London is such a large and varied city that it's easy to get lost, both in planning a trip and in the city itself.
I have to recommend making your home base in London in Covent Garden - a gorgeous pocket in the center of the city that has everything you'll need during your stay! And even if you aren't staying in Covent Garden, let's discuss what you should see in the area when you visit!
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Considering a visit to Covent Garden?
Smack dab in the center of everything, Covent Garden really must be on your to-visit list for any trip to London. Restaurants, theatre, shopping, and historical sights - what more could a person want?
During our most recent 10-day visit to London, we parked ourselves right in the middle of the action, in Covent Garden, a decision I'd happily make again. Close to everything, but with the feel of a neighborhood within a metropolis, Covent Garden has everything a visitor to London is looking for.
Staying in Covent Garden, London: Location
Various factors go into picking a hotel for a lengthy vacation, but location within the city you’re hoping to learn to get to know has got to be #1.
While walking in London is easy, and London's Tube is extremely accessible, you definitely want to make sure that you're picking a location that is both central to what you want to do and desirable in and of itself. Many tourists looking for a high-end experience end up in Mayfair ($$$$) or Westminster (thinking they’re near the sights) only to find that St Paul’s is not realistically walkable and it’s quite a journey to the inevitable London Eye trip.
From Covent Garden, we spent many an evening having a relaxing, after-hours drink in the City of London, then strolling along the Thames after a long day shopping at London's historic department stores. All on foot (with the caveat that are huge walkers). You’re about a 20-minute walk from St Paul’s and a 24-minute walk from Westminster Abbey. You can tour the two greatest royal wedding locations all on foot - what more could you ask for?
Additionally, taking the Heathrow Express, getting to the airport is about as easy as it can ever be from Central London - the Express drops you at Paddington Station, and then I'd recommend a quick cab ride over to Covent Garden.
Why's it called "Covent Garden?"
If you're anything like me, the first thing I started asking when my husband and I decided to stay in this area was "Covent?" What on earth does that mean? If you can imagine, this area - now the heart of London's theatre district, used to be owned by Westminster Abbey (think Pillars of the Earth) and was used as an orchard and farming district.
Londoners called the region "the garden of the Abbey and Convent," and within a few short centuries, that first "n" was nowhere to be found! With the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the King instead gave the land to the Earl of Bedford, whose descendants commissioned Inigo Jones to construct ritzy townhouses.
Staying in Covent Garden, London:
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