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London/Bloomsbury

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London : Bloomsbury
Revision as of 15:42, 17 March 2009 by 62.25.109.197 (Talk)

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Bloomsbury is a vibrant historic district of London made famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers that included Virgina Woolf and E.M Forster ('the Bloomsbury Set'), economist John Maynard Keynes and the artist Roger Fry and for being the location of the British Museum, the British Library, the campus of University College London and any number of historic homes, parks, and buildings.

Get in

Bloomsbury can be accessed from several convenient Tube stations that include Euston Square, Russell Square, Holborn and Tottenham Court Road; it is also within walking distance of King's Cross, Euston, and St Pancras mainline stations.

Get around

Bloomsbury has a number of famous walks that cover the lives and works of the Bloomsbury Group. Most of the sites are reachable by foot or a single stop on the metro. There are also a number of buses that run from Euston Road.

See

  • British Museum [1] - One of the world's great museums, founded in 1753 - a vast repository of the world's cultures and free entrance.
  • Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology [2] Malet Place, open to the public Tu-Fr 1pm-5pm, Sa 10am-1pm, (closed Mo, Christmas and Easter holidays), admission free - Formerly the teaching collection of Sir Flinders Petrie, one of Britain's greatest archaeologists; now preserved by University College London and well worth a visit (free!) Exhibits include beaded dresses, sculpture and wall reliefs, items of everyday use, papyri, cartonnage and pottery - fascinating! NB: The museum can be hard to find: whilst preparing for a move to new premises in 2008 (?), the Petrie is housed inside a university library building down a narrow lane - the best way to locate is is to find the large Blackwell's bookstore on the corner of Malet Street. Malet Place continues over Torrington Place (currently under some scaffolding); venturing down the lane, the Museum's banner should be prominent on the left hand side. Go through the doors and ask the porter for the Museum.
  • University College London (UCL) [3], access via the northern end of Gower Street - Includes a small but beautiful quad and an interesting Neo-Classical facade - the core buildings of UCL were built after the university's foundation in 1826.
  • Charles Dickens Museum [4] 48 Doughty St, tel 7405 2127, fax 7831 5175, open Mo - Sa 10 am to 5 pm (last admission 4.30 pm), Tu 10 am - 7 pm, Su 11 am - 5 pm (last admission 4.30pm), admission £5.00 (students & seniors £4.00, children £3.00, families £14.00 (2 adults & up to five children). Special group rates apply.
  • Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte St - A traditional pub that served as meeting place between the wars for a group of writers and artists who dubbed the area around Fitzroy Square and Charlotte St "Fitzrovia". The "Writers and Artists Bar" in the pub basement includes portraits of former patrons who included the poet Dylan Thomas, writer George Orwell and artist Augustus John.
  • Cartoon Museum [5] - A vast collection of cartoons and comics on display. Located near the British Museum, it has an admission fee of £3 for adults, and is free for students.
  • Foundling Museum [6] - A museum and a gallery telling the story of the Foundling Hospital, an orphanage for abandoned children founded in the eighteenth century. Massive art donations by British artists and the involvement of George Frideric Handel as a patron made this child care organization an early center of art and music. Admission is £5.
  • Fitzroy House [7] - A historic house formerly inhabited by playwright George Bernard Shaw, it is where writer and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, worked in the 1950s. The building is reminiscent of the time, complete with Adler typewriters, Grundig tape recorders, and Western Union telefax. Tours by appointment. Admission Free.

Eat

This area is teeming with students so there is a wealth of cheap eating options. Charlotte Street near Goodge street underground station, parallel to Tottenham Court Road (where the Fitzoy Tavern is found) has a number of nice restaurants, some of them very reasonable.

Look for the cheap Korean restaurants under Centre Point. They're incredible value and very close to the British Museum.

General advice: avoid some of the eating establishments close to the British Museum (except aformentioned Korean places) like the plague - hugely overpriced, they form a genuine 'tourist trap' and are seemingly designed to help travellers part with their cash at a rapid rate! Best to walk up to nearby Oxford Street for a huge range of food outlets.

