More sanitized and commercial than neighbouring Soho, the shops and restaurants of Covent Garden today are a far cry from the district’s heyday when the piazza was the great playground (and red-light district) of eighteenth-century London. The buskers in front of St Paul’s Church, the theatres round about, and the Royal Opera House on Bow Street are survivors of this tradition, and on a balmy summer evening, Covent Garden Piazza is still an undeniably lively place to be.

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