When visiting a destination, it’s always nice to be in the know about some lesser-known attractions and places to explore. That’s exactly why I’m writing this 3-part series on Hidden London! In case you missed the first part, I wrote about 4 places to visit in Kensington and Bayswater.
Now, we’ll move on to the area of Covent Garden! Covent Garden is in the West End of London, in a bustling area full of entertainment and theatres. In an area so busy and full of life, it seems unlikely that you’d find anything “hidden”, but you’d be surprised!
1. Neal’s Yard
Formerly called King’s Head Court, Neal’s Yard is an alleyway that opens into a wee courtyard tucked away in the heart of London. You would never guess it was there if you didn’t know. It is a small space with colourful murals. Within the courtyard are many health & beauty shops and health-food cafes like Neal’s Yard Remedies, Wild Food Cafe, and other ethical and sustainable businesses.
This used to be a very run-down area until “alternative” activist Nicholas Saunders moved in to open his whole foods shop. Upon his success, other stores opened in the area as well.
It is a great place to go if you ever want to get away from it all. There is a very laid-back atmosphere to the courtyard.
Address: Neal’s Yard (off Short’s Gardens between Neal and Monmouth Streets), London WC2H 9DP
Transport: Via Covent Garden Underground Station (Piccadilly line)
2. Savoy Court
Savoy Court is the only street in the UK that requires drivers to drive on the right-hand side of the road. It leads to the luxurious Savoy Hotel as well as the Savoy Theatre. The reason for driving on the right-hand side is mainly due to the construction of the court, where it is simply easier to enter and leave on the right-hand side.
This does not actually conflict with British driving regulations as Savoy Court is private property.
Address: Savoy Court (off The Strand), London WC2R 0EZ
Transport: Via Covent Garden Underground Station (Piccadilly line), Temple Underground Station (Circle and District lines), and Charing Cross Underground Station (Bakerloo and Northern lines)
3. 10 Adam Street
This is 10 Downing Street’s doppelganger! In the event that you are not UK-based and do not know the significance of 10 Downing Street (often referred to as “Number 10”), it is the headquarters of the UK government and the residence & office of the Prime Minister.
If you ever try to visit Downing Street, you’ll see that it is barricaded off, so there is no actual chance of getting a selfie with the door of 10 Downing Street. Here’s where 10 Adam Street steps in! Fool your friends into thinking you made it past the gates to the Prime Minister’s residence!
At first glance, 10 Adam Street can easily pass as 10 Downing Street, but there are some very clear differences, including (but not limited to):
- The fonts of the “10” are different
- The gold knocker on 10 Adam Street is actually a black lion knocker on 10 Downing Street and positioned lower down the door
- 10 Downing Street doesn’t have a lock on the door as it can only be opened from the inside
It may seem like 10 Adam Street was built to imitate 10 Downing Street, but they were actually both built around the same time between the 1760s and 1770s, hence the similarities.
Address: 10 Adam Street, London WC2R 0DE
Transport: Via Charing Cross Underground Station (Bakerloo and Northern lines) and Embankment Underground Station (Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Northern lines)
4. Goodwin’s Court
Another neat alleyway that you’d simply pass by if you didn’t know it was there is Goodwin’s Court. It is a wee street of decorative window fronts and gaslight lamps, like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.
Originally known as Fishers Alley, it was built in 1690 and housed a row of shops. The shops have since been converted to offices and the like when the shops became unprofitable and closed down. The storefronts have been really well-preserved, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time when walking down the alleyway.
Address: Goodwin’s Court (off St Martin’s Lane or Bedfordbury), London WC2N 4LL
Transport: Via Leicester Square Underground Station (Northern and Piccadilly lines)
Are there any places on this list you’ve visited before? Any you think would be cool to visit? Let me know in the comments!