London was formed from a combination of various boroughs and every corner of the city has its own character. Today, we explore the neighbourhood of Bloomsbury in Central London.
I recommend that you purchase an Oyster Card before your visit to London. This is a plastic card on which you load money to travel with on the metro (“underground” or “tube”) and bus. This can save you a lot of money if you travel between all the different neighborhoods! For travellers living outside of the United Kingdom, there is the Visitor Oyster Card that saves you lots of money!
What we'll cover in this article
- ONE DAY IN LONDON – BLOOMSBURY NEIGHBOURHOOD
- 🍽️ MY OLD DUTCH
- 🛏️ THE HOXTON
- 🏛️ MUSEUM OF COMEDY
- 🛍️ BLADE RUNNER STAMPS
- 🛍️ LONDON REVIEW BOOKSHOP
- 🛍️ HIGHLAND STORE
- 🥤 COCO FRESH TEA & JUICE
- 🏛️ THE BRITISH MUSEUM
- ☕ SYRUP OF SOOT
- 🛍️ THOMAS FARTHING
- 🛍️ JARNDYCE
- ☕ CAFE BABKA
- 🛏️ THE BLOOMSBURY HOTEL
- 🛍️ HEMA
- 🛍️ CATH KIDSTON
- 🛍️ PLANET ORGANIC
- 🛍️ T2
- 🍽️ DF/MEXICO
- ☕ GAIL’S BAKERY BLOOMSBURY
- 🛍️ NEON SHEEP
- 🛍️ OLIVER BONAS
- 🛍️ WEST ELM
- 🛍️ POLLOCK’S TOY MUSEUM
- 🛍️ HEAL’S
- 🛍️ HABITAT
- 🛍️ WATERSTONES
- 🔵 BLUE PLAQUE – CHARLES DARWIN
- 🏛️ WELLCOME COLLECTION
- 🍺 EUSTON TAP
- ⛪ ST PANCRAS NEW CHURCHYARD
- 🍺 THE RESTING HARE
- 🔵 BLUE PLAQUE – CHARLES DICKENS
- ☕ SEACOLE SOCIAL CAFE
- 🛍️ THE SCHOOL OF LIFE
- 🛍️ GAY’S THE WORD
- ☕ THE OBSERVATORY
- 🛍️ BRUNSWICK CENTER
- ☕ FORTITUDE BAKEHOUSE
- 🏛️ THE HORSE HOSPITAL
- 🚇 RUSSEL SQUARE STATION
- 🍽️ MARCO’S NEW YORK ITALIAN
- 🏛️ SICILIAN AVENUE
- ☕ THE ESPRESSO ROOM
- PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LONDON WITH THESE MUST-DO ACTIVITIES:
ONE DAY IN LONDON – BLOOMSBURY NEIGHBOURHOOD
Bloomsbury is the area that surrounds Russell Square and the adjacent Russell Square underground station. It is surrounded by the Fitzrovia districts in the west, King’s Cross in the north, Clerkenwell in the east and Holborn in the south.
For this route, I started walking from the Holborn metro station, in the direction of the British Museum and then towards Tottenham Court Road subway station.
START: Holborn Station
🍽️ MY OLD DUTCH
Being Dutch myself, of course I had to start with a nice Dutch classic. At My Old Dutch you get traditional Dutch snacks and pancakes in a small café with hanging Delft blue plates and wooden tables. They also have a children’s menu here. [not tested yet]
Address: 131-132 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PS
🛏️ THE HOXTON
A hip and stylish 4-star hotel in central London. In the large lobby you can relax, work or order something at the bar or restaurant, both as a guest and as a visitor. [not tested yet]
Address: 199-206 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BD
🏛️ MUSEUM OF COMEDY
This museum was founded by Leicester Square theater director Martin Witts. The museum is interactive and suitable for the whole family. You’ll find more than 6000 iconic props and artifacts from British comic history, from Tommy Cooper to Bill Bailey. There are changing exhibitions and performances are also given, from theater and stand-up comedy to radio recordings and silent film. [not tested yet]
Address: The Undercroft, St George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SR
🛍️ BLADE RUNNER STAMPS
Adorable craft shop with wooden rubber stamps and other craft materials. Perfect to find a unique London souvenir!
