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London: Spend 8 days in Covent Garden, or Spend 4 in Covent and 4 near Green Park station?

My conundrum: I have an Airbnb reserved in Covent Garden from Nov 1 to 5 (our original flight back home was Nov 5) but I called the airline and moved the departure date to Nov 9. I need to decide between extending the Airbnb stay 4 more days, or finding a hotel or another Airbnb somewhere else in the city for the last 4 days of our visit.

It seems like staying right near the Green Park tube station might be good for us because on Nov 6 my older sons and I will go see a band play at "The Garage" right by the Highbury & Islington tube station, which is serviced by the Victoria line.

Argument for staying in Covent Garden: not having to spend any time moving to another spot.
Argument for moving to another location: access to different underground lines, walkability to other locations.

Is there a better tube station to be near than Green Park for a first time visitor?

Just for context, we intend to see most of the things first timers see: British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Churchill's War Room, Ben Franklin's House, Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Harrods, Trafalgar Square -- and maybe The Shard, Sky Garden, London Eye.

My sincerest gratitude for reading this and helping a newbie to puzzle this out,
Paul

Posted by
1874 posts

I think you're overthinking it. That seems an awfully inconvenient move when you could tube the distance in 5 minutes or walk it in 20. The Tube system is awesome and easy to navigate. We stayed in Covent Garden; loved it and had an easy time getting anywhere we wanted.

Posted by
168 posts

I don't see the sense in moving that short distance., have you seen how close they are on a map? Being near Green Park Station is not necessary, the tube is very easy to negotiate, and don't forget to use buses for shorter journeys too.

Posted by
18920 posts

I wouldn't like spending the time necessary to switch locations. Assuming you had a good reason for your original choice in Covent Garden, I think you should just extend there and avoid the disruption of changing. I will say that the Covent Garden area in general (not saying this applies to every block of every street) is crowded, hectic and noisy. It's an exciting place to stay if you like that kind of environment, and I think it would be especially handy for people attending evening theatre performances in that part of town. I believe it also has more restaurant options than you'll find in a lot of other areas. Despite those advantages, every time I walk through the area I (69-year-old female) am glad I'm not staying there.

Posted by
717 posts

Yes indeed, have to agree with above. It’s a non issue. Extend your Air BnB and leave it at that. Once you’ve figured the geography out, walking will be easy and if not it takes only a few minutes to master the Tube.

Posted by
4766 posts

Your two proposed locations are less than a mile apart. I presume you wouldn’t relocate in your home town for this distance and London is the same. Why waste time moving?

In addition to using the tube, also consider using the excellent bus service. Often, using the buses doesn’t take any longer point to point than taking the tube, if you allow for walking up/down several escalators to get to the line. Plus you get to see something of London.

If you want decent shopping, head to Selfridges on Oxford Street not Harrods. Liberty is another good option and a beautiful building.

Posted by
9823 posts

As Jennifer has pointed out, Covent Garden and Green Park are close. I have walked between the two numerous times in about 15-20 minutes. (Not including stops at Stanford's, Foyles, Waterstone's Piccadilly and Hatchards.) By tube it's maybe 7 minutes. It's less than a mile. Why waste your time moving?

Green Park has more tube lines but it's not a big deal staying in Covent Garden. In fact, if you can avoid Green Park, it will be easier. It's a massive station and sometimes changing lines seems like walking to another city.

I just realized.....in just over three weeks I'll be doing that walk. I do it every trip.

One thing I just realized......to get to Museum Row (V & A Museum, History, Science) from Covent Garden you would normally take the Piccadilly line to South Kensington. Only the Picaddilly line will not be stopping at South Kensington until next Spring. (Closed for repairs.) What you could do is take it one stop further (Gloucester Road) and walk back to the museums. It's only about a 5-7 minute walk.

The District and Circle lines still stop at South Kensington.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone for helping me think that through. I just extended our Airbnb through the 9th and feel a lot better about that choice after your valuable insights. Cheers!

Posted by
25781 posts

It is worth knowing some of the secrets of the Tube, particularly if you will be in the very busy Covent Garden area (which part of the area, by the way?).

There are tricks which can save you plenty of time.

The Tube map is not representative of actual distance, nor of actual compass direction.

The shortest distance between any two stations is the very close Covent Garden and Leicester Square. So in the Covent Garden area not only do you have the Piccadilly Line but also easy access to the Northern Line (Charing Cross Branch). If you are connecting between the two it is often quicker and easier to walk between them than try under ground. Enjoy the high speed lifts at Covent Garden, and be aware that in times of crowding Covent Garden may close.

