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View of Covent Garden main hall

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Guide to the Royal Opera House

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About

Home to not one but two opera companies, Covent Garden is the ideal setting for opera fans. There's the Royal Opera at the Royal Opera House on Bow Street on the East Side of Covent Garden. Just round the way, the English National Opera is located at the London Coliseum on St Martin's Lane. Both put on events and performances throughout the year, and their respective houses are well worth a visit just to see. Indeed, the stunning Royal Opera House is one of the leading opera houses in the world and features enviable views of Covent Garden's piazza and beyond.

Royal Opera House

Often referred to simply as "Covent Garden", the Royal Opera House plays host to the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera House orchestra. Originally a nunnery attached to the Abbey of Westminster, the first theatre opened in December of 1732, making a total of ££115 on its first night. Destroyed in the fire of 1808, the second incarnation of the theatre re-opened in September 1809 with a performance of Macbeth. The second theatre was much larger and ranked as one of the largest in the world. The current Royal Opera House complex is the third incarnation on the same site. While its facade, foyer and auditorium date from the 1800s, the majority of the complex is from major reconstruction which occurred in the late 1990s and resulted in the demolition of most of the complex and greatly increased the scale of the opera house. Today, the Royal Opera House is considered to be among the most modern theatre facilities in Europe.

In addition to world class performances scheduled across the calendar, the Royal Opera House offers daytime hours for the public to visit its Amphitheatre Terrace and take in its stunning views over the piazza and of landmark sites such as the London Eye and Trafalgar Square. Its Royal Opera House Cafe© on the Amphitheatre level is open from 10am - 3.30pm and represents a good choice for coffee, snacks and light lunches.

For more about the Royal Opera House visit www.royalopera.org.

English National Opera

Across Covent Garden's piazza and a bit down the road at St Martin's Lane is the London Coliseum, home of the English National Opera. Opened in 1904 to serve as a '"people's palace of entertainment," the English National Opera moving into the theatre in 1968. Today, the English National Opera owns the Coliseum. With recent renovations, the London Coliseum now boasts the widest proscenium arch in London. The English National Opera is well known for its elaborate productions, for its performers singing in English and for relatively low ticket prices.
For more about the English National Opera and the London Coliseum visit www.eno.org.

Getting There

Covent Garden's central location means it is a breeze to reach from practically anywhere in London. The area is within walking distance of several of Tube stations and bus stops, and the popularity of the area as an entertainment destination ensures a steady flow of cabs throughout the day and night. Of course, as popular as Covent Garden is, driving is not recommended. However, a variety of transportation modes exist for this well-connected section of London.
Many eateries accommodate the theatre crowds with pre- and post-theatre bookings and menus. An abundance of virtually every sort of eating establishment imaginable awaits.

Hotels

The Royal Opera House has some excellent hotels within walking distance but be warned its not cheap in this area. Check out the suggested ones on this page for more information on where to stay.

Reviewers Comment

Catching a performance by either of Covent Garden's opera companies is a brilliant way to enjoy the best of London's cultural offerings in beautiful, historic settings that exemplify how remarkable Covent Garden truly is.


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Covent Garden Hotel Finder

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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