Covent Garden is one of the hot-spots in London, and is certainly on a tourists must see list. Sitting in the midst of the West End it is easy to dismiss this as just a square with some boujee boutiques, and street performers. It is anything but.
In collaboration with Hotels.com I got to go beyond the the main square and discover what hidden gems Covent Garden has to offer. On a cold Thursday, just after the Christmas Lights had been unveiled, I headed to the big smoke to see what I could find. Amongst the theatres, museums, independent pubs, boutiques, eateries and performances, you can spend all day up there. Better still, if you want to make it a right old knees up, then you can keep it local and stay in a Covent Garden Hotel.
Let the exploring begin.
If like me you love Christmas then Covent Garden is an absolute must see. There’s a different atmosphere here than in Regents Street, Oxford Circus and Trafalgar Square. It feels calmer because you can actually stand and admire, it brings more festivity, and at night it’s even more beautiful.
There is no denying that it is Christmas trees galore. The main square has given way to The Wonder Wood and all are themed according to the designer. From the silver lips of Huda Beauty, to the silk scarves of Miller Harris, the candy canes and love hearts of Balthazar, and ballet shoes of The Royal Opera House. You can’t help but fall in love with them all!
Dispelling the myth that you are confined to the four streets of the square, you need to branch out and really be in the moment. There’s little alleys and streets that lead to here, there and everywhere.
Tucked away down a tiny street in Seven Dials is Neal’s Yard, one of the most colourful streets around. It may be small but it compacts everything from doughnuts and pizza, to seeing where it all began for Neal’s Yard Remedies. While you’re there why not treat yourself to their all-natural, organic health and beauty products, and gorgeous treatments.
There’s the ever beautiful Royal Opera House where classic architecture meets art deco. If that’s not your thing then walk through St Paul’s Church and take a moment to read each and every message on the benches. Cecil Court is a little way out but is a snippet of what used to be. Providing inspiration for Diagon Alley, this street is one of the last gaslit streets left where you’ll find art, antiques and second hand books.
If shopping is what you are after then make sure you check out the pop-up shops, independent shops, as well as the infamous Covent Garden Market.
Rococo Chocolates – 38 Earlham Street
Chocolate lovers rejoice because this is the place for you. Of the 6 stores each has a colour. Covent Garnden is the pink store which features on their signature wallpaper. This store is the only one to have the story of Rococo Chocolates printed out front, and the founder was the first to receive an OBE for services to chocolate making. They must make pretty darn good chocolate!
This store was gorgeous. Every which way you turn there were chocolate delights. Freshly handmade truffles, to chocolate bars, thins and animal shaped creations. There’s something for everyone. They’ve also teamed up with Roald Dahl to create a fantabulous phizzwhizzing range which is a take on key tastes from the books. Basically going in there and coming out empty handed is not possible.
Places to Eat
With a plethora of places to choose from, you will find something for everyone. If it just a snack then you have Ladurée which sells the most amazing macarons, Orée for patisserie creations, or Morelli’s Gelato for all your ice cream needs. Or if you’re wanting a bit more then Battersea’s Pie Station in the lower arches and Eat by Chloe vegan and plant based restaurant could be the one for you.
St John’s Bakery & Wine Shop – 3 Neal’s Yard
For a darn good doughnut then head to St John’s Bakery at Neal’s Yard. With Christmas fast approaching they are imminently introducing their Christmas range. The chocolate doughnut was magical, rich and indulgent this is the one people go for the most. The butterscotch was very sweet and its filling was smooth like a creamy butterscotch Angel Delight.
Flat Iron – 17/18 Henrietta St
A restaurant where no reservations are allowed, it’s a case of rock up and see if they have space. If they don’t there is a little bar area, and it was the smallest of waits before being seated with a complementary popcorn. With the butchery up front, a spacious inside, there is no messing around here.
It’s a case of mix and match. You choose the steak, the sides and a sauce (if you wish). Frankly the picture says it all. The melt in your mouth flat iron steak, the dripping skin on best ever chips, fresh horseradish sauce, and roasted aubergine were A-MAZE-ING! There was nothing to fault. Topped off with a Golborne G&T, I couldn’t have chosen a better lunch.
Wahaca – 66 Chandos Place
If mexican food is your thing then this is the place. Frankly I would love one closer to me but wouldn’t trust myself not to be in there multiple times a week. The street food is my favourite purely because you can have lots of little dishes. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
When all you need is a drink
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour – 1 New Row
With a range of over 200 gins that are both well known and unique, this is a gin lovers paradise! This isn’t your average gin joint. Inspired by the adventures of Phileas Fogg you can take the experience one step further and go on a gin safari (hats included). Definitely a place to go.
Has this inspired you to go and explore Covent Garden? What are your top things to do in Covent Garden? I would love to know.
Nibbles ‘n’ Scribbles x
*This post was in collaboration with Hotels.com. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.