Looking for things to do in Covent Garden? Whether you’re making your way to Covent Garden, London for your first trip or dreaming up your next one, here’s the best things to do in the area — from a Londoner!
Covent Garden is where you go to enjoy the life of London. Whether it’s taking up an afternoon aperitif or listening to the sound of live performers pulsating through the streets, there’s never a dull moment in Covent Garden. Here’s the best things to do in the area.
Top Things to do in Covent Garden
Covent Garden Shops & Markets
1. Shop at Apple Market
It’d be a sin to not start your day at Covent Garden’s most treasured attraction—Apple Market! Tucked in the Covent Garden piazza the beautiful 19th-century market is filled with quaint boutique shops and quirky indie stalls.
If you visit from Tuesdays to Sundays, you’ll find the handmade painting, jewelleries and crafts take center stage. But if you’re more into antiques, pay a visit on Monday.
If you look down, you’ll also notice a slew of restaurants and wine bars (with the odd opera singer or two), so make sure to pop by after you’ve made a shop.
2. Find Your Favorite Souvenir at Jubilee Market
Because it couldn’t be Covent Garden without multiple markets of wonderfulness. But for Jubilee Market, think less cobbled streets and opera singers and more ‘tourist galore’ but in a good way, I promise!
The small craft market is one of the best things to do in Covent Garden if you’re picking up a quirky London souvenir or two. The best part is they’re open until 5-7pm everyday, so if you’re in Covent Garden for the night you can easily make a pit stop here before you start your evening.
3. Explore the Colorful Neal’s Yard
If you can believe it, Neal’s Yard was nothing more than a dismal alleyway at one point, but entrepreneur Nicolas Saunders brought the area to life with a wholefoods shop in 1976—and it’s been a London staple ever since. Nowadays you can enjoy everything from some of the best pizza in London to luscious Italian wine here and of course, Neal’s Yard Remedies, one of London’s most famed skin care and cosmetics brands.
4. Stumble Through Seven Dials
If stumbling through cobbled stoned streets is your thing, you’ll love Seven Dials. Designed by Thomas Neale the pillared series of (you guessed it) seven streets are bursting with independent shops and treats—perfect for a day of pottering about.
Don’t forget to visit the vibrant Seven Dials Market one of London’s most eclectic outdoor spaces with every cuisine under the sun.
5. Have a Peek at the Vintage Showroom
We all know a man with an eye for fashion (or maybe you are that man!) if so, make sure you point them (or you) to The Vintage Showroom.
The classic museum-like shop houses the best vintage menswear London has to offer. With each piece carefully selected by co-owners Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett, you’re sure to find something that makes a statement.
Covent Gardens Museums
6. Learn Something New at the London Transport Museum
Not the first thing you think of when it comes to the best things to do in Covent Garden, but if enjoy learning about London’s history, it’s a must-visit! The London Transport Museum is the best place to nerd about over iconic red buses, vintage carriers, and the world’s first underground steam train.
If you ever find yourself in Covent Garden, especially if it’s a rainy day, it’s a great place to take cover from the weather and learn something new along the way!
7. See the Classics at The London Film Museum
Similarly, if films are more your thing, you can’t leave Covent Garden without checking out the London Film Museum. Birthed in 2008 as an ode to the London film industry, the museum has tons of exhibitions on year-round.
Right now, you can enjoy their Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition, taking you through all the iconic film moments. Whether’s it’s venturing through Harry’s first Hogwart adventures to trying London’s only Butterbeer bar—you’re sure to have all your fandom dreams wonderfully met.
Covent Garden Shows & Entertainment
8. Take up a Show at the Royal Opera House
For an unforgettable night in Covent Garden, why not take up a show at the Royal Opera House? The iconic London staple houses the best creative arts and world-class performances the city has to offer. Check out the latest shows or keep a keen eye out for their free lunchtime recitals.
If you’re more interested in the history, you can even book a backstage tour of the theatre!
9. Have a Laugh at the Top Secret Comedy Club
I’ve had too many fun nights here to count, which is why I have to recommend it as one of the best things to do in Covent Garden for your visit. The Top Secret Comedy Club is a no-frills stand-up comedy club (and the old stomping grounds of comedians like Jack Whitehall and Aziz Ansari—to name a few) housed in an intimate basement with plenty of laughs.
Most shows are free (but of course, tipping is encouraged), or £8 entry. Once you’re inside you’ll find cheap drinks and a welcoming crowd ready for a good night.
Oh, and remember, if you sit in the front, they’re coming for you!
10. Enjoy a Drama at the Donmar Warehouse
For a night of Drama, enjoy a night at the Donmar Warehouse. The 251 seat theatre houses award-winning intimate productions year-round.
