
For the Love of Art, Visit Somerset House
Now, this is one of my all-time favourite places in London – Somerset House.
This huge neoclassical building is an absolute pleasure to look at from the outside – but it also hosts some incredible things within the different wings of the building.
This modern arts centre houses all kinds of contemporary arts, cultural attractions and events.
Exhibits and programmes here are wide-ranging, from their Flim4 Summer Series, music to graphic arts, and contemporary art fairs to one of the prettiest ice skating rinks at Christmas with Fortnum & Mason Arcade.
For more inspiration read my guide on the best London Christmas Markets
The building dates back to the 18th century, and it definitely has an interesting story as well.
Be sure to check out what exhibition is taking place at Somerset House when in the area – as this is one of the most exciting things to do near Covent Garden.
Get Cultured at the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is one of the most important landmarks in the area. This magnificent theatre has played a huge cultural role in the city, and it is a truly beautiful building to visit.
This world-famous theatre is one of the best things to do in London’s Covent Garden for a number of reasons. You can visit during the day to admire its stunning architecture and historical value.
Or take a tour of the theatre. These tours are available for anyone wanting to learn more.
Otherwise, you can enjoy one of the incredible performances that take place there. The theatre is the home of the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera, so there are some spectacular shows that take place on its stage.
Best Shops in Covent Garden
Covent Garden is also a shoppers’ paradise. Between the bustling markets, stores and beautiful shopping streets, there is hardly a better place for some retail therapy.
Here are some of the best places for shopping in Covent Garden.
The Apple Market
The Apple Market was once the home of a busy fruit and vegetable market. The historic market continues to operate today, although it has more of a focus on handmade crafts and artisanal goods.
This market is not only completely beautiful to explore when it’s not super busy, but it has some of the best shopping and things to see Covent Garden has to offer.
Whether you are after antiques, clothing, jewellery, household goods, sweets, soaps, or anything in between, you will be able to find them here. Including some things, you weren’t expecting.
The South Piazza of the market changes its theme daily, so be sure to check out what is happening in this part of the area when you visit.
The West Piazza is where you’ll find performers like knife jugglers, circus performers, comics and singers.
Book Here | If you are in London over the festive season, check out this Christmas market tour which includes the Apple Market.
Covent Garden Piazza
This square is the centre of the district, and it offers an unbeatable shopping experience. Dating back to 1630, this was the first modern square in London.
Over time, the square became built up by some of the most fabulous buildings in the area – something that is still worth appreciating today.
Besides the architectural beauty and historical significance of the Piazza, it is also a top destination for shopping. Here you’ll come across shops like Kurt Geiger, Paul Smith, Mulberry, Tom Ford and more.
With a wide variety of options, you will certainly be kept busy with all the things to do around Covent Garden Piazza.
The central hub around here may have loads on offer, but some of the best shops can be found a little bit outside the busy centre.
So if you’d like to discover quirky shops and some of the best hidden gems Covent Garden boasts, make your way to Floral Street. It is an excellent destination for those after cute and original shops like Bluebird, Free People and DIPTYQUE.
This area is less about chain stores and tourist shops, with more of a focus on independent and local stores.
You could spend ages browsing all of the wonderful goods for sale here. Be sure to snap a picture at the popular The Shop at Bluebird while you are here.
If you carry on to nearby King Street, the amazing shopping experience will continue.
Seven Dials is a really interesting location. This is a central point where seven different streets all meet together. In terms of shopping, Seven Dials is absolutely one of the finest destinations.
There is the Seven Dials Market – a great big space loaded with food stores and independent small businesses.
While you could spend a great deal of time wandering around this market, there are also plenty of other shopping experiences surrounding it.
Whether you are after art, fashion, lifestyle goods, homeware, or more, a trip to Seven Dials is one of the best Covent Garden activities.
Cecil Court is a smaller street, offering plenty to those that love books, antiques, and collectables. This has got to be one of the best destinations in London for bookshops and book lovers.
If you are interested in unique items and some of the most charming bookstores around, then be sure to check out Cecil Court.
Jubilee Market was built in 1904, and it serves as one of the most popular shopping areas in Covent Garden. The market is found inside Jubilee Hall, and it boasts all kinds of interesting stalls.
With a specialised antiques and collectables market on Mondays, it is a general market throughout the week and has arts and crafts focus on the weekends. The Jubilee Market will always have something new and exciting on offer.
So if you’re looking for artsy activities in Covent Garden this weekend, make your way to this exciting market.
Best Places To Eat in Covent Garden
This list could go on forever, as there are endless places to find amazing food in Covent Garden.
From the many stunning little cafes to world-class restaurants, classic pubs, and trendy bars, this is a foodie paradise. Here are some of the best cafes and restaurants in Covent Garden.
Frog by Adam Handling
Frog is a truly special destination. This restaurant, headed up by chef Adam Handling, is one of the finest establishments in the neighbourhood.
A visit to Frog is certainly not an everyday experience, but it will definitely be something to remember.
The food here is unique, creative, and of course, totally delicious. This is world-class British cooking at its finest.
If you want to see why this area is so highly praised for its restaurants, just pay a visit to Frog, and you will understand.
The Petersham Restaurant
Petersham is another quality establishment. This restaurant has a really relaxed, low-key feel to it. However, the Italian-inspired food is nothing ordinary.
