Well known for its substantial literary heritage, beautiful outdoor spaces, and quintessentially-English buildings, it’s no wonder central London’s Bloomsbury is popular amongst both tourists and locals alike. Our own collection of boutique townhouses can be found on Montague Street and Bedford Place, flanked either side by Russell Square and Bloomsbury Square. Haven’t had the pleasure of visiting yet? Well here are our top 5 reasons to add London’s literary heart to your itinerary…
1. Attractive Architecture
Having been first established in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Russell family, most of the properties in Bloomsbury are Georgian, including our own boutique hotels; Grange Blooms Hotel, Grange White Hall Hotel, Grange Beauchamp Hotel, Grange Buckingham Hotel, Grange Lancaster Hotel, Grange Clarendon Hotel and Grange Portland Hotel.
As you walk around the area today, you can still enjoy much of the original architecture and classic English gardens which have been lining these streets for centuries; a true British experience.
2. Famous Former Residents
These days, much of Bloomsbury’s appeal is no doubt thanks to its former residents; mainly famous literary names, artists and philosophers such as Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, T. S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats and J. M. Barrie; the latter of whom actually based the Darling family’s house in Peter Pan on his own Bloomsbury residence.
It was also here that the renowned Bloomsbury group was founded, with regular members Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey all meeting to discuss various subjects including art, literature and philosophy; securing Bloomsbury’s status as London’s literary heart. Keep an eye out for English Heritage’s famous blue plaques, which “link the people of the past with the buildings of the present”.
3. Strolls, Squares and Statues
Bloomsbury is particularly well known for its many squares and the beautiful greenery they provide. In fact, Bloomsbury Square, originally known in the 17th century as Southampton Square, was actually London’s first ‘official’ square.
There are many other squares and gardens in the area, such as Gordon Square, where Virginia Woolf lived and which was designed as a pair with Tavistock Square; Coram’s Fields, a seven-acre open space where the Foundling Hospital once stood; and Russell Square, which harbours a statue of the 5th Duke of Bedford, Francis Russell (1765 - 1802), who was responsible for much of the development of central Bloomsbury.
With more than 10 squares and gardens to explore here, it’s no wonder Bloomsbury becomes a must-visit spot for summer strolls and picnics on sunny days. Keep an eye out for London’s annual Open Garden Squares Weekend, which features several of Bloomsbury’s best-loved squares, as well as our own Grange White Hall Hotel and Grange Blooms Hotel’s gardens. Find out more here.
4. Location, Location, Location
Part of Bloomsbury’s unique charm is that, owing to its many outdoor spaces and peaceful character, it remains a quiet enclave within the capital’s vibrant hubbub; despite its close proximity to Euston and Holborn.
Whilst this atmosphere provides an oasis of calm, a central location and excellent transport links also make it ideal for exploring all that the rest of London has to offer. Situated close to the very best shopping, theatre, entertainment and cultural spots in the city, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden are all just a short stroll away...
5. Cultural Connections
One of the biggest attractions is undoubtedly The British Museum, which backs onto our Grange White Hall Hotel and Grange Blooms Hotel, and harbours one of the largest collections of human art, history and culture in the world, with more than 8 million items.
Another popular draw can be found a few roads away at 48 Doughty Street; now more commonly known as the Charles Dickens Museum. Once home to the renowned author himself, and the very place where he wrote Oliver Twist, this property is the only London residence of his which remains.
There are also plenty of pop-up cultural events which take place throughout the year, and for 2016, we’re delighted to partner with The Other Art Fair, taking place from 7th-10th April 2016 just across the road from our 5-Star Grange Holborn Hotel.
For more information about the city’s best sights and attractions, which you can visit when staying at any Grange Hotel, check out our London City Guide here.