Bloomsbury is an upmarket residential area of London. Although administratively, it is largely part of the borough of Camden (with only a small part lying within the City of Westminster), it is generally regarded as a Central London district.
Russell Square in Bloomsbury
This is a vibrant historic district made most famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers that included Virgina Woolf and EM Forster (the Bloomsbury Set), economist John Maynard Keynes and the artist Roger Fry.
It is also the location of the British Museum, the British Library, the campus of University College London, The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and numerous historic homes, parks, and buildings.
Bloomsbury forms the southernmost part of the London Borough of Camden.
Map of the Bloomsbury district
Bloomsbury can be easily accessed from several convenient tube stations as follows:
- Euston Square (Circle, Metropolitan and District lines)
- Goodge Street (Northern line)
- Holborn (Central line)
- Russell Square (Piccadilly line)
- Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines)
- Warren Street (Victoria and Northern lines)
Within walking distance of King's Cross, Euston and St Pancras mainline rail stations.
Most of the sites are reachable by foot or a single stop on the tube.
Bedford Square in Bloomsbury - wonderful Georgian architecture
Landmarks and parks
- Bedford Square, WC1 (tube: Russell Sq), . This wonderful square was built between 1775 and 1783 as an upper middle class residential area takes its name from the the Dukes of Bedford, who were the main landlords in Bloomsbury. Distinguished residents have included Lord Eldon, one of Britain's longest serving and most celebrated Lord Chancellors. This is one of the best preserved set pieces of Georgian architecture in London and the majority of the buildings are grade I listed. The gardens are private and always remain locked.
- British Telecom Tower, Maple St, W1T 4BG. Not open to the public. 620ft skyscraper can be seen from far away and is the sixth highest building in UK.
- Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury Sq, WC1A 2LS (tube: Holborn, Russell Sq), ☎ +44 207974 1693 (fax: +44 20 7974 1543), . Dusk-dawn. This garden square was established by Lord Southampton in 1665 and is the oldest square in London. It was opened to the public in the 1950s. The square is surrounded by a number of beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings and terraces. Free.
- Coram's Fields, 93 Guilford St WC1N 1DN (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7833 2393, . A park which is run specifically as children's play area. Facilities include a pet's corner, lawns, sports pitches and a nursery. No adults are allowed to enter the park unless they are accompanying children. All visitors are welcome to join the local kids.
- Russell Square, WC1B (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7974 1693 (fax: +44 20 7974 1543), . 07:30-22:00. The largest square in London. It was established in 1806 by the 5th Duke of Bedford and his statue can still be seen in the square. There is also a café.
- St George's Gardens, Heathcote St, WC1N 1AB (tube: Russell Sq), ([email protected]), . Peaceful gardens and interesting monuments including the daughter of Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell.
Museums and exhibitions
Ceiling of the Great Hall, inside the British Museum
- British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG (tube: Tottenham Court Rd), ☎ +44 20 7323 8000 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7323 8616), . Sa-W 10:00-17:30, Th F 10:00-20:30; Central Great Court remains open Sa-W until 18:00, Th F until 23:00. A vast repository of the world's cultures, with entire sections devoted to Egyptian, Greek, and Middle Eastern artifacts, as well as the piece which united them all, the Rosetta Stone. It also includes the largest collection of mummies outside Egypt and the Elgin Marbles. A definite highlight of a trip to London. Temporary exhibitions are invariably excellent and meticulously researched, but can be expensive. Free.
- Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell St, WC1A 2HH (tube: Tottenham Court Rd), ☎ +44 20 7580 8155 ([email protected]), . Tu-Sa 10:30-17:30, Su noon-17:30. A vast collection of cartoons and comics on display. £5.50, concessions £4, students £3, under-18s free.
- Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty St, WC1N 2LX (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7405 2127 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7831 5175), . M, W-Sa 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30), Tu 10:00-19:00, Su 11:00-17:00 (last admission 16:30). Museum at the former home of Dickens exhibiting writings, paintings, furniture and other items relating to the writer. £5, students and seniors £4, children £3, families £14 (two adults and up to five children), special group rates apply.
- Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Sq, WC1N 1AZ (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7841 3600 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7841 3601), . Tu-Su 10:00-17:30. 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 Friederic Handel as a patron made this child care organization an early center of art and music. £5, concessions £4, children free.
- Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Malet Pl, WC1E 6BT (tube: Euston Sq. The museum can be hard to find. Whilst preparing for a move to new premises in 2012, it is housed inside the DMS Watson library down Malet Pl, a narrow lane. Find the large Waterstone's Bookstore on the corner of Malet St-Malet Pl continue over Torrington Pl. 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), ☎ +44 20 7679 2884 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7679 2886), . Tu-F 13:00-17:00, Sa 11:00-14:00. 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. Exhibits include beaded dresses, sculpture and wall reliefs, items of everyday use, papyri, cartonnage and pottery. Fascinating! Free.
- Pollock's Toy Museum, 1 Scala St W1T 2HL (tube:Goodge St), ☎ +44 020 7636 3452 ([email protected]), . M-Sa 10:00–17:00. A treasure trove of antique toys exhibited in a warren of 6 rooms above the toy shop of the same name. A very charming place indeed and well worth a visit
- Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Sq, WC1N 2AB (tube: Russell Sq), . Goodenough College offers accommodation for international postgraduate students. The College's student community of approx 650 represents over 90 countries, offering a unique experience through stimulating intellectual debate, fostering cross-cultural activity and providing an exceptional social environment. Tours around the College are offered every Friday at 13:00 and every first Saturday of the month at 11:00.
- University College London (UCL), Gower St, WC1E 6BT (tube: Euston Sq, access from the northern end of Gower St), ☎ +44 20 7679 2000 ([email protected]), . 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.
- Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon St, WC1H 0AH (tube: Euston Sq), . Theatre owned by University College London staging both student and professional productions. Broad range of performances.
- Cochrane Theatre Bar, 48 Southampton Row, WC1B 4AP (tube: Holborn), ☎ +44 20 7269 1606, . Established by Jeannetta Cochrane, now owned by the University of the Arts. Has servings throughout the performances.
- Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7AQ (tube: Tottenham Court Rd), . A large London theatre that tends to show mainstream blockbuster-type musical productions
- Renoir, Brunswick Sq, WC1N 1AW (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7837 8402, . Cinema showing arthouse and foreign language films. £7.00-11.50.
- Walks, ☎ +44 20 7388 8822. Bloomsbury has a number of famous walks that cover the lives and works of the Bloomsbury Group.
- Bloomsbury Festival takes place in the Summer around the environs of Bloomsbury, concentrated in Russel Square, and hosts arts and crafts fair, children's painting classes and dance workshops. The food stalls are good value too.
- London Mathematical Society is based on Russel Sqaure, where they give lectures and exhibitions, for those numerically inclined.
- For something very alternative, the Squatter's Centre on Russel Sq, is an institution that has been around for several decades providing information and support for squatters. Can be interesting to learn more about the underground squatting scene in the UK and for chatting with hippies and weirdos alike.
Tottenham Court Road is the centre for electronics retailers in London. If you are visting the city and need to buy or replace an electronic item, you will not find a better selction nor better prices than here. Explore both sides of the street to the north of Tottenham Court Road station.
With University College London being a dominant presence in Bloomsbury, it is no surprise that there are a lot of bookshops. The area around Marchmont St and The Brunswick Centre (north of Russell Sq) has claims to be the bookshop capital of London.
- Gay's the Word, 66 Marchmont St WC1N 1AB (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7278 7654 ([email protected]), . The leading gay-related bookshop in Britain. Been around since 1979. Fiction and a large academic stock.
- Judd Books, 82 Marchmont St WC1N 1AG (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7387 5333 ([email protected]), . M-Sa 11:00-19:00. Large stock of used, remaindered and academic books especially in the fields of architecture, history and philosophy.
