Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > England > London > London/Bloomsbury
This article is about three neighbourhoods of central London: Bloomsbury, St Pancras and Fitzrovia.
Bloomsbury is the hub of London's university district, is home to the British Museum and is next to the British Library, both must-visits on any curious traveller's wishlist. St Pancras is a largely residential area with many fine 17th- to 19th-century townhouses built around pretty squares with gardens of varying levels of privacy, and the perfect place for a wander to soak up the atmosphere of being in London. This is also a promising place to look for accommodation, from cheap student hostels to 4-star hotels and apartment rentals. What Fitzrovia lacks in attractions it makes up for in an excellent variety of pubs and bars, most of which cater for a young, intellectual crowd of students, media types and junior doctors.
Bloomsbury is a vibrant historic district made most famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers that included Virginia 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 campus of University College London and numerous historic homes, parks, and buildings.
Fitzrovia is to the west of Bloomsbury. The border between these 2 districts is the Gower Street–Bloomsbury Street axis. Allegedly, Fitzrovia was named after the Fitzroy Tavern. The BBC's New Broadcasting House is at the western end of this district.
Bloomsbury can be easily accessed from several convenient tube stations as follows:
- Euston (Northern and Victoria lines)
- Euston Square (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)
- Goodge Street (Northern line)
- Great Portland Street (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)
- Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines)
- King's Cross St Pancras (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern (Bank Branch), Piccadilly and Victoria lines - yes, that many!)
- Oxford Circus (Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines)
- Russell Square (Piccadilly line)
- Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines)
- Warren Street (Northern and Victoria lines)
Within walking distance of 3 mainline rail stations: King's Cross, Euston and St. Pancras International.
Most of the sites are reachable by foot or a single stop on the tube.
Landmarks and parks
1 Bedford Square, WC1 ( ). This wonderful square was built between 1775 and 1783 as an upper middle class residential area takes its name from 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.
2 British Telecom Tower, Maple St, W1T 4BG. Not open to the public. 191-m (627-ft) skyscraper can be seen from far away and is the sixth highest building in UK.
3 Bloomsbury Square, Bloomsbury Sq, WC1A 2LS (Holborn / Russell Square ), ☏ , fax: . 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.
4 Coram's Fields, 93 Guilford St, WC1N 1DN (Tube: Russell Square ), ☏ . A park which is run 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.
5 Russell Square, WC1B ( ), ☏ , fax: . 7:30AM-10PM. 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.
7 St George's Gardens, Heathcote St, WC1N 1AB ( ), ✉ email@example.com. Peaceful gardens and interesting monuments including the daughter of Richard Cromwell, son of Oliver Cromwell.
Museums and exhibitions
8 British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa-W 10AM-5:30PM, Th F 10AM-8:30PM; Central Great Court remains open Sa-W until 6PM, Th F until 11PM. A vast repository of the world's cultures, controversially including hundreds of items that were looted from their places of origin. Entire sections are devoted to Egyptian, Greek, and Middle Eastern artifacts, as well as the piece which united them all, the Rosetta Stone. Other items on everyone's list are the largest collection of mummies outside Egypt and the Elgin Marbles. The collection also includes some of the world's finest collections of Chinese and Sub-Saharan African art; perhaps the most famous of the latter are the Benin bronzes. A definite highlight of a trip to London. Temporary exhibitions are invariably excellent and meticulously researched, but can be expensive. It has a fine store, mainly selling replicas of items in the collection. Free.
9 Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell St, WC1A 2HH (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:30AM-5:30PM, Su noon-5:30PM. A vast collection of cartoons and comics on display. £5.50, concessions £4, students £3, under-18s free.
10 Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty St, WC1N 2LX ( ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M W-Sa 10AM-5PM (last admission 4:30PM), Tu 10AM-7PM, Su 11AM-5PM (last admission 4:30PM). 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.
11 Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Sq, WC1N 1AZ ( ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 10AM-5:30PM. A museum and a gallery telling the story of the Foundling Hospital, an orphanage for abandoned children founded in the 18th century. Massive art donations by British artists and the involvement of George Friederic Handel as a patron made this childcare organisation an early centre of art and music. £5, concessions £4, children free.
