Breaking News

Friday, 10 January 2014

Step back in time

Image: freedigitalphotos
The area now known as Covent Garden is situated in central London, not far from Trafalgar Square. It's bounded in the west by St Martins Lane and in the east by Drury Lane. To the south is The Strand and to the north Longacre. The heart of this district is Covent Garden Market itself, set on a large Italianate piazza designed by the celebrated architect, Inigo Jones. On a sunny day, this could be any European city.

Although Covent Garden had been home to a fruit and vegetable market since around 1650, it was only in 1830 that a purpose built covered market was completed to replace the ramshackle stalls. Nowadays, there are three bustling markets to visit: the Apple Market, the Jubilee Market and the East Colonnade Market. Here you can search out antiques, as well as handmade jewellery, clothing, soaps and many other arts and crafts.

The chic boutiques which adorn the colonnades that line the Piazza first opened their doors in 1980. Today, these and the many other shops in Covent Garden, with their fabulous reputation for style and exclusivity, draw in customers from all over the world.

In 1798, Rules was opened in Covent Garden; it still delights with its traditional British fare, making it the oldest restaurant in London. Whether you prefer game pie in opulent splendour or sushi in minimalist Scandinavian surroundings there will surely be a restaurant to suit your tastes.

There's no shortage of pubs and bars in the Covent Garden area. The oldest and most famous is the Lamb and Flag, which used to host bare knuckle fights in the 17th century when it was known as the Bucket of Blood. These days, however, fighting is firmly off the agenda here as elsewhere, a pleasant drink in a relaxed atmosphere being more to everybody's taste.

Covent Garden has been associated with theatre ever since 1663, when Thomas Killigrew's King's Theatre Company moved into the newly built Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The building that stands there now is its fourth incarnation; opened in 1812, it is acknowledged to be one of the world's most haunted theatres! Similarly, the Royal Opera House has been built three times since it first opened in 1732, the first two theatres having been destroyed by fire in the 19th century. Home to the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet, as well as its lavish evening productions it also hosts exhibitions and activities during the day.

The London Transport Museum is housed in the old Flower Market, where it's been educating visitors about the development of the city's transport systems since opening in 1980. As well as presenting a history of the last 200 years, it also explores what future transport may look like. Nearby is the recently opened London Film Museum, an essential venue for anyone interested in the history of cinema and film.

Covent Garden is fantastically easy to get to, having its own underground station and being just a short walk away from Leicester Square. Furthermore, buses pass along The Strand regularly. There really is no excuse for not visiting!

Designed By