Seven Dials | Covent Garden
Vibrant Covent Garden in London's West End is a must-see destination for anyone who enjoys independent shops, theatre, trendy restaurants and cafes, history and culture. Covent Garden is one of those unique places, a gem in a busy, fast-paced city, where there truly is something for everyone. Because of this, it is difficult to visit at a time where it is not swarming with people; tourists and Londoners alike are drawn by it’s charm. However, if you are put off by the hustle and bustle of crowds, go early or late enough and you will find the queues considerably shorter, even non-existent in some places.
Seven Dials, a village within the Covent Garden area is an intriguing network of seven atmospheric streets that link Covent Garden to Soho. Not only a picture perfect destination, it also offers a superb selection of food and drink establishments, from bustling cafes and bars, to five-star brasseries, independent restaurants and traditional English pubs. The famous Neal’s Yard is also situated just off Monmouth Street (one of the seven streets) and feels like a secret garden within this busy metropolis.
Where to go
There is so much to explore and experience in this section of the city that it is easy to spend an entire day wandering from shop to shop, café, to café, but our favourite Sunday mornings are at 26 Grains. Newly opened and refurbished, this beautifully furnished café specialises in healthy, delicious breakfast and brunches. Go for the Nordic Spiced Porridge, a warming bowl of cardamon spiced almond milk oats, topped with creamy coconut yoghurt, cacao nibs and granola, pear and maple syrup. The perfect accompaniment for this is the frothy, delicate matcha latte.
For a mid-morning caffeine fix, we enjoy Monmouth and Timberyard. Monmouth coffee is famous across London, and many cafes, Timberyard included, use it’s beans for their own coffee. Whilst the flavour and choice at Monmouth is exceptional, you are provided with a pamphlet at the door detailing each bean and it’s flavours. It is however somewhat lacking in space, and it is unlikely you will find a seat. If snuggling down into a comfy chair, and taking your time over your coffee is more your style for a Sunday morning, Timberyard offers just that. Indifferent to the amount of time you spend there, each customer will receive a wooden board carrying tap water, a bowl of sugar cubes and their coffee order. The choice is extensive, but save your cake fix for I love Nata. This is, without a doubt, the best Portugese custard tart shop in London, potentially even outside of Portugal. Try and get them when they are warm from the oven, sprinkle a little cinnamon and icing sugar over the top; both are provided whether you decide to stay in or take away. The pastry is light and flaky, the custard filling outstanding, warm, creamy and smooth.
Homeslice is, without question, the best place to eat pizza. One of three restaurants situated around London, it serves up both whole pizza and by the slice. One slice will never be enough, so go for the whole option. This 20" inch pizza is not for the faint-hearted, and you will need to come here with an appetite. There are no menus, and a wooden board details the toppings available. It is suggested you go for half and half, and we recommend the chorizo, corn and coriander coupled with the Parmesan, salami and rocket. There are no knives and forks but, luckily, plenty of napkins. The on tap beer and house red are the perfect accompaniment.