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An Afternoon in Bloomsbury

Home > London > Walks | Outdoor | Fun Things To Do
Published January 11th 2012
Bloomsbury is a charming area of London close to the centre of the city but far enough away that it never gets uncomfortably overcrowded with visitors.

Its rich history includes a myriad of literary connections - indeed, Bloomsbury is home to Bloomsbury publishing house, the company responsible for bringing Harry Potter to the masses.

And you may have heard of the Bloomsbury Group, an assortment of writers, philosophers and artists—Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes and E.M. Forster among them—who used to meet in the area to discuss the issues of the day.

It would take far longer than a single afternoon to uncover all of Bloomsbury's treasures, but here's an idea for a few things to do if you're free one day and find yourself in the area.

Situated a short distance south of King's Cross station, the best way to arrive in Bloomsbury is by taking a tube train to Russell Square station on the Piccadilly line.

As you exit, turn left along Bernard Street and walk the short distance to the exquisite Russell Square Gardens. Sit and enjoy a drink at the square's cafe, or simply take a leisurely stroll around the gardens.

Exit Russell Square Gardens through the same gate that you entered and make your way back along Benard Street. Just opposite the entrance to Russell Square tube station, you'll see Marchmont Street. Though the first half of Marchmont Street isn't up to much, it soon gets interesting as you come across a variety of shops and businesses, old and new.

Walk up the left side of Marchmont Street and dive into any stores that take your fancy. Fans of Britain's old Carry On films might be interested to know that Kenneth Williams lived at 57 Marchmont Street from 1935 to 1956 (look out for the blue commemorative plaque).

At the junction with Tavistock Place, cross the street and walk back down the opposite side of Marchmont Street. If you're interested in body maintenance, drop in at Alara Health Store for a few goodies.

On your left you'll soon come to the entrance to the recently renovated Brunswick Centre. Explore the shops and enjoy lunch outside (if weather permits) at one of its many restaurants.

If you fancy, take in a movie at the splendid Renoir cinema, also located in the Brunswick Centre.

Following that, make your way to Queen Square, a five-minute walk south of the Brunswick Centre. Here, on the corner with Cosmo Place, you'll find a lovely little pub, The Queens Larder. Take a seat outside and do a spot of people watching, or sit inside where it's warm and cosy.

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Why? It's a not-so-often visited part of the capital that shouldn't be missed.
When: Anytime
Where: Bloomsbury
Cost: Free
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