- Marchmont Books, 39 Burton St WC1H 9AL (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7387 7989. Antiquarian bookshop
- Persephone Books, 59 Lamb's Conduit St WC1N 3NB (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7242 9292, . Specialises in 20th century fiction by women writers.
- Photo Books International, 99 Judd St WC1H 9NE, ([email protected]), . W-F 11:00-17:30, Sa noon-16:00. Specialists in new and used photographic books
- Skoob, 66 The Brunswick WC1N 1AE (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7278 8760 ([email protected]), . Wide selection of secondhand academic books, philosophy, modern literature and classics. Very popular with students.
- Nomad Travel Store, 40 Bernard St WC1N 1LJ (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7833 4114 ([email protected]), . Stock a huge range of travel related items from camping gear to medical kits. As well as stocking leading brands, have their own label range which is very reasonably priced. Also have a travel health sevice.
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 Fitzroy Tavern is found) has a number of nice restaurants, some of them very reasonable. Look for the cheap Korean restaurants under Centre Point at Tottenham Court Road. They are great value and very close to the British Museum.
- Mary Ward Cafe, 42 Queen Sq, WC1N 3AQ (tube: Holborn, Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7269 6000, . A selection of veggie and vegan dishes that changes daily. Cakes, pastries, and salad available as well. Busy, eat in or take away. Closed until 23 September. Under £5 for a heap of food.
- Ravi Shankar, 133-5 Drummond St, NW1 2HL (tube: Euston Sq), ☎ +44 20 7388 6458. noon-22:45. Indian restaurant named after the famous Indian sitarist and composer. A superb vegetarian Thali can be had for under £10. Wash it down with a Kingfisher and you are set for the night.
- Salaam Namaste, 68 Millman St, WC1N 3EF (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7405 3697 ([email protected]), . Mo-Sa 11:45-14:30, 17:30-23:30; Su 11:45-14:30, 17:30-23:00. Indian restaurant with dishes from around the country. Mains from £5.95.
- Valtaro Snack Bar, 66 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AG. A cheap greasy spoon offering a decent-sized plate of pasta for under £5 as well as more English dishes.
- Back to Basics, 21A Foley St, W1W 6DS, ☎ +44 20 7436 2181 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7436 2180), . M-Sa noon-15:00, 18:00-22:30. Seafood bistro serving some of the freshest seafood in town. Portions are large and tasty. Menus from £25.
- The Court Restaurant, The British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG (tube: Tottenham Court Rd), ☎ +44 20 7323 8990 ([email protected]), . Sa-W noon-17:30, Th F noon-21:30. Housed in the British Museum, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. For history buffs, its the perfect setting to sit down and enjoy familiar favorites. Reservations recommended. Main courses from £16.25.
- Crazy Bear, 26-28 Whitfield St, W1T 2RG (tube: Goodge St), ☎ +44 20 7631 0088 ([email protected]), . Su-W noon-midnight, Th-Sa noon-01:00. Stylish Thai restaurant, also dishes from other Asian countries. Small mains from £13, set menu from £39.50.
- Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Pl, W1T 1HD (Tottenham Court Rd), ☎ +44 844 858 0682 ([email protected]), . M-W noon-15:15, 18:00-23:30; Th Fr noon-15:15, 18:00-00:30; Sa noon-16:30, 18:00-00:30; Su noon-16:30. Michelin stared kitchen based on Cantonese tradition but also experimenting in other areas. Small mains from £14.
- Pied a Terre, 34 Charlotte St, W1T 2NH (tube: Goodge St), ☎ +44 20 7636 1178 ([email protected]), . M-F 12:15-14:30, 18:15-22:30, Sa 18:15-22:30. French restaurant with two Michelins stars. Starter and main course £56.60.
There are a number of pubs and winebars around the British Library and University College London campus.
