Covent Garden - London
Covent Garden, London is famous for its shops, street performers, bars, restaurants, theatres and the Royal Opera House. Covent Garden is an Italian-style piazza packed with restaurants, bars and fashionable boutiques. Surrounded by Theatreland, in the heart of London's West End, the area is recognised as the capital's premier entertainment and leisure destination.
Covent Garden Market & Piazza
At the heart of the Covent Garden piazza lies the famous market, designed in 1632 by Inigo Jones and now visited by 30 million tourists each year. The large glass covered building comprises several arcades of fashionable boutiques, cafés and an arts and crafts, the Apple Market.
In the open piazza jugglers, mime artists, variety acts and musicians delight and amaze the crowds.
Restaurants, cafés and bars line the piazza, offering great views of this daily spectacle.
Covent Garden is the only area of London licensed for street entertainment and as such attracts performers from around the world.
For an insight into the life of a Covent Garden street entertainer, we asked for a first-hand account of what it takes to perform on that famous piazza.
Now one of London's most popular tourist attractions, for much of its existence Covent Garden served as a fruit and vegetable market - the largest in England - which covered the whole of the square and occupied many of the buildings. The wholesale produce has now moved to New Covent Garden Market in south London and the original site has been transformed beyond all recognition.
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House, just off the north piazza, was built in 1809 on the site of a theatre dating back to 1732.
A fire destroyed that building in 1857 but it was replaced within a year by the present House which, after two year's renovation, reopened in 2000 to high acclaim.
Restaurants, Pubs and Bars
A string of restaurants and cafés stretch out around Covent Garden piazza and the streets beyond with a choice of cuisine from around the globe.
NHS Hospital / Surgery
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