12 Fitzroy House (L. Ron Hubbard House), 35/37 Fitzroy St, W1T 6DX (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A historic house that was inhabited by playwright George Bernard Shaw, it is where writer 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. Free.
13 Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Malet Pl, WC1E 6BT (tube: . The museum can be hard to find. Malet Pl is a narrow lane opposite the end of Maker St. 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), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 1-5PM. Formerly the teaching collection of Sir Flinders Petrie, one of Britain's greatest archaeologists, now preserved by University College London. Exhibits include beaded dresses, sculpture and wall reliefs, items of everyday use, papyri, cartonnage and pottery. Fascinating! Free.
14 Pollock's Toy Museum, 1 Scala St, W1T 2HL (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM–5PM. 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, though the doll rooms are a bit gruesome.
15 Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE ( ), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-6PM, M closed. Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome's vast collection of medical artefacts and art work that together explore what it means to be human. Free.
16 Camera Museum, 44 Museum St, London WC1A 1LY, ☏ . M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa noon-7PM, Su closed. A downstairs museum dedicated to cameras from the 1800s to present day, including a camera rifle like the one used in License To Kill. The museum is a quick visit and worth the stop even for someone with a moderate interest in photography. Free.
17 Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Sq, WC1N 2AB ( ). 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 1PM and every first Saturday of the month at 11AM.
18 University College London (UCL), Gower St, WC1E 6BT (tube: , access from the northern end of Gower St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 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.
19 BBC Broadcasting House (New Broadcasting House aka NBH), Portland Place (tube: or ). Due to security reasons the Broadcasting House is not open to visitors. The complex incorporates the Old Broad House built in 1930s. The façades of which feature the famous sculpture of Prospero and Ariel and the Ariel friezes by Eric Gill and Gilbert Bayes. BBC's The One Show is transmitted from the studio at the ground floor every weeknight starting from 7PM. The studio is quite visible from the plaza outside and some parts of the show are performed from outside of the studio – in the plaza.
Walks, ☏ . 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 Russell Square, and hosts arts and crafts fair, children's painting classes and dance workshops. The food stalls are good value too.
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) rivals Charing Cross Road to be the bookshop capital of London.
1 Gay's the Word, 66 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AB ( ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM-6:30PM, Su 2-6PM. The leading gay-related bookshop in Britain. It has been around since 1979, during which time it has been closely linked with LGBT rights and other activism, including the 'Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners' campaign in the 1980s. Visitors will find fiction books and a large academic stock.
2 Judd Books, 82 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AG ( ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 11AM-7PM. Large stock of used, remaindered and academic books especially in the fields of architecture, history and philosophy.
5 Roberto Revilla, Savva Tailors Workroom, Shropshire House, 179 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7NZ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 8AM–5:30PM, closed Sa Su. Bespoke tailoring services and luxury accessories.
6 Tottenham Court Road. The centre for electronics retailers in London. If you are visiting the city and need to buy or replace an electronic item, you will not find a better selection nor better prices than here. Explore both sides of the street to the north of Tottenham Court Road station.
This area is teeming with students so there is a wealth of cheap (relative to London prices) 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.
1 Attendant, 27A Foley Street, W1W 6DY ( ; corner of Foley St and Great Titchfield St, outide the Crown & Septre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 8AM–6PM, Sa 10AM–5PM, Su 10AM–4PM. An independent coffee shop in a converted Victorian public toilet. £2.70 for a cappuccino.
2 Mary Ward Cafe, 42 Queen Sq, WC1N 3AQ (tube: , ), ☏ . M-Th 9:30AM-8:45PM, F 9:30AM-8PM, Sa 9:30AM-4PM. A selection of veggie and vegan dishes that changes daily. Cakes, pastries, and salad available as well. Busy, eat in or take away. Under £5 for a heap of food.
3 Ravi Shankar, 133-5 Drummond St, NW1 2HL (tube: ), ☏ . noon-10:45PM. 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.
4 Salaam Namaste, 68 Millman St, WC1N 3EF ( ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 11:45AM-2:30PM, 5:30-11:30PM; Su 11:45AM-2:30PM, 5:30-11PM. Indian restaurant with dishes from around the country. Mains from £5.95.
