Beyond the cobbles: Your guide to Goodwin’s Court

Nestled strategically between the theatre-laden St Martin’s Lane and the vibrant Bedfordbury, Goodwin’s Court is no ordinary backstreet, it’s a living slice of historical London, a time capsule daring you to wander its cobbled pathways. 

So, join us as we unravel the tales, decode the secrets, and savour the delightful quirks that make Goodwin’s Court a hidden gem. 

What is Goodwin’s Court?

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Goodwin’s Court is a hidden alleyway located just a stone’s throw from Covent Garden. Lined with picturesque Georgian buildings, its cobblestone pavement, ornate wrought-iron balconies, and unmistakable sense of old-world allure have made it one of the city’s tourist spots.

In addition to its architectural significance, Goodwin’s Court has gained notoriety for a fascinating rumour – it is said to have inspired the portrayal of Knockturn Alley in the Harry Potter series. 

Moreover, Goodwin’s Court has also served as a backdrop for various film and television productions. Notably, it featured in the 2001 film “The Knickerman”, contributing to its cinematic appeal. 

The court’s atmospheric setting and architectural authenticity make it a preferred location for filmmakers seeking to capture the essence of historical London on screen.

History of Goodwin’s Court 

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Though its exact origins are unknown, Goodwin’s Court is believed to have been named after a local resident or landowner named Goodwin. By the 17th century, the court was an established thoroughfare lined by residential homes and small shops. 

Several prominent publishing companies set up their offices and printing presses surrounding the historic courtyard over the years. Most notably, Oxford University Press operated on Goodwin’s Court for nearly 150 years, from the 1830s until the 1970s. 

The buildings housing the publishing companies were rebuilt a few times, especially following damage from air raids during World War II. However, the core structure and narrow, rectangular layout remained unchanged even as the city modernised around it.

Goodwin’s Court today

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Today, the buildings of Goodwin’s Court are primarily office spaces housing finance, technology, and design companies. Only a small brass plaque outside 76 Fleet Street commemorates Oxford University Press’s long tenure there. 

Nonetheless, the cobblestone alleyways preserve the original ambience of the court, serving as a quiet refuge from bustling London. Goodwin’s Court remains a charming reminder of the city’s publishing heritage, with 400 years of rich literary history.

Best things to do around Goodwin’s Court

Take a Harry Potter walking tour

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Contact: +44 20 3905 6813

Pricing: Free

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday  – 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

The walking tour by Strawberry Tours lasts for 2 to 2.5 hours. You’ll visit J.K. Rowling’s favourite streets, shops, and squares in London.  

You’ll learn where you can find Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, or even Dumbledore’s favourite. The tour is free, but it’s necessary to book your spot in advance to receive the full meeting point details via email on time. 

How is this related to Goodwin’s Court, you ask? Well, many say that it was one of the inspirations for certain spots in Harry Potter – like Knockturn Alley, for instance!

Shop for vintage clothing at Beyond Retro

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Location: 19-21 Argyll St, London W1F 7TR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7729 9001

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday  – 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Website

Shopping at Beyond Retro is a great way to explore the fashion trends of the past and add a touch of nostalgia to your wardrobe. The store has a wide range of clothing items from different eras, including the 60s, 70s, and 80s. 

You can find everything from vintage denim jackets to retro dresses and accessories. The store also has a great selection of vintage sportswear, which is perfect if you love to wear unique and stylish clothing items.

Visit the National Gallery

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Location: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7747 2885

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday  – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

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Just a short walk away from Goodwin’s Court, you’ll find the National Gallery, one of the world’s greatest collections of Western European paintings. The gallery is free to enter, so you can admire masterpieces by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, and many more. 

You’ll also discover fascinating stories behind each painting, and how they reflect the culture and history of their time. The gallery also hosts exhibitions, events, and courses that will enrich your appreciation of art.

Buy art supplies at L. Cornelissen & Son

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Location: 105 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3RY, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7636 1045

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday  – 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

L. Cornelissen & Son was established in 1855 and has been supplying artists with high-quality materials ever since. Whether you are a professional painter, a hobbyist, or a curious beginner, you’ll find everything you need to unleash your creativity at this shop. 

What makes this shop so special is the variety and quality of its products and the history and atmosphere surrounding it. As soon as you enter the shop, you will feel like you have stepped back in time, into a world of art and craftsmanship.

Best places to eat in Goodwin’s Court

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

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Location: 145 Fleet St, London EC4A 2BP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7353 6170

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:30 PM

Website

This iconic establishment traces its roots back to the 17th century, surviving the Great Fire of London and countless chapters of history. One step through its creaky wooden doors, and you’re transported to a bygone era.