Address: 12 Bury Pl, London WC1A 2JL
🛍️ LONDON REVIEW BOOKSHOP
Well-known local bookshop selling literary magazines and all sorts of books, with public lectures and a small tea house.
Address: 14-16 Bury Pl, London WC1A 2JL
🛍️ HIGHLAND STORE
Small shop selling Scottish kilts and accessories, blankets and scarves. You can also rent outfits here. If you fancy, of course!
Address: 66 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3BN
🥤 COCO FRESH TEA & JUICE
International chain of milk tea and fresh fruit tea. Popular on the Asian market! You have set combinations, but you can also put together your own favourite drink here. [not tested yet]
Address: 65 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3BL
🏛️ THE BRITISH MUSEUM
This well-known museum in London is free to visit and has a huge collection of worldwide antiquities, including Egyptian mummies and ancient Greek sculptures. A must-visit on your trip to London!
Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
☕ SYRUP OF SOOT
A 17th century Victorian coffee house in the heart of Bloomsbury. You can also enjoy a Mediterranean lunch here in addition to your coffee. [not tested yet]
Address: 38 Museum St, London WC1A 1LP
🛍️ THOMAS FARTHING
Unique vintage store with clothing and accessories for men with a distinct style. You can also get your suit tailor-made here.
Address: 40 Museum St, London WC1A 1LU
Seller of antique books since 1969. They are specialists in 18th and 19th century English literature and history.
Address: 46 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3PA
☕ CAFE BABKA
Babka is an Eastern European cake and this café opposite the British Museum looks delicious too. In addition to coffee and tea, they also serve brioche sandwiches and other sweets. [not tested yet]
Address: 44 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3PA
🛏️ THE BLOOMSBURY HOTEL
The Doyle collection, where this hotel belongs to, consists of 8 hotels in monumental buildings in prime locations in the city. The Bloomsbury Hotel is a 4-star luxury hotel with central courtyard, restaurant and options for afternoon tea and seasonal alfresco dining. There is also a chic cocktail bar in years-20 style. [not tested yet]
Address: 16-22 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3NN
HEMA is a Dutch chain of stationary and household items and as an expat that has been living in London for over 5 years, I was so happy to see one arrive here! They’ve got some great affordable items and sell Dutch sweets and baked goods as well.
Address: 252 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7RB
🛍️ CATH KIDSTON
Quirky store with brightly colored, vintage-style house ware, bags, clothing and much more. A great place for unique souvenirs.
Address: 251 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7RB
🛍️ PLANET ORGANIC
This supermarket is a one-stop shop for healthy food, such as organic (and unpackaged!) Fruit and vegetables, traditional bread and a whole range of gluten-free, dairy-free, raw and other healthy products. They also have a juice and coffee bar and a health & body care department with beauty products and nutritional supplements.
Address: 23-24 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 1BJ
I know this great tea shop from when I lived in Sydney and I was very happy when a number of branches opened in London a few years ago! Here you can buy cheerful boxes of loose tea, but also everything that you can imagine that you might need when making tea. You can also taste a lot of tea here!
Address: 25 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 1BJ, UK
This modern Mexican serves Mexican cuisine and frozen margaritas in American diner style. You order your food at the counter or at one of the ‘self-service’ cash registers and you get your drinks right away (soft drinks can be refilled free of charge). You can grab sauces yourself and then the food comes to your table. A real fast food Mexican, so I’m curious! [not tested yet]
Address: 28-29 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 1BL, UK
☕ GAIL’S BAKERY BLOOMSBURY
When we first came to live in London, there was a Gail’s in our street, so I have good memories of this bakery / extended office :) They are in several places throughout the city and here you can enjoy a sandwich or pastry (including real British scones), also get a complete breakfast or brunch / lunch. The service can change a bit in terms of quality, but we always like the food, especially if you only have coffee here!
Address: 11-13 Bayley St, London WC1B 3HD, UK
>>> MAKE A DETOUR TO THE LONDON NEIGHBOURHOOD FITZROVIA (SOON!) <<<
🛍️ NEON SHEEP
On the outside of this cheerful looking store you can already guess a bit of what you can expect inside: a store full of colorful (lots of pink!) Gadgets such as notebooks and other stationery. They clearly focus on younger girls with a colorful collection of things that depict cats, flamingos, mermaids, cacti and unicorns.
