Covent Garden, Spitalfield Market and

London Travel Blog

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I started the day by stopping by Leicester Square and the Half Price Ticket Booth again. Since it was Sunday it was not much to choose from so we got tickets for the matinee to see Thriller Live.

From Leicester Square I continued to Covent Garden. Originally it was called Convent Garden. This "n" in "Convent" was lost somewhere down the road, a long time ago, probably in the 16th century. This place was named "Convent Garden" since the monks in Westminster Abby grew their vegetables there. These gardens were already established when William the conqueror arrived from Normandie in 1066. The monks were cultivating their land there for almost 500 years.

Leicester Square
It was when Henry VIII started fighting with the pope that it came to and end. Covent Garden has provided vegetables for the inhabitants of London for more than 1000 years. While people in London lived within the city walls, from St Pauls Cathedral and east, they went out into the country side to get fresh vegetables - they went to Covent Garden.

In the 17th century, especially after the great fire, houses and streets where built where the monks had worked with their picks and shovels. The agriculture ended at Covent Garden and the farmers had to go farther into the country side as the settlement ate its way outwards. But they still brought their vegetables in to Covent Garden, it was there where the londoners had bought their vegetables before, and that is where they wanted to continue to buy them.
Pigeons having a bath in the fountain at Leicester Square
In the beginning the farmers sold their products directly from carts, then stalls and sheds were built and then in the 1800s the giant halls of iron and glass were built.

After WWII almost 5000 people were working in Covent Garden. There you could get eggs and bacon at any time, as well as tea. It was also the only place you could get a beer at five in the morning. In the 1960s London's famous convent garden received its death sentence. It had become too small and traffic completely blocked the place. They used wheelbarrows and carried baskets on their heads until the very end.

Today Covent Gardens giant halls of iron and glass are still there, but no vegetables. Today you will find lots of shops, restaurants and cafés there. The old flower market, where Elisa Dolittle sold her flowers in the film My Fair Lady, now houses the London Transport Museum.
It´s absolutely a charming area, but it has become very touristy.

I left Covent Garden and set off for Spitalfields Market where I was meeting Christine. This market is an historic fruit and vegetable market, but not as old as Covent Garden, which now is the center of a renewed Spitalfield area with restaurants, shops and a popular Sunday market. It was interesting, but fare from as colourful as Camden Market. Since our theatre tickets were for the matinee performance we did not have much time at the market, which was fine with me since I did not find it that interesting.

We arrived at the Lyric Theatre just in time for the performance. Thriller Live is celebrating the legendary career of the king of pop - Michael Joseph Jackson. It´s a journey through his career as part of the Jackson 5 and then later through his solo career. I have never been a big Michael Jackson fan, but this was a total blast. The actors were doing a wonderful job, the vocalists were absolutely fantastic and the choreography was the best. Songs like I Want You Back, I'll Be There, Show You The Way To Go, Can You Feel It, Rock With You, She's Out Of My Life, Thriller, Beat It, ABC, Man In The Mirror, Dirty Diana and Billie Jean could not have been sung better (except by Michael Jackson himself). A brilliant show!

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Leicester Square
Leicester Square
Pigeons having a bath in the fount…
Pigeons having a bath in the foun…
Covent Garden
Covent Garden
The old flower Market now houses t…
The old flower Market now houses …
Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Up-and-coming stars
Up-and-coming stars
Inside Covent Garden
Inside Covent Garden
Business must be slow on this stan…
Business must be slow on this sta…
Glass jewelry
Glass jewelry
Glass ornaments
Glass ornaments
Fruit candles
Fruit candles
Scarfs
Scarfs
Drury Lane, the theatre street
Drury Lane, the theatre street
Christ Church Spitalfields
Christ Church Spitalfields
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Middle Eastern sweets
Middle Eastern sweets
Nuts and dried fruits
Nuts and dried fruits
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market
Food court
Food court
Lyric Theatre
Lyric Theatre
Thriller - Live
"Thriller - Live"
Inside the Lyric Theatre
Inside the Lyric Theatre
The chandelier
The chandelier
London Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Cheap, but nothing great!
Christine and I had been at a matinee at Lyric Theatre. We were now looking for a place to have dinner. Walking in the direction of Leicester Square w… read entire review
London
photo by: ulysses