Trafalgar Square is an iconic – and popular – open urban space for Londoners
With centuries’ worth of history and the arts across 32 boroughs and the titular City, London truly earns its distinction as Europe’s financial and cultural powerhouse. Covering over an estimated 600 square miles, there’s an infinite number of places to explore the full depth of London’s vibrancy. The West End of London, including the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, packs much of this energy into a relatively compact area – perfect for exploring! (Another neighborhood worthy of exploration? South Kensington, of course!)
Welcome to Bloomsbury / West End
An unofficial designation, The West End used to refer to the region west of Charing Cross in the 19th Century but now refers to the entertainment district and shopping areas from Covent Garden across to Oxford Street. Considered to be the epicenter of London’s commercial and entertainment industries, there are plenty of shopping opportunities and live theatre here. Many UK film premieres take place in the region’s Leicester Square, while Covent Garden entices tourists and locals with its shops and marketplaces. For a better picture of the area, take a look at our video guide of the West End! Read the entire story here…»
British Museum Bloomsbury
The picturesque neighborhood of Bloomsbury is often associated with learning, literature, and the arts – and for good reason. The neighborhood is home to many London attractions: the world class British Museum, University of London and it was the home of many famous writers in the early 20th Century such as Virginia Woolf.
The area is best-known among visitors for housing the British Museum, which is a site not to be missed. Founded in 1753, it is the oldest public museum in the world. It famously (and controversially) holds the Elgin Marbles, the sculptures taken from the Parthenon in Athens. It also contains countless artifacts from almost any period in the history of human life on earth, from the Rosetta Stone to giant Egyptian sculptures and other priceless pieces of history. Read the entire story here…»
West End of London
In the city William Shakespeare, Harold Pinter, and Andrew Lloyd Weber called home, it’s only natural a visitor to London would want to see a play or musical while in the city.
Although the idea of seeing a West End production may sounds like a daunting experience, it’s much more laid back than you’d think – and better yet – cheaper.
The West End theater district is located in central London, mostly around Leicester Square and the Covent Garden neighborhood, making in simple to reach from the Tube. Covent Garden is home to numerous restaurants and pubs, and the ones located near theaters will frequently offer a special for before or after the shows.
Dress at West End shows is very causal. You wouldn’t be out of place in anything ranging from a pair of jeans and a t-shirt to a suit or dress. It’s really up to the attendee to wear what they feel comfortable in. But no need for anything too fancy – leave that for the opera or ballet. Read the entire story here…»
Photo of the British Museum
The British Museum in London houses over 7 million objects which document human culture. The museum was established by British parliament in 1753 and was opened to the public in 1759. Today the museum has expanded and hosts over 6 million visitors per year. Located in Bloomsbury, the British Museum is open daily and admission is free.
To fully enjoy the majestic museum, consider staying in a Bloomsbury flat. For example, this 2 bedroom vacation rental in Bloomsbury, Westminster (LN-866) is within walking distance of The British Museum.
An open air theatre scene in Regent Park. Photo by Mike Fleming
If your image of London town includes grey skies and dreary weather, you’re way overdue for a trip to England’s capital. With summer temperatures and (almost) constant sunshine, London goes al fresco all season long with unlimited outdoor activities and entertainment. And since many events are free, all you need to enjoy them is a New York Habitat vacation accommodation in London—oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Since the Olympics are only two years off, why not take a beginner’s kayaking lesson to learn the sport? Sponsored by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, these courses go through August and take place on the Thames.
Another sporting activity in which you can participate is Ping. A month-long, citywide initiative, Ping will have ping-pong tables popping up in outdoor locations throughout London. Balls and racquets are provided, it’s free to play and it’s a great way to make friends. Read the entire story here…»
Photo of the Somerset House where the Courtauld Gallery is Located
The Courtauld Gallery in West End, London is a smaller museum housing art from the early renaissance all the way up to the 20th century. The Gallery is most famous for its collection of impressionist and post- impressionist paintings. The Courtauld Gallery is open daily for visitors to see the temporary exhibits as well as the permanent collection.
If you want to fully enjoy the museum, and the precious surroundings, consider renting an apartment in West End through New York Habitat.
Enjoy a beer at the Ship Tavern in London
New York Habitat’s final pick for a must-visit London pub is The Ship Tavern in Holborn, Bloomsbury. This pub is tucked away on the corner of a narrow, cobblestone street, hidden from the throngs of tourists museum-hopping in the area. Like many New York Habitat vacation accommodations, it has the perfect location—so stop in for a quick pint or stay awhile before heading home to your convenient rental flat.
The Ship Tavern has been in business since 1549. As part of its illustrious past—in particular, during the heinous reign of Henry VIII—The Ship served as a hideaway for local Catholics, who would sneak in for a mass given from behind the bar by outlawed priests. Even today, some of the original hidden passages and panels still exist. Read the entire story here…»
Photo of Queen Anne Square in Bloomsbury, London
As the intellectual epicenter of nineteenth and twentieth century, London, and especially the Bloomsbury area, were home to some of the most celebrated authors and thinkers of the time. With the University of London, the British Museum, the British Library, the Pushkin House and the Dickens House all within walking distance, it’s no wonder that the area continues to attract academics, artists and literature lovers from all over the world . Want to make sure the story of your visit to the city has a happy ending? Book a stay in a nearby New York Habitat apartment rental in London!
The history of Bloomsbury reads like the shelves of a library:
Virginia Woolf lived at 51 Gordon Square and hosted the famed Bloomsbury Group there. Jeremy Bentham founded University College on Gower Street, where his remains can still be seen in the South Wing (for a sight you’ll never forget, skip Madame Toussaud’s and head here instead!). T.S. Eliot was dubbed “the Pope of Russell Square” and hid out from his first wife at 24 Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Mary Godwin is rumored to have first met Shelley in the St. Pancras Old Church, where she was visiting the grave of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. Read the entire story here…»
View of Bloomsburry and the British Museum glass-ceilinged courtyard
Most visitors to London have the British Museum near the top of their list of things to see—and it certainly is an afternoon well spent. But many overlook the wonderment contained in the Sir John Soane’s Museum in Bloomsbury, a curio cabinet of a house that holds the architect’s earthly treasures. No need to sacrifice one for the other—a stay in a New York Habitat accommodation in Bloomsbury or an apartment rental in Fitzrovia will put you in walking distance of both, with time to spare for tea.
The area around Bloomsbury is among the loveliest in London, with plenty of public squares and narrow sidestreets down which to wander, as well as an increasing Eastern European influence. But its crowning jewel is the British Museum—especially after renovations that gave it a glass-ceilinged courtyard—so don’t expect to have the galleries all to yourself, especially on those not infrequent rainy afternoons. Read the entire story here…»