Whistles neighbourhood: Covent Garden
Follow our expert guide for the best boutiques and dining spots WC2 has to offer.
Covent Garden Hotel
This luxurious bolthole is a favourite of well-heeled globetrotters, the fashion press and Woody Allen, who featured the hotel in his blockbuster Matchpoint, in 2005. The elegant entrance is eternally peppered with chic patrons indulging in a cocktail or two and the in-house restaurant, Brasserie Max, serves contemporary European cuisine to get excited about. Each of the 58 rooms boasts a unique décor bursting with modern English charm, with bright upholstery and deep, grand fireplaces. The Loft Suite is rumoured to be the pitstop of Armani’s entourage when they’re in town. Whistles recommends pitching up for the afternoon on one of the outside tables for a leisurely session of people-watching and cocktail sampling.
10 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9HB
Since the inaugural Opening Ceremony store opened its doors in New York in 2002, outposts of the wonder boutique have popped up in some of the trendiest cities across the globe. The Covent Garden store opened on King Street in 2012. Since then, Londoners have flocked here for the company’s unique fusion of emerging womenswear, menswear, footwear and accessories labels, such as Anzevino + Bob Mizer and Simone Rocha, and established, leftfield brands such as Kenzo and Proenza Schouler.
35 King Street, WC2E 8JG
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is perhaps Covent Garden’s most identifiable landmark. The grandiose building is instantly recognisable thanks to the pristine columned exterior and enormous glass atrium, which now houses the magnificent Paul Hamlyn Hall Balconies Restaurant. Since 1735, the plot has survived two fires and has maintained its reputation as one of the city’s major performance venues. Currently, The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet are responsible for the awe-inspiring productions.
Bow Street, WC2E 9DD
Your Local Store
You’ll find our Covent Garden store on Long Acre, in the heart of WC2. This two-storey space houses all your favourite pieces from the mainline collection, as well as accessories and jewellery. Follow our expert guide for the best boutiques and dining spots WC2 has to offer.
24 Long Acre, WC2E 9LZ
Claire de Rouen
A stroll along Charing Cross Road will reveal a string of some of the best independent bookshops in the city. Look a little closer, and you’ll find that each store specializes in a different subject, from art and design to an extensive biography section. Head towards Tottenham Court Road and you’ll find Claire de Rouen, something of a hidden gem that has gained cult status for its discerning collection of fashion titles and boundary-pushing photography volumes. Founded in 2005 by the late Claire de Rouen, the shop remains a beautifully chaotic treasure trove today.
First Floor, 125 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0EW
This remarkable specialist store has remained at 194 Shaftesbury Avenue for over a century. Known by serious sailors for its extensive collection of sailing essentials and loved by fashion enthusiasts for stocking the ultimate Breton, Arthur Beale is undoubtedly one of London’s great, unique stores. From the ground floor, you’ll want to fill your bathroom with the pristine reels of rope, barometers, brass navigation lights and lacing hooks on display. From the first floor, you’ll find smart sailing boots, bretons and lifejackets that may inspire your autumn/winter wardrobe.
194 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JP
Coco de Mer
Advocates of sexual liberation and impeccable style, the Coco de Mer boutique on Monmouth Street is a must-see if you’re in the area. The dark boudoir-like store houses an exquisite collection of erotic toys, classical literature by esteemed writers including Anais Nin, and lingerie from brands including Stella McCartney, Bordelle and the store’s own label. The stock is beautifully curated and the staff are well versed on their area of expertise.
23 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9DD
Chanel Beauty Bar
Originally a pop-up venture, the Chanel beauty bar has now become a permanent fixture within the Covent Garden Piazza. The range of treatments on offer include a Chanel Le Vernis Nail Shape and Paint, makeovers, skincare consultations, make-up lessons and private 90-minute beauty workshops with the Chanel Beauty Atelier. Whistles recommends treating yourself to a nail shape and paint – though selecting one shade from the entire Chanel Le Vernis collection is not as easy as it sounds.
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8RF
London’s most discerning coffee drinkers flock to this tiny coffee shop on Monmouth Street, and queue around the block on weekends. The coffee beans are sourced from farms, estates and cooperatives based around the globe to ensure that taste and sustainability are prioritized in equal measures. The inaugural outpost of this small chain is just big enough for a handful of determined patrons at a time, and the house special is the flat white – don’t embark on a full day’s shopping without one.
27 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EU
Before Mishkins reopened in 2011, the Charlotte Street space was the domain of Ezra Mishkin, who allegedly opened his restaurant in 1931. Since reopening, the current menu pays tribute to Ezra Mishkin’s legacy. Traditional dishes such as matzo ball soup and meat loaf have been tweaked and updated, to appeal to the tastebuds of London’s gastro-curious. Whistles highly recommends the Brick Lane salt beef sandwich washed down with a Diamond Fizz cocktail.
25 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JS
A regular haunt of the rich and stylish, this esteemed eatery provides an exclusive backdrop for those momentous dinners. The popularity of the original New York outpost led to the recent opening of the London branch earlier this spring. The red-leather banquettes and amber walls of the interior evoke a romantic train station restaurant vibe and the menu offers gourmet-brasserie classics such as baked snails and crème brûlée. The buzzing cocktail bar is run by mixologist of the moment, Brian Silva, so bespoke requests are welcome.
4-6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ
Neal’s Yard Dairy
London-based foodies consider the produce from Neal’s Yard Dairy a shopping list essential. Behind the instantly recognisable blue entrance lies an emporium of cheese and fresh farm produce, such as crusty bread batons and charcuterie, sourced exclusively from British and Irish farmers. Whistles recommend a leisurely peruse of the 40+ varieties of cheese on display – and a taste test of a select few, of course.
17 Shorts Gardens, WC2H 9AT