Elegant and reserved, the quintessential Georgian squares, lush open spaces and literary legacy of Bloomsbury have made it one of the most thriving cultural hubs of London.
Dating back to Domesday, it wasn’t until the early 1660s that the site now known as Bloomsbury Square was constructed, with its surrounding area developed from the 18th century. A long-time haunt of the literati, Charles Dickens soon took up residence in the quaint Tavistock Square and from the early 20th century it was home to the arty Bloomsbury Group headed by Virginia Woolf.
To this day it is a thriving hub of universities and colleges, oozing with bohemian charm. Most notable is the sweeping campus of the University of London, complete with sports facilities and a music venue open to the public. As a magnet for writers, philosophers, artists, intelligent types and its substantial student population, Bloomsbury has bred a plethora of cheap drinking holes, bookshops and eateries, as well as an array of unusual boutiques.
Bloomsbury lays claim to some of London’s finest parks and buildings and is particularly recognised for its formal squares such as Bloomsbury Square, Russell Square and Bedford Square. The area is also flooded with open spaces - Russell Square Gardens provides a beautifully landscaped resting spot complete with café and central fountain, Lincoln’s Inn Fields is the largest garden square in London, whilst nearby, Coram’s Fields even boasts sheep grazing on its lawns.
At the heart of Bloomsbury is the British Museum which once housed the British Library, both now celebrated institutions. Other places of interest include the majestic Senate House which once accommodated the Ministry of Information during World War II, and now houses the university’s biggest library. Also notable in the area is the number of specialist hospitals such as Great Ormond Street, the National Hospital for Neurology and University College Hospital, as well as some imposing looking churches.
As well as its considerable student populace, the more affluent Londoner will not be short of impressive properties to choose from. Buildings range from elegant Georgian town houses to sought-after Victorian and Edwardian red brick blocks, as well as more affordable modern developments for the first time buyer.
Bloomsbury is easily accessible from all over London thanks to its myriad of stations, Kings Cross being the busiest and is also well served by buses.