From quirky bookshops to amazing architecture and some of the prettiest streets in London, Bloomsbury is bloomin’ full of stuff to do.
If you like architecture, then Bloomsbury will hit the spot. For art deco lovers there is Senate House, a magnificent art deco structure and one of the first ever skyscrapers in London, back in the 1930s when they were actually cool. Despite being the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984 – the place where propaganda and brain-washing are the norm – no amount of mind control could get me to love the place.
The Brunswick Shopping Centre is a concrete mega structure and is brutalist as they come. If you can pry yourself away from the sci-fi style white facades, you’ll find a cinema chock full of foreign movies and documentaties that the bigger chains seem to skip on.
Another design highlight is the McCann office, built for a luxury car company hiring out chauffeur-driven limousines to the rich and famous – the 1930s art deco building can best be described as a real life Fisher Price Garage (90s kids will know), complete with a circular ramp where cars were driven up to the showrooms on the upper floors, you won’t be able to see that, but the exterior is a gem.
If I had to make my top 10 London streets that will transport you in another time and era then this one would be on it.
The area is famous for being home to some great writers in the 1920s and 1930s known as the Bloomsbury group, so you can image the area is one of the best places for lovers of the written word on paper and you’ll see a lot of bookshops. A must visit is Skoob Book Shop, just off the Brunswick Shopping Centre, it’s one of those enchanting places where you can spend all of your hard earned wages, thousands of multi-coloured book spines layer the walls like bricks, creating a literary maze you never want to escape from. It’s much cooler than any kindle and smells a lot better too.
You can’t eat or drink books right? So for that head to the pubs where you can grab a bite/pint, or one of the chain restaurants in the Brunswick Shopping Centre. You might want to go to 49 Cafe to gorge yourself on the best breakfast for a reasonable price in central London. They also do an amazing cannoli which is the perfect accompaniment for your daily coffee.
If you’re after a healthy lunch, you won’t be able to resist Alara. Alara is a one of those health stores that comes with a cafe where the excuse of ‘it’s not healthy” does not apply!
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and it’s not the average library that holds your discarded copies of 50 Shades, but more of a research library, holding over 150 million items from various countries, in different languages and in many formats. The museum itself might not be interesting for everyone – unless you have a libraries bucket list, but they occasionally do hold interesting exhibitions, like the current one on maps and the 20th Century.
Ah … The British Museum: the place the British store everything they’ve stolen from their travels or the place where they keep stuff safe. Depending which side you are on. Either way it’s a amazing museum. Admire the glass dome in the Centre Court, discover Aztec art and Egyptian mummies and explore higher floors for rooms that are less busy. Beware the long queues and security checks though – can make visiting on a time limit difficult.