Of Convents and Gardens

London is often described as being a collection of small villages, each defined by it’s own unique character.

If this is true then my favourite of those villages is Covent Garden. Loved by both visitors and London residents alike, it’s streets are always full of life.

Any time I visit London I try to find an excuse to come here. In my opinion it’s home to some of London’s finest restaurants and most character rich pubs.

Crown & Anchor, Covent Garden

On frosty winter nights, the warm tones of the street lighting against the backdrop of the clear dark sky produce a cozy ambience that’s simply delightful.

King Street, Covent Garden

Covent Garden tube station can be very crowded, and the lift to street level can feel a little claustrophobic. If you feel up to it, the 193 step staircase is quite the experience. The alternative is to get off at Leicester Square station which is just a short walk away.

The area feels almost like a refuge from the rush of London life. Not because it’s not busy, it always is, but rather because the pace of life seems to decrease as you enter Covent Gaden.

“London opens to you like a novel itself…. It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences; it opens to you like a series of rooms, door, passsage, door. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand”

– Anna Quindlen

As you walk through the Covent Garden of today it’s hard to imagine that it was once an area that was rife with prostitution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It’s far more famous for having been a fruit, vegetable and flower market. Long before that, in the 1500s, it was the vegetable garden of Westminster Abbey, then known as ‘Convent Garden’.

I frequently travel to London for business, and when I’m booked on a late flight home I can’t think of a nicer part of London to relax in after a long day of work.

Whatever your reason for visiting London, I would highly recommend a visit to Covent Garden.