Covent Garden: Chronicles of Convent to Commerce


Covent Garden: Chronicles of Convent to Commerce

Embark on a captivating journey through the historic heart of Covent Garden, a district that has evolved from monastic settlement to a bustling marketplace and cultural hub. Our tour begins on James Street, where we delve into the area’s origins as the 'Convent Garden' of Westminster Abbey, its transformation during the Reformation, and subsequent development  by the Earls, and later Dukes, of Bedford.

As we explore the iconic piazza, learn about the rise of the famous market, scrutinised through the Bedford family's crest adorning the market’s pediment. Admire the architectural elegance of the square, designed by Inigo Jones, and the market building erected in the 1830s. Hear tales of the market’s vibrant history extending from the 1830s through to the 1970s.

Stroll through the adjacent churchyard where stories of burials during the Great Plague unfold. Discover the French connection on Henrietta Street, the artistic legacy on Maiden Lane, and the majestic Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Royal Opera House.

Our tour concludes with views of the Freemasons' Hall, ensuring you leave with a profound understanding and appreciation of Covent Garden’s rich history.


Please note: 

  • Some optional extras include a vehicle to drive between sites, site access and refreshments.  These must be requested at the time of booking and will incur additional costs.
  • The normal recommended duration for this tour is published on this page.  If you require a shorter or longer duration please let us know at time of booking and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • All of our tours are for private bookings only.  Whether you're a single, couple, family, group of friends or corporate booking, you will enjoy the exclusive care and attention of our guide
  • All guides on our team are warm, engaging professionals who are well travelled themselves, and offer their own rich life experiences to help hit the mark for your enjoyment of our tours.
  • Guides reserve the right to adapt the route of this tour according to various logistical requirements (for example inclement weather or traffic congestion) on the day of the tour.
  • Most tours are customisable and adaptable for special interests, language support (currently English, French and Spanish), accessibility / disability amendments and other sensitive handling (such as women-led tours). 
  • Please advise us of any other special requests on booking.
  • Please review our full list of policies here

At a glance

Sites along the way
Covent Garden & Soho
Themes enjoyed
Roman History, Medieval History, Architecture, Shopping, Cultural & Educational, Art, Nightlife, Tudor & Stuart History, Georgian & Victorian History, Street Food and / or Cafes, Stage & Screen
Perfect for
Couples, Families, Corporate Groups, Singles, Layover, Shopping, Children, Seniors, Disabled
Typical walk duration
2 hours