THREE THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT… COVENT GARDEN
There’s more to Covent Garden than the market and the street entertainers. Our tour guide, Viv shares three of the area’s less well-known sights that you shouldn’t miss.
An historic and haunted tavern
Between the Strand and Maiden Lane, quite close to Rules restaurant, there’s a small street called the Bull Inn Court, where you can find a historic pub named after Nell Gwynne. Nell was an orange-seller at what is now the Theatre Royal, but she became a famous actress and is perhaps best known as the mistress of Charles II. As well as the Royal connection, there’s something else that makes this pub interesting, though – it has a Victorian ghost. Ask Viv to tell you the gory details!
Nell Gwynne Tavern, 1 – 2 Old Bull Court WC2R 0NP
Peaceful spot on the piazza
It’s hard to believe that you can find a quiet spot on the Covent Garden piazza, but the garden at St Paul’s Church is one such place. Not to be confused with St Paul’s Cathedral, it sits at the east side of the piazza and you can often see jugglers and other performers right in front of it. Very few people think to go around the back of the church, to its garden, but if you do then you can enjoy a lovely cup of tea out there, and occasionally there’s some entertainment. It’s also known as ‘The Actors’ Church’ and there are memorials to Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward and other famous names.
St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street WC2E 9ED
An unusual dinner guest
It’s one of London’s most famous hotels, but not many people realise that you can pop into the Savoy and have a bite to eat, even if you’re not staying there. The hotel restaurant was recently renamed Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill, and there’s a wonderful story behind the new name. Would you believe that Kaspar is a cat and he’s been joining dinner guests at the Savoy since the 1920s? But he’s very selective – he only joins those who are in an ‘unlucky’ group of 13, to make up the numbers and avoid bad luck. If you’re very lucky, you can meet Kaspar on our Covent Garden tour.
Savoy Hotel, Strand WC2R 0EU
Discover more hidden gems on Viv’s Covent Garden Famous Faces, Famous Places tour.