Things To Do In Covent Garden With Kids (and Some Vegan Cake)

I often visited London as a child, but one of the places I remember best is Covent Garden. I have memories of a hive of activity full of street performers, colour and interesting shops. It appealed to me as a young child right through to a teenager. Recently I decided to go back with my children and see if they found it just as magical. 

Whether you are staying in a Covent Garden Hotel , another hotel in London or just looking for ideas of what to do in Covent Garden with children on a day trip then check out my suggestions from our adventure. I have shared the Dairy Free and Vegan cakes and treats I found in Covent Garden too. 

A flower cart with a sign saying covent Garden

Things To Do With Children In Covent Garden

Visit London Transport Museum 

The most obvious and frequently suggested place to take Children to in Covent Garden. This was my first visit to the museum which is free for children. It’s great for anyone who loves buses or trains and it will easily entertain children under 5 for a couple of hours. There are 2 small play areas as well as lots real (but still) buses, trams and trains that they can sit on. There is also a trail where they can stamp their card at several points on the way round.
Adult tickets cost £24 and you can buy your ticket in advance. Children are free with an adult and the adult ticket works as an annual pass so you can go back as often as you like. It's expensive for a one off visit, but great value if you are in the area regularly).

Repair Work role play train in the London Transport Museum
Hands on fun for children at the British Transport Museum

Driving a pretend bus in London Transport Museum
Children can pretend to be a bus driver in the play areas

Stamping a trail card in london transport museum
They often have trails with things to spot

Prebook activities at Royal Opera House

If you would like to introduce your children to opera or ballet then it’s worth registering with the Royal Opera House for their welcome performances. These in demand tickets for a child friendly performance also include access to various activities for 2 to 3 hours beforehand. The shows are laid back, with1 or 2 intervals, but they are normally around 3 hours long so best for around 7 and upwards.
There are also monthly Family Sundays (rebooking essential) which all have different themes, but include informal performances, dressing up and interactive activities. Aimed at children (and their parents) aged 3 to 10.

the window wall entrance of Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House

Browse The Shops

The Covent Garden area has a fantastic range of shops from designer and well know brands to smaller shops selling more quirky and fun products. Great shops for children include: Benjamin Pollock’s old fashioned toy shop, the Moomin Shop (entirely devoted to Moomins) and Sass & Belle all in the Market Building. Unfortunately many shops are not suitable for pushchairs. You will also discover some great finds wandering around Jubilee Market, Neal Street and Neal’s Yard too.

Child looking at toys in Pollock Toy Museum Covent Garden
Benjamin Pollock’s old fashioned toy shop

Child looking at dinosaur print bags in a covent garden shop
Sass & Belle has lots of quirky and cool products

Sun catcher mobiles on a market stall in covent garden jubilee market
Covent Garden market

A child visiting covent garden looking for things to do
Enjoy exploring Covent Garden with children

Watch Street Performers

From singers, to musicians, magicians to dare devils there is always something to watch around the Market Building. Popular areas for performers to be based are in between the Apple Market and St Paul’s Church, in the undercover performance area at the other end of the market building and Lower Ground Floor in the Garden Market (near the London Transport Museum), but buskers and performers pop up everywhere on a sunny day.

Depending on the age of your children you might not find all performances suitable for your children, for instance I didn't feel comfortable with my 3 year old watching someone juggle knives or having a chain wrapped around their neck, but we watched several musicians, singers and a contortionists. 

Child sitting on the floor watching street performers in Covent Garden
Watching a street performer in Covent Garden in the summer

Child dancing while watching a busker play guitar and sing
There is always lots of music and activities to enjoy

Child watching a lady singing opera in Covent Garden Market
Even on rainy days you can find performances under cover in the Apple Market

Pose for Photographs

As a popular tourist destination the shops and restaurants have caught on to the Instagram trend and provide many beautiful backdrops for photographs. At the moment their are florals everywhere and many decorated benches, but you can find something new whenever you visit.

Child pretending to be a rabbit and posing next to a large rabbit covered in fake flowers outside a covent garden shop
Hop little bunny

Covent Garden in Bloom flowers and a piano
A changing display of beautiful backdrops are available all year round

Eat at a Pavement Café

The area around the Market Building is pedestrianised which makes it perfect for sitting outside and watching the world go by. On a sunny day it feels more like you are in Barcelona or Italy than London so it’s a fun experience for children. Several cafes have open air seating upstairs too so you can enjoy your food slightly further away from the crowds if you prefer.