In terms of restaurants, Pizza Express on Coptic Street (off Great Russell Street in front of the British Museum) is a safe and reasonable bet. There are numerous other eateries on Southampton Row, a short walk from the museum area, or in Charlotte Street and the surrounds on the other side of Tottenham Court Road, easily found by using the prominant BT Tower as a reference point.

If stuck for food, there are a number of common travel venues (Upper Crust, Burger King, Cornish Pasties, etc) at King's Cross station.

Drink

There are a number of pubs and winebars around the British Library and University College London campus.

Some notable pubs:

  • The Museum Tavern, 49 Great Russell Street. Opposite the British Museum, is a very good pub, offering a wide range of real ales, and some excellent food. Can get busy in the summer months.
  • Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte Street. Owned by the Samuel Smith brewery, the Fitzroy Tavern offers good, cheap beer. The pub (which took its name from a local aristocrat, the Earl of Fitzroy) in turn inspired the name of the surrounding area of Bloomsbury - Fitzrovia - and was a popular drinking place for BBC broadcasters (including George Orwell) following the Second World War. A very friendly pub, with nice outdoor seating in summer.
  • The College Arms, 18 Store Street. Often frequented by students from nearby University College London and Birkbeck College.
  • The Jeremy Bentham, 31 University Street. Named after the prominant political philosopher and early supporter of University College London, and located very near the main entrance to the college, the pub tends to attract more senior academics than does the College Arms.
  • The Pint Pot (formerly, and commonly still known as Ye Olde Surgeon), 183 Tottenham Court Road. A common drinking place for medical students from University College Hospital, who jostle alongside office workers. Gets exceptionally crowded after office hours.
  • The Lord John Russell - Marchmont St, authentic pub popular with Uni students

Sleep

Bloomsbury is a good choice for accommodations due to the range of hostels, B&Bs, budget hotels, and large 4 star hotels in the area.

Hostels

  • Generator, Compton Place, (off 37 Tavistock Place) (tube: Russel Square), +44 (0)20- 7388 7666 (, fax: +44 (0)20-7388 7644), [8]. Probably the cheapest hostel that's close to the Tube and some attractions - an easy walk to the British Museum and a few minutes further to St Pancras International railway station. A self-dubbed "fantastic" hostel right in the heart of Bloomsbury, if you don't mind communal showers and cold water, all-night parties and generally an architecture obviously designed exclusively with the easy clean-up of bodily fluids in mind. It's cheap, though, in London terms. Dormitory from £10.
  • Astor Museum Inn Hostel, 27 Montague Street, +44 (0)207 580 5360, [9]. Located by the side of the British Museum.

Budget

Many of the budget hotels are located on Argyle St in the northern part of the district.

  • The Apollo Hotel, 60 Argyle St. Basic double £40, breakfast included. Clean, but staff somewhat unhelpful.
  • Alhambra Hotel, 17-19 Argyle St. +44 20 7 837 9575. Well known multi-lingual (Spanish, Portuguese, French) family hotel. Free wireless Internet. Basic double £45, excellent breakfast included. http://www.alhambrahotel.com/
  • Jesmond Dene Hotel, 27 Argyle St. Small Budget Hotel in Kings Cross http://www.jesmonddenehotel.co.uk/

Midrange

  • Ridgemount [10] 65-67 Gower St. (44 (0) 20 7636 1141). Basic double £50.
  • George Hotel [11], 58-60 Cartwright Gardens (44 (0) 20 7387 8777). Historic building, full English breakfast. Double room, ensuite £75.
  • Avalon Hotel [12], 46-47 Cartwright Gardens, basic double £59, basic single £45 (discount when making reservations online), breakfast included. Friendly staff, good rooms, and you get to take a spare key of both your room and the front door - of course very useful if you plan on staying out late.

Highend

  • Euston Square Hotel [13]
  • Sanderson Hotel - 50 Berners Street London. Hotel features the Courtyard Garden, Jeffrey Chodorow’s Spoon restaurant, the Long Bar, the Purple Bar, Billiard Room, Agua Bathhouse, penthouse suites and multi-service meeting spaces.
  • St Martins Lane Hotel - 45 St. Martin's Lane. Hotel features Jeffrey Chodorow’s Asia de Cuba, the Light Bar, penthouse suites and multi-service meeting spaces.

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