Here are the best activities and things to do in Bloomsbury, Central London.
For first time or regular visitors to the area. Follow this 3 day itinerary when visiting our picturesque neighbourhood.
An area shaped by a literary history, dotted with flourishing garden squares and a thriving cultural scene, Bloomsbury is making a name for itself as one of the more interesting and characterful central London places to be, see and stay. Its most famous landmark the British Museum, attracts thousands of visitors who flock to the area each day, but are they getting to know the real Bloomsbury and all its hidden gems?
Scenes from Store Street in Bloomsbury, a perfect place for boutique shopping.
From artisan cafes to charming bookshops and soaring ancient trees - Bloomsbury is incredibly charming; it's made up of stories and characters at every turn. The famous blue plaques for instance, mark where many well-known writers used to live in the area and the informative signs in the local parks uncover more about the rich London history embedded in the neighbourhood.
Look out for the English Heritage Blue Plaques throughout the area. This one remembers 'Dorothy L Sayers' an author of detective stories.
This 3-day itinerary can be used for your first time in Bloomsbury or if you're a frequent visitor looking to explore even further, you'll soon feel like a local after 72 hours. We recommend spending 3 days in the area to truly see and experience all that Bloomsbury has to offer. But if you have less time, then you can pick and choose from the top activities below:
DAY 1 - PARKS & PERFECT SHOPPING IN CENTRAL LONDON
After arriving by train at King's Cross, Euston, or London St Pancras, walk just 10 minutes to your hotel. Or exit Russell Square Tube Station on the Piccadilly Line and you'll automatically be in the heart of the neighbourhood, 2 minutes from Imperial London Hotels.
A guest checking into Bedford Hotel, situated on Southampton Row.
If you arrive before 2pm, you are welcome to drop off your bags to be stored in our luggage rooms. If after 2pm, you can check in with the friendly reception team and get settled in your room. Enjoy a hot shower, make a cup of tea or coffee, connect to the Wi-Fi after your journey, before heading back out again. Don't forget to turn on the TV and check the daily weather forecast on the TV homepage.
First up, it's time for some fresh air. Exploring Russell Square is a must. As one of London's largest garden squares just 2 minutes away, its natural scenery and plenty of benches provide the perfect spot to have a picnic or relax and listen to a podcast. We recommend the London History podcast with Hazel, to immerse yourself in the area's stories further.
Russell Square is completely free and well-maintained, it is worth visiting for those exploring London on a budget. We recommend taking a walk around the perimeter to spot the Imperial London Hotels' Bug Hotel and peruse the information signs about former residents of Bloomsbury, such as Oscar Wilde and T.S Eliot. If you’re hoping for a more interactive walk and to soak up some intriguing facts, you can also book a walking tour with a local guide.
Why not explore more of the parks and gardens such as Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury Square and Gordon Square for a longer walk? Both just as beautiful as their bigger sibling Russell Square, but with their own quirks and character. Literary buffs should look out for the Virginia Woolf statue in Tavistock Square Gardens, commemorating her life and time spent living on the site of Tavistock Hotel.
Beautiful Tavistock Square, which also has a statue of Gandhi, to commemorate his time spent at UCL in the area.
Then take a stroll in Gordon Square which has an impressive array of roses in various peaches, pinks, and red. Their quaint garden coffee shop is also a quiet spot to take fifteen minutes of down time. On Thursdays, 9am - 2pm, throughout the year, head just across the street from Gordon Square and tuck into a locally sourced lunch bought from the Bloomsbury Farmer's Market.
Bloomsbury Farmer’s Market, open throughout the year on Thursdays.
Thinking about what souvenirs to take home already? Or hoping to treat yourself to a new outfit whilst in London? Then, it's time for a spot of shopping. Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road is said to mark the edge of Bloomsbury to the west, which sells an array of stunning décor by British designers. Or walk a few more steps to Primark, Next, John Lewis and more – for some shopping in the high street big names. Although, this part of London is considered Fitzrovia, not Bloomsbury. For a more authentic, 'Bloomsburian' experience you can shop at the Brunswick Centre near Russell Square tube station. This grade 2 listed shopping centre offers a handful of high street brands, an array of restaurants, as well as a large British supermarket.
The Brunswick Centre is a must-see for any visitor to Bloomsbury.
You can shop, grab a bite to eat, visit the art gallery or movie buffs can catch an art house movie at the Curzon Cinema.
