Your Guide to London Bloomsbury
Where is Bloomsbury?
Once home to huge literary greats like Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, and now dominated by the 14 acres of galleries that make up the massive British Museum, unspoilt Bloomsbury is known for its attractive Georgian squares, educational establishments and hospitals. Base yourself in this surprisingly calm area of central London, inside the congestion charging zone in the borough of Camden, and you will be surrounded by action-packed places like the West End, Soho, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Kings Cross. The two tube stations here (Russell Square and Euston Square) are based in tube Zone 1, so getting around London is effortless. As Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras International train stations are based on the northern boarders of this district, travelling to the rest of the UK and Europe is easy too!
History of Bloomsbury
The first record of inhabitation of Bloomsbury can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086, but it wasn’t until 1201 that the name Bloomsbury was first noted, when William de Blemond bought the land and built a manor. After several changes of hands, this manor was given to Thomas Wriothesley, the 1st Earl of Southampton. It wasn’t until the early 1660’s that building first began in the area, and what was to become Bloomsbury Square was established. It was the Russell family who really kicked off the Bloomsbury building frenzy in the 17th and 18th centuries, after acquiring most of the land through marriage. They constructed most of the attractive formal squares that Bloomsbury is renowned for.
During the 20th century, Bloomsbury rightfully earned its current reputation as the academic centre of London. It has long been a retreat for the literati including Yeats, T.S Eliot, Dickens and members of the famous Bloomsbury Group, which included Virginia Woolf. It’s still dominated today by buildings of the University of London and University College London, filled with some of the country’s best hospitals, and packed with tourist attractions like the gargantuan British Museum. As the district was spared from any significant wartime bombings and the University of London always tries to preserve its buildings, you can still see so much of the original Georgian elegance that makes Bloomsbury beautiful. It has to be seen to be believed, so pack your suitcase and come to Bloomsbury today!
The Positives of Bloomsbury
Bloomsbury is a really attractive place to stay, with beautiful garden squares, characterful shopping streets and some of the nicest picnic spots in central London. You’ll find plenty of delightful and affordable hotels and B &B’s dotted all over the area to cope with demand from the tourists that flock here to see amazing attractions like the British Museum and the Charles Dickens Museum. Tube stations to help you get around London are also in plentiful supply, as there are two within Bloomsbury itself and loads more on the fringes of the district. You’ll even find that Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras International train stations are within easy reach. As Bloomsbury has a much more measured place than the neighbouring frenetic districts of the West End and Camden, this is a great place to escape to!
Need to Know Bloomsbury
As Bloomsbury is filled with university buildings and huge tourist attractions like the British Museum, it can often feel overrun. Fortunately for you there are plenty of tranquil areas to escape to, and the well-to-do residents help to counteract this too! The huge, gracious squares here can often feel unwelcoming, but there are plenty of streets like Lamb’s Conduit Street and Woburn Walk that have a character all of their own for you to immerse yourself in. The Northern fringes of Bloomsbury are a little seedy, but this is because they are on the verge of Euston, Kings Cross at St Pancras International train stations in Kings Cross, which had a reputation for prostitution and drugs in the past. Huge regeneration is taking place in this area though, which is having a positive effect on northern Bloomsbury too!