Holborn-Clerkenwell is a district in central London.
Holborn and Clerkenwell is in many ways a buffer zone between London's West End and the City of London financial district.
Holborn has long been associated with the legal professions, notably in the Lincoln's Inn area, and was also a major centre of the old British newspaper industry before the advent of new publishing technology.
Clerkenwell is full of architects and publishers, and as a result many new bars and restaurants have cropped up, and continues to be a target for more development. The bars vary from family orientated wine bars, to huge clubs and cool underground bars, and it compares well to its more artistic, trendier neighbour, Shoreditch (in the East End).
The district is serviced by the following tube stations, all in Zone 1:
- Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines) is at the junction of High Holborn and Kingsway.
- Chancery Lane (Central line) is the best station for accessing Lincoln's Inn and the other Inns of Court.
- Farringdon (Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines) is the best station for accessing most of Clerkenwell's nightlife.
- 1 Farringdon station offers overland rail services to Brighton, Bedford, and direct connections to London Gatwick and London Luton airports.
- 1 Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, 38 City Road, EC1Y 1AU (entrances on Bunhill Row and City Road). First used to bury bones to make space at St Paul's, it was designated as a burial ground during the Great Plague of 1665. Notable interments include Daniel Dafoe, John Bunyan and William Blake.
- 2 The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn (Gray's Inn), Gray's Inn Rd, WC1 (tube: ), ☎ , fax: . One of the four Inns of Court in London who hold the exclusive right to call qualified legal professionals to the bar, i.e. to become barristers at law. The grand buildings housing the inns are arranged around lovely green gardens. There are records of Gray's Inns operating from this location since the 14th century.
- 3 The Honorable Society of Lincoln's Inn (Lincoln's Inn), Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3TL (tube: or ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Like Gray's Inn, one the of the four societies of the bar. The wonderful old buildings here are arranged around the open spaces of Lincoln's Inn Fields and a walk around this area will give any visitor a real sense of the history and grand traditions of the legal profession in London.
- 4 Myddelton Square Park, Myddelton Sq, EC1R (tube: ), ☎ . Nice shady park next to St Marks Church. Small children's playground.
- 5 Royal Courts of Justice, Strand (tube: or ), ☎ , fax: . M-F 9AM-4:30PM (Aug-Sept 10AM-2:30PM). The building holds the High Court and the Court of Appeal, two of the highest courts in the United Kingdom, though only civil cases are heard here. Trials are open to the public, but tourists would probably be more interested in seeing the impressive entrance hall, and admiring the stunning Victorian Gothic exterior. Free.
- 6 Staple Inn, High Holborn, WC1V 7QH (tube: ). See the rare range of Tudor half-timbered buildings. Staple Inn was built in 1585 and served as an inn Inn of Chancery (law school). Most of it escaped both the Great Fire and the German air raids, unlike other buildings in the area. The western end is actually from a different, adjoining building—which was incorporated into the Inn with a unified facade during restoration work in 1936, although the difference can still be seen in the roofing and slightly different style. One of Charles Dickens's homes was on the site and it was featured in his Mystery of Edwin Drood.
- 7 Temple Church, Inner Temple, Fleet St, EC4Y 7HL (tube: ), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Has a history dating back to the 12th century with connections to the order of Templars. The chancel of the church was build by Henry III. The church still serves the members of Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn and has frequent service open to the public.
- 8 Wesley's Chapel and Leysian Mission, 49 City Rd, EC1Y 1AU, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Museum: M-Sa 10AM-4PM; Su noon-1:45PM. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church, laid the foundation stone, preached here and is buried behind the chapel. The site also contains the Museum of Methodism. Free (donations welcome).
- 9 Two Temple Place (Astor House), Two Temple Place, WC2R 3BD (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: Alexandra@bulldogtrust.org. Only during exhibitions Jan-Apr: M Th-Sa 10AM-4:30PM; W 10AM-9PM; Su 11AM-4:30PM. A former home for William Waldorf Astor, a wealthy American moved to London at the end of 19th century. This Victorian house, built between 1892-1895 by John Loughborough Pearson. is in an eclectic Neo-Gothic style. It's richly decorated from outside, but even more rich and heavily eclectic inside. The building is owned by the Bulldog Trust and it's open to the public during exhibitions. For exact dates/time check with the exhibitions schedule. A café, a shop and a cloakroom are open for visitors during these days.
- 10 Hunterian Museum, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3PE (tube: ), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. Inside the Royal College of Surgeons. Exhibitions on the history of surgery, including medicine, natural history and art. The museum was established by John Hunter (1728-1793), the founder of scientific surgery. Free.