- The College Arms, 18 Store St, WC1E 7DH (tube: Goodge St), ☎ +44 872 148 2469. Pub often frequented by students from nearby University College London and Birkbeck College.
- Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte St, W1T 2NA (tube: Goodge St), ☎ +44 20 7580 3714. 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 Jeremy Bentham, 31 University St, WC1E 6JL (tube: Warren St), ☎ +44 872 148 1528. 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 Lord John Russell, 91-93 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AL (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7388 0500. Authentic pub popular with University students.
- Match Bar, 37-38 Margaret St, W1G 0JF (tube: Oxford Circus), ☎ +44 20 7499 3443 ([email protected]), . M-Sa 11:00-midnight, Su 16:00-midnight. Lounge in style sipping on a cocktail as the resident dj plays soulful tunes in the background. Beers from £3.25.
- The Museum Tavern, 49 Great Russell St, WC1B 3BA (tube: Tottenham Court Rd, opposite the British Museum), ☎ +44 20 7242 8987. M-Th 11:00-23:00, Fr Sa 11:00-midnight, Su noon-23:30. A very good pub, offering a wide range of real ales, and some excellent food. Can get busy in the summer months.
- The Pint Pot (formerly, and commonly still known as Ye Olde Surgeon), 183 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7PE. A common drinking place for medical students from University College Hospital, who jostle alongside office workers. Gets exceptionally crowded after office hours. (N.B. Outdated, now called the TCR Lounge Bar)
Bloomsbury is a great choice of district to stay in as there is a large range of hostels, B&Bs, budget hotels and four star hotels in the area.
- Astor Museum Inn Hostel, 27 Montague St WC1B 5BH (Tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7580 5360, . For 18-35 year-olds.
- Generator, Compton Pl, (off 37 Tavistock Pl) WC1H 9SE (Tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7388 7666 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7388 7644), . 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 is cheap, though, in London terms. Dormitory from £20, private single £60.
- London Central Youth Hostel, 104 Bolsover St W1W 5NU (tube: Great Portland St/Warren St), ☎ +44 (0)845 371 9154 ([email protected]), . The newest of the five London YHA hostels, with state of the art interiors, and a short walk from Regent's Park. Dormitory from £24.50 excluding breakfast.
- St Pancras International Youth Hostel, 79-81 Euston Rd, NW1 2QE (tube: Kings Cross St Pancras/Euston), ☎ +44 (0)870 7706044 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:30. The largest of the five London YHA hostels, minutes walk from St Pancras International railway station. £26.50 per night (dorm); Breakfast £4.50.
- University College London, Bloomsbury and King's Cross, . Student halls of residence which are made available for rental during academic holiday periods.
- Via Limehouse Hostel, 628 - 634 Commercial Road Limehouses, ☎ +44 (0) 203 588 8484 ([email protected]), . Via Lime House Hostel is an affordable and lively place where backpackers can enjoy modern living. Hostel for Youth and Backpackers in London from £13
Many of the budget hotels are located on Argyle St in the very northern part of the district, nearest tube station: King's Cross St Pancras.
- Alhambra Hotel, 17-19 Argyle St WC1H 8EJ, ☎ +44 20 7837 9575, . Well known multi-lingual (Spanish, Portuguese, French) family hotel. Free wireless Internet. Single from £50, basic double £60, excellent English breakfast included.
- The Apollo Hotel, 60 Argyle St WC1H 8EP (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), . Clean, but staff somewhat unhelpful. WiFi Internet. Single from £48, basic double £58, English breakfast included.
- Avalon Hotel, 46-47 Cartwright Gdns WC1H 9EL (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), . 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. From £59, breakfast included.
- Excelsior Hotel, 42 Argyle Sq WC1H 8AL (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), ☎ +44 20 7837 0571 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7713 5835), . Budget hotel situated in a quiet, leafy square close to King's Cross Station. All rooms have high speed internet connection. From £59.
- Guilford House, 6 Guilford St WC1N 1DR (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7430 2504 ([email protected]), . A little shabby but well located and fair value. From £59.
