If you are heading off to London for the day near Bloomsbury, Its good to know whats on offer. There are so many things to do in Bloomsbury London, from shops, museums, interesting attractions and numerous cafes and bars. Bloomsbury is a district located in central London, England, with stunning Georgian buildings, leafy green parks, attractions and hidden gems all within walking distance. Bloomsbury is part of the borough of Camden and stretches from Holborn to Euston Road.
The vibrant neighbourhood of Bloomsbury in the heart of London has long been associated with literature and art. Nestled between the bustling streets of the West End and the academic institutions of Russell Square and even Great Ormond Street Hospital, Bloomsbury offers a unique blend of history, culture, and green spaces.
A Guide on the Best Attractions and Top Things to Do in Bloomsbury London
A Brief History of Bloomsbury
During the Medieval Period, the area was originally rural and known as Lomesbury or Lamb’s Conduit Field. Its transformation began in the late 17th century as landowners initiated the construction of houses and gardens. This is where Bloomsbury Square is now.
The land was acquired by the 3rd Duke of Bedford, Wriothesley Russell; economic activity in Bloomsbury accelerated, marked by the establishment of the Bloomsbury market in 1730. The transformative project continued in 1800 when Francis Russell, the 5th Duke of Bedford, constructed Russell Square as its focal point, gradually turning the land into a residential area with numerous houses surrounding the Square. The Russells created a thriving real estate empire in the Camden borough.
The Best Attractions in Bloomsbury London and Everything You Need to Know
Bloomsbury offers a wealth of experiences and history for locals and visitors alike. So, whether you’re a book lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene cup of coffee in the heart of London, Bloomsbury will captivate your senses and inspire you with its timeless charm.
Museums in Bloomsbury
Take a look at these museums in bloomsbury:
The British Library
Explore the Literary Heritage of Bloomsbury and visit the renowned British Library, which houses a vast collection of manuscripts, rare books, and literary treasures. The Library even contains the Magna Carta and handwritten Beatles lyrics on some 400 miles of shelves. They have various exhibitions, and the library is free to enter.
- Where: 96 Euston Rd., London NW1 2DB
- When: Monday 09.30 – 20.00, Tuesday 09.30 – 20.00, Wednesday 09.30 – 20.00, Thursday 09.30 – 20.00, Friday 09.30 – 18.00, Saturday09.30 – 17.00, Sunday11.00 – 17.00
- Cost: Free Entry
The British Museum
The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It has a permanent collection of eight million works and counts as one of the largest and most comprehensive. The museum features a vast collection of art and artefacts from around the world, including the famous Rosetta Stone. Not only that, the building itself is a work of art!
- Where: Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
- When: Everyday, 10:00 – 17:00, except Friday: 10:00 – 16:00
- Cost: Free Entry
The Charles Dickens Museum
The Charles Dickens Museum occupies a typical Georgian terraced house that used to be Charles Dickens’s home from 1837 to 1839. It’s the place where Oliver Twist was written and a fantastic thing to do in London; it allows you to step back into 1837 and Charles Dickens’s life. They also offer a lot of events, especially at Christmas time.
- Where: 48-49 Doughy St, London WC1N 2LX
- When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00
- Cost: £12,50 (+ £0,63 booking fee
Sir John Soanes Museum Holborn
Sir John Soanes museum is an amazing museum and hidden gem right near Holborn station. This museum is located on Lincoln’s Inn Fields and is dedicated to the life and work of the architect Sir John Soane. Here you will discover the extraordinary home and museum of Sir John Soane who was a renowned neoclassical architect and collector. The museum is packed with Sir Johns’s personal collection containing thousands of objects ranging from ancient Egyptian antiquities and Roman sculptures to models of contemporary buildings. It is a real hidden gem in London and is absolutely fascinating. It is just outside of Bloomsbury in Holborn.
- Where: 13 Lincolns Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP
- When: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 to 5
- Cost: Entry is free.
- How to get there: Walk from Holborn to Sir John Soanes.
The Hunterian museum
The Hunterian is a Museum is just outside Bloomsbury that holds unrivalled collections of human and non-human anatomical and pathological specimens. You can find it in the building of the ‘Royal College of Surgeons of England’. At this museum you can discover the art and science of surgery from ancient times to the present day. It is just outside of Bloomsbury in Holborn.
