In my opinion Covent Garden is usually a fairly hellish tourist trap.
Being a born and bred Londoner, I have tried to avoid the area for as long as I can remember. It tends to be full of annoying fire-eaters, bad mime artists, novelty gifts and hoards of Euro-tweens with bright ruck-sacks.
But...it is a beautiful area and filled with incredible history. It began as a Convent Garden in the early 13th century under the reign of King John and after the dissolution of the monasteries, became a market. In the time of Samuel Pepys not only was it known as "the larder of London," it was the most important market in the whole country.
In an attempt to move Covent Garden back to its gastronomic heritage, a foodie Night Market is running every Thursday through August. It's great. I went last week with my dad and Francois - between us we managed to eat a vast quantity of wonderful food (Cornish oysters, Ghanaian chicken stew, green chili beef, Burnt Sugar fudge and Vietnamese coffee) and purchased lots more to take home with us, including more french cheese than we could carry.
If only Covent Garden could shift full-time into a foodie heaven like this, I think that it would connect again to the needs of real Londoners not just the needs of Euro-tweens.
Those smart folks over at The Pirate Geek are behind the PR which has been fantastic, everyone I know is talking about it and the press coverage was been amazing.