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Here is a searchable FAQ - Questions and answers page. - The idea is a quest for practical knowledge. We get our answers from natives, traders and officialdom. ASK A QUESTION. We check email addresses & questions (put-downs, moans or personal agendas don't go up). - We love facts and constructive opinions.

Q How many departments does Covent Garden have?

A “Covent Garden” is not a department store.
Covent Garden is a district of central London, just like Mayfair, St James, and Soho are districts of central London.

It is generally accepted that Covent Garden is the district of central London which is bounded to the east by Kingsway, to the south by Strand, to the west by Charing Cross Road, and to the north by New Oxford Street and High Holborn.

In the approximate centre of this district is the Covent Garden Piazza with it’s associated shopping arcades and markets, (both the Apple Market and the Jubilee Hall Market). This Covent Garden Piazza area is sometimes referred to by the locals as “Covent Garden” and is the main shopping area within the Covent Garden District, but in no way is this a department store. All the shops, cafes and market stalls are individually owned and operated. Like any shopping area they mostly adhere to common opening hours etc. Further information about the Piazza area and environs can be found in other answers below.

Another confusion is that some for people The Royal Opera House which is situated on the NE corner of the Piazza and extends through to Bow Street, is referred to colloquially as “Covent Garden” instead of its full title of “The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden”. Again further information about the Royal Opera House can be found in below.

Q How do I contact the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden?

A The Royal Opera House Covent Garden is on Bow Street. The postal address is The Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London WC2 9DD. The main switchboard for telephone enquiries is 020 7240 1200, Box office 020 7304 4000. Alternatively you can email the box office at onlinebooking@roh.org.uk

Q What are the opening times around Christmas and New Year?

A The apple Market - ie the stalls - is closed on Christmas day although some shops are open. Even more shops are open on 26th (Boxing Day). There are no more closed days - even New Year's day should be busy.
General enquiries number 0870 7805 001.

Q How do you get a market stall in Covent Garden or I want to promote & sell my product for a day?

A  For the Piazza (Apple Market) To get a stall in the Apple market all the products should be handmade in the UK by the trader.
Please contact Chris.
To get a stall on the Saturday food market please contact Chris. Email theapplemarket@coventgardenmarket.co.uk for an application form or call Chris on 020 7420 5855.

The Jubilee Market - that's really worth a trip to - is run by freeholder stall holders so please direct your enquiries about getting a stall in the market to Costa on 0207 836 2139 who can guide you - and talk to the stallholders themselves. This has been a successful and buzzing market ever since Ray Green set it up 40 years ago.

The Church Market at St James's Church Piccadilly. Please call Gary Thomas on 020 7734 4511 X 216 and talk to him. That's a great little market.

St Martin's Market has been closed due to  re-development.

Q Who owns the Piazza?
Can I get in touch with them?

A Capital and Counties - the people who own a great number of shopping malls throughout Britain. 13 Million Sq Feet worth £4.4 billion So they are a solid company having put their money in bricks and mortar throughout their growth of 30 years. Their covent garden offices are in the Piazza. They are called Covent Garden London.

Capital and Counties know that the Piazza is 'synonymous with high culture and the arts'. The Charming original shops and restaurants are the people who have grown the reputation of the locale. Capital & Counties, sometimes known as CapCo are involved with helping the homeless in the area so watch this space as they proceed to enrich Covent Garden with their care. 020 7395 3766 Lindsey.


Q - What's the best caption for this cartoon? Did you know that not one person answered this oblique cartoon. So the winner is the original artist with a comment that hit the spot. Next one up soon - Prize to be announced. .... a good one.

A. You write one - go on - click ask question and give is your caption - and the name you want to be credited. If it's short we'll put the best ones on the front page on the run-up to the prize. Longer captions welcome - we will put these on a separate page. There will probably be second and third and there is a free map for each entrant.

Q What's that bird in the middle of Bow street ? A It is a robin and signifies the original London policemen - known as bobbies. This was slang for robin because they wore red This is in Bow Street because the first main police station was in Bow Street opposite the Royal Opera House. The police were also known as the Bow Street Runners.

Q Where can I get the best English School in Central London ?

