“All the world’s a stage …”
If variety is the spice of Life then Covent Garden is a big jalapeño! Nowhere in London has such a heady mix of theatres, shops, restaurants and museums. This really is London at its most diverse. One minute you’ll be watching a street juggler, the next minute you’ll have found yourself in a boutique store before ending your day at the Ballet or the Opera.
Covent Garden confirms one of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes for there are street performers on every corner doing everything from escapology, folk singing, juggling, uni-cycling, knife swallowing and opera singing. You name it, they’ve sung it, flung it, caught it and swallowed it. For many, entertaining the throngs of shoppers, tourists and passers- by is their full time job so if you enjoyed their show pop a bit of cash in their hat.
Free Fun in Covent Garden & Seven Dials
- See if you can become part of a piece of street theatre – the secret is to stand right at the front and look enthusiastic!
- Try and get a selfie with one of the many celebs you’ll see around and about.
- Split up and explore to see who can find the most interesting blue plaque. Meet back at the market with photographic evidence and decide who’s won.
- Hang out around stage doors and get an autograph!
- Flick through the maps in the British Transport Museum’s shop and see if you can find pictures of London from a bygone era.
- Paint yourself silver stand still for a very long time see if anyone throws money at you.
- Chill out in the gardens of St Paul’s Church or the church itself.
- See if you can get on the evening news – there are always film crews lurking around Covent Garden getting vox pops for upcoming stories.
A Bit of History
- One of Britain’s first forms of street theatre started right here – Punch and Judy.
- Charles Dickens and Jane Austen were residents of Covent Garden and there are many more blue plaques littered across the neighbourhood indicating famous residents past and present.
- Visit the London Transport Museum and discover how the tube made London the sprawling metropolis it is today.
- Inigo Jones designed the piazza that hosts the current market and which opened in 1830.
- The first written reference to the market was in 1654.
- For most of the Twentieth Century it was a fruit and veg and flower market.
- It is now just as vibrant but sells more boutique goods and fewer apples.
Holborn is also home to one of Theatre’s most important institutions: RADA.
- The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which opened in 1904, is the place many an actors start there career.
- Notable alumni include Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Anthony Hopkins and Dame Diana Rigg.