The Covent Garden in London which is well known for its shops, street performers, bars, restaurants, theatres along with the Royal Opera House, is a district in London. This Covent Garden is surrounded by High Holborn to the north, Drury Lane to the east, the Strand to the east while St Martin’s Lane to the west.
Royal Opera House
Prior to this Garden, there was a fruit and vegetable market. However, this has now been replaced by a well-known shopping and tourist place including the Royal Opera House, also known as “Covent Garden.”The vegetable and fruit market go back a long way. It was started in the year 1654 as a small open-air market to the south of Inigo Jones’s Covent Garden Square.
The original market was made up of wooden stalls and sheds which consequently became highly disorganized. This place also witnessed the emergence of new buildings like the Floral Hall, Charter Market and the Jubilee Market built by Cubit and Howard. However, due to the traffic problems, the market was shifted to the New Covent Garden Market approximately 5kms south-west at Nine Elms.
Covent Garden History
In 1980, the central building was reopened, but this time as a shopping center. This place now has become a major tourist spot comprising of cafes, pubs, shops along with the Apple Market which is a craft market. On the south side of the Covent Garden Square, is the Jubilee Market.
The Covent Garden boasts over 60 pubs and 13 theatres. Thus, the Covent Garden has a long association with entertainment and shopping which persists till today. Apart from this, the Covent Garden is also famous for street performances thereby making this place the only place in London which is licensed to have or organize street performances. There are street performances organized all year round except on the day of Christmas.
Covent Garden Pubs and Bars
Similarly, the pubs and bars are of a very high standard and have been the recipients of several awards like the London Pub of the Year in 2008 by the Society for Preservation of Beers from the Wood; National Pub of the Year in 2011 by CAMRA in 2011 etc to name a few.
In Central London, the Covent Garden is of the very few stations for which the access to the platforms is by way of lift or stairs. The tube and mainline stations at Charing Cross, Leicester tube station, and Holborn tube station are some of the stations just outside the Covent Garden area. There is, however, only one bus route which is in the Covent Garden itself.
The Covent Garden more so its market, has been referred to in various works like for instance in Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle, the central character is a Covent Garden flower seller. In ‘Frenzy’, Alfred Hitchcock’s father was also shown as a wholesale greengrocer in the market. Whereas in Lindsay Anderson’s ‘Every Day Except Christmas,’ the documentary threw light on the daily activities of the market. This documentary went on to win the Grand Prix at the Venice Festival of Shorts and Documentaries.
Thus, the Covent Garden which is surrounded by Theatreland is known as London’s leading entertainment and recreational destination option for the tourists.