5 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.
6 YouMeSushi, 37 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 1BY (tube: ), ☏ . Founded in 2008, YouMeSushi has gone from strength to strength with the opening of three additional venues. Eat in, take away or have sushi delivered straight to your door (within a 3-mile radius).
7 Indian YMCA, 41 Fitzroy Square. Breakfast: M-F 7:30–9:15AM, Sa Su 8–9:30AM; Lunch M-F noon–2PM, Sa Su 12:30–1:30PM; Dinner: M-F 7–8:30PM, Sa Su 7–8:30PM. The hostel's restaurant is open to the public.
9 Great Court Restaurant, The British Museum, Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Sa-Th noon-5:30PM, F noon-9:30PM. 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.
10 Mortimer House Kitchen, 37–41 Mortimer Street, W1T 3JH (Tube: or ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th 7:30AM–11:30PM, F 7:30AM–midnight, Sa 9AM–midnight, Su 9AM–6PM. Creative cuisine, starting from an Italian base, but with bigger plates and smaller, more exquisite food. Extremely friendly and helpful service. The small tables and easy chairs in front can serve as a bar or café if you don't want a meal.
13 Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Pl, W1T 1HD (Tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-W noon-3:15PM, 6-11:30PM; Th F noon-3:15PM, 6PM-12:30AM; Sa noon-4:30PM, 6PM-12:30AM; Su noon-4:30PM. Michelin-starred kitchen based on Cantonese tradition but also experimenting in other areas. Small mains from £14.
14 Pied à Terre, 34 Charlotte St, W1T 2NH (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 12:15-2:30PM, 6:15-10:30PM; Sa 6:15-10:30PM. French restaurant with one Michelin star. Starter and main course £56.60.
There are a number of pubs and wine bars around the British Library and University College London campus.
- 1 The Blue Posts, 81 Newman Street.
- 2 The Bricklayers Arms, 31 Gresse Street.
- 3 The Champion, 13 Wells Street.
- 4 The Cock, 27 Great Portland Street.
- 5 Fitzroy Tavern, 16 Charlotte St, W1T 2NA (tube: ), ☏ . 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.
- 6 The Horse and Groom, 128, Great Portland Street.
- 7 The Yorkshire Grey, 46 Langham Street.
8 The College Arms, 18 Store St, WC1E 7DH (tube: ), ☏ . Pub frequented by students from nearby University College London and Birkbeck College.
9 Bubbledogs, 70 Charlotte St, W1T 4QG (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Sa 11:30AM–4PM, 5:30–11PM. Champagne and cocktail bar serving gourmet hotdogs. From £6–11.50 (glass of wine/champagne), £6–8 (hotdogs).
10 The Jeremy Bentham, 31 University St, WC1E 6JL (tube: ), ☏ . Named after the prominent 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.
11 The Lamb, 94 Lamb's Conduit Street, WC1N 3LZ ( ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W noon-11PM, Th-Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-10:30PM. Food: daily noon-9:30PM. This beautifully preserved Victorian pub attracts many young and old patrons. Classic ales and some great food. Crowded after 5PM.
12 The Lord John Russell, 91-93 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AL ( ), ☏ . Authentic pub popular with university students.
13 The Museum Tavern, 49 Great Russell St, WC1B 3BA (tube: , opposite the British Museum), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su noon-11:30PM. A very good pub, offering a wide range of real ales, and some excellent food. Can get busy in the summer months.
14 TCR Lounge Bar (formerly, and commonly still known as, Ye Olde Surgeon), 183 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7PE (tube: ). A common drinking place for medical students from University College Hospital, who jostle alongside office workers. Gets exceptionally crowded after office hours.
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.
- 1 Astor Museum Inn Hostel, 27 Montague St, WC1B 5BH ( ), ☏ . For 18-35 year-olds.
- 2 Generator Hostels London, Compton Pl, (off 37 Tavistock Pl), WC1H 9SE (Tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Right in the heart of Bloomsbury. 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 £22.50, private single £60.