The museum’s collection includes over 3,500 anatomical and pathological specimens, as well as Hunter’s extensive collection of coins, books, and manuscripts. The specimens include preserved human and animal bodies, bones, and organs, many of which were used by Hunter for research and teaching purposes.
- Where: 38-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE
- When: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am–5 pm
- Cost: Free
The Foundling Museum
This is one of the most interesting museums in London, and it is dedicated to the history of the Foundling Hospital. The Foundling Hospital was founded in 1739 by philanthropist Thomas Coram as a home for abandoned children. The museum is located in Brunswick Square at Coram’s Fields, near the site of the original hospital.
One of the most significant objects in the museum’s collection is the “Foundling Hospital Admission Token“, which was given to mothers who left their children at the hospital. The token could be used to reclaim the child if the mother’s circumstances improved. The museum also has a collection of paintings and other artworks that were donated to the hospital by artists such as William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough, and Joshua Reynolds.
- Where: 40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ
- When: Open 10 am until 5 pm Tuesday to Friday ( 11 am to 5 pm Sunday )
- Cost: £9.50 for adults
- Closest Tubes: Holborn, Russel Square, Tottenham Court Road
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is where you can find some of the best collections of ancient Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology on Earth. Founded in 1892, you will be able to see a variety of artefacts ranging from ancient mummy cases to stone fragments with hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Where: University College London, Malet Place, London WC1E 6BT
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday 1-5 pm; Saturday 11 am-5 pm
Cost: Free entry (no booking required)
Closest tubes: Euston, Warren Street, Russell Square or Tottenham Court road tube
The Wellcome Collection is a museum and library in London that explores the connections between medicine, life, and art. It was established in 2007 by the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. It is located on Euston Road in the Bloomsbury area. The Wellcome Collection consists of a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as a library that holds over 2 million items related to medicine and healthcare. The exhibitions cover various topics, from medical history and science to art and contemporary issues. Some of the most popular exhibitions have focused on topics such as the brain, genetics and mental health.
Where: 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE
Opening times: Monday- closed, Tuesday & Wednesday- 10 am-6 pm, Thursday- 10 am-8 pm, Friday-Sunday- 10 am-6 pm
Cost: Free (no booking for normal entry, but many events need a ticket)
Closest tube: Euston Square, Euston, Warren Street
The Cartoon Museum
The Cartoon Museum was founded in 2006 and celebrates British cartoon art and comic art. In 2019, it moved to its current location in Fitzrovia. The Cartoon Museum’s collection includes over 6,000 original artworks, from political cartoons and caricatures to comic strips and graphic novels. Some of the most notable works on display include pieces by well-known British cartoonists like Steve Bell, Martin Rowson and Posy Simmonds.
Where: 63 Wells Street, London W1A 3AE
Opening times: Monday- Closed, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun- 10:30 am-5:30 pm, Thursday- 10:30 am-8 pm
Cost: Adult- £9.50, Concession (over 60 y/o)- £6, Universal Credit recipients (proof required)- £2, Under 18s (proof of age), ArtFund, London Pass, Members- Free
Grant Museum of Zoology
The Grant Museum of Zoology is home to various skeletons, around 67,000 specimens and stuffed animals from all over the planet. It is also the only remaining zoological museum in London. Founded by Robert Edmond Grant in 1827, it was opened to the public as a museum in 1996. A significant artefact of the collection is the extinct South African zebra, the quagga. Other key relics are the bones of the DoDo. At the moment, this museum is temporarily closed.
Where: Rockefeller Building, University College London, 21 University Street, London WC1E 6DE
Opening times: Closed until Autumn 2023
Cost: Free entry (no booking required)
Closest tube: Warren Street, Euston, Goodge Street
The Fitzrovia Chapel
The Grade II listed Fitzrovia Chapel was once the chapel of the former Middlesex Hospital in the heart of Bloomsbury. It has been beautifully preserved and restored and is a stunning hidden gem in the heart of the city. The nineteenth-century chapel is a charitable foundation steeped in history and well worth a visit. It also hosts art exhibitions and events.
Where: 2 Pearson Square, London W1T 3BF
Opening times: Open most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 11 am and 6 pm and one Sunday a month (12 noon to 5 pm). Check the website for details.
The Weiner Library
The Wiener Library, officially known as The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, is a renowned research library and archive located in Bloomsbury. It is the world’s oldest institution dedicated to documenting and researching the Holocaust, the Nazi era, and other genocides.
