Self-Guided Covent Garden Food Tour
London is a culinary capital and food tours here are becoming more and more popular. But at Free Tours By Foot we think paying upwards of £50.00 for a food tour isn’t necessarily affordable and value for money. So we’ve put together a self-guided Covent Garden food tour that is absolutely FREE to take – aside from the tasty treats you’ll need to purchase yourself!
**Be sure to check out our other free London food tours as well as our full list of self-guided tours.
This food tour takes place in the popular London locale of Covent Garden – the hub of London’s West End. Covent Garden is absolutely rammed with bars and restaurants, which can be overwhelming for visitors. Also, our handy guide will lead you to the tastiest spots and help you avoid common tourist-traps. This tour will incorporate foods from all over the world, and will finish off with a cheeky cocktail at lead guide Margaret’s favourite bar in town!
[Note: This tour can run morning or evening at any day of the week. Because Covent Garden is a VERY popular location, going day time weekdays will make things quieter. Or perhaps you can start late afternoon to finish up in the evenings and watch the West End come alive.
Also, this tour will start off with savoury dishes, with sweets in the middle, and finishing savoury again. You may wish to visit in your own order, if you'd prefer to have your sweet treats at the end! ]
Click for movable map.
Start: Leicester Square Underground Station
Come out of Leicester Square station. Take the exit onto CHARING CROSS ROAD. There are many exits at Leicester Square Station - so get to the point where you are standing outside the ANGUS STEAKHOUSE on CHARING CROSS ROAD. With the Steakhouse on your LEFT and Charing Cross Road behind you - walk FORWARD down CRANBOURN STREET. When you get to the junction with ST MARTINS LANE, turn LEFT. Dishoom is down on your RIGHT.
STOP 1 - Dishoom - Indian Street Food [12 Upper St. Martin's Lane - WC2H 9FB]
Dishoom burst onto the London foodie theme a few years ago and has been a popular hot-spot for dining ever since. It's traditional Indian street food that is being served up here, fresh, authentic, and not so pricey! A highlight of their menu is a Pau Bhaji - a traditional buttered pau bun filled with mashed vegetables, a classic dish found on nearly every street corner in Bombay. For only £3.90 it's a must have and pair it with some crispy samosas for a great mix of flavours.
Step out of Dishoom and turn RIGHT. This road will turn into MONMOUTH STREET - stay on it. When you get to the SEVEN DIALS JUNCTION, take the THIRD street on the RIGHT - Shots Gardens. Walk up this road and your next stop will be on the LEFT.
STOP 2 - Souk Medina - Classic Moroccan [1a Shorts Garden - WC2H 9AT]
Stepping into this restaurant is like walking INTO Morocco. Draped fabrics, atmospheric incense, and cushions and lounges all come together to make this a real sensory experience. Choose a dish to share between two, at least. Your best bet is to share a luscious tagine - or, if you want something a bit lighter, go for fresh baked North African bread and Moorish hummus and dips.
Come out the way you came and turn to the LEFT. Your next stop is a few steps down.
STOP 3 - Neal's Yard Dairy - Cheeses [17 Shorts Gardens - WC2H 9AT]
Neal's Yard Dairy is absolutely packed with delicious cheeses from all over Britain and Ireland. The company works directly with the cheesemakers whose goods are sold here, which means every cheese comes with all the information you could want - where it comes from, who makes it, what kind of animal's milk it's made from (and what the animals eat!), etc. etc. etc. The staff are super friendly and are always happy to give you a taste to help you decide what to purchase. Buy yourself a few tasty slivers of your favourites to snack on as you walk through Covent Garden - or to take away and enjoy later! Neal's Yard Dairy is a true London landmark.
Exit Neal's Yard and turn LEFT. Take the first RIGHT onto Neal Street. Continue down, crossing over SHELTON STREET. You will then come to Lola's Cupcakes on your LEFT.
STOP 4 - Lola's Cupcakes - Delicious cakes [14-18 Neal Street - WC2H 9LY]
You're now in prime position to tastes some of the best cupcakes in London! Lola's Cupcakes are well known, loved, and eaten all over the capital. Every cake is baked fresh every morning using British ingredients wherever possible. They have a standard list of flavours that are nearly always on display, then an array of over 30 other flavours that change depending on demand, season, etc. The best part is that they also sell TINY cupcakes (with classic flavours a fabulous £1.40) so it's possible to have a nibble, or maybe three, to taste as many flavours as possible. Our favourite is a gorgeous Red Velvet but keep an eye out for irresistible Passion fruit and Cookies and Cream!
With your back to Lola's, turn LEFT. You will cross over LONG ACRE (veering a bit to the right) which turns into JAMES STREET. Walk past Covent Garden Station, which will be on your right, until you get to the Piazza. Walk STRAIGHT THROUGH the Piazza (do some window shopping, if you'd like!). When you come out, take the road that is to the RIGHT. This turns into HENRIETTA STREET. On your LEFT is your next stop.
STOP 5 - Sticks n' Sushi - Asian-inspired "Tapas" [11 Henrietta Street - WC2E 8PY]
Sticks n' Sushi arrived in London from Denmark - where it dominates the food scene - and is serving up fresh tasty treats at a reasonable price. The idea here as that guests can order sushi, or yakitori, delicious cooked items usually served on a stick. There are loads of dishes coming in at under £5.00 and the choice is VAST. Seafood, vegetarian, salads, grilled meats, fresh sushi, caviar...etc. So you can eat your fill depending on how full you are from your tour already!
Come back onto Henrietta Street, with the restaurant behind you. Go LEFT until you get to BEDFORD STREET. Turn LEFT here and walk until you get to MAIDEN LANE. Turn LEFT onto MAIDEN LANE and down on your LEFT is your final destination.
STOP 6 - La Perla Bar - Spanish Tequila Bar [28 Maiden Lane - WC2E 7JS]
This bar is a personal recommendation from our London City Manager, Margaret, who has been going here for the last 7 years - at least! For those who want to keep on nibbling, this is where you'll find the freshest and most authentic salsa in London. Served up alongside a large portion of tortilla chips (not made in-house, but still perfectly crunchy and salty), it's a bargain for a portion at £2.35! But the real reason you are here is their margaritas: on the rocks, frozen, with fruit, with agave, rimmed in salt, rimmed in sugar...and the list goes on. These guys know their stuff. If you happen to arrive between 5pm - 7pm you'll be here in time for HAPPY HOUR which means a classic margarita is £4.50 - stunningly cheap for this part of town. Feel free to talk to the staff about sampling some of their tequilas, or just order yourself a fabulous drink (there's more than just margaritas, too!), sit back, and relax after your tasty food tour!
Finish: Covent Garden Piazza or Charing Cross Underground Station
You will be near St. Martin's in the Fields. Every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 1pm, rather than choral hymns, an eclectic range of musicians from classical to pop to students at the Royal Academy of Music perform for tourists, students and those on their lunch break.
Find out more about Visiting Covent Garden on our blog or about our other self-guided tours of London. If you prefer to be lead around by a real guide, check out our guided Food tours of London.++