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Bloomsbury Visitor Briefing

What To Expect For Those Contemplating Staying In Bloomsbury


British Museum London

British Museum In The Heart Of Bloomsbury

Author: Bob Handford

Bloomsbury is a very central district of London within easy walking distance of Covent Garden, Piccadilly and Oxford Street amongst others. Bloomsbury is a very short walk from many of London's West End Theatres, Covent Garden and Leicester Square only a 15 minute walk tops.


The area is dominated by 3 big institutions, the British Museum, Great Ormonds Street Children's Hospital and the University of London.

But it is for Bloomsburys central location and proximity to the West End Theatres and nightlife that most visitors come.


The north of the district around Tavistock Square and the Holiday Inn is village like with small community shops, launderettes etc. The University and student halls set the tone for this area. Tavistock Square is just one of many small parks in the area, for which the district is noted, all attractively set out with plenty of seats, tame squirrels and birds, even a cafe at Russell Square. Most of the budget accommodation is in this area.

If you have kids Coram's Fields is the largest by far, with some facilities to amuse children.


Around Russell Square, the British Museum and Holborn there is more of a buzz, you will find most of the large hotels and commercial activity here. Hotels tend to gravitate towards large and global chains, with small independents either often basic cheap accommodation or boutique and stylish. There are several small Tesco and Sainsburys mini-supermarkets spread throughout the southern part of Bloomsbury, lots of collectors shops and just about every cuisine in the world represented at all budget levels.

Bloomsbury In Relation To The Rest Of Central London

London Hotel Districts
Russell Square Bloomsbury London

Russell Square Bloomsbury

Russell Square & British Museum District

Russell Square is one of the main hubs of the Bloomsbury area. North of Russell Square the district is dominated by the university, much quieter, almost village like in places in contrast to south of Russell Square. Russell Square is a traffic island big enough for a small park, one of many similar, though smaller squares you will find around the Bloomsbury area.

On the eastern side of the square is the Underground Station and Southampton Row along which you will find many of the large 4 star hotels in the district. This area is particularly vibrant in the evenings with bars, pubs and restaurants, tourists as well as locals.

On the western side of the square is the British Museum, the biggest tourist attraction in the district. Having free entry and late evening opening times means that people staying in the area can visit this vast museum in bite size, digestible, chunks.

Books, Music & Electronics

Bloomsbury is famous as London's literary district, perhaps best known for the Bloomsbury Group, a group of writers, artists and intellectuals that lived in the district of Bloomsbury in the years between the two world wars. Virginia Woolf, the most famous member.

The Charing Cross Road, that leads south down to Trafalgar Square is the axis of the book shops today. Off the Charing Cross Road is Denmark street, the centre of the London music scene. Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, David Bowie were all here. Today it is still geared around the music industry with musical instrument shops and publishers. There are a couple of notice boards with bands looking for vocalists, drummers etc.

Charing Cross Road becomes Tottenham Court Road as it heads north and is the centre of London's electronic shops.

Covent Garden London

Early Morning Inside Covent Garden

Covent Garden, Leicester Square, China Town

In the evening, many staying in Bloomsbury stroll down to the south of the district towards Covent garden, Leicester Square and Chinatown, the largest in Europe.

Originally Covent Garden was London's main vegetable and flower market. The wholesale market has moved outside the centre long ago and has been replaced with Covent Garden Piazza, full of restaurants and surrounded by theatres and the opera house. Its the kind of place most cities have, a place where visitors gravitate too for a meal, be entertained and to people watch over a drink. Street performers are out in force and for its genre its well executed.

Leicester Square, to the west of Covent garden has a more vibrant, younger feel and is where a lot of the film premiere's take place. Many of the discount theatre ticket booths are here too. Off the north side of Leicester Square is China Town.

Throughout this area you will find a West End theatre around nearly every corner.


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