AD | Collaborative post. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.
As a way to celebrate Christmas a bit early, last weekend I headed to London with my Mum for some quality time together and festive fun. While we had plans on the Saturday we had the whole of Sunday free to explore and do whatever we wanted. Having been to London quite a few times over the years, there are things that I tend to do each time, and favourite places I always go to. However, an area that neither of us had really explored too much was Covent Garden. At this time of year, it would be great to book a Covent Garden Hotel and have a fantastic base for a day of good food, great shops and a truly stunning festive location to get you in the mood ready for Christmas.
Getting in the Christmas spirit
It’s been years since I last visited Covent Garden and I know for sure it wasn’t in winter. I couldn’t even really remember what it looked like to be completely honest. The minute we walked around a corner from Leicester Square (which was Christmassy enough) it was like walking into an area of London purely designed to be as festive as possible.
When we got right into the centre of Covent Garden, where the Apple Market is, it was like an Instagrammer’s dream. There were so many photo opportunities from decked out benches to stunning doorways to restaurants with Nutcrackers outside. I tried to get as many photos as possible but as I’m sure you can imagine, there was a lot of people waiting for their turn. Some places like this you would think to be too hectic and busy but everyone was really polite and patient which made the waiting not so bad at all.
Not only was everywhere so beautifully festive but there was so much work and effort put into the displays and decorations. Various retailers in this surrounding area had their own Christmas trees and Tiffany and Co. had a huge display which was just stunning. Mum and I spent so much time just walking around and looking at everything before we’d even gone into any shops. We actually purposely got there before the shops opened just so we could look around when it was a little less busy.
What I loved about festive Covent Garden is that it was really classy. I think Christmas can be overdone but not here. Every street or shop was beautifully decorated and spending the day in the area was really special. We literally walked around for hours just looking at all of the individual decorations and seeing everything we possibly could.
Instead of going somewhere like Oxford Street, I wanted to do some Christmas shopping in Covent Garden. I had a couple of presents left to buy and I wanted to make sure I was somewhere that had shops I might not have looked in before. The Covent Garden is a lot bigger than I had thought to start with and when looking it up I found that one side reaches Leicester Square tube station and the other side stops at Drury Lane. I had no idea it was so big!
If you stay around the Apple Market right in the middle of Covent Garden you can find more upmarket stores such as Kurt Geiger, Burberry and Mulberry. These stores are way out of my price range but I did enjoy looking in windows. Venturing further out around Covent Garden you will find a much larger range of stores with varying price points. We were lucky to be visiting over the Black Friday weekend so lots of stores still had some fantastic offers.
Of course, Covent Garden is home to the Apple Market and it’s actually the only thing I remembered about the area from a previous visit. Inside the market you will find plenty of stalls as well as the stores lining either side. There’s such a mix here and you can find anything from art and jewellery to chocolates and handmade toys for children. You might even find a street performer right at the back of the market!
I managed to find all of the presents I was looking for in Covent Garden. I picked up a beautiful set from Kikki K. as a Secret Santa gift, a jumper from Gap Kids for Erin, along with an adorable jacket and colouring set from the London Transport Museum shop. Sass and Belle had a fantastic sale so I got Erin a super cute money box for only £3 instead of £12 and a notebook for £1. My last purchase was a present for myself, which was a foundation from Benefit, something I had wanted for a while now.
A bite to eat
We racked up a lot of steps while we were walking around Covent Garden so by about 2pm we were starving. Within a 10 minute walk you can literally find any kind of food that you fancy. Carluccio’s stood out to us because of the stunning doorway, as did The Ivy with the nutcrackers outside.
As we visited on Black Friday weekend, the restaurants were all extremely busy and without having booked a table we were looking at a 45 minute wait in a lot of places. However, Covent Garden doesn’t mean you have to go to more of an upmarket restaurant. At this point, we wanted something quick, delicious and something we might not have on a regular day. Mum had never had a Five Guys before so this was ideal for us both.
Sometimes what you really need after being out for hours is a really good burger with fries and Five Guys gave us exactly that! Although this is a quick service place, there was no rush to leave after finishing our food and we could relax a little bit before heading out again!
Usually when I visit London I have so many plans and that generally means I am non-stop the whole time. Taking the day to explore Covent Garden was a real delight and there was so much more to discover than I imagined.
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