"going to Covent Garden"

Inside the market hall at Covent Garden
Creative Commons AttributionInside the market hall at Covent Garden - Credit: David Iliff
 Covent Garden is an area to the eastern edge of the West End of London, and is also the name of the famous square and market at its centre. Partly settled in 1200, some of the fields in the area were walled off and given to Westminster Abbey for use as orchards and gardens: ‘the garden of the Abbey and Convent’ gradually became known as ‘Covent Garden’. The square was designed by Inigo Jones in the 16th century as a fashionable residential area – based on European piazzas, it was the first example of town planning in London.

The market hall was designed by Charles Fowler and built in 1830 in an attempt to organise what had previously been an outdoor market. The wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market remained there until 1974 when it moved to New Covent Garden Market; the original building now houses craft stalls, shops and cafes and is a popular tourist attraction. Other landmarks in Covent Garden include the Royal Opera House, the London Transport Museum and the nearby Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The area is now fashionable and at the heart of tourist London, known for its restaurants, shops and street performers who are a permanent feature of the central square.