Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is near the top of most visitors’ itineraries on a trip to London. It may not be big on sights, but the elegant pedestrianised piazza at its heart, based around the old fruit and veg market, is a lively shopping and performance space buzzing with living statues and buskers. You’ll spend most of your time eating, drinking, shopping or seeing a show, but it’s still one of central London’s best neighbourhoods if you want simply to stroll around and explore. A few funky streets, especially around the Seven Dials area, ooze old-fashioned charm, their lofty brick warehouses given over to quirky shops, on-trend restaurants and stylish hotels.

Starting its days as a ‘convent’ garden belonging to the Church, the area we now know as Covent Garden was parcelled out to the Earls of Bedford after the 16th-century Dissolution of the Monasteries. In the 17th century the fourth earl commissioned fashionable architect Inigo Jones to design an Italianate square at the centre of the district, lining it with new houses and adding a church. This piazza was originally highly desirable real estate – two centuries later, however, a bustling array of market stalls, bawdy houses, theatres and coffee houses had taken over, lowering the tone somewhat; the area eventually became London’s central fruit and vegetable market. The market finally closed down in the 1970s, and within a decade had been transformed into a shopping piazza. 

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Covent Garden

Kids – and tourists – adore Covent Garden, with its elegant piazza, living statues and buskers.
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