Apple Store Covent Garden is the brand’s largest store in Europe and was the biggest in the world until the Grand Central Station store in New York opened in December 2011. Open brickwork and stone arches form a beautifully restored architectural backdrop to the sleek designs of Apple’s iPhones, iMacs, iPads and the many other products on sale at the Covent Garden store.
Located behind the arches of the Covent Garden Piazza, the Grade II-listed building, which dates back to 1876, was fully restored in 2010 by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson – the architects responsible for many of Apple’s groundbreaking stores, including the glass cube for the Manhattan Fifth Avenue branch. Covent Garden ‘is our most historic store, we’ve spent a lot of time refurbishing the building, retaining its original features and giving it an Apple spin,’ says Ron Johnson, formerly Apple’s senior vice president of retail.
Don’t be fooled by this store’s traditional London-style façade – this is one of Apple’s most innovative spaces yet. At the centre is a glass atrium which allows light to flood down to the huge courtyard where talks, demonstrations and workshops are held. Two of Apple’s patented glass stairways lead to the floors above, which house the indispensable Genius Bar for hands-on technical help and repairs, a Community Room where you can learn how to get the most out of Mac software and a Start-up Room where staff will make sure you leave the store ready to use your purchases right away.
Despite being Europe’s biggest Apple outlet, the Covent Garden store offers a quiet, more intimate experience than the Regent Street store, which is the brand’s busiest. The outdoor feel of the store adds to its relaxed nature and customers are encouraged to spend time browsing, testing and learning about the latest products including the new iPad and get a first look at the new OSX Mountain Lion. You can also call upon one of the 300 Apple specialists who are on hand to answer any product question and solve any technical problem.
The Covent Garden store has plenty of Apple products on display so you won’t have to wait to test them out before you make your purchase. In addition to Apple’s own products the store also has one of the largest selections of third-party software and accessories to be found anywhere in the world, including hard drives, printers and cases for all of Apple’s products, such as the iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
As well as group training you can also book Apple’s One to One sessions to receive tailored advice and learn how to use any of Apple’s software, build a website or get more from your photos and movies by editing them using iPhoto and iMovie.
Apple Store Covent Garden holds free workshops daily from getting started with your iPhone 4S to introductions to video editing software such as Final Cut Pro X, so there’s always something going on in the store.
Apple Store Covent Garden, 1-7 The Piazza, London WC2E 8HA, +44 (0)20 7447 1400
Monday-Saturday: 9am-9pm, Sunday: 12pm-6pm