London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, the arrival points for international flights from all over the world, are both an hour’s drive away. Call Smith24 to book international flights or hotel transfers.
Covent Garden and Charing Cross Tube stations are both within a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The Heathrow Express zips passengers to Paddington in 15 minutes; from there, ride the Bakerloo Line to Charing Cross. The Gatwick Express pulls into Victoria Station after a 30-minute journey; from there hop on the Tube to Covent Garden. If you’re visiting London for a while, invest in an Oyster Card and nab a Tube map for easy Underground navigating.
The joy of parading around London is coming across lesser-known restaurants and quirky backstreet bars; driving can be a stressful affair, and parking even more so… If your legs start to tire, the Tube will swiftly carry you from A-to-B. If you arrive by car, the nearest charged parking is at the NCP, a 10-minute walk away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Most Londoners would give their stiff upper lip to live this close to Covent Garden. Those with a penchant for purchasing could spend days in the boutiques laid out around the market, along Neal Street, the Strand and beyond; high-street brands and high-end wares are well represented; groomed gents should sweep Henrietta Street for Fred Perry shirts, hand-lasted Cheaney brogues, vintage Japanese denim from The Real McCoy’s and authentic military jackets from Nigel Cabourn. Ladies can buy Burberry trenches, Jo Malone scents, Aesop lotions and Urban Decay make-up on King Street, which runs parallel. Neal Street is lined with quirkier boutiques and Neal’s Yard is home to the equally fragrant (for very different reasons) Neal’s Yard Remedies and Neal’s Yard Dairy – both excellent souvenir stops. The London Transport Museum is an intriguing look at the thing Londoners love to grumble about, and the London Film Museum has an array of intriguing celluloid artefacts. Come evening, it’s showtime in Theatreland; take your pick of musicals, comedies, dramas and more – some starring bona fide celebs – in Covent Garden’s myriad theatres: The Lyceum, Cambridge, Aldwych, Wyndham’s, the Garrick… boards are always being trodden somewhere.
We’re sure Dabbous has the cojones to win over Covent Garden’s hungry punters, but competition is admittedly stiff; the Henrietta Hotel sits within an orbit of London’s best restaurants. For just-so steak hit Flat Iron next door; for fine Brit fare, the Ivy’s Market Grill is a few doors down (the restaurant’s noted flagship is just a five-minute walk away); romantic French eatery Clos Maggiore is in the next street. Lauded Indian restaurant Dishoom, 18th-century dining institution Rules; iconic French dining spot Le Garrick; fine African fare at The Barbary; beloved seafood stop J Sheekey and the Seven Dials outpost of top-drawer steakhouse Hawksmoor all require minimal effort to reach.
Still hungry? Brilliant burger joint MeatLiquor and ritzy Italian Margot are a short wander away, brunching spot Christopher’s, well-regarded Italian Polpo, Balthazar, Native, Barrafina, Frenchie, Simpson's-in-the-Strand… We really could go on and on. The bottom line is: you’re unlikely to go hungry here.
There’s a clutch of chain cafes close by the hotel: Caffe Nero, Paul’s bakery… Walk a little further for a better cup of joe – Monmouth Coffee, Notes and Coffee Island all fill their cups with much better beans. For light lunches, try the healthy Wild Food Cafe in Neal’s Yard.
Bursting at the seams with must-try restaurants, Covent Garden’s a little lighter on write-home-about bars. It has some solid old-school pubs: Lamb & Flag is an ancient pub with a warm welcoming ambience, unlike back in the day when it was the domain of drunk bare-knuckle fighters. Porterhouse is more modern, but nonetheless cosy, given a spot of sparkle by polished-copper knick-knacks. Our top tip is to swoop down the Strand and along Villiers Street to join the thirsty throng at Gordon’s Wine Bar. Or experience the Gallic surliness of the server behind the counter at the oldest wine bar in London, Le Beaujolais.