- 11 Islington Museum, 245 St John St, EC1V 4NB (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M Tu Th-Sa 10AM-5PM. Local history museum.
- 12 Museum of the Order of St John, St John’s Gate, St John’s Lane, EC1M 4DA (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 10AM–5PM. Museum in the former English headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller, covering the history of the order from crusading knights to modern first aid organisation. Free.
- 13 Sir John Soane's Museum, 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields WC2A 3BP (tube: ), ☎ . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM. The former home of architect Sir John Soane, the building has been converted into a museum, displaying some of the objects he collected during his lifetime, including the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, and paintings by artists including William Hogarth. There is a display of some of Soane's architectural plans on the upper floor. Be sure to wait in the picture room until the guides open the walls up to reveal further paintings behind. The museum is a little-known tourist attraction, but well worth a visit. Admission free (but you're encouraged to leave a donation).
- 14 Somerset House, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA (tube: ), ☎ . 10AM-6PM. Somerset House is home to three art galleries: The exceptional Courtauld Institute displays a collection of 19th- and 20th-century art, including well-known works by Degas, Matisse and Kandinsky; The Gilbert Collection presents a collection of decorative art; and the Hermitage Rooms, the most recent addition to Somerset House, hosts temporary exhibitions of works on loan from the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The central courtyard is filled with fountains in the Summer, but in the Winter, an ice rink is installed, it is very popular, so visitors should book in advance, or expect to wait a long time to skate. £5 (admission fee to each of the three galleries).
- 1 Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Sq, WC1R 4RL (tube: ), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Theatre and concert hall. Home of the National Secular Society and the South Place Ethical Society: often hosts lively debates on religion, politics and secularism.
- 2 Gresham College, Barnard's Inn Hall, EC1N 2HH (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Attend free public lectures, in Barnard's Inn Hall (mostly, but other venues are used as well), renowned historic Inn of Court featured in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
- 3 London School of Economics, Conference and Events Office, Houghton St, WC2A 2AE (venues vary within the campus, see individual listings. tube: or ), ☎ . LSE hosts a prestigious public lectures programme, which is nearly always free to attend, but may require a ticket in advance for a lecture by a Head of State or Nobel Prize winner. Usually free.
- 4 Peacock Theatre, Portugal St, WC2A 2HT (tube: ), ☎ . Booking M-F 8AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Owned by LSE, and part of their campus, this theatre is leased to Sadler's Wells as "Sadler's Wells in the West End".
- 5 Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Ave, EC1R 4TN (tube: ), ☎ . Leading dance production theatre with an amazing history back to the 1690s. Everything from classical ballet to hip hop. For ballet fans, you have often got a much better chance of securing a ticket here than in the Covent Garden venues. Also attached is the Lilian Baylis Theatre, primarily performances by students.
- Somerset House Ice Rink, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA (tube: ), ☎ . In the courtyard of Somerset House, this has become a Londoner's favorite, although how it will compete with the newcomers remains to be seen. It is preferable to visit at night, when the Christmas tree is lit up.
- History of Drinking Tour, ☎ . Guided walking tours covering the history of Britain's love affair with alcohol. Stops off at 4 attractive pubs over the course of two hours.
- 1 Exmouth Market, Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QA (tube: or ). M–Sa 9AM–6PM. Area with lifestyle, fashion, health, book and interior shops.
- 2 Hatton Garden, Hatton Gdn, EC1N (tube: ). This street is the centre of London's jewellery trade and especially famous for diamonds. A lot of dealers and designers to chose from, both contemporary and traditional.
- 3 Leather Lane Market, Leather Ln, EC1N (tube: ). M–F 10AM–3PM. Not much leather sold here these days but worth a visit for some great cheap finds. Clothing, electrical goods, toiletries and food. Combines well with a visit to Hatton Garden which is in the next street east.
- 4 Magma Books, 117-119 Clerkenwell Rd, EC1R 5BY (tube: or ), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 10AM-7PM. A fine bookshop specialising in the graphic arts, as well as toys, for not-quite-grown-up boys. A good place to pick up foreign design titles, or simply waste an hour browsing through lots of pretty books. A valuable stop for graphic junkies.
- 5 The Old Curiosity Shop, 13–14 Portsmouth St, WC2A 2ES (tube: ), ☎ . M–Sa 10:30AM–7PM. The original shop immortalised in the Charles Dickens' novel by the same name. Nestled amongst the campus of LSE, it is worth a visit just for the old Tudor design itself. As the name suggests, it sells some oddities and knick-knacks, but mostly shoes these days.
