There are few neighbourhoods in London that represent the city quite as well as Bloomsbury does. With leafy green squares, some of the most prestigious universities in the UK, and plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy, the area of Bloomsbury is one of the best when it comes to capturing the diversity of London, offering a unique balance between living in the past and present.
Bloomsbury has long been the home of many intellectuals, creatives, artists, writers, and scientists. It was here that Charles Darwin came up with the theory of natural selection, Virginia Woolf penned some of her best work, and Karl Marx birthed the idea of communism. Today, it is home to plenty of amazing things to see and do including hundreds of thousands of exhibits at the British Museum, which is free to enter, and the stunning University of London Library.
What to Do in Bloomsbury, London:
If you’re looking for an interesting day out or somewhere to go and pass the time for an afternoon, Bloomsbury has it all to offer. There are plenty of diverse things to see and do here and many cultural and historic experiences to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for something fun to do on a rainy day or want to spend some time relaxing outdoors in the summer, Bloomsbury offers something for everybody on every occasion.
The British Museum:
Although the city of London is filled with some of the best museums around the world, none are quite as popular as the British Museum, which features an extensive collection of historic treasures from around the world. First founded in 1753, the British Museum holds the title of the first public museum in the world and is set in an imposing building with an impressive glass-ceiling concourse. Admission into the museum is free of charge, and you can easily spend an entire day here exploring various world-renowned artefacts including marble sculptures from the Parthenon in ancient Greece, the Rosetta Stone, and Egyptian mummies.
The Cartoon Museum:
Cartoon-lovers of all ages will love the Cartoon Museum, which relocated to a new location on Wells Street from Little Russell Street in 2019. The entire museum is dedicated to the best of British cartoons and houses exhibitions of comic art from the 18th century to the present day. There’s everything from your favourite comics and cartoons to caricatures and political cartoons. Over the past, their exhibitions have covered a huge range of themes from World War II to Alice in Wonderland, and the new space now includes a permanent collection, full programme of events, and impressive exhibition space.
The thriving dance scene is one of the best things about the amazing culture of London, and The Place is one of the best places to get involved. The dance centre is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike and hosts performances on an almost nightly basis by a range of different contemporary dance artists. They even offer open contemporary dance or ballet classes, which you are welcome to attend if you are looking to try out some dancing moves for yourself.
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art:
RADA is one of the most prestigious schools in London and around the world and has produced some of the most famous actors in the UK including Tom Hiddleston, Sean Bean, Alan Rickman, Anthony Hopkins, Vivien Leigh, and Kenneth Branagh. Students at RADA host various performances throughout the school term, giving you the chance to visit and watch the famous actors of tomorrow before they make the headlines.
School of Oriental and African Studies:
The Brunei Gallery located at SOAS provides a unique chance for locals and tourists to look beyond the UK, with a variety of contemporary and historical exhibitions that are focused on Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The free gallery also boasts a quiet Japanese roof garden where visitors can escape from the city after enjoying the permanent collections.
Charles Dickens Museum:
The Charles Dickens Museum is located at the former Bloomsbury home of the famous author and is definitely a must-visit if you are a fan of his novels. Visitors can explore the very residence where Dickens penned classics such as Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist among many other works, and there are thousands of artefacts from the author’s life and career on display. You can also catch several special exhibitions and events to celebrate Dickens and his work that are held throughout the year.
The Wellcome Collection:
The Wellcome Collection is a free museum containing the medical antiques of Henry Wellcome, who definitely enjoyed collecting. There are thousands of things to explore including Darwin’s walking stick, Napoleon’s toothbrush, and a Peruvian mummified body among many other bizarre objects to be discovered. There are various temporary exhibitions held throughout the year, but the permanent collection is often a firm favourite simply because of how unorganised it is! It’s in a prime location just opposite Euston station with a café nearby that is perfect for meeting with friends, and there’s a gift shop where you can pick up a souvenir.
The Dominion Theatre is one of the best places to take in the unbeatable theatre scene in London. This spacious West End theatre dates back to the 1920s and hosts a wide range of musicals through the year, with shows available almost every night. So far, they have presented a wide variety of popular favourites including the Queen musical We Will Rock You, Beauty and the Beast, and Bat Out of Hell, a rock musical based on Meat Loaf’s songs.
The Grant Museum of Zoology:
Part of University College London, the Grant Museum of Zoology is the last remaining university natural history museum in the city of London and is home to one of the oldest natural history collections in the country. Visit the museum to explore almost seventy thousand zoological specimens from across the animal kingdom including the rarest skeleton in the world, the quagga.
St. Georges Gardens:
If you are looking for a quiet escape from the city, St. George’s Gardens is the perfect place to do just that. This three-acre public garden is a great place to go if you want some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was formerly a burial ground but has been a park ever since 1884. However, the garden still has some aspects of its past intact, with a range of statues and stony tombs to explore if you are interested in learning more about the history of the area.
The Foundling Museum:
The Foundling Museum offers visitors a unique look into the former Foundling Hospital. The museum is located in a stunning 18th-century building and offers a collection of both old and new exhibits perfectly blended together. Explore the history of the hospital itself combined with more modern exhibitions including contemporary art commissions.
The Camera Museum:
If you are a keen photographer, you will definitely love paying a visit to the Camera Museum, which is located in a basement below a Bloomsbury café. The museum features exhibitions that showcase how photographic technology has developed over time and offers an impressive collection of cameras to explore dating right back from the 1800s to the present day. There is also a camera shop on-site where photographers can treat themselves to some new gear.
St Georges Church:
If you love old buildings and beautiful churches, you will enjoy visiting St George’s Church. This stunning building was designed by the leading architect of the time, Nicholas Hawksmoor, in the early 1700s. Visitors can attend various arts performances that are held inside the elegant church, and you are welcome to go inside to take a look around or join a traditional church service.
The Kimpton Fitzroy London:
It is difficult to miss the elegant Kimpton Fitzroy London, which was formerly known as the Hotel Russell and is located on Russell Square in Bloomsbury. Walk inside and you will be able to explore some of the histories of the Titanic. Architect Charles Fitzroy Doll was the hotel’s designer, who also worked on the design of the Titanic, drawing inspiration from some of his previous designs. The dining room in the hotel was the main inspiration for the dining room on the Titanic, and the twin of the bronze dragon that you’ll see on the main staircase in the hotel was on the ship.
The Brunswick Centre:
If you want to do some shopping in Bloomsbury, the Brunswick Centre is an ideal choice. This Grade II listed building is home to a wide range of different shops and restaurants to choose from, including high-street names and independent brands with something for everybody. It’s popular for shopping, dining, or catching a film at the Curzon Cinema.
Bloomsbury is well-known for being one of the most educated and intellectual areas of London. When it comes to things to do there is plenty of lovers of museums, art, dance and much more.
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