Covent Garden first opened on 11th April 1907 on the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway, a few months after the line itself opened in December 1906. The station is a well preserved Leslie Green ‘oxblood red’ building.
Given Covent Garden’s popularity with tourists, this station gets incredibly busy. The fact it has lifts rather than escalators only makes things worse! At weekends the station has been exit only, especially when any of the lifts are being repaired. TfL’s advise passengers to get off at nearby stations instead. I strongly agree with this, especially given you can see Leicester Square tube from this station!
The Pub: Punch and Judy, 40 The Market, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8RF
The Punch and Judy is actually located within the Covent Garden market building which dates back to the 1830s. The building was converted into its current mix of shops, pubs and cafes at the start of the ’80s when the market relocated to Nine Elms. Like everywhere else around here, it was teeming with people on our visit! I really like the roof of the market which feels reminiscent of a railway station trainshed.
The Punch and Judy is set over two floors, one based within the lower tier of the market building, the other on its top floor. Both have outside areas, with the balcony overlooking the nearby area extremely popular when we visited. Infact everytime I’ve walked past it, the balcony has always seemed rammed.
The pub was very busy and pretty manic on our visit, which is to be expected given its location within a tourist hotspot. destinations. There were also a fair few stag and hen do’s here too. On the beer front, there were a couple of ales available in the shape of London Pride and Wadworth’s 6X. On the chalk board outside it advertised ‘traditional Fish and Chips’ on the menu, but I think it would be a struggle to get a seat to eat it! Fair play to the staff at the bar mind you who were serving everyone pretty quickly.
In short, the Punch and Judy perhaps sums up the area around the old market well – completely rammed and teeming with tourists. The beer was fine but overall the pub reminded me of going on foreign holidays where you accidentally end up in a tourist trap bar. It probably goes without saying if you want somewhere a little less manic, your best bet is elsewhere!