- 6 Smithfield Market, 225 Central Markets, EC1A 9LH (tube: ), ☎ . M-F 3AM-noon. Smithfield Market is London's largest wholesale meat market and hence a great source of fresh meat from Britain and around the world. Additionally, there are many good restaurants in the vicinity.
- 1 Blue Lion, 133 Gray's Inn Rd, WC1X 8TZ (tube: or , opposite the ITN building). Offers good food in an easy pub atmosphere.
- Hare Khrisna cart, Houghtson St. M–F 1PM–2PM. Shows up on the edge of Houghtson St regularly on weekdays offering free vegan food, if you don't mind the sogginess and queue. (Alternatively, there is a Hare Khrisna temple at Soho Sq if you like proper vegan curry.)
- 2 L'Osteria 57, 57 Gray's Inn Rd, WC1X 8PP (tube: ), ☎ . Italian bistro with large range of pasta dishes and a carne menu. Inside and casual sidewalk seating. Mains £6-14.
- My Old Dutch. Pancake house. Offers £5 for any pancakes, but only on Monday. Nice selection of Dutch and European beers. £4–10.
- Necco, 52-54 Exmouth Market, ☎ . M-Sa noon-9:30PM. Japanese cafe bar with home-made sushi and a range of bento-box combinations. Friendly staff. Lunch around £6.50.
- The Three Tuns. LSE Student Union bar, which sells tasty lunchtime meals. £4-6.
- 3 Tinseltown, 44-46 St John Street, EC1M 4DF (tube: or ), ☎ . M-Th noon-5AM; F-Sa noon-4AM; Su noon-3AM. Halal American-style diner, serving burgers, steaks, and grills. Good for Muslims on a budget and hungry, early-morning clubbers. Burger and side dish from £6.99.
- Quad. LSE Student Union bar, which sells tasty lunchtime meals. £4-6.
- 4 Whitecross Street Market, 1 Whitecross Street, EC1V 9AB, ☎ . M–Sa 10AM–5PM. Eclectic street-food market.
- Wright's Bar, Houghton St, Clare Market. Excellent value little cafe with friendly Italian family serving, tasty sandwiches and coffee. Get's crowded with LSE students come lunch.
- 5 Carnevale, 135 Whitecross Street, EC1Y 8JL, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F noon–3:30PM/5:30PM–11PM; Sa 5:30PM–11PM. Small vegetarian restaurant with integral deli. Main meal £12.50.
- The Green, 29 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Easygoing gastro-pub with good quality, reasonably priced lunch menu, and tapas in the evening. £10-15 mains.
- Isolabella, 45 Red Lion St, WC1R 4PF (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Italian restaurant.
- Little Bay Farringdon, 171 Farringdon Rd, EC1R 3AL (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa noon–midnight; Su noon–11PM. European restaurant. Three-course meal £11-16.
- 6 McQueen, 55-61 Tabernacle St (tube: ), ☎ .
- Moro, 34-36 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE (tube: or ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 12:30PM-11:20PM (2:30PM-7PM tapas only). Offering North African/Spanish cuisine and serving the best tapas in the city. While there are endless options for meat eaters, there are also some tasty delights for vegetarians. Mains £18.50.
- 7 Smiths of Smithfield, 67-77 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6HJ, ☎ . M-F noon-3PM 6PM-11PM; Sa 6PM-11PM. Grade II listed four-floor restaurant in Smithfield Market. Opening hours listed are for top-floor restaurant and terrace. Ground floor cafe and bar open longer hours: Mo-Fr 0700-1700; Sa-Su 0930-1700. Main meal from £16.
- Pearl Restaurant, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F noon-2:30PM 6PM-10PM; Sa 6PM-10PM. Modern international. Two-course menu £47.
Pubs and bars
- 1 Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Rd (tube: ). Live music in the cellar every Friday. Venue is like a very small dungeon, but they know what is good music.
- 2 The Craft Beer Company, 82 Leather Ln, EC1N 7TR (tube: or ), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa noon–11PM; Su noon–10:30PM. One of RateBeer's Top 50 bars in the world, and only one of two in the UK (see CASK Pub & Kitchen in Pimlico for the other). Famous for its vast selection beers: cask, keg and bottle.
- 3 Crown Tavern, 43 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0EG (tube: ), ☎ . M–F noon–11PM; Sa Su 10AM–11PM. A large, traditional pub, rebuilt in 1815 but claiming a history on this site back to 1641. In good weather, outdoor tables in the square can be pleasant. London legend claims that Stalin and Lenin first met in this pub, in a back room (under the "Conspirators' Clock") in 1903.
