Are you looking for the best things to do in Covent Garden with kids? When I worked in Central London, I worked in Covent Garden and it is definitely one of my favorite places in London with kids to visit as there is just so much to do. In this guide we will round our favorite things to do in Covent Garden with kids, the best Covent Garden child friendly restaurants and more!
But before we get onto that first an overview of what Covent Garden actually is!
What is Covent Garden
Covent Garden is actually a really historic area of London. Back in the Medieval time sit was a walled market garden that used to supply food to Westminster Abbey.
It’s name is derived from it being the garden of the Abbey.
However it wasn’t until the 17th century that Covent Garden became a proper market. And then in the Victorian era it got quite the reputation for being a den of inequity.
However today it is a trendy area of London filled with shops and restaurants as well as museums and other entertainment venues.
So how do you get to Covent Garden?
How do you get to Covent Garden?
The Garden itself is largely closed to traffic during the daytime. Therefore there is no public transit in the Piazza istelf. However there is a Covent Garden Tube stop.
The Covent Garden Tube stop is only on the Northern Line. However I would caution you that this may not be the most convenient tube stop. The reason for this is that the Covent Garden tube station has 4 lifts or stairs. There is no escalator access. Therefore it can take a long time to get from the platform level to the street level.
If you are traveling at peak time and are able to walk you may want to consider walking to Covent Garden from the nearby Leicester Square Tube Station or even Embankment.
Best Things to Do in Covent Garden
So now you know where to find Covent Garden, what are the best things to do in this area with kids?
London Transport Museum with kids
If you are looking for the best things to do in Covent Garden with kids, then the London transport Museum has to be top of the list!
The London Transport Museum focuses on the history of buses, tube and train in the city and tehre are lots fo vehicles for your toddler to explore.
I know it can seem like a hard sell recommend a paid for museum in a city full of free to visit museums but the London transport museum will not disappoint!
As you enter the museum you take an elevator ride back in time to the beginnings of public transport in London! From there you can learn about the hackney carriages, the makings of the tube and bus systems! Kids will love all the buses and trains you can sit on but toddlers in particular will love the great hands on area for little explorers to get hands on learning experience.
Watch Covent Garden Street Performers
One of my kids favorite things to do in Covent Garden is watch the street performers.
Covent Garden is home to some of London’s best street performers with everything from Magicians to Buskers. These performers an draw quite a crowd, which when I was commuting in the area could be quite frustrating but now I am a mum I find myself joining the crowds and watching the shows!
It is worth noting that competition is fierce to get a spot to perform in Covent Garden with a rigorous audition process. Also as with any busker, the performers are not paid to be there so if you enjoy the show be sure to leave them a tip.
Covent Garden actually has a long standing history with street performers with the earliest recording of a marionette show in the area dating from 1662.
In fact this show was actually the first ever recorded show of Punch and Judy and was watched by the famous diarist Samuel Pepys.
In fact the the nearby pub in the piazza is named Punch and Judy due to this history and every May you will find a festival held in honor of Punch and Judy.
This year the festival is to be held on Sunday 14 May 2023 to celebrate the 361st anniversary of its first recording.
If you want a London itinerary with kids that takes in Covent Garden check out this post.
Watch a Child Friendly Show in Covent Garden
We often get asked what London shows are child friendly. And what I have discovered is that Covent Garden has not one, not two but three amazing theatre shows for kids!
The Drury Lane Theatre is one of Covent Garden’s biggest attractions and currently this houses one of the best theatre shows in London for kids – Frozen.
If you have a little one who is obsessed with the film, like my little girl was they are going to love this to stage adaption.
The show is almost a scene by scene recreation of the film with a couple of new songs added in for good measure! My daughter thought the Hygge song were Wandering Oaken’s family come our “naked” from the Sauna was particularly hilarious.
I took my daughter to this when she was 5 however the recommend age is 6 years and up. It is also worth noting that children under the age of 4 will not be admitted.
Now my daughter would have happily sat and watched the entire thing at aged 3 or 4 however as some children struggled this rule is put in place and is adhered to. Therefore be sure to wait until your child is at least 4 to attend this show.
Watch the Lion King
However if Frozen is your thing, there is another child friendly theatre performance in Covent Garden in the form of The lion King.
This show is on at the Lyceum and is another great choice of things to do in London at night with kids.
