Covent Garden tube station

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Covent Garden London Underground
Covent Garden stn building.JPG
Station entrance
Covent Garden is located in Central London
Covent Garden
Covent Garden
Location of Covent Garden in Central London
LocationCovent Garden
Local authorityCity of Westminster
Managed byLondon Underground
Number of platforms2
Fare zone1
London Underground annual entry and exit
2013Decrease 21.17 million[1]
2014Decrease 15.38 million[1]
2015Decrease 14.67 million[1]
2016Increase 17.19 million[1]
2017Increase 17.54 million[1]
Railway companies
Original companyGreat Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway
Key dates
15 December 1906Line opened
11 April 1907Station opened
Listed status
Listing gradeII
Entry number1401025[2][3]
Added to list20 July 2011
Other information
External links
WGS8451°30′47″N 0°07′27″W / 51.5130°N 0.1243°W / 51.5130; -0.1243Coordinates: 51°30′47″N 0°07′27″W / 51.5130°N 0.1243°W / 51.5130; -0.1243
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transport portal

Covent Garden is a London Underground station in Covent Garden, West End of London. It is on the Piccadilly line between Leicester Square and Holborn stations and is in Travelcard Zone 1.[4] The station is at the corner of Long Acre and James Street and is a Grade II listed building.[2][3]


The station was planned by the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR), which had received parliamentary approval for a route from Wood Green station (now Alexandra Palace) to Strand in 1899.[5] After the GN&SR was taken over by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) in September 1901, the two companies came under the control of Charles Yerkes' Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company before being transferred to his new holding company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL) in June 1902.[6] To connect the two companies' planned routes, the UERL obtained permission for new tunnels between Piccadilly Circus and Holborn. The companies were formally merged as the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway following parliamentary approval in November 1902.[7][8][9] The station was opened by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway on 11 April 1907, four months after services on the rest of the line began operating on 15 December 1906.[10]

In 1929, Covent Garden was one of the stations suggested for closure in connection with the extension of the Piccadilly line: the elimination of less-busy stations in the central area would improve both reliability and journey times for long-distance commuters[11][12] but this did not happen.

The station today[edit]


Signage on the platforms

Like the rest of the original GNP&BR stations, the street level station building and platform tiling were designed by Leslie Green. The station building is a classic red 'Oxblood' building which has two elevations fronting onto the end of James Street and Long Acre. The platform wall was tiled with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes along with three blank spaces to incorporate the station name. As part of Transport for London's investment programme, the ageing tiling dating back from the station's opening was replaced in 2010 in a like-for-like basis, retaining the look and feel of the platforms.

Platform level tiling[edit]

A platform on the London Underground.
The distinctive platform level tilework.

The stations along the central part of the Piccadilly line, as well as some sections of the Northern line, were financed by Charles Yerkes,[13] and are famous for the Leslie Green designed red station buildings and distinctive platform tiling. Each station had its own unique tile pattern and colours.


Covent Garden station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs[14] and often becomes congested because of the Covent Garden area's popularity with tourists. To control congestion on Saturday afternoons, when the surrounding shopping areas are at their busiest, the station was previously exit-only to avoid the risk of dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, but following replacement of the lifts, this restriction was lifted. There are four lifts that give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair-inaccessible. Alternatively, there is an emergency spiral staircase of 193 steps.[14]

Proximity to Leicester Square[edit]

The journey between Leicester Square station and Covent Garden takes only about 20 seconds, and measures only 260 metres (280 yd), the shortest distance between two adjacent stations on the Underground network.[15][16] The stations are so close that a pedestrian standing halfway between them on Long Acre can see both tube stations by turning around 180°. The proximity means that London Underground's standard £4.80 single cash fare for the journey between these two stations[17] equates to £29.81 a mile, making the fare for this particular journey more expensive per mile than the Venice Simplon Orient Express.[18] Posters at the station give details of the alternative methods of getting to and from Covent Garden using surrounding stations.

Services and connections[edit]

Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally operate every 3–7 minutes between 06:03 and 00:31 in both directions.[19][20]

Future proposals[edit]

Transport for London has made a commitment to ease the congestion at the station, which may involve the creation of a new exit[21] further north along Long Acre (i.e. away from Covent Garden Piazza and nearer the eclectic shopping area that surrounds Neal's Yard), and the provision of escalator access.[citation needed]


It is said that the ghost of actor William Terriss haunts the station. It is claimed that he used to visit a bakery demolished when the station was built.[22] The last reported sighting of Terriss was in 1972.[23]

Notes and references[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLSX). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. January 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1401025)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  3. ^ a b "16 London Underground Stations Listed at Grade II". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
  4. ^ Standard Tube Map (PDF) (Map). Not to scale. Transport for London. May 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 June 2019.
  5. ^ "No. 27105". The London Gazette. 4 August 1899. pp. 4833–4834.
  6. ^ Badsey-Ellis 2005, p. 118.
  7. ^ Badsey-Ellis 2005, pp. 152–53.
  8. ^ "No. 27464". The London Gazette. 12 August 1902. pp. 5247–5248.
  9. ^ "No. 27497". The London Gazette. 21 November 1902. p. 7533.
  10. ^ Rose 1999.
  11. ^ a b Connor 2006, p. 31.
  12. ^ The other stations considered for closure were York Road (closed 1932), Brompton Road (closed 1934), Regent's Park, Mornington Crescent, Hyde Park Corner, Gillespie Road (now Arsenal), Gloucester Road and Down Street (closed 1934).[11]
  13. ^ "The Man Who Painted London Red". London Reconnections. January 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  14. ^ a b Geoff Marshall. "Tube Facts & Figures - Tube Stations that have no escalators and use lifts to get down to the platforms & Tube Stations with steps". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  15. ^ Key facts | Transport for London
  16. ^ Geoff Marshall. "Tube Facts & Figures - Stations that are less than 60 seconds apart". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  17. ^ Transport for London. "Single fare finder". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Venice Simplon-Orient-Express - Luxury train journeys in Europe - London - Venice". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Piccadilly line timetable: From Covent Garden Underground Station to Holborn Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Piccadilly line timetable: From Covent Garden Underground Station to Leicester Square Underground Station". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  21. ^ Screwbiedooo (2 December 2009). "Mindroutes". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  22. ^ The Murder of William Terriss - The Adelphi Theatre Calendar
  23. ^ "City of the Dead". Time Out London. Retrieved 26 March 2015.


  • Badsey-Ellis, Antony (2005). London's Lost Tube Schemes. Capital Transport. ISBN 185414-293-3.
  • Connor, J.E. (2006) [1999]. London's Disused Underground Stations (2nd ed.). Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-250-X.
  • Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4.

External links[edit]

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Piccadilly line
towards Cockfosters