Covent Garden is one of the most exciting and vibrant areas in central London. But is it a good place to take the kids? Absolutely. In this article we share some of our top Covent Garden highlights for a family expedition.
Covent Garden as we know it today was shaped by a large fruit and vegetable wholesale market. In the early 1970s, due to increasing traffic congestion, the wholesale was relocated. This historic market buildings were protected and refurbished as a shopping precinct. The old market is now a buzzing, thriving area – filled with shops, market stalls, cafes and restaurants, and some of London’s best buskers. You can easily spend a couple of hours here, wandering around the different market buildings, exploring the shops, tasting, trying, or just sitting in the sun and being entertained.
As well as being the home of London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden is also home to some of London’s most famous theatres. Take the kids to a matinee of one of the many shows or musicals on offer. A big favourite with kids is Disney’s Lion King – it has been running for years at the Lyceum Theatre which is right in the heart of Covent Garden. Another extremely popular show is Matilda. You should be able to pick up some cheap tickets or some returns for a matinee performance.
This is an iconic part of the Covent Garden neighbourhood – seven streets all intersect into a small roundabout with a central monument. You can sit on the monument and watch the world go by. There is great shopping around Seven Dials. This is also the home of Neal’s Yard Dairy which has a huge selection of English cheese, as well as Monmouth Coffee which many in London would argue is London’s best coffee.
One of the coolest streets in Coven Garden is New Row. If you need a treat to keep the kids upbeat then head to La Gelatiera – this is artisan gelato made fresh daily on the premises. They have some surprising flavour combinations that you might be a little skeptical of at first, but you can try before you buy and this is top drawer gelato that never disappoints. There is also really good coffee just a few doors down at New Row Coffee where you can fuel up on your caffeine and also use their free wifi if you need to check a map or upload some photos.
London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum can be found in Covent Garden. It may not sound that interesting, but this is definitely something that the kids will enjoy – old buses, old tube trains, all the ins and outs of London’s public transport system that will be your best friend on your travels around this city.
London is one of the world’s truly great cities, but it is an enormous place and there is a lot to explore. The best way is to break down into bite-size, manageable chunks. Covent Garden is a great place to start.