- 3 YHA London Central (London Central Youth Hostel), 104 Bolsover St, W1W 5NU (tube: or ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- 4 YHA London St Pancras (St Pancras International Youth Hostel), 79-81 Euston Rd, NW1 2QE (tube: , ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10:30AM. The largest of the five London YHA hostels, minutes walk from St Pancras International railway station. £26.50 per night (dorm); Breakfast £4.50.
- 5 UCL Summer Residences (University College London), Bloomsbury and King's Cross. Student halls of residence which are made available for rental during academic holiday periods.
Many of the budget hotels are located on Argyle St in the very northern part of the district, nearest tube station:.
- 6 Alhambra Hotel, 17-19 Argyle St, WC1H 8EJ, ☏ . Well-known multi-lingual (Spanish, Portuguese, French) family hotel. Free wireless Internet. Single from £50, basic double £60, excellent English breakfast included.
- 7 The Apollo Hotel, 60 Argyle St, WC1H 8EP (tube: ). Clean, but staff somewhat unhelpful. WiFi Internet. Single from £48, basic double £58, English breakfast included.
- 8 Excelsior Hotel, 42 Argyle Sq, WC1H 8AL (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Budget hotel in a quiet, leafy square close to King's Cross Station. All rooms have high speed internet connection. From £59.
- 9 Guilford House Hotel, 6 Guilford St, WC1N 1DR (tube: Russell Square ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A little shabby but well-located and fair value. From £59.
- 10 The Jesmond Dene Hotel, 27 Argyle St, WC1H 8EP (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. A budget hotel run on a bed & breakfast basis. Free WiFi Internet access. Basic single £50, basic double/twin £80.
- 11 The Ridgemount Hotel, 65-67 Gower St, WC1E 6HJ (tube: ), ☏ . Basic double £50.
- 12 Euston Square Hotel, 152-156 N Gower St, NW1 2LU (tube: ), ☏ . Completely renovated in 2008. From £87.
- 13 Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street, WC1N 1HT, ☏ .
- 14 George Hotel, 58-60 Cartwright Gdns, WC1H 9EL (tube: ), ☏ . Historic building, full English breakfast. Double room, ensuite £75.
- 15 Goodenough Club, 23 Mecklenburgh Sq, WC1N 2AB (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 5 Georgian townhouses looking over the beautiful Mecklenburgh Square gardens. No lift. From £100.
- 16 My Bloomsbury, 11-13 Bayley St, Bedford Sq, WC1B 3HD (tube: ). Funky and fashionable hotel with interiors by Conran and no surprise that it is listed in Hip Hotels. Doubles from £206.
- 17 The Russell Hotel (Hotel Russell), 1-8 Russell Sq, WC1B 5BE (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. This gothic building is a real landmark and dominates the eastern side of Russell Square. Not a cheap hotel by any means but good value for the location and standard. Popular with families. See the magnificent ballroom which was designed by the same people who created interiors for RMS Titanic.
- 18 Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners St, W1T 3NG (tube: ). 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.
- 20 Charlotte Street Hotel, 15 Charlotte St W1T 1RJ (tube: Goodge St or Tottenham Court Rd), ☏ . Part of the upscale Firmdale chain, this is a lively stylish hotel close to British Museum. No dogs. B&B double £300.
|Routes through Bloomsbury|
|North London ← Mayfair-Marylebone ←||W E||→ Soho → Leicester Square|
|West London ← Mayfair-Marylebone ←||W E||→ Covent Garden → The City|
|Hammersmith and Fulham ← Mayfair-Marylebone ←||W E||→ Holborn-Clerkenwell → The City|
|Hammersmith and Fulham ← Mayfair-Marylebone ←||W E||→ Holborn-Clerkenwell → The City|
|North London ← Mayfair-Marylebone ←||W E||→ Holborn-Clerkenwell → The City|
|North London ← Camden ← Bank branch ←||N S||→ Bank branch → Islington → The City|
|North London ← Camden ← Charing Cross branch ←||N S||→ Charing Cross branch → Soho → Leicester Square|
|Westminster-Mayfair-Marylebone ← Holborn-Clerkenwell ←||S N||→ Camden → North London|
|Westminster ← Soho ←||S N||→ Camden → North London|
|St Pancras, London|