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Covent Garden (London)
Member Name: logberg
Covent Garden (London)
Date: 19/08/05, updated on 19/08/05 (81 review reads)
Advantages: Fabulous atmosphere, history abounds, London on show
Ever since seeing the flower cart in My Fair Lady I've wanted to go to Covent Garden.
When I first arrived in London I headed to Covent
Garden and since then I've been many times and take all my overseas visitors there.
Getting there by train is your first taste of something different. On arriving at the tube station there is a sign to tell you that you can walk up but the stairs, but upon reading the high number of stairs (I think it's in the hundreds!) you will most certainly decide to take one of the large lifts.
''Please have your ticket ready when getting out of the lift'' is good advice because when the door opens you are practically on the street. And what a street it is. Turn right and you are there, Covent Garden is just a short walk in front of you.
That walk is neat. Buskers, entertainers and of course the now expected living 'statue' - if you take a photo of them be prepared to pay or you'll receive some ridicule from the artists.
Covent Garden's history is old, enduring and so important to London and how it has evolved in the arts, theatre and of course the market stalls.
Nowadays you can sit at the cafes, listen to truly professiional entertainers in the 'pit' where you'll also find the most interesting ''cavern'' pub, under the building.
Back to the stalls. They are set out in rows in the first part of the market but as you move through there are shops and other traders.
Then you come to the real market. This is fantastic and I love it every time I go. The variety of traders is diverse but one day I got a real surprise.
I praised the market to the hilt as I journeyed there, on a Monday, with my Kiwi sister and told her about all the things you can buy there. Imagine my surprise when I walked in to find it was an antiques and old jewellery market.
I said to a stallholder, ''what happened to the usual market'' and she said, ''We set up here every Monday''. I truly thought the stalls I'd usually seen there were permanent but it seems the market changes completely, to suit.
Covent Garden has it all; craft, clothes, ornaments, jewellery, candles, leather, toys, food, books, cards, bags, entertainment and tons more.
If nostalgia is your thing, Covent Garden has lots of it. For me, it came in the form of a visit upstairs to a tiny toy shop; here they have the toy soldiers my brothers played with in the 1950s and to my huge surprise, I found some angel stickers I'd collected in the same decade. Lost years ago, I'm pleased to say I now have a set again!
They've also got the paper ''theatres'', intriguing today as they were so many years ago.
Covent Garden is a must if you want to see one of London's best, and it's free - only be prepared to buy, buy, buy. Oh! Make sure you've got time to sit at the cafe/bars, order a drink and just sit there and soak up the atmosphere.
Beside Covent Garden is the London Transport Museum, The Royal Opera House and many theatres around about it.
You can walk there from many other London attractions, get a good map and be sure to include Covent Garden in your London experience.
Summary: Covent Garden lives up to its history