Whether you’re looking to find the UK’s next up-and-coming actor or simply beat the crowds, it’s definitely one of the more interesting ways to spend your time in Covent Garden.
11. Watch the Street Performers do Their Thing
Since the dawn of Covent Garden history, locals and tourists alike have been gathering along the Main Piazza and beyond to take in the street performers of the city. Whether it’s a young woman pouring out sweet soul on James Street or a magician showing you the latest trick up his sleeve on a Sunday afternoon, there’s never a dull moment here when the street performers are about.
Unfortunately, there’s no set performance schedule, so you’ll have to leave it to serendipity (or come for 6-8pm).
P.S – You can check out some of the street performers (or become a Covent Garden street performer yourself) here!
Covent Garden Landmarks
12. Take a “Pic for the Gram” at the Latest Art Installation
One thing to know about Covent Garden is that it never stays the same (cue @lepinkfigaro!).
From giant pumpkins to grand Christmas trees, there’s always a new installation on its way to Covent Garden. If you’re looking for things to do in Covent Garden today or this weekend, don’t forget to check up on what the latest installation will be here!
13. Or the Classic Flower Bench
One Covent Garden gem you’re sure to find on your trip is the flower bench.
Sitting pretty on James Street you can snap one for the gram before carrying on to the rest of your Covent Garden adventures. Just be sure to let me know when you do!
14. Have a Tranquil Sit-Down at St. Paul’s Church
If you’re in the mood for a more holy affair, add a visit to St Paul’s Church to your best things to do in Covent Garden list.
The “actors’ church” as they call it has been drawing in the theatre crowd since 1631. The church regularly hosts performances and events, so if you’re in the area make sure you pop in to see what’s on.
P.S – You can visit from 8:30am to 5pm throughout the week and 9am-1pm on Sundays
15. Wander to the K2 Telephone Boxes
If you’re anything like me, London telephone boxes are still a treat to see. Luckily, quick onto Broad Court will lead you to not one, but five classic British telephone boxes, proudly situated since the 1920’s.
Adjacent, you’ll find the iconic “Young Dancer” statue by the famed sculptor Enzo Plazzota. One of the best things to do in Covent Garden if your Instagrams’s in need of some…pizzazz!
16. Go on a Street Walking Tour of Covent Garden
One of the most fun things to do in Covent Garden if you want to see the area from a new perspective is a street walking tour!
If you’re more of a solo explorer, take my self-guided walking tour through the top must-see streets, otherwise, I highly suggest Strawberry Tours. They host free tours in and around Covent Garden and beyond, plus, learning about the history of the area will make you appreciate it even more.
Covent Garden Bookshops
17. Pop Into Stanford’s Bookshop
Traveling soon? Pop into Stanford’s Bookshop!
Running strong since 1901 Stanford’s is filled with over 160 years worth of guide books and travel guides you can’t find anywhere else.
18. Browse Antique Maps at Bryars & Bryars
If you haven’t had enough quirky Covent Garden, add Bryars & Bryars to your list.
The quaint Hunter green bookstore houses rare atlases, maps, and volumes from across the globe. Although it’s a little ways outside of Covent Garden—you can still pop into the National Gallery after, so win-win!
Best Places To Eat in Covent Garden + Things To Do in Covent Garden at Night
19. Enjoy a Happy Hour at Blame Gloria
Run out of things to do in Covent Garden? Blame Gloria! Okay, don’t really, but do pay her a visit.
The cocktail and wine bar specializes in intimate happy hours and Saturday brunch in a vibrant drinking den. Any time spent here is sure to leave some memories, so make sure it’s where you end your night in Covent Garden!
20. Dine at London’s Oldest Restaurant at Rules
If you like the finer things you won’t miss a chance to dine at London’s oldest (yes, oldest) restaurant—Rules. Serving traditional British food (specializing in game) since 1798 in an Edwardian setting, you can splash the cash and have a night in Covent Garden worth remembering.
If you’re not particularly peckish, head upstairs to their equally impressive cocktail bar Upstairs at Rules—just make sure you dress the part, quote “whilst Jacket or tie are not required, we prefer smart dress.”
21. Cue the Romance at Clos Maggiore
One of the city’s most romantic restaurants—Clos Maggiore has earned its reputation (rightfully so) with some of the best French cuisine in London and an ambiance to match.
Whether you’re heading to the Royal Opera or just looking to leave the very best impression on your date for the night, it’s sure to be a head-turner. Once you’re done eye-gawking at the dangling white flowers and shrubbery you’ll find all the plates are made to share—cue the romance!
