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London- Covent Garden vs. Piccadilly Circus?

I'm wondering what the difference in "feel" these two points have. What stores? restaurants? for the younger, older?

Thanks much!!

Posted by
97 posts

Hi Matt,

Don't know what you mean by "feel" for the two areas mentioned....both are areas you will walk through and find all sorts of pubs, restaurants, stores and as for younger or older.....we were once younger and now are older but both areas attract us as we are complete people watchers.....

Piccadilly is noisier than ever and crowded with people. I no longer carry a purse...just slip cash and one credit card into my semi skin tight front jeans pocket along with a lipstick and I'm off. I carry my oyster card for transportation in my other front pocket so I can go wherever my feet take me in any given day and if tired, jump on the bus. Both my husband and I use a bus for sight seeing right after's a good and cheap way to sight see as well as letting the lunch settle.

We found Hampstead and the Heath that way on old No 24 bus and wound up living there for 6 months. We will go back again in late August for a short sojourn in the Langorf hotel



Posted by
3428 posts

Covent Garden is one of my favorite places in London. It is a market that changes every day. Different stalls, differnt merchandise. I love to wander and window shop and people watch. There are lots of high quality buskers performing and some yummy places to eat- from quick/almost cheap snacks to full service/expensive white-table cloth restruants. Also lots of places to have a picnic on you lap with sandwichs you make on your own. It is trully one place to get a good "feel" of what London is.

Posted by
1806 posts

Piccadilly just feels (to me) like you are standing in the middle of Times Square in NYC - loud, smells like exhaust, people zipping all over, bombarded with advertisements.

Covent at least felt a little calmer. Neither place struck me as particularly geared towards "younger" or "older".

My preference would be to skip both and hang in one of the nice, quiet gardens/parks and people watch. It's got to be something that is completely unique for me to want to shop/buy in London when the exchange rate is this lousy.

Posted by
1455 posts

Oh here's a pretty good tip if you are "lost"... do not ask any of those "Sign" carriers at Covent Garden. Most of them are not locals, and have no clue how to direct you. We were trying to find our hotel and asked those "Sign" carriers (ie: eat here). English did not seem to be their 1st or 2nd language, and they honestly said they come to work, and have no ideas where anything is.

Both places are great. If you want to find something even more fun, go to Camden Lock Market... that place you can walk for hours (if not days!) and that's a really fun outdoor market.

Camden Lock

A guide for visitors to London's popular market area. Many shops, stalls, pubs, clubs, and restaurants are listed with maps, photos and links.

Posted by
194 posts

I would vote for Covent Garden over Piccadilly. I think there is more to do and see in that general area, and it's easier to wander around. The shopping stalls are great, and one of my favorite eating places in London, a Cornish pasty restaurant/take away place, is there.

I think the London Transportation Museum is over there too. I would recommend it--it's different from a lot of other museums.

Camden is a very cool part of town--totally different than the other two. You'll find this area less touristy, but full of fun stuff. Lots of pubs, restaurants, shops, etc.

Posted by
264 posts

Matt - For my opinion Picadilly is basically hype and is just neon. FWIW Forbes Travel named it in their biggest tourist traps in the world.

Covent Garden has much more of the day to day shopping experience, loads of restaurants, street performers and markets to shop in. Especially for kids

If you want posh living head to Knightsbridge and goto Harvey Nicks or Harrods