- 4 The Dovetail, 9-10 Jerusalem Passage EC1V 4JP, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa noon-11PM. Small Belgian bar serving Belgian beer and Belgian food.
- 5 Fluid, 40–42 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6JN (tube: ), ☎ . Tu W 7PM-midnight, Th-Sa 9PM-2AM. A stylish loosely Japanese themed bar upstairs (they serve sushi), with a more spread out dance floor down a spiral metal staircase. Plenty of sofas everywhere, although on the weekends you will have to get down early to slump in a chair. Bottled beers £2.90+, cocktails £6+. Free entry, except F Sa 9-10PM £3, after £5.
- 6 Fox & Anchor, 115 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6AA (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th 07AM–11PM; F 7:00–midnight; Sa 8:30AM–midnight; Su 8:30AM–10PM. Independent traditional pub quite close to the Barbican. Beers are often served in pewter tankards for the extra traditional touch. Six rooms are available for those who want to sleep where they drink (or just near the Barbican). Great atmosphere but it can be a little more expensive than average, especially the food and lodging.
- 7 Horseshoe, 24 Clerkenwell Cl, EC1R 0AG (tube: ), ☎ . Irish pub where they play live Irish music every Thursday at 8PM (check it on the net!). But, be there in due time, else you risk house full!
- 8 Jerusalem Tavern, 55 Britton Street, EC1M 5UQ (tube: ), ☎ . A converted Georgian coffee shop, which sells the Norfolk beer, St. Peters. Well worth a visit but after 5PM on weekdays, it gets flooded with City workers.
- 9 Cafe Kick, 43 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL (tube: or ), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM; Su 11AM-10:30PM. Hidden down a backstreet away from the busier parts of Clerkenwell, lies a cosy little bar crammed with several table football machines, and a good selection of cocktails. In the summer people spread out onto the pedestrianised street and chat in the sun. Happy hour 4-7PM daily.
- 10 Water Rats Pub, 328 Gray's Inn Rd, WC1X 8BZ (tube: ), ☎ . Has regular live bands.
- 11 Cittie of Yorke, 22 High Holborn, WC1V 6BS (tube: ), ☎ . M–Sa noon–11PM. The interior gives the impression of being a historic relic but it was only built in 1924 (although there have been other pubs on the site since 1430). Lack of authenticity aside, it really is an impressive and atmospheric pub, a grade II listed building and on CAMRA's national inventory of historic pub interiors.
- 12 The Knights Templar, 95 Chancery Ln, WC2A 1DT (tube: ), ☎ . M–W 8AM–11PM; Th–F 8AM–11:30PM; Sa 11AM–5PM. Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain. The building is the former Union Bank and it has nice high-vaulted ceilings with black pillars. The drinks range includes a range of often changing guests beers.
- 13 The Penderel's Oak, 286–288 High Holborn, WC1V 7HJ (tube: ), ☎ . Su–Th 8AM–midnight; F–Sa 8AM–1AM. Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain. The open-plan, L-shaped ground floor bar is known for a varied selection of guest beers (but poor Wi-Fi). The basement bar is actually part of the Lloyds No. 1 chain, with background music and a different atmosphere.
- 14 The Shakespeare's Head, 64-68 Kingsway, WC2B 6BG (tube: ), ☎ . M–Th 8AM–midnight; F 7AM-1AM; Sa 8AM-1AM; Su 8AM–midnight. Part of the JD Wetherspoon chain.
- 15 The Square Pig, 30-32 Procter St, WC1V 6NX (tube: ), ☎ . M–F noon–11PM. Can be pricey and crowded too, but that's because it's used for large language-exchange and online meet-ups.
- 16 Ye Olde Mitre, 1 Ely Ct, EC1N 6SJ (tube: or ; down a narrow alley between Hatton Gdn and Ely Pl), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M–F 11AM–11PM. Called the hardest to find pub in London. A small but historic and award-winning pub; it dates to 1586 and marked the boundary between the gardens of Christopher Hatton and the Bishop of Ely. Parts of the Tudor pub remain, although it was rebuilt in 1757 and partially altered in 1781 and 1930; now a Grade II listed building. It's tied to Fuller's brewery, so it has their usual range plus a few unusual guests. Only open one weekend in the year, to coincide with CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival in August.
- 17 Ye Old White Horse (The Horse), 2 St. Clements Ln, WC2A 2HA (tube: ), ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM. Great little Victorian pub adjacent to the LSE campus. The Horse is one of the last remaining little boozers of its kind; a true throwback. Warm, welcoming, well-preserved interior, well-kept real ales, and a low-priced selection of sandwiches and pub meals make this place worth a visit while passing through Holborn.
- 18 Old Fountain, 31 Baldwin Street, EC1V 9NU (tube: ), ☎ . M-F 11AM-11PM; Sa Su noon-11PM. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2011. This traditional pub is known for its large beer selection, mostly from local and micro-breweries.
- 19 Fabric, 77a Charterhouse St, EC1M 6HJ (tube: ), ☎ . Th-Sa times vary (check listings). A massive club (think cathedral scale) that provides a more underground version of Ministry of Sound and hosts some of the biggest names in dance music, from Goldie to David Holmes to the Scratch Perverts. There are always big queues, so get down early if you can. Entry £12-18, discount for NUS.
- 20 The Nightjar, 129 City Road, EC1V 1JB (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-W 6PM-1AM; Th 6PM-2AM; F Sa 6PM-3AM. Speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Regular live music fitting the prohibition era theme. Entry W Th £5, F Sa £7. Cocktails from £9.
- 21 Sosho, 2 Tabernacle St (tube: ), ☎ . Tu noon-midnight; W Th noon-1AM; F noon-3AM; Sa 7PM-4AM; Su 9PM-6AM. Sosho is a former photographic studio and warehouse space converted into a two floor restaurant, bar, lounge and club with a 24 hour licence, midway between the city and central Shoreditch. Sosho is light and airy during the day time, candle lit and loungey in the evening. Serve carefully sourced and proper food, with world class cocktails and great music on one of East London's best sound system. With a 24 hour licence it is a late night drinking and DJ bar during the week and a cutting edge clubbing venue at the weekend.
- 22 The Zetter Townhouse, 49-50 St John's Square, EC1V 4JJ, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Su-W 7AM-midnight; Th-Sa 7AM-1AM. Cocktail lounge in a Georgian townhouse. Also offers some accommodation with thirteen rooms available for hire cocktails from £8.50.
There are not too many hotel options in this district and visiotrs are better off looking in neighbouring Bloomsbury.
- London School of Economics (during vacations). Single from £32, twin from £50, triple from £64.
- 1 Swinton Hotel, 18-24 Swinton St, WC1X 9NX (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Good value bed and breakfast in the north west of the district. From £55.
- 2 Hotel Strand Contiental, 143 Strand, WC2R 1JA (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Excellently-located on south side of the Aldywch, straddling Westminster and the City. While it could be noisy at night and it appears small and grimy from the outside, there is a superb Indian restaurant on the 2nd floor. From £70.
- 3 MiNC Eagle Court, Eagle Court, 10-11 Britton St, EC1M 5QD (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Studio, one and two bedroom service apartments. Very modern and nicely appointed. From £99.
- 4 Malmaison London, 18-21 Charterhouse Sq, EC1M 6AH (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Around £200.
- 5 Rosewood Chancery Court London, 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Try this hotel for a very upscale experience. It is in an older building that has been beautifully renovated (formerly HQ of Pearl Assurance). There is high-speed internet, but the charge is £15 per day. The hotel is air-conditioned. The staff is very helpful. A great experience, if you can pay the rates. From £204.
- 6 The Rookery, Peter's Ln, Cowcross St, EC1M 6DS (tube: ), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. An atmosphere and decor that more recalls a private gentleman's club than a hotel. From £149.
The only real way to connect is to be inside a business that has Wi-Fi.
Newspapers and magazines
- The Clerkenwell Post, a local lifestyle paper.
|Routes through Holborn-Clerkenwell|
|Bloomsbury-Soho ← Covent Garden ←||W E||→ The City → East London|
|Mayfair-Marylebone ← Bloomsbury-Camden ← north side of loop ←||W E||→ north side of loop → The City → Continues on south side of loop|
|Westminster ← Covent Garden ← south side of loop ←||W E||→ south side of loop → The City → Continues on north side of loop|
|Westminster ← Covent Garden ←||W E||→ The City → East London|
|Hammersmith and Fulham ← Bloomsbury-Camden ←||W E||→ The City → East London|
|North London ← Bloomsbury-Camden ←||W E||→ The City → END|
|Bloomsbury ← Islington ←||N S||→ The City → South London|
|Westminster-Mayfair-Marylebone ← Covent Garden ←||W N||→ Bloomsbury → North London|
|Routes through Holborn-Clerkenwell|
|Watford ← Islington ←||NW S||→ The City|