A "I think the Avalon school is best because they have a more modern method of teaching English which lets the teachers to interact more with students. (Most schools you sit and listen to teacher and write - but the talking is less). So if you want a school that gives you more talking skills go there. They are also friendly, family feeling and have good parties. Mei 美旭 “我认为, Avalon的学校是最好的,因为他的英语教学方法,特点在于--教师 与学生进行日常生活的互动对话。。因此,如果您想要的学校给您更多谈论的技能去那里 呢?Avalon English school 能带给大家庭的感觉和良好的缔约方。

Q How do I get to busk [play street music or entertainment] in Covent Garden?

A You get a licence to do it from the owners of the place you want to play outside - or inside in the case of [say] the Trocadero. The police are generally unofficially more lenient with musicians who have small amps and please the passers by. To get advice on getting a licence from the Piazza, please telephone 020 7420 5852.

Don't worry about the rumour that Capital and Counties, Who own the Piaza are trying to tidy away scruffy buskers ... they thought it would offend the posh set with money. However this site has had discourse with many people who come to hear the buskers. Even posh peeps like them really.

IN 2003 the law was changed to legalise busking on the underground - by public demand. By 2006 over 3000 hours of music was played in the underground every week in a campaign b Carling. Meanwhile LU (London Transport) renew licences twice a year. Robert Varney is someone to talk to about busking which they will be able to say more about by August. More pitches are being built. You can reach him by email - busking@tube.tfl.gov.uk

Mind you the standard is high - good energy pays. Frenetic over amplified stuff gets a short run as Westminster Environmental Health & Pollution come down on "noisy" like mindless punk. (loud and high energy are not synonymous). There's a tendency for buskers to play the same song over and over thinking that the passers by are always different. Sometimes they forget that they have to be interested themselves to be accepted.

As Shakespeare said of performers generally: 'We who live to please must please to live'

Buskers make more if they have someone else to pass the hat and a CD to sell. Good cheer and hutzpa pay back a busker significantly more than the reticent approach - that's the vibe "I'm a real musician in my other life". Some of the most lively are the classical music and opera students who's showmanship and skill is to be marvelled at. Papageno restaurant has sponsored opera buskers for many years - some of whom have gone on to be stars. Mon Plaisir in Monmouth Street has an accordion player that the owner Alan found busking in the underground and trained up in French songs to a lively high standard.

Busker cartoonNot all buskers do musical acts - some paint their bodies as statues and others do saucy acrobatics. Remember, Street Entertainment' is the term that interests those who take auditions.... with an accent on entertainment. As the LU poster said 'SHAKE YOUR BOOTY'

Q What time does Covent Garden close ?

A The stalls and shop units close at 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday and open at 10.00am. every day of the week. While stallholders usually start packing up at 6pm. This also applies to bank holidays - after all what else are you going to do when the banks are closed? It follows that shops that sell food & drinks open early as appropriate to the breakfast crowd.

There is still a tradition of 24/7 since the days - only a few decades ago - when the place was a flower fruit and veg market for England. The pubs used to do beer and breakfast for the traders - and tea too of course. Not any more - though it's the latest and earliest in the centre of town.

Q What time do the pubs close (chucking out time)?

A Licencing hours (that's times that the government lets you have a drink and a get together) were strict, subject to lock-ins when publicans locked the doors with some friends and family still 'getting together' inside. Then officials announced leniency on the time rules so pubs could make more money from drinkers to pay more tax - so win win.

This is taking years while they write up countless new rules to protect the workers, the drinkers and the general public who experience many transgressions from excesses. By the time they have the new times and rules implemented (with the help of the deeply popular health and safety prefects of our land), we will be immersed in waves of nostalgia about 'proper' closing times in days of yore.

Q Where can you get decent real ale ?

A (That is 'proper beer' or 'a pie & a pint' preferably with good pub food (nosh) and a minimum - if any - of intrusive music which helps out those who are stuck for something to say by Friday night). These pubs boast good beer

The Marquis of Granby 51 Chandos Place WC2 plus no jukebox used to do real cider too - Proper character pub.

The Marquess of Anglesey 39 Bow Street - Trés pub. Spacious, comfy and good food to boot.

Spice of Life (Great Pub food & Live music) Cambridge Circus.NZ management 020 7437 7013

Q Where can you park ?

A ....no answer came the stern reply.

Just don't - even the disabled have to play tag with the keenest and best equipped hunters - who appear to collaborate by the use of bikes, friends on scooters, mobiles - and in this game you are the gatherer of the most up-market tickets you can get.