The library was established in 1933 by Dr Alfred Wiener, a German-Jewish activist who recognized the importance of collecting and preserving materials related to the rise of Nazism and the persecution of Jews. Originally based in Amsterdam, it was relocated to London in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War II.
The Wiener Library houses an extensive collection of primary and secondary sources, including books, periodicals, photographs, personal testimonies, and other documents related to the Holocaust and genocides worldwide. It serves as a vital resource for researchers, academics, students, and the general public interested in understanding and studying these historical events.
Where: 29 Russell Sq, London WC1B 5DP, United Kingdom
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10 am – 5 pm, Tuesdays 7 pm
Cost: Free entry (no booking required)
Closest tube: Russel Street, Goodge Street, Kings Cross
Russell Square Brunswick Centre and shopping in Bloomsbury
The area around Russell Square in Bloomsbury is a bustling community with a large shopping area. It also includes hotels, restaurants, and residential buildings. Take a stroll around the shopping centre and visit one of the many shops and cafes in the area.
Where: Bernard St, London WC1N 1BS
Closest tube: Russell Square
Quirky shops in Bloomsbury:
There are many places to shop in and around Bloomsbury, including some very unique and unusual shops. Other Quirky shops in Bloomsbury include:
- Skoob’s books, Second hand book store
Sicilian Avenue is a small pedestrian shopping parade in Bloomsbury, London, in an open-air structure that diagonally runs in between Southampton Row. It is a stunning building and is worth a stroll through. Maybe stop for a glass of wine.
Other notable buildings to look out for in Bloomsbury are:
- The Senate Building: A prominent landmark throughout Bloomsbury and is a grade 2 listed building.
- St George’s Church Bloomsbury: The work of Nicholas Hawksmoor, is considered one of the finest Baroque churches in London.
Explore the Bloomsbury Literary Circle group plaques.
The Bloomsbury area played a significant role in London’s literary history, being home to some of the most celebrated writers and thinkers. Explore the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of intellectuals including Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and John Maynard Keynes, who shaped the early 20th-century cultural landscape. Many of their blue plaques are in and around the Bloomsbury area.
The group’s gatherings, which took place in the homes of its members in Bloomsbury, were characterized by lively discussions, artistic collaborations, and an open-minded, free-spirited atmosphere. The Bloomsbury Group’s influence extended beyond their immediate circle, as they had a significant impact on the development of modernist literature, art, and cultural movements in the 20th century.
As you explore the Bloomsbury area, keep an eye out for blue plaques, which are used in the UK to mark places of historical significance, including those related to prominent individuals like the members of the Bloomsbury Group.
- 46 Gordon Square: This house was the residence of Virginia Woolf and her siblings, Vanessa Bell and Adrian Stephen. A blue plaque commemorates Virginia Woolf and her association with the Bloomsbury Group.
- 37 Fitzroy Square: This house was occupied by writer and art critic Clive Bell, a Bloomsbury Group member. A blue plaque honours Clive Bell and his contributions.
- 51 Gordon Square: This house was the residence of writer and economist John Maynard Keynes. A blue plaque acknowledges his connection to the Bloomsbury Group.
- Tavistock Square: There is a blue plaque commemorating writer and philosopher Bertrand Russell, who significantly influenced the Bloomsbury Group.
Beautiful Streets to explore in Bloomsbury
Museum Street runs directly southwards from the entrance of the British Museum. The pretty street is full of pubs, cafes, restaurants, quirky shops and bookshops.
Shops, bars and cafes in Museum Street include:
- Ruskin’s Cafe
- Bubbleology tea
- The Museum Tavern
- The Museum Shop Gift shop
- Distinctive London Gift shop
- The Atlantis book shop, the living history of magic.
- Thomas Farthing men’s wear.
- Fossil’s London
Shops and Cafe in the pretty Store Street include:
- Cloud 9 Cycles
- Amelie’s Wine House
- Treadwell’s books
Parks in Bloomsbury
- Bloomsbury Square
- Russell Square
- Bedford Square
- Red Lion Square
- Corum Fields.
How to get to Bloomsbury
Underground stations to Bloomsbury include:
The main Station is Holborn Underground Station, served by several tube lines. The underground tube lines include the Central and the Piccadilly line. A few other tube stations are nearby, such as Chancery Lane Station, Temple Station, King’s Cross and Russel Square.
- Goodge St: 4 min walk
- Euston Square: 5 min walk