This is one of the area’s top, high-end restaurants, offering an expertly crafted menu – including some of the best desserts in London.
Besides the fantastic food, the restaurant is a beautiful space. You will definitely want to sit back in your chair, relax, and spend some time just enjoying your surroundings.
For those after the perfect cup of coffee in London, visiting Monmouth should be high up on your list.
The team at this small coffee shop really knows what they are doing. They take their coffee seriously and go the extra mile to make sure that you are served a top-quality brew.
While there are some delectable pastries and treats available on the counter, the big drawcard here is their premium coffee.
This little cafe has a great reputation across London – something that you should definitely experience first-hand.
This seriously popular French brasserie is an excellent choice for meals throughout the day.
Whether you visit for their relaxed breakfast, impeccable lunches, or memorable dinners, you can’t seem to have a bad experience at Balthazar.
Enjoy French classics made with local ingredients. Balthazar is one of the favourite restaurants in Covent Garden, and visiting it always seems to be a good idea.
Things To Do in Covent Garden at Night
Once you’ve shopped all you can, seen some great attractions, and enjoyed some of London’s best food, there are still plenty of things to do on a night out.
From theatre to pubs, comedy and trendy bars, there are some brilliant ways to spend your evening. Here are some of the best Covent Garden things to do at night.
If you are looking for one of the best places to party on any day of the week, then Blame Gloria is a total hotspot.
Of all the bars in this area, this is always one of the most fun and unique destinations. Spending a night here is one of the more quirky things to do in Covent Garden.
Blame Gloria is well-loved for its creative cocktails and colourful decor. This is a bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously – something that you also shouldn’t do when visiting. Head down to Blame Gloria for a unique night out loaded with fun.
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour
You just can’t walk past Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour without a small gasp at its amazing exterior.
This classic bar is beautifully decorated – something that you first notice by the impressive floral display above the windows.
Mr Fogg’s is more than just a gorgeous space, though – this is one of the best bars in Covent Garden.
You can spend a perfect night out settled into this cosy environment, enjoying a few of the fine gins on offer and soaking up the sophisticated atmosphere.
Lamb and Flag
Located in the picture-perfect Rose Street, Lamb and Flag is one of the best pubs in Covent Garden.
This local favourite has been operating for many years, making it one of the more historic London pubs. Even Charles Dickens used to be a regular here.
Tip: If you want to tour more historic pubs in London, book a fun walking pub tour.
If you are looking for one of the finest examples of a traditional London pub, then it doesn’t get much better than the Lamb and Flag.
This is a great place to catch up with friends, meet new people, or simply enjoy a few pints and a hearty meal.
The Top Secret Comedy Club
Not all nights out here need to be spent drinking or dancing. The Top Secret Comedy Club offers a seriously enjoyable way to spend an evening.
This underground comedy club hosts some of the city’s best stand-up performances – from newcomers to seasoned professionals.
The Top Secret Comedy Club is open throughout the week and is always worth visiting if you are up for a good laugh. This is definitely a Covent Garden highlight.
Be At One
Be At One is a lively bar offering some of London’s best cocktails. You can arrive for a vibrant happy hour (offering great value) or stay on later for an extremely fun Covent Garden night out.
While the cocktails here are on another level, this bar is a great place to visit regardless of what you are drinking.
The staff are loads of fun, the music is top-notch, and the vibrant atmosphere always offers a good time.
How To Get to Covent Garden
Covent Garden in London is centrally located in the West End, so getting to the area is easy. If you find yourself in the surrounding areas, then walking is probably your best bet.
This is also the best way to really appreciate the charm of the neighbourhood. Here are some easy public transport options to get you to where you want to be.
By the Underground
The Covent Garden tube station can be found on the Piccadilly Line. This is a central and easy-to-reach station. The station itself is very close to the Market Building at the end of James Street.
Covent Garden is also very easy to reach from the Leicester Square tube station. This is often a better choice during peak hour times, as the station can get pretty congested. Other stations within walking distance are Holborn and Embankment.
The RV1 bus stops at Covent Garden for a quick way to access the neighbourhood. You could also catch a bus to nearby Trafalgar Square or Aldwych by busses 9, 13, 15, 23, 139, and 153. Alternatively, catch bus number 24 to Leicester Square, which is just a short walk away.
Charing Cross station is a short enough walk away from Covent Garden. If you plan on travelling by rail, this would be the easiest way to get there. Otherwise, you can catch a train to Waterloo station and walk the rest of the way, which will take around 20 minutes.
There are three different bike racks that can be found around Covent Garden. These are on Southampton Street, Bow Street, and the corner of Russel and Wellington Streets. Cycling through London is lots of fun.
Ready To Discover Hidden Gems or Explore Covent Garden by Night?
If you are visiting London, Covent Garden is one of the best neighbourhoods to explore.
This area has a wealth of must-see sights, and there is such a unique charm that can be felt throughout the pretty streets. When it comes to things to do, Covent Garden has plenty of fun activities to try.
The district has magnificent theatres, historical buildings, as well as some of London’s best restaurants, museums, and squares.
The streets and markets here are also fantastic for shopping, with a quality pub never being too far away.
This is one of the most exciting parts of the city. Visiting Covent Garden, UK, should definitely be high up on your to-do list.
If you’re planning to spend a few days in the area, check out these hotels in Covent Garden for a comfortable stay.