What to get? Go with the Cheshire Cheese Platter, a medley of aged cheeses that will make even the most discerning cheese connoisseur weak at the knees.

The Seven Stars Pub

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Location: 53 Carey St, London WC2A 3QS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7242 8521

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Website

This charming London pub has been serving up classic British fare since 1602, making it a historic hidden gem tucked away on a quaint alley. 

But let’s get right to their award-winning steak and ale pie – this scrumptious dish with slow-cooked beef and rich gravy encased in flakey golden pastry is pure perfection. As you take that first bite, the crisp topping gives way to moist, fork-tender meat and thick sauce.

And don’t get us started on their roster of British ales, porters and stouts. With beer that good, every night at Seven Stars is a cause for cheer!

The Old Bank of England

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Location: 194 Fleet St, London EC4A 2LT, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7430 2255

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday & Saturday – 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 11:30 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM

Website

This historic gastro pub set in an old 19th-century bank oozes charm and serves up divine British cuisine fit for a king – or at least a Governor of the Bank of England! 

From the gleaming mahogany wood to the sparkling chandeliers, you’ll feel transported to the Gilded Age the minute you step inside. But their true riches shine on the plate.

Start your meal with their award-winning Scotch egg, a British classic done right with a gorgeously runny yolk nestled within a perfect pork and venison sausage casing, breaded and fried into a sublime golden nugget of joy. 

Café Below

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Location: St Mary Le Bow Church, Cheapside, London EC2V 6AU, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7329 0789

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday & Friday – 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Website

This cafe is nestled perfectly beneath St Mary le Bow church. You get scrumptiousness in a picturesque setting you’ll feel you’ve stepped into an English novel!

Once you’re here, make sure to try their full-flavoured shepherd’s pie layered with minced lamb in rich pan gravy or their sausage and mash pot, plump herby bangers blanketed in sublime onion gravy. 

And do save room for their sticky toffee pudding – one of the finest renditions of that timeless English dessert with dark sponge cake saturated in gooey toffee sauce. Pair it with English tea or coffee and soak up that sweet, soulful flavour.

The Clerk & Well 

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Location: 156 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5DU, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7870 2245

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

The Clerk & Well boasts a menu that reads like a symphony of flavours, curated with the precision of a culinary virtuoso. From starters that tease your palate to mains that are a crescendo of taste, every dish is a masterpiece in its own right. 

Their greatest hit is probably the “Wellington Wonder”, a dish so divine it’s practically a culinary deity. This succulent creation features perfectly cooked beef encased in a flaky, golden crust.

Palm Court Brasserie

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Location: 39 King St, London WC2E 8JS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7240 2939

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Website

Palm Court Brasserie is a portal that transports you straight to the romantic streets of Paris – minus the airfare. The atmosphere here is like a culinary romance novel: dim lights and a sense of charm that swirls through the air like the aroma of a perfectly baked croissant.

The best dish is easily the “Brasserie’s Best Bouillabaisse”. Picture succulent seafood dancing in a fragrant broth, and you’re halfway to understanding why it’s a bestseller. 

Koha Restaurant & Bar

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Location: 10-11, St Martin’s Ct, London WC2N 4AJ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7497 0282

Pricing: ££

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday – 11:00 AM to 12:30 AM
  • Thursday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 2:00 AM
  • Sunday – 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Website

First things first, let’s talk about the vibe. Koha is a mood. Picture this: ambient lighting that’s Instagram-worthy, a dash of eclectic decor that’s as quirky as your favourite meme, and an atmosphere that screams “cool without trying too hard.”. 

But let’s not get sidetracked by the Instagrammable interiors, the real star of the show is the food.  Their pièce de résistance is the “Koha Kickin’ Chicken”. It’s a succulent chicken dancing in a symphony of spices that’ll have your taste buds doing the samba. 

Frequently asked questions

Can you access Goodwin’s Court from different streets?


Yes, Goodwin’s Court can be accessed from both St. Martin’s Lane and Bedfordbury.

Are there any restrictions on photography in Goodwin’s Court?


Generally, photography is allowed in Goodwin’s Court, but it’s advisable to be respectful of private property and businesses.

How long does it take to explore Goodwin’s Court?


Exploring Goodwin’s Court may take around 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your pace and interest in the surroundings.

Is Goodwin’s Court illuminated at night?


Yes, gas lamps and ambient lighting contribute to the charming atmosphere of Goodwin’s Court in the evening.

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