The Matilda Musical by Tim Minchin, which has just be turned into a hit film with Emma Thompson is also a theatre show which runs at the Cambridge Theatre near Seven Dials.
This show has been running for over a decade and is showing no signs of waning popularity!
Family Sundays at the Royal Opera House
One of the most famous buildings in Covent Garden is the Royal Opera House. Now you might think kids and opera houses are not compatible however if you are traveling with toddlers from the age of 3 up to children to the age of 10, you should check out on of the Royal Opera House’s Family Sunday Events.
For 10GBP you can attend sessions which are hands on connected to theatre craft from singing to dancing. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance.
Visit Seven Dials
One of my favorite areas in all of London is the Seven Dials centre. The Seven DIals Center was once a banana warehouse but now is a multi purpose retail and dining destination.
Visit Neal’s Yard
This is a beautiful shopping square which is also home to my favorite speciality cheese shop in London – Neal’s Yard. While looking is free, it can get pricey by all the tempting things of offer.
But perhaps my favorite thing about this area is that all of the retailers in this are have to be sustainable and ethical which make it one of the most unique but also eco places to visit in Covent Garden.
Visit the Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market and Jubilee Markets are a great place for a browse especially on rainy day in London.
You can get lost browsing all the market stalls for a couple of hours. It is also one of the best places to buy souvenirs in London.
Smaller children will enjoy the Moomin Shop and the TIntin Shop in particular.
While teenagers are such to enjoy the wider Covent Garden area shops with an amazing Doc Marten shop and a Tatty Devine Shop to name but a couple
Phone Box Row
If you want a photograph with an iconic British cultural icon the red phone box, then the best place in my opinion to get this Insta shot is at 5 Broad Ct, London WC2B 5QH.
Here near to the Royal Opera House you will find a beautiful ballerina statue and 5 red phone boxes in a row. This is a great plcae to get a family photograph in London.
London Film Museum
If you have kids who are a bit older and who love British films, think James Bond and Harry Potter then the London Film Museum may be for you.
Located on Wellington Street in Covent Garden this museum celebrates British Film and is the perfect Covent Garden Museum for Teenagers.
Best Covent Garden child friendly restaurants
Now for any visit to Covent Garden with kids will mean wanting to stop at a child friendly restaurant. And the good news is that there are lots of Covent Garden Child friendly restaurants with great kids menus that cater to the fussiest eater to the most adventurous.
Our favorite Covent Garden Child Friendly Restaurants are:
This chain Mexican restaurant owned and operated by Masterchef winner Thomasina Myers offers great sharing plates of Mexican plates for grown ups. But it also has a great kids menu. My little one loves the Fish tacos but there are quesadillas and other great options even if you have a fussy eater.
This is a bit of a darling in the London chain food scene. Serving up Indian food, which for me is a must eat on any London itinerary, this restaurant has a range of classic and more off the wall Indian dishes.
And if you have a more adventuruous foodie the kids menu will sure to delight too!
Flat Iron Steak
Is it possible to have a good budget steak in London? At Flat Iron absolutely! For 10GBP you can get a flat iron steak in a sleek urban interior. The only issue is that there are no reservations so you may have to wait and there is not a dedicated kids menu. Only ones for steak lovers who aren’t hangry.
Balthazar is a beautiful restaurant right on the piazza in Covent Garden. We love this restaurant as not only is the grown up food good but the kids menu offers more than just burgers and nuggets with healthier options such as salmon. This is our personal go to when we are visiting Covent Garden with kids.
Hawksmoor Seven Dial
Looking for a more upmarket steak restaurant then Hawksmoor is your place. The only downside is that they don’t offer a kids menu except for on a Sunday. They do a great value kids Sunday lunch and is my go to Sunday Lunch in the area.
What to Read Before Heading to Covent Garden
Whenever we travel somewhere we kids we like to try and introduce a place through books. Some of our favorite kids books featuring Covent Garden include:
- Bone Season – Young Adult Fantasy Novel that takes place largely in Seven Dials written by Samantha Shannon
- Dodger by Terry Pratchett – Seven Dials is the home of the title character’s hero!
- Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch – The final scenes of the novel all take place in Covent Garden Piazza but it is definitely for the older teenagers.
For more information on the best children’s books set in London check out this post!
Have you visited Covent Garden with kids – what was your favorite thing to do? Or if you have a question we haven’t answered here drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer it!