Today it’s a big day for UK retail, as non-essential shops are allowed to open again after months of lockdown. Restaurants and pubs with outside tables are also allowed to open today and they are expecting to be fully booked as people are keen to eat out again.
Covent Garden, one of London’s most important retail and F&B districts, is planning to make the most of it. Over 800 outdoor dining seats, 500 more than before the lockdown, will be available across 35 restaurants and there will also be a weekly food festival from this week until mid-May.
In line with customers’ demand for an all-round experience, today also marks the launch of a six-month programme of public art installations, pop-up bars, outdoor performance and culture in the pedestrianised heart of London.
The new open-air scheme across the Covent Garden estate expands its outdoor offer, spanning seven streets as well as the historic Piazza, offering weatherproof drinking and dining options for visitors, with heaters, lighting, large parasols and windbreak screens.
To lure customers back, a number of streets around the area will continue to be pedestrianised including Henrietta Street, Floral Street, Maiden Lane and Southampton Street, joining the existing pedestrianised Piazza, King Street and James Street.
Retail will also continue to play a big part in Covent Garden, with five new openings this spring the Swiss watch retailer Bucherer, which has changed location and doubled the size of its store, fine jewellery brand Vashi, outdoor apparel brand Arc’teryx, designer accessories brand Strathberry and gold jewellery boutique Sacred Gold.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy a six-week-long street food festival from Feast It, offering a changing weekly roster of street food pop ups in Covent Garden’s Piazza.
Adding to the selection of outdoor dining spots, there will be a series of new al fresco Piazza pop- ups the first of which will be the Tanqueray Terrace in partnership with Dirty Martini, offering a brand new limited edition edit of five cocktails from tomorrow until May 3rd .
Alongside this, Covent Garden has unveiled a new botanical garden on the East Piazza, which will provide additional seating for visitors to sit, relax and dine on the estate’s takeaway offers in the heart of historic central London. Over 1,000 overflowing botanical plants will be used here creating this urban oasis.
As Covent Garden welcomes visitors back, social distancing measures have been put in place with clear floor markings and signage, with an optional one-way system through the Market Building ready to be implemented if required.