The ultimate Bloomsbury guide

4 December 2020

The main UCL campus is located in the heart of Bloomsbury. Read on to get to know the area a little better before you arrive.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) and London life

We understand that some of you may be studying remotely to begin with due to the coronavirus situation and therefore unable to arrive on campus and in London in January.

We hope that even if you can’t join us immediately, that these articles get you excited for when you are able to join us here in London and give you a flavour of the amazing things to come.

London's beautiful garden squares and wide streets have attracted esteemed thinkers and artists for centuries – just look at the mass of blue plaques on all the buildings! Bloomsbury is undoubtedly a fantastic place to call home. Here's my pick of the best places to relax, shop, meet friends, and make the most of your time here. 

Please remember that due to the coronavirus pandemic, some cafes and locations such as theatres and clubs may have temporarily closed, have different opening times and you may have to book ahead.

Even if you may not be able to enjoy these spaces and events as you might normally, many venues are hosting free online tours and virtual events for you to join in with and your favourite restaurants and cafes may be operating a takeaway service so you can still eat and drink your favourites in the comfort of your own home.

Please check their websites ahead of time to ensure you don't miss out.

Tottenham Court Road and the surrounding area

When wandering along the open streets and past the barrage of shops on Tottenham Court Road, look out for:

  • The Brunswick Centre - A bold architectural feat of the 1960’s, the Brunswick Centre is home to restaurants, cafes, high street shops, and an arthouse cinema, the Curzon!
  • The British Museum - A classic Bloomsbury gem, containing a permanent collection of around 8 million historical cultural artefacts from around the world. For even more learning outside of your degree – and it’s free!

Places for a rainy day

Chill in the peaceful garden squares (Gordon Square, Tavistock Square, and Russell Square), but on a rainier day…

  • Senate House Library - Don’t be intimidated by its cold, towering exterior. Accessible to all University of London students, this is the place to find a cosy reading spot - plush sofas, and a maze of books to explore. The South Block Café on the ground floor does tasty hot chocolate too – a winter staple.
  • The Wellcome Collection - “The free destination for the incurably curious.” Sounds like our kind of place. Be sure to check out the exhibitions in the Collection, and if not, the reading room is a haven of beanbags and snug chairs for you to unwind with a book.

Bloomsbury after dark

Revel in Bloomsbury after-hours, creating nights to remember!

  • Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes - Picture yourself in 1950s America - bowling alley, karaoke booths, a pizzeria, AND a diner. With themed club nights, great food, and music, it’d be rude not to visit this Bloomsbury hotspot.
  • For an unconventional theatre night exploring current issues, I highly recommend Camden People’s Theatre - UCL’s Jazz, Drama, and Musical Theatre societies have performed here over the last few years!
  • Closer to home, we have our own Bloomsbury Theatre and Studio on Gordon Street. This is the perfect place for some theatre action and the Studio hosts comedians, and other small-scale shows. 
  • Last but not least, head down to the Bloomsbury Tavern for a well-deserved drink after the long slog of library work, lectures, labs, and seminars!

Suriyah Rashid, UCL alumna, BA Language and Culture