Address: 62 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 2ER, UK
🛍️ OLIVER BONAS
Next to the Neon Sheep is the Oliver Bonas, which is somewhat the ‘older version’ of the same store. Here they also have clothes on offer in addition to nice things for the home. They also do original greeting cards and in the basement they have bathroom items and things like posters and other interior items.
Address: 63 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 2ES, UK
🛍️ WEST ELM
On Tottenham Court Road you can go wild shopping for furniture and other household items. Although the West Elm is quite pricey, they also have a small section with work by local British artists. If you are looking for a special souvenir or gift, you might find something here.
Address: 209 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7PN, UK
🛍️ POLLOCK’S TOY MUSEUM
If you’re crazy about vintage shops and children’s toys, then you should definitely visit Pollock’s Toy Museum. Although the store in Covent Garden is more focused on shoppers only, you can also find a complete museum on this location in Bloomsbury. For 7 pounds you can watch the beautiful paper theaters, tin toys and other vintage finds that made this store famous.
Address: 1 Scala St, London W1T 2HL, UK
One of the largest retail stores in London is Heal’s. The store has been around since 1854 and has several floors full of unique, luxurious and design interior items. Even if you do not buy anything here, in some of the designers’ showrooms (especially at the top), you really don’t believe your eyes, so I can certainly advise you to have a quick peek! There is also a restaurant and café inside.
Address: 196 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7LQ, UK
I always like to visit the Habitat because they have fairly affordable, yet beautifully designed furniture and other stuff for the home. In the basement you will find beautiful crockery and bed linen and there is also a corner with posters of (British) artists.
Address: 196-199, Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7PJ, UK
Waterstones, a large chain of bookshops from 1982, is a household name in London and can be found in many locations, such as here in this beautiful building in Bloomsbury. In addition to a huge collection of books, they also hold signing sessions and workshops and there is a coffee shop and a large selection of stationary available.
Adres: 19-21 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 1BJ, UK
🔵 BLUE PLAQUE – CHARLES DARWIN
Throughout London you can find so-called ‘Blue Plaques’. These plates are managed by English Heritage and they celebrate the links between remarkable figures from the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked. On this spot you will find the plaque of Charles Darwin, which was hung by the London County Council in 1961 at the University College’s Biological Sciences Building.
Address: 115 Gower St, London WC1E 6AP, UK
🏛️ WELLCOME COLLECTION
In this museum you will find the collection of the 19th century collector Henry Wellcome. There is a lot to see here: from medical antiques to hi-tech modern displays and art. The museum is free!
Address: 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE, UK
🍺 EUSTON TAP
The Euston Tap is a special cider bar with beer & ciders from the barrel and tap, located in a Victorian gatehouse with small beer garden. [not tested yet]
Address: 190 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2EF, UK
⛪ ST PANCRAS NEW CHURCHYARD
This church was inaugurated in 1822 and has a crypt that serves as an art gallery. Here, you can listen to music during your lunch break. The building is on the heritage list, because it is an important early example of Greek Revival architecture.
Address: Euston Rd, London NW1 2BA, UK
🍺 THE RESTING HARE
At this independent pub in Bloomsbury you can recover a bit from the hustle and bustle of London. The pub has a relaxed atmosphere and both indoor and outdoor space. The kitchen is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Friday and they serve beer from more than 300 artisan local and international breweries. [not tested yet]
Address: Woburn Walk 8- London, 11 Upper Woburn Pl, London WC1H 0JW, UK
🔵 BLUE PLAQUE – CHARLES DICKENS
The Blue Plaque of writer Charles Dickens hangs on the spot where he used to have a house from 1837 to 1839. IT was placed in 1903 by the London County Council to commemorate the location where Dickens wrote some of his early novels, including Oliver Twist.
Address: London WC1H 9LG, UK
☕ SEACOLE SOCIAL CAFE
The Seacole Social Cafe is part of The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Here you can relax with fresh and traditional dishes for breakfast, lunch or a light bite. [not tested yet]
Address: 15 Tavistock Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9SH, UK
🛍️ THE SCHOOL OF LIFE
The School of Life is a global organization dedicated to developing emotional intelligence. They apply psychology, philosophy and culture in everyday life and at this small bookstore you can buy some of their unique philosophical and lifestyle products. There are also regular lectures and workshops, see the website for a current calendar.
