An Afternoon in Covent Garden
With our London shop down on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden finally open once again, now seemed like a good time to take a walk around the area, and mention a few places that are worth a visit. Although various nearby attractions like the London Film Museum and the London Transport Museum are still closed, there’s still plenty to see and do. Here are just a few suggestions…
The Nigel Cabourn Army Gym Store
Maybe a bit of a gratuitous thing to mention here, but it’d be rude not to talk about our shop briefly. Not only does the Army Gym feature the full SS21 collection, but there are also a few shop exclusives on offer, which are only available here - such as an orange linen version of the Big Shirt, and a range of poplin US-4 Jackets. And for anyone who’s handy with a sewing machine, we’ve also got a selection of fabrics on offer, such as Ventile and ripstop cotton.
As you can see from the photo above, this isn’t your usual clothes shop, and beyond the garments themselves, the shop is decorated with artefacts from Nigel’s vintage hunting excursions. Also, thanks to the fine folks at Lift, we now offer free coffee too.
Bit of history for you… Covent Garden gets its name as the area was originally used as the ‘convent garden’ for Westminster Abbey back in the 13th century. Over time the letter ‘n’ was lost, and the land was built on—slowly becoming a hotbed of coffee shops, drinking dens and open-air market stalls selling fruit, vegetables and flowers.
In 1828 architect Charles Fowler was drafted in to create a fully enclosed market-hall—a construction which soon sprawled out to include the Floral Hall, the Charter Market and the Jubilee Hall. The fruit and veg market eventually relocated to Battersea in the ‘60s, but the buildings remain—filled with cafes, shops and more. The antique stalls in the Jubilee Hall are definitely worth a browse if you’re into old ephemera.
Walk a few minutes west from our front door and you’re in Soho. Another historic area, Soho reportedly gets its name from a word used as a rallying cry by hunters on horseback in the 16th century.
The former home of London’s beatniks, as well as the Blitz Kids of the 1980s, Soho might have changed a bit since the late great Francis Bacon stumbled the streets after a meal of oysters and champagne, but this enclave of legendary pubs (like the French House), cafes and vintage shops still maintains its unique character.
Those hunting for records are well catered for too, with Phonica, Sister Ray and Sounds of the Universe all offering rare gems harvested from around the world.
Whilst Chinatown might technically be a part of Soho, it still deserves its own mention in this article. Whilst London’s original Chinatown in the East End was flattened during WW2, Soho’s Chinatown grew around Gerrard Street in the 1970s. With plenty of restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets, this is the prime place to grab something to eat when you crave something a bit tastier than a pre-packaged Pret sandwich, and although you can’t sit inside the restaurants at present, many of them are offering take-away.
And if you’re into your sushi, the Japan Centre, just off Leicester Square is worth a look. This unique supermarket has been around in some form since 1976—and sells everything from ceramics to sashimi.
Alright, we know a lot of people might be a bit bored of sitting in the park by now, but when the sun’s out on a busy day in London, a bit of green space is still hard to beat.
Near us there’s a few to choose from. Victoria Embankment Gardens is a small slice of greenery located south of our shop. It’s not exactly the biggest park around, but if you can find a bench, it’s a nice place for a mid-afternoon picnic when you’ve had enough of the hustle and bustle.
We’re not far from St James’ Park too. This is the eastern-most part of the huge string of parks that stretches across from Kensington Gardens, so if you’re looking for somewhere where you can stretch your legs for a run, then this is maybe your best bet in the centre of the city.