Curzon Cinema at the Brunswick Centre
For families searching for a kid-friendly activity in London, head towards Coram's Field's playgrounds, another great park in the area to enjoy some precious family time in the UK summer holidays or for a half term break.
Funland Arcade at the Brunswick Centre
In winter, the nearby arcade, Funland, in the Brunswick Centre can provide endless hours of entertainment and giggles. Your little ones may even win an adorable Paddington Bear to take home. Or, it’s the perfect place to enjoy, as adults, a low-key date night in central London.
DAY 2 - VISIT THE BEST MUSEUMS IN LONDON AND DINE LIKE A LOCAL
Begin your day at the breakfast buffet. Fuel up on an unlimited traditional English Breakfast fare of sausages, bacon, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, and a choice of scrambled or fried eggs. You can also enjoy a lighter continental offering of cereals, freshly baked pastries, fruit, and yoghurt. You can help yourself to as much or as little as you like.
After the best meal of the day, take a 2-minute walk to the inspiring British Museum and spend all morning looking at the exhibits and soak up fascinating history in the 60+ galleries to explore. The British Museum can get busy in the afternoon, with visitors often coming after lunch. To avoid lengthy queues we recommend getting there earlier in the day.
The British Museum has so much to see, including ancient artefacts.
We also advise booking tickets in advance via their website and to see if any of their special events pique your interest too.
Then before you know it, it is time for lunch. Just around the corner, Botanica restaurant is certainly worth a visit, serving freshly prepared food and cocktails, with a patio area that stretches out onto a private garden. A place to catch your breath and enjoy natural surroundings, you'll forget you're in the heart of the city centre. There are plenty of veggie options available too, their signature fish and chips is worth a try.
Tuck into a tasty plate of fish and chips in a relaxing setting at Botanica
Or if you're in the mood for something sweet, then Fortitude Bakehouse, at 35 Colonnade, is the ideal spot to tuck into a cake or cream filled beignet. Their famous beignets became viral social media sensations and not surprisingly, the different cream-filled flavours in brioche buns go well with a coffee. On sunny days you can even perch outside and enjoy the old-world feel of the area's cobbled streets.
A much smaller museum but still worth stopping by is Charles Dickens' house. The famous author moved to Bloomsbury in 1837, the same year our family hotel business began. Charles Dickens, a famous writer known around the world, wrote many of his famous works at 48 Doughty Street. You can even witness the desk where he wrote and see the teacups he drank from. So, don't forget your camera!
Charles Dickens' Museum on Doughty Street
Come the evening, head on over to Atrium Bar for an evening of cocktails and comfort food. Relax in their laid-back yet elegant surroundings and tuck into a hearty meal. A perfect and chilled way to finish your second day in Bloomsbury. On Friday nights you can even enjoy a backdrop of jazz music to complement your meal and end your night in style.
DAY 3 - BROWSE THE BOOKSHOPS AND GO BOWLING
Have an extra hour in bed, you deserve it. After all, there is no rush, check-out is not until 11am. You can amble downstairs for breakfast and help yourself at the buffet just like yesterday. Or order from the breakfast menu at boutique Morton Hotel. Click here to read our frequently asked questions for hotel stays.
After check-out you can leave your bag at your hotel, we have luggage rooms where you can store your bags for a few hours on the same day of checkout. It's important to squeeze out every last moment you have in Bloomsbury and that is easier without hauling around a suitcase.
Once out the door, why not browse the Bloomsbury bookshops? With so many in the area, there are books for everyone. Visit Judd Books for second hand finds, the large Waterstones on Gower Street in an impressive gothic building and Gay is the Word for LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction.
Bookshop on Gower Street
Ready for some competition amongst your friends on a group trip to London? Bowling at Bloomsbury Lanes is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family in American style surroundings. Especially if visiting for a birthday trip, it's a fun way to celebrate and make some memories - popular with teens and young adults.
Finish your trip with some light hearted fun and try bowling in Bloomsbury
Wherever you might be heading next, whether to see other neighbourhoods in London or to travel home, you're bound to leave the neighbourhood with lasting memories. And we look forward to welcoming you back again soon. Don't forget to join the Imperial London Family of Hotels' membership, for exclusive discounts every time you stay in Bloomsbury and receive monthly hidden gems sent straight to your inbox.