There's a car park by Chinatown - the one off Longacre has gone since the building of office/shop space does not feel the squeeze only the motorist does, as the price per minute is draconian even if you can even find a meter not being used by someone else.

....relax, get a buggy to carry granny, the children and the bags while you investigate, research and take pictures.... and talking about children here's the next question that has been pretty frequent.

Q Where do I learn mapreading ?


• First have a real place to go and buy a real map for it. Stamfords in Covent Garden is quite the best map shop ever - link to map. Necessity is the mother of invention. It's hard to whip up interest in some meaningless demo of how to get to Penge - unless you are actually going there.

When you are finding the way.
Rule number:

• 1 You need to locate YOURSELF

• 2 Then you find your destination.

• 3 Examine the key or guide. It will show you what symbols mean. Most symbols assume they are understood internationally. Make sure they mean sense to you like what colour the lines for roads mean what. Usually big to small.

EG - [Our 3D wayfinding map – drawn by one of the most important firms in the field - Silvermaze Ltd. – has different coloured spots and representative icons in it's guide that a child instantly understands. They like the red arrows for alleyway shortcuts.]

• 4 Check the scale. Big scale has advantage when walking. and all scales have an advantage when you are orienteering. (that is actively mapreading prior to and during a journey. It is also a sport to compete with others in orienteering races). Very large scale Ordnance Survey maps show the houses' back gardens more clearly than Google. They are mainly outlines. They show as miles or Kilometres per inch or Cm.

• 5 Work out how many miles you are going to travel (There are sites that calculate this for you) don't worry about North true or magnetic. Unless you are sailing across the ocean you will not be able to read a compass acurately enough for this slight difference to be apparent.

• 6 There's no rush. Gaze at it and understand what is where - in relation to the symbols. This stage allows you to 'Interpret' the map - which is the stage after 'reading' it. You can tell from the signs where roads cross rails and imagine the forest and knoll. In the country you can use a compass. Not much point in central London though unless it's a special compass that picks up the north pole rather than the iron railings.

• 7 Learn your way around the atlas or folded map so that you know how the paper folds or pages work in sequence. Some map folds need practicing people always admire a simple fold. It is best to practice so that you can fold it quickly even in windy weather. (Folding a map by trial and error is a bit Laurel & Hardy)

• 8 Types of maps. Road maps, walkers (hikers) maps and marine have different purposes as well as scale - not to mention maps of airways.

When buying a map be sure to know what you want to DO.
Maps look great on the wall. Nowadays you can blow up images to huge size still retaining their sharpness. They even come as map wallpaper.

Q Where's the best ice cream ?

A Would that be before or after Haagendaz in Leicester Square?

Either way the ice cream parlour just up from the National Portrait gallery opposite the Garrick theatre on Charing Cross Road is exactly the place to get ice cream you'll remember for quite a while. Thick enough with real cream to hold its solidity in a cone. Ever notice how drippy sloppy corner-cut ice cream can be? A good cone lasts.

Q Why to go to all the trouble of hand drawing and coloring thousands & thousands of buildings on a computer ?

A Now it's true it was gruesome toil in one way - then we got to add style, charm and detail so this made the work more like art. It's said 'love carries a light load'. We are charting in very large scale elegantly.

We have all seen many years of continuous experience in drawing 3D maps that are usable as maps - in your pocket. Maps to keep. People said "Great map!" every time they saw one. Now we present the main central London map here for you to wander around easily - and yes it's 3D. I think the answer to this question is The map speaks for itself. It's a service for natives and visitors from abroad - now on the Web for you.

Q Is the Opera House in Covent Garden?

A Yes it is - it's in Bow Street opposite the old police station. Here's a link to the map

Q What is the best place for Jazz in the area ?

A For The most famous venue - try Ronnie Scotts which is never disappointing for a good jazz night out - phone 0207 439 0747 option 1. This is open from 10.30 - 5.30. (Outside those hours please book through their Web site www.ronniescotts.co.uk).

The Spice of Life has jazz in their charming music venue. They are situated at Cambridge Circus. (6 Moor Street) Telephone: 020-7437-7013 . They have Jazz Friday lunchtime between 12-30 - 20 30 on a regular basis. Good pub food.

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