A great way to save time is to avoid making changes at Bank. The station is a real maze and huge. Change elsewhere.

At certain stations there are very easy same platform or cross platform connections between lines.

Oxford Circus - cross platform interchange between Bakerloo line northbound and Victoria line northbound and between Bakerloo line southbound and Victoria line southbound.

On the north side of the circle the Hammersmith and City, the Metropolitan, and the Circle lines all share the same platforms (except at Baker Street and Paddington) so changes between are trivial. On the south side of the circle, the District Line and the Circle Line share platforms so again changes are so easy.

At Baker Street across platform change between the Jubilee line and the southbound Bakerloo line.

Barons Court is a great cross platform place to change between same direction trains on Piccadilly Line and the District Line if, for example, you are going between Heathrow and the Victoria station area or anywhere in The City (financial area) or around the Tower of London.

Euston (not Euston Square) is good for same direction changes between the Northern Line (Bank Branch) and Victoria Line. Note - this is not true for easy connections between the Northern Line (Charing Cross Branch) and the Victoria Line. If you are in the Covent Garden area you will be near the Northern Line (Charing Cross Branch) but not near the Northern Line (Bank Branch). Look at the Tube map - it will become clear

Be aware that although there is a Tube sign on Russell Square, the entrance is down a side road and not on Russell Square.

Finchley Road is another helpful station - cross platform interchange between Jubilee line northbound and Metropolitan line northbound and between Jubilee line southbound and Metropolitan line southbound.

And last but definitely not least - Green Park looks to be a logical interchange between the Victoria, Piccadilly, and Jubilee lines. But if you follow the signs from the platforms to the one you want you will be taken a long way around with lots of short staircases. Much faster and much easier is to take the escalator straight up to the booking hall, then down the escalator to the line you want. (thanks so much initially to former poster here and London resident, Emma - we miss you Emma - who mentioned this trick the first time).

Posted by
5641 posts

Totally agree with Nigel about avoiding Bank as a place to change trains. The one and only time I did this I thought I’d walked all of England to switch trains.

Green Park station is a busy station but it’s a pleasant walk through Green Park itself to see the Palace.

As noted, NO need to move. Public transport in London is brilliant. Been visiting London for many many years. Love sitting up atop the double decker busses especially up front where there’s nearly floor to ceiling windows. But mostly love using my own two feet to explore alleyways, park paths, the Thames path…lots to discover while you meander.

When you’ve seen the Tower of London considering making your way to Leadenhall Market. The dichotomy between Leadenhall’s architecture and the nearby structures including St Mary’s Axe ( The Gherkin) are rather fascinating. Old and new. If they enjoyed the Harry Potter films have them seek out the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Leadenhall.

If looking for a traditional pub where you can have lunch try the Princess of Prussia. A few blocks from the Tower.

A week or 2 Before you depart check the Londonist website. I’d also have them experience London Theater. You can access the 1/2 price ticket booth offerings on line. Theatre in London is fabulous. Go for tickets in the stalls or for something like Wicked go for 1st balcony. That way they can see the entire stage. The Play That Goes Wrong is fun.

London is a great city to explore. Be sure to take them to Portobello Road, Spitalfields and Brick Lane markets. Visit Carnaby Street then walk over to Liberty. If you desire a proper afternoon tea then try Fortum and Mason’s which is close to Liberty.

If they are into sports attire walk from Liberty over to Lillywhites.

There’s also Mercado Mayfair for lunch. Converted church.

Lastly, check the Tower Bridge lift times during your stay.

I’m heading back over to London in November. Can’t wait to return!

My favorite city. Always changing, always the same.

Posted by
18920 posts

Many thanks, Nigel. I've saved all that info and will incorporate it into my travel notes for my next trip to London.

Posted by
5641 posts

Adding the following intel:

Remember very close to one another are Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Horse Guards and Westminster Bridge.

From Parliament Square it’s a pleasant stroll up Birdcage Walk adjacent to St James Park to Buckingham Palace.

Check opening times to plan your day.

The feeding of the St James Park pelicans usually happens around 2:30pm BUT pretty certain Covid has changed this. Check the Royal Parks website for updates.

Lastly, note that Elizabeth’s Tower with Big Ben remains in scaffolding.

Posted by
3418 posts

After more than 40 trips to London, I have to say that Covent Garden was one of our absolute favorite areas, and it makes a great base! We also enjoyed staying in a hotel actually IN Victoria Station. We haven't been since they re-designed the station, however.

Posted by
6540 posts

Okay totally saving this thread for Nigel’s “secrets of the Tube” response above !!!