- Jesmond Dene Hotel, 27 Argyle St WC1H 8EP (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), ☎ +44 20 7837 4654 ([email protected], fax: +44 20 7833 1633), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. A budget hotel run on a bed & breakfast basis. Free WiFi Internet access. Basic single £50, basic double/twin £80.
- Ridgemount, 65-67 Gower St WC1E 6HJ (tube: Goodge St), ☎ +44 20 7636 1141, . Very pleasant staff, a beautiful garden around the back, great free wi fi, and a very delicious English breakfast every morning. Basic double £50.
- Euston Square Hotel, 152-156 N Gower St NW1 2LU (tube: Euston), ☎ +44 20 7388 0099, . Completely renovated in 2008. From £87.
- George Hotel, 58-60 Cartwright Gdns WC1H 9EL (tube: King's Cross St Pancras), ☎ +44 20 7387 8777, . Historic building, full English breakfast. Double room, ensuite £75.
- Goodenough Club, 23 Mecklenburgh Sq, WC1N 2AB (tube: Russell Sq or Kings Cross), ☎ +44 20 7837 8831 ([email protected]), . 5 Georgian Townhouses looking over the beautiful Mecklenburgh Square gardens. No lift. From £100.
- Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram St, WC1N 1HT, ☎ +44 0871 942 9222, .
- Jenkins Hotel, 45 Cartwright Gdns WC1H 9EH (tube: Euston or Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7387 2067 ([email protected]), . A converted Victorian building. No lift. From £95.
- Mentone Hotel, 54-56 Cartwright Gdns WC1H 9EL (tube: Russell Sqare / King's Cross / Euston), ☎ +44 20 7387 3927 ([email protected]), . 3 Georgian townhouses overlooking a crescent garden. All rooms ensuite. Double room, ensuite from £79.
- Mercure London Bloomsbury, 130 134 Southampton Row WC1B 5AF, ☎ +44)20/78333691, . The London Bloomsbury hotel is a contemporary 4 star boutique style hotel with complimentary WiFi, air conditioning & rainfall showers. The London Hotel is within walking distance of many of London's top attractions.
- Regency House Hotel, 71 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, WC1E 6HJ (tube: Goodge Street/ Tottenham Court Road/ Warren Street), ☎ +44 207 637 1804 ([email protected]), . Beautiful Georgian townhouse with an English garden and free tea/coffee/biscuit service. All rooms ensuite with in-room self-catering facility. Easy walk from Oxford Street and Covent Garden. Double room from £100, Triple room from £115, and Family Room from £150.
- St Giles Hotel, Bedford Avenue, London, WC1B 3AS (50 yards from Tottenham Court Road underground / tube station), ☎ +44 0 20 7300 3000, . The hotel is based in the heart of the West End at the foot of Oxford Street.
- myhotel Bloomsbury, 11-13 Bayley St, Bedford Sq , WC1B 3HD (tube: Goodge St), . Funky and fashionable hotel with interiors by Conran and no surprise that it is listed in Hip Hotels. Doubles from £206.
- The Principal London, 1-8 Russell Sq WC1B 5BE (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7837 6470, . Overlooking London's Russell Square, The Frederick Hotel Company’s Hotel Russell was completed in 1898. Based on the design of the 16th-century Château de Madrid in Paris, the exterior of the hotel is decorated with distinctive thé-au-lait ('tea with milk') terracotta. The hotel design was very well received in articles of the day, and it went on to have a great influence on the future appearance of the square's other properties - when their leases came up for review, they were extensively renovated with terracotta to bring one consistent style to the square.
- Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners St W1T 3NG (tube: Oxford Circus), . 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.
- Rex Lounge, 30 Woburn Pl WC1H 0JR (tube: Russell Sq), ☎ +44 20 7637 4545, . M-Sa 09:00-23:00, Su 10:00-22:00. Internet cafe also with full business services.
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