From Pre-Raphs to post-theatre dinners, Bloomsbury’s got it all.
Why go there?
Because you can tread the same streets as the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, as well as literary icons like Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and George Orwell. The latter worked in London University’s Senate House in the famous Room 101 years before Frank Skinner got involved.
What’s the vibe?
Leafy, residential and educational, with tons of garden squares including Russell Square, Gordon Square and Tavistock Square. It’s also a major tourist magnet thanks to the British Museum, with room after room of ancient relics and treasures that we definitely didn’t steal.
Where can I take the kids?
Coram’s Fields not only has playgrounds for all ages, it also houses a city farm with goats, rabbits and birds. Set on the land of the former Foundling Hospital created by Thomas Coram in 1739, adults can only gain access to the park if accompanied by a child. You can learn more about Coram and the children’s charity at the nearby Foundling Museum.
Now I need a drink.
For a caffeine fix go to the Espresso Room, a tiny coffee emporium with Scandi-style wood furniture spilling out on to Great Ormond Street. For something stiffer, get a tankard of ale at the Lamb (Lamb’s Conduit Street). Or if you prefer activity-related drinking, get bowled over and strike up some conversation at subterranean bowling establishments Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes (Bedford Way) or All Star Lanes (Bloomsbury Place).
What about something to eat?
Start the day with a full English at Sid’s on Lamb’s Conduit Street where you might spot local resident Rupert Everett breakfasting. Next, go for home-cooked lunch at the Mary Ward Centre’s café, or sample street food from one of the stalls at Bloomsbury Farmers’ Market (Torrington Square) on a Thursday. Alternatively, classic steaks and some inventive small plate dishes at Garufin (Theobald’s Road) make for a delectable Argentinian dining experience.
And if I only do one thing?
Forget Georgian London and take in some prime brutalist architecture at the Brunswick Centre. While away an afternoon in this concrete mecca with its cafés, shops, cinema and open-air plaza.
By Freire Barnes, who punctuates her witty retorts by yelling ‘Boomsbury!’ in people’s faces.