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Guide to Covent Garden Shops

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If a visitor from another planet was somehow instantly transported to Covent Garden, the space alien would soon ascertain that the area is a world renowned shoppers' paradise. From quaint and indie boutiques to retail powerhouses, Covent Garden wows London visitors and residents alike with the its assortment of up-to-date fashions, unique souvenir and gift items and basically any-and-everything for the most sophisticated, finicky or even bizarre of preferences. The alien visitor might feel at home at Forbidden Planet's London Megastore on Shaftesbury Avenue. Forbidden Planet is the world's largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer. Its Shaftesbury Avenue shop is indeed 'mega' and offers the latest in DVDs, books and collectables. Shopping here is truly an out-of-this-world experience.

A few storefronts down Shaftesbury Avenue, our extra terrestrial friend might also find some sympathetic faces at Angels, a fancy dress retailer (that means a costume shop to you non-Brits) that has been in operation for more than 150 years and features six floors "of the best fancy dress in the world." From catering to West End's most famous theatres to ensuring everyone has a frightfully fun Halloween, browsing round Angels is a bit like being in a museum of masks and fancy dress.

From there, if our interstellar tourist has any fashion sense at all, it should make a b-line for Neil Street, a quaint pedestrian lane dedicated to shoes and hardly anything more. In addition to the latest trends and hottest brands at a variety of shops, here eco-conscious shoppers can even try on and purchase vegetarian shoes at The Vegetarian Shoe Store. Neil Street is one of a handful of streets that comprise the area known as Seven Dials, known for its extraordinary range of UK flagship stores such as Paul Frank, Diesel, Crocs and more! nearby Seven Dials area presents even more chances to further explore one of London's most happening retail scenes.

Another happening Seven Dials passageway is Monmouth Street, with retailers such as the upscale (and adults only!) "haven of sensuality", Coco de Mer and the fabulously designed prints and colours at Orla Kiely's first European stand alone shop. If pick-me-ups are required to help stay alert or a caffeine boost needed before the next leg of the alien's shopping expedition, it would be wise to consider popping into Monmouth Street's tiny Monmouth Coffee Company. It's a quaint and rustic little gem serving arguably the best coffee in London.

If wishing for something a little more substantial than a coffee and croissant? Quick, tasty and healthy refuellings can be had at Just Falafs. Located on the piazza opposite the London Transport Museum, this friendly little eatery provides organic falafel wraps, salads and more at commendable prices. Of course, all the standard fast food outlets exist along with an abundance of virtually every sort of eating establishment imaginable.

Feeling a little spacy from all the stellar shopping? Take a break in Covent Garden's airy piazza and be amused by its wealth of entertainment from a number of London's best street performers and buskers, not to mention the photo opportunities accompanying such activity. From opera singers to jugglers, these performers put their hearts into making visitors feel welcome. There's also the London Transport Museum just outside the market, sharing London's fascinating transport history along with a nice little café and gift shop. Plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafés are located on the piazza as well as, obviously, throughout the Covent Garden area.

Of course, what would a shopping expedition to Covent Garden without actually visit the historic Covent Garden Market and take in some first-rate retail therapy in a traditional English setting? This bustling covered market is a must see for any London visitor ready for some first-rate retail therapy in a traditional English setting. A fruit and vegetable market from the 1500s and a notorious red light district during the 18th Century, today the market features an impressive range of shopping opportunities from top of the line fashion outlets to souvenirs and antiques - all nestled within the arcades of its lovely Victorian-era structure. Covent Garden Market is an excellent spot to step back in time, pick up all sorts of souvenirs for the folks back home and treat yourself to something special as well.

Although Covent Garden is safe, it attracts large crowds. Furthermore, with the constant bustle of street life and so many interesting sights to take in, it's simple enough to get distracted. Sadly, pickpockets taking advantage of the situation are not unknown (however they are extremely rare). Staying aware of your belongings and keeping an eye out for any suspicious behaviour is always a good idea.

Covent Garden presents a universe of shopping opportunities for every visitor with shops accommodating every budget in the galaxy. A short walking distance from Covent Garden Station and Leicester Square, Covent Garden is incredibly easy to reach from virtually anywhere in London, and as you'll see almost any day of the week (and especially on a Saturday afternoon), people from across London and beyond keep this popular shopping destination buzzing year round.

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5 star hotels

The Savoy Hotel

The Strand, London, WC2R 0EU GB
The Savoy Hotel has been accurately restored to its former glory, with modern facilities and new rooms to ensure your satisfaction. Covent Garden is a 5 minute walk.

One Aldwych

1 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4RH GB
Perfect location on the edge of Covent Garden in the West End, this boutique hotel is in an ideal area to access a multitude of restaurants and shops. Walk across Westminster Bridge and you are at the Southbank and the London Eye.
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Grange Holborn Hotel

50-60 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 4AR
The Holborn Hotel is located in the heart of London's West End many well known attractions are a very short walk, these include Theatreland, the Strand, Covent Garden, the City, Soho, China Town, Leicester Square and Oxford Street. Holborn underground station is just 200 yards walk and offers a direct transfer to London Heathrow Airport Terminals. More like a good 4 star but even so great weekend deals here.
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4 star hotels

Radisson Kenilworth Hotel

Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LB GB
The Radisson Edwardian Kenilworth is situated in a prime location in Bloomsbury, in London's lively West End. Only 50 metres from the British Museum, this four-star hotel presents luxurious accommodation with a welcoming and calming atmosphere. This hotel is about a 15 minute easy walk to Covent Garden.
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3 star hotels

Strand Palace Hotel

372 Strand, London, WC2R OJJ GB
A superb location on The Strand and very close to Covent Garden. It is a little dated but this is reflected in the prices.
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3 star apartment

Citadines Apartments Trafalgar Square

18-21 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5EA
Just a few minutes stroll to Covent Garden from Citadines Apartments just off Trafalgar Square in the West End. From here you can also walk to the London Eye.
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St Giles Hotel

1 Bedford Avenue, London, WC1B 3AU, United Kingdom
Located on Tottenham Court Road near the Dominion Theatre, the St Giles is a large tourist class hotel offering value for money accommodation. Covent Garden is about a 15 minute easy walk.
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2 star hotels

Royal National

Bedford Way , London, WC1H 0DG GB
The Royal National Hotel is about a 15 minute walk to Covent Garden. This is the largest hotel in London. Rooms are adequate but a little dated. They do have family rooms and on site car parking.
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