P.S – The best seats are in the main atrium, aka “the fairy room”
22. Gawk (and eat) at The Petersham
One of my favorite places in Covent Garden will always be The Petersham. When it’s not boasting its incredibly Instagrammable decor, you’ll find it also houses a gorgeous little restaurant (off of Floral Court) with locally-sourced cuisine, an open kitchen and al-fresco setting for the ultimate Covent Garden experience.
23. Satisfy Your Seafood Dreams at Oystermen
Did someone say Oysters?
I don’t know about you, but I’m incredibly picky when it comes to seafood (it’s not the kind of cuisine you want to mess up!) which is why I swooned when I found the Oystermen. The seafood bar & kitchen is home to some of the freshest oysters and fish London has to offer—all sourced from across the British Isles. Spoilt for choices? I highly suggest the sea bream ceviche with passion fruit and ponzu—divine!
24. Sip Away at Mr.Fogg’s Tavern
You’ll instantly recognize Mr. Fogg’s Tavern for its grand floral display, but lucky for you—the food (and Gin) is just as good.
An ode to the adventures of Phileas Fogg, you’ll find trinkets from around the world dotted around this cozy Covent Garden pub, just don’t forget to leave without trying their Gin selection.
25. Get Loose at the Covent Garden Cocktail Club
There’s no better way to end a night in Covent Garden than with a cocktail.
If you’re looking for less chi-chi more ‘night-out’ vibe, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Covent Garden Cocktail Club. One of the best things to do in Covent Garden if downing decently-priced cocktails and having a cheeky dance on a table is your sign of a good time.
P.S – Don’t forget to sign up for your free membership on the website before you go!
26. Enjoy Naughty Cocktails at the Eve Bar
Tucked in the heart of Covent Garden lies the Garden of Eve—okay, not the real one, but the Eve Bar will do.
The cocktail list here came to impress, so much so that you’ll even get to watch their resident mixologists craft their masterpieces right in front of you! If you’re in the mood for beautiful interiors and indulgent drinks, this is your place.
Best Afternoon Teas and Desserts in Covent Garden
27. Experience Cinnamon Baazar’s Afternoon Tea
Of course, you can’t go wrong with a traditional British afternoon tea, but sometimes you’ve got to switch it up!
Head to Covent Garden’s very own Cinnamon Bazaar to try their ‘Traders High Tea’, an Indian-inspired afternoon tea experience infused with the spices of bazaars. Oh, and rumor has it if you try the saffron macaroon, you’ll be transported to heaven…just saying.
28. Try Magic with the One Aldwych’s Afternoon Tea
One Aldwych has long been known as one of London’s most exclusive hotels, but it wasn’t enough, so they’ve decided to add afternoon tea to their accolades!
Their Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea will transport you to a world of savory sandwiches, warm chocolate cakes and decadent sherbert tea, even if it’s just for an afternoon. Make sure you book a table before.
29. Have an Instagrammable Afternoon Tea at Brigit’s Bakery
Stepping into Brigit’s Bakery feels like walking into a pink sanctuary.
The French patisserie is more of an experience than a bakery, in the best way possible. Between all the gloriously pretty cakes and treats, with interiors that make it near impossible not to ‘snap for the gram’ it’s the perfect pit stop for an afternoon tea after a morning of exploring Covent Garden.
P.S – Check out my day out on the Brigit’s Bakery Bus Tour!
30. Devour Creamy Cheesecake at Whipped London
One thing I’ve noticed since living in London is how hard it is to find a good cheesecake! (or maybe I just really miss the Cheesecake Factory). Lucky for me (and you) I found Whipped! Home to the creamiest cheesecake you’ll ever find in London.
Created by co-founders Alice, a renowned Michelin-trained chef, and Jamie, an insatiable cheesecake lover—the duo decided to combine their efforts to turn this cafe into a Covent Garden staple. And the coffee’s pretty good too!
31. Try Quirky Desserts at Milk Train
The London food scene gets more weird and wonderful every day, and Milk Train is proof.
The funky dessert cafe takes ‘Instagrammable food’ to a whole new level with candy floss ice cream and milkshakes that are sure to leave your sweet tooth’s singing hallelujah. One of the best dessert spots in Covent Garden if you’re looking for something cheap and delicious.
Quick Tips for Visiting Covent Garden
- There’s always new events going on in the area so don’t forget to check out the latest news on their website
- I’d suggest staying at the Henrietta, a chic boutique hotel in the heart of the area or the One Aldwych
- If you’re just more in the mood for a walk around the area, check out my Covent Garden street guide
- For the full Covent Garden experience, I suggest visiting for both the day and night
Things to do in Covent Garden Map