Covent Garden is one of London’s most popular shopping destinations, especially for those for those looking for something trendy and different - from the small stalls in the three markets around the piazza to major brands like Chanel, Dior and Burberry sitting alongside Paul Smith, Sandro, Hackett, Barbour and Reiss on the surrounding streets.
There are restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets in the shape of New York-renowned Balthazar, the sophisticated Laduree, and Peruvian fare from LIMA Floral plus Byron, Bill’s, Hawksmoor, Christopher’s, Sheekey’s Oyster Bar, Café Rouge, Café Murano and Joe Allen. With over sixty pubs and bars, finding somewhere to wind down or rev up is never a challenge.
Covent Garden hosted the first-ever Punch and Judy show, an event which is commemorated in the name of the pub which dominates the square, its balcony providing a perfect position from which to watch the world go by below. Street performers still provide a wide variety of free shows each day, too. More formal entertainment can be found in Covent Garden’s thirteen theatres and national institutions like The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet which were established in 1946 and are housed in The Royal Opera House, a magnificent building dating back to 1858. The Grade 1 listed Theatre Royal on Drury Lane is the oldest continuously-used theatre in London. It is a favorite of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and generally houses musical theatre productions.
Retail, catering and entertainment businesses dominate Covent Garden. Independents jostle for position amongst huge brands - it boasts, for example, the world’s largest Apple Store. The Covent Garden & Strand Business Partnership offers members the chance to help reduce shoplifting, theft, alcohol-related disorder and other anti-social behaviour affecting their business. Local businesses are linked together using a dedicated radio system and intranet site that allows partners in the scheme to share information and images of suspects, submit posts and upload documents, making it a strong ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ area for businesses.