INSIDE: The Complete Guide to the Punch and Judy Festival Covent Garden. Updated 2019.
Every year in May, there is a Punch and Judy Festival in Covent Garden.
This fun festival is a popular annual treat for families, a recreation of the famous Punch and Judy puppet performances that were held in the open air in Covent Garden’s Piazza in front of the Punch and Judy pub built in 1787. (These original Punch and Judy shows were performed for children of Covent Garden flower sellers.)
On the day of the Punch and Judy festival in London, Punch and Judy Professors and Puppeteers from all over the country come to perform Punch and Judy Puppet shows throughout the day with Mr Punch puppet.
The Punch and Judy Show London festival celebrates the art of puppetry on Mr Punch’s “birthday”.
This is a superb FREE event organised annually by Alternative Arts.
- 1 Punch and Judy Festival Covent Garden
- 2 Punch & Judy Festival Covent Garden Proceedings
- 3 Punch and Judy for kids
- 4 The Inside Scoop – Covent Garden May Fayre & Punch Show
- 5 How to get to Covent Garden Punch and Judy Festival
- 6 Where to eat in Covent Garden – Punch and Judy Covent Garden Pub
- 7 Map of Covent Garden
- 8 Toadstool Rating (by the kids) – Punch and Judy London
- 9 Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN places to visit in London?
- 10 Subscribe
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Punch and Judy Festival Covent Garden
The event is held at St Paul’s Church on the West Piazza of Covent Garden, celebrating the spot where Samuel Pepys first recorded in his diary seeing a Punch and Judy-style show in London on 9th May 1662.
This date is now considered Punch’s birthday.
2019 was the 43rd anniversary of the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival, and Punch’s 356th birthday!
The Punch and Judy Show (sometimes incorporated into the Covent Garden May Fayre) is always held on the second Sunday in May, on or near the date of Punch’s birthday.
Punch & Judy Festival Covent Garden Proceedings
Each year, the Punch and Judy Festival Covent Garden includes:
- a Grand Procession around Covent Garden starting in the Church garden, led by the Superior Brass Band with a birthday toast to Mr Punch by the commemorative plaque on the church wall in the Piazza
- a special Church Service in St Paul’s Church with Mr Punch in the pulpit
Punch and Judy for kids
From 12.30pm until 5.30pm, there’s usually:
- Punch and Judy puppet shows in a Punch and Judy puppet theatre (no tickets required!) – you might even see the crocodile puppet!
- Punch and Judy puppetry workshops
- Punch and Judy music
- London street food markets and food stalls
- craft stalls selling Punch and Judy hand puppets, and Victorian Punch and Judy dolls
- craft workshops for kids including Punch and Judy pictures to colour, and Punch and Judy puppets to cut out
- folk music by local bands
- maypole dancing
- clowns, and
- Punch and Judy entertainers
The Inside Scoop – Covent Garden May Fayre & Punch Show
Address: St Paul’s Church Garden, Bedford St, Covent Garden London WC2E 8RF
Opening Hours: Festival opens at 11am until 5.30pm
Entry Fees: Admission is free.
Telephone:+44 (0)20 7420 5856
Email (guest relations): [email protected]
Website: Click here for the Punch and Judy Club
Facebook: Click here (Like their FB page to be notified of the upcoming festival dates and events)
How to get to Covent Garden Punch and Judy Festival
Covent Garden’s tube station is a very short walk from the Market Building at the end of James Street. Covent Garden is on the Piccadilly Line.
Other local tube stations include:
- Leicester Square – 5 minutes walk
- Charing Cross – 6 minutes walk
- Holborn – 10 minutes walk
- Temple – 11 minutes walk
- Tottenham Court Road – 12 minutes walk
- The best way to get to Covent Garden and discover its secret passages and surrounding areas is to walk. To find out the best route for you, visit WalkIt.com.
- There are bike racks in Southampton Street, Bow Street, and on the corner of Russell Street & Wellington Street.
- For more information on cycling in central London, visit the Transport for London web site: www.tfl.gov.uk/cycling
- If you’re heading for Covent Garden by bus, the RV1 stops at Covent Garden. The 9, 13, 15, 23, 139 and 153 all stop at Trafalgar Square and Aldwych (both a short walk from the Market Building).
- The No. 24 stops at Leicester Square; Covent Garden is signposted from there.
- For more information on buses in London, visit the Transport for London website: www.tfl.gov.uk/buses.
- Hail a London Black Cab and just ask the driver to take you to Covent Garden Market.
- If possible, it is best to avoid driving to Covent Garden as parking is very restricted. There is limited on-street parking with meters on some surrounding roads.
- If driving, it is essential to remember to pay the Congestion Charge. The charge can be paid online, in selected shops and petrol stations, by post, by SMS from your mobile phone or by phone on +44 (0)20 7649 9122. Two of the largest car park providers in central London are Masterpark and NCP.
- The closest jetty to Covent Garden where regular boats dock is at Embankment. You can find out more information on the Transport for London website: www.tfl.gov.uk/river
Where to eat in Covent Garden – Punch and Judy Covent Garden Pub
Stop in at The Punch & Judy pub for classic British fare such as:
- bangers and mash
- juicy rump steak burger and chips
- classic British roast
- cheese and pickle baguettes, sandwiches and wraps
The Punch and Judy Pub is ‘world famous’ for its’ location and history. Ask to be seated on the balconey so you can look over the West Piazza to see the Punch and Judy festival performances.
Address: Punch and Judy Pub, 40 The Market Building, Covent Garden London.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 12 noon to 11pm, and Sunday until 10.30pm.
Menu: Click here for the menu.
Map of Covent Garden
Toadstool Rating (by the kids) – Punch and Judy London
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