Covent Gardens, London

An exciting district of London to visit is Covent Garden. The area is on the east side of London’s West End, sandwiched between St. Martins Lane and Drury Lane. The land of present day Covent Gardens, London is steeped in history. People traveled an ancient path through the location during the Roman Period. Archaeological research revealed Covent Garden was the center of a town called Ludenwic. Ludenwic was established around 600 AD and operated as a trading hub for the area. The town was gradually abandoned and by 886 AD, fields replaced the structures leaving no surface indications of the former town.
Punch and Judy Pub, Covent Garden, London, England
Sometime before 1200 AD, an abbey was established and the fields were converted into a garden and eventually encompassed 40 acres. In 1540, Henry VIII seized the land and it was subsequently passed down to the Duke of Bedford. The Bedford family held the land from 1552 to 1918 and built additionally buildings to house themselves as well as other noble families. However, the area became known as the local red light district in the 18th century and boasted several famous prostitutes. Many of the historic structures gained legal protection in 1973 and the area was re-developed as a shopping center in the 1980s. The property was transferred to a new owner in 2006 who worked with the city to restore the historic buildings and make the area more attractive to visitors.Street Show, Covent Garden, London, England

The Covent Square is an attraction for visitors to the area featuring local street performers with a backdrop of historic charm. The location was constructed as a piazza, a popular layout imported from Italy and France which was popular in 1630. The original character of the architecture can be seen in the arcaded portico of the restored buildings. Originally, the area contained many local shops however the businesses were relocated three miles southwest to the New Covent Garden Market in 1980. The cafes and shops of the New Covent Garden draw visitors from all over the world.

Travelers looking for whats on in London will find one of the most famous local landmarks is the Royal Theatre on Drury Lane which opened in 1663. Throughout its’ history, the theater held the premier plays in the area however the building was destroyed several time before the current structure opened in 1812. The Royal Theatre was home to the performances of actor Edward Kean, actress Clara Fischer, and the comedy troupe of Monty Python. In November 2008, the theater was purchased by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and stages popular musical productions.

A Victorian-era iron and glass building houses the London Transport Museum, located near the Covent Garden Square. The museum collection contains many trolleybuses, trams, buses, and rail car dating from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as travel memorabilia. Also in close proximity to Covent Garden Square is St. Paul’s Church. The church was designed by famed architect Inigo Jones and completed in 1638. Following a fire in 1795 during restoration of the building, the new structure provides a stunning example of Georgian and Victorian Reconstruction architecture.


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