Address: 70 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AB, UK
🛍️ GAY’S THE WORD
This community store focuses on LGBT fiction and non-fiction books and films. They also hold regular events.
Address: 66 Marchmont St, Kings Cross, London WC1N 1AB, UK
☕ THE OBSERVATORY
This photo gallery has changing exhibitions, but is also a cozy café and gift shop where you can find photo books, greeting cards, postcards and more. The coffee in the cafe is provided by Redemption Roasters, whose mission is to help young delinquents successfully reintegrate into society through training. In the morning they have fresh croissants, during lunch toasties and pastries throughout the day. [not tested yet]
Address: 64 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AB, UK
🛍️ BRUNSWICK CENTER
This small, local shopping center has various main-stream shops, restaurants and even an art-house cinema. You can get quick, but reasonably healthy snacks at chains such as Leon, Giraffe, Las Iguanas, Tossed, Carluccio’s, Itsu and Yo! Sushi. You can find more unique things at Fuwa Fuwa (Japanese pancakes), Ben’s Cookies (mega-tasty cookies), Crussh (juices) or Chatime (teah ouse).
Address: 1 Byng Pl, London WC1N 1BS, UK
☕ FORTITUDE BAKEHOUSE
When I arrived here at the end of the day they did not have much more in terms of food, but if you come a little earlier you can get sourdough cakes, sweet & savory pastries, soups and coffee & tea in this small, traditional bakery. [not tested yet]
Address: 35 Colonnade, London WC1N 1JA, UK
🏛️ THE HORSE HOSPITAL
This independent art location in London offers a platform to underground artists, performance artists, filmmakers, alternative musicians, photographers, fashion designers and writers. There are changing exhibitions, events and film screenings that you can visit. See the site for programming and all opening hours.
Address: Colonnade, London WC1N 1JD, UK
🚇 RUSSEL SQUARE STATION
Not a very special station, but from here you can take the Piccadilly metro line to other parts of London if you want. Or continue this walking tour!
Address: Bernard St, London WC1N 1LJ, UK
🍽️ MARCO’S NEW YORK ITALIAN
Marco Pierre White is a highly acclaimed chef, restaurateur and TV personality. He has restaurants in the United Kingdom under different brands and at this location you can enjoy delicious Italian and American food in his restaurant at the Mercure Hotel. There is a Manhattan-style bar and this place is perfect for a quick bite, coffee or cocktail at the bar. Bonus Tip: The Afternoon Tea here is only £19.95 per person, which is really cheap for London standards! [not tested yet]
Address: 130-134 Southampton Row, London WC1B 5AF, UK
🏛️ SICILIAN AVENUE
This neat-looking street for pedestrians runs diagonally between Southampton Row and Bloomsbury Way. The street was designed by architect Robert Worley in 1906 (completed in 1910) in a monumental Edwardian style, with Italian marble, colonnades and turrets everywhere. Although the rest of the neighborhood is not very glamorous (just see the graffiti on the phone booth below), it looks very special!
Address: 7 Sicilian Ave, London WC1A 2QR, UK
☕ THE ESPRESSO ROOM
At the Sicilian Avenue you will find this small coffee shop, where I end my walking tour through Bloomsbury and have a drink to warm up. They also have some sandwiches, sweet snacks, juices and yogurts and with a number of outlets on the wall, I also see some people working there. Perfect!
Address: 23 Southampton Row, London WC1B 5HA, UK
END: Holborn Station
Anything to add to this list of things to see and do in Bloomsbury London? We’d love to hear it!
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LONDON WITH THESE MUST-DO ACTIVITIES:
- London Visitor Oyster Card > > get special discounts for overseas visitors
- The London Pass > > get access to 80+ attractions around London
- Theater Passport > > see the top London West End shows with 40% discount
- London Map > > never get lost with this detailed city map (all sights marked!)
- London Eye (+ River Cruise) > > save up to 25% when you book your tickets in advance online
- Afternoon Tea in Shakespeare’s Globe Theater > > book this themed afternoon tea and don’t miss out!
- Tower of London > > save up to 25% on individual prices with a family ticket
- St. Paul’s Cathedral > > save nearly 10% on tickets compared to buying on the day
For more ideas on what to do in London (and the rest of the United Kingdom), check our following articles: