City Guide: Bloomsbury
January 23, 2012
Bloomsbury is famous for its literary connections, educational institutions and hospitals. Located in the London Borough of Camden it has a rich history, and has been a popular residential location for hundreds of years. Characterised by a large number of beautiful garden squares, it has been a source of inspiration for many modern greats; the Bloomsbury Group, an elite literary social organisation which counted Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster as its members, is one such example of the area’s rich creative history.
For me, the thought of Bloomsbury primarily conjures up images of garden squares and parks. Surrounded by traditional Georgian architecture it is easy to step back in time and lose hours wandering in circles.
Although Bloomsbury is an inspirational place to live, there is more to it than a chance to live an archetypal London existence. In terms of location, you couldn’t ask for much more; nearest tube stations include Russell Square, Holborn and Tottenham Court Road and the City, Waterloo Station, Hyde Park and Camden Town are all within a short 30 minute walk.
There are a number of universities located in Bloomsbury, including UCL, Birkbeck and SOAS. As world-renownded institutions they are unlikely to see any drop in numbers when the new higher tuition fees are introduced later this year, so the high demand for rental property in the area from students alone is hardly likely to falter.
The whole of London is at your fingertips if you live in Bloomsbury, as everywhere is accessible by a short bus or tube ride. That said, Bloomsbury itself has plenty to keep you occupied. The British Museum is always a good place to start, as even if you spent every day there for a week it is unlikely that you would be able to see everything it has on offer. From Egyptian mummies to the Rosetta stone there truly iconic pieces of history available for you to see.
The Charles Dickens Museum is also in the area, and the best time to visit is definitely on Christmas Day. As one of the only places of interest open in London on December 25th, you will be greeted with mulled wine, mince pies and plenty of festive spirit! For a local cinema, you can’t go wrong with the Renoir. Located in the Brunswick centre it shows a varied programme of films, including art-house, foreign and mainstream cinema. Other places of note that are worth visiting include book store Persephone Books, coffee house Espresso Room, and The People’s Supermarket, a local food co-operative and star of Channel 4 programme of the same name.
Things to do this week
The Politics of Writing - London Review Bookshop, Thursday 26th
The Cost of Living – British Museum, until April
Tea and Tattle – Located close to the British Museum, this is a lovely place to enjoy afternoon tea.
Cartoon Museum – Technically Holborn, but a lot of fun.