Child sitting at a table underneath umbrellas outside in covent garden
Enjoy dining Alfresco surround by a great atmosphere

Vegan (dairy free) Cakes and Treats In Covent Garden

As my youngest daughter and I don’t eat dairy I am always looking out for places that sell dairy free and vegan treats so here are some of my finds from the Covent Garden area. Many have a risk of cross-contamination so please talk to them before ordering if you have an allergy.

Abuelo - Options vary each day, but they normally have a vegan cake option which was Banana Bread when I visited.
26 Southampton Street, WC2E 7RS
Amorino - Part of a chain Amorino sells a wide range of vegan sorbets which are always a great treat for us. You choose the size bowl or cone you want and then you can have as many different flavours as you want in it. 
7 Garrick Street, WC2E 9AR

eating dairy free vegan sorbet in Amorino Covent garden
Sorbet from Amorino

freezer cabinet at Amorino Covent Garden full of tubs of ice cream and sorbet
So much choice

Doughnut Time - Selling a range of vegan doughnuts I went for a delicious Apple Crumble & Fitch (filled with apple pie filling and topped with a caramel glaze & Biscoff crumble), but they had 5 other vegan options available so it was a tough choice.
78 Long Acre, WC2E 9NG

Inside doughbut time which sells vegan doughnuts in covent garden
Doughnut Time has a variety of doughnuts some of which are vegan

A bowl of vegan hibiscus croissants from Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidian in Covent Garden has now closed

Lola’s Cupcakes - A range of vegan cupcakes and brownies are available from Lola's Cupcakes, although most of their products are not vegan. To be sure you can get your favourite order online and collect from the store.
14-18 Neal Street, WC2H 9LY
Petersham Nurseries - They had vegan chocolate cake in the delicatessen when we visited.
31 King Street, WC2E 8JD

New Additions from visit January 2024

Floozie Stuffed Cookies - These delicious vegan cookies have a filling inside like jam or chocolate spread. They aren't the cheapest (we bought 3 for £10), but they taste amazing. It's all vegan and they have some gluten free options too. You can find them if you go down the stairs in the Apple market.
15 The Market Building, Lower Ground, WC2E 8RE 

A vegan jam filled cookie from Floozie Stuffed Cookies
The range of vegan cookies at Floozie Stuffed Cookies are all delicious

Yolé Frozen Yoghurt - This store and their website rather baffle me and it does not make it easy to understand what they sell. The window had a poster saying they had plant based (oat) ice cream so I went in to investigate. The majority of their offerings are not vegan, but I had a soft serve vanilla vegan ice cream with biscoff crumbs and mango sauce. They had a few other vegan topping options including a biscoff sauce and nuts. It was gorgeous. They offer their ice cream/ yoghurt in a tub or various bases including cones and bubble waffle, however I don't think anything other than the tub is vegan. My ice cream was really nice.

Plant based and zero added sugar (before the toppings i assume) ice cream in Covent Garden
Plant based ice cream from Yolé

Tips for Visiting Covent Garden with Children

The main station is Covent Garden on the Piccadilly Line. It has lifts rather than escalators so it can be busy at peak times (there are still a few steps to the platform), if you choose not to wait for the lifts you can walk up/ down the 193 steps, but be warned that's actually a lot of stairs! Other stations nearby are: Holborn, Leicester Square, Charing Cross and Embankment.

Take cards and cash. An increasing number of small businesses are card payment only, but some market stalls may prefer cash.

There are lots of shops and restaurants that aren’t easily accessible with a pushchair due to the age of the buildings so a baby carrier is more useful if you have a small child. There are lots of stairs and many shops are small which makes them charming, but not very accessible.

There are toilets downstairs in the Jubilee Market Hall (£1), in the West Piazza (50p), in the London Transport Museum, Royal Opera House and many restaurants, pubs and larger shops but not in all cafes.

***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. I was invited to spend a day exploring Covent Garden, the spending money was gifted by, but all views are my own***

What to do in Covent Garden with kids

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