Covent Garden Piazza and Central Market

This was originally known as "the Convent Garden" and was an area of green fields belonging to the monks at Westminster Abbey.  They grew their vegetables here. 

Covent Garden was built in 1630 by the architect Inigo Jones, and is an elegant square - or piazza - with several attractive buildings surrounding the square, like St Paul's Church.  The fruit and vegetable market grew up here (made famous by "My Fair Lady" and Eliza Dolittle) but this moved to new premises at Nine Elms Battersea in 1980.  The original buildings were transformed into one of Central London's liveliest hubs of activity, with little shops in the old arcades, and lots of stalls with jewellry and objets d'art.  There are lots of cafes and restaurants, and live musicians entertain the crowds - usually the musicians are busking students and their standard is very good!

Don't miss seeing St. Pauls Church (see section on Churches and Catherdrals). Samuel Pepys watched the first ever Punch and Judy show in the square outside the Church in 1662 and wrote about it.  All around the piazza itself are a host of streets with clothes shops, bars, cafes, restaurantsand gift shops. Covent Garden piazza is also buzzing with life and activity at all hours of the day and night.

Jeannette Briggs

Nearest tube: Embankment Underground
Holborn Underground
Leicester Square
& Temple Underground

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