All of London comes together in this West End shoppers’ paradise.
Why go there?
Because you’ve cash in your pocket, a song in your heart and you don’t mind being jostled by tourists from every nation on earth.
What’s the vibe?
In a word: busy. Covent Garden is a shopping hotspot, with cool fashion brands like Opening Ceremony on King Street, a grand, nineteenth-century Apple Market full of craft stalls and boutiques and a great big Apple Store just beside it on the Piazza. Expect your route to any of these places to be clogged with backpackers, Theatreland luvvies and men with briefcases exiting the mysterious Freemason’s Hall on Great Queen Street.
What’s that smell?
Greasepaint, darling! From theatrical art shop Russell & Chapple, one of several intriguing thespy outlets on Drury Lane.
Any celebs about?
Soz, but you’ve just missed him off of ‘Doctor Who’ starring in heartwarming craic-fest ‘Once’ at the Phoenix Theatre. Though you should still head that way to check out the community-run Phoenix Garden on Stacey Street, just behind the venue.
How about a local delicacy?
Regulars rave about the veggie food at cheap basement cafe Food for Thought (Neal Street). Try Bagieret on Rose Street for biscuits inspired by Swedish tea parties. Otherwise tapas at Opera Tavern on Catherine Street and breakfast at Indian institution Dishoom on Upper St Martin’s Lane are both highly recommended.
Now I need a drink.
Get down to BYOC (underneath Juice Club at 28 Bedfordbury), a cocktail bar that’ll mix the booze you bring into a delightful concoction – though don’t expect too much from a Bell’s miniature and half a can of Special Brew.
Where’s the party at?
Sod the exclusive West End private members’ clubs, let’s head down the Lamb & Flag pub on Rose Street. If it was good enough for Charles Dickens then it’s good enough for us.
And if I only do one thing?
Pay a visit to the Royal Opera House, well worth busting through a crowd of Spanish teenagers to get to.