This section of our London, England City Guide describes the best places to visit in Bloomsbury, which is gaining a reputation as one of the leading places to be in London.
Bloomsbury is known as the home of British Museum, the British Library and the University of London. Historically, Britain’s writers and intellectuals have favored this area. It is a pleasant section of London and has much to offer, but tourists mainly flock to the British Museum and, to a lesser extent, the British Library, leaving the rest of Bloomsbury to its residents.
Of course, you may have read of some of its residents, well – fictional ones that is, as the Darling residence in Bloomsbury was visited by Barrie’s Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.
The British Museum
Goodge Street, Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn
The British Museum is one of the world’s great museums. The venue is so large and complex that to tour it to advantage, you need to take a guided tour, rent an electronic guide, or purchase a print guide. If you really like museums, you could spend days here, as the museum has an incredible breadth of worthy exhibits.
If you are not a museum aficionado or are short on time, be sure the see the Museum’s most famous exhibits: the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens, and a fine collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt – including its noted mummy collection.
If you have a little more time, visit the exhibits on the Roman Civilization and prehistoric/ Roman Britain
The British Museum contains Europe’s largest covered public square, the Great Court. Opened in 2000, the Great Court is the new focal point of the British Museum. It has become the cultural meeting place of the Museum and its architecture is worthy of admiration.
The Reading Room (formerly the British Library) has been restored and is stunning. This is the same Reading Room where Carl Marx spent time reading about capitalism.
The British Museum is another of London’s “must see” attractions. You can find out details on hours of service and current exhibitions the Museum’s official website .
The British Library
Kings Cross St. Pancras, Euston, Euston Square
Libraries generally do not make for good tourism, but the British Library at St. Pancras is the exception to the rule. The John Ritblat Gallery, housing “The Treasures of the British Library” is an extraordinary find. In it, you will be able to view the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, Mercator’s Atlas, the Lindisfarne Gospels, Shakespeare’s First Folio, original music, as written by Mozart, Handel and the Beatles, among other treasures of the written word.
For the stamp collectors in the crowd, the Library houses what is considered by many to be the best display of stamps in the world, in the Entrance Hall in the upper Ground Floor. The British Library houses the National Philatelic Collections of the United Kingdom.