Bloomsbury covers the area from Holborn towards Euston Road, and this walking tour takes in all notable points in the proximity.
The starting point of this tour is at Holborn Tube Station, which is located less than a mile from the Crescent Hotel and takes around 20 minutes to walk. This walking tour should take 2-3 hours to complete.
This tour starts at Holborn Tube Station, where you must cross the road and head towards the junction of Red Lion Street. The Old Red Lion pub, which dates from 1899, is located on the corner. This site was previously occupied by another pub, the Red Lyon Inn, which was established in the 16th century.
It is rumoured that Oliver Cromwell’s body was stored overnight in the Red Lyon Inn on its way to the gallows. The bodies of Cromwell and 2 others were then supposedly thrown into a pit in close proximity to the pub, and there are many tales that suggest these men still haunt the area to this day.
The tour continues as you head up Red Lion Street, continuing until you reach Princeton Street. To your left is Red Lion Square, which was the setting for the famous battle between the lawyers who worked there, and the workmen tasked with developing the site. The workmen were victorious and the development continued.
Sitting in the north-east corner of Red Lion Square is Conway Hall, which you must pass in order to navigate back onto Red Lion Street. From here, you can easily pick up Lamb’s Conduit Street, where you can view the remains of the conduit pump that was used to transfer drinking water into London from the River Fleet.
Continuing along Lamb’s Conduit Street, you will reach Rugby Street at the top. Named after the Warwickshire hometown of grocer Lawrence Sheriff, Rugby Street boasts many independent shops which are a pleasant distraction as the tour takes you through towards Great Ormond Street.
Great Ormond Street, arguably most well known because of the children’s hospital that takes its name, is the next stop on this tour.
While Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children is the most famous medical institution here, it is joined by other cutting-edge establishments. The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery are both located just a stone’s throw away, adjacent to Queen’s Square.
Created in 1716 and named after Queen Anne, Queen’s Square actually contains a statue of Queen Charlotte, who was a frequent visitor to the area when her husband, King George III, was being treated. The nearby “Queen’s Larder” pub is also named after Charlotte.
Upon exiting Queen’s Square, the tour makes its way to Russell Square via Guilford Street, where you will find Pret-A-Manger on the corner.
Russell Square was supposedly named after Francis Russell, the 5th Duke of Bedford, though it may have taken the family name even earlier. Francis was the driving force behind much of the local development, commissioning the master developer James Burton to transform the area into a residential hub. With Burton responsible for many developments in Bloomsbury and Holborn, you will notice distinct similarities as you explore the various districts.
From here, we will turn right onto Bernard Street before taking the 2nd left onto Marchmont Street. On the right is the Brunswick Centre, a grade II listed building which boasts residential, retail and leisure facilities. Further up Marchmont Street, you can admire the plaques of famous people and see which houses they lived in.
Just a 2 minute walk from the Brunswick Centre (via Hunter Street) is the Foundling Museum, located adjacent to Brunswick Square Gardens and Coram’s Field. The Foundling Museum opened in 2004 and pays tribute to the Foundling Hospital, which was the first home in the United Kingdom to take care of children who had been orphaned or abandoned.
From the Foundling Museum, you must head back towards Hunter Street, then turn left onto Tavistock Place, continuing until you reach Tavistock Square Gardens. This was also developed by James Burton, with many of the properties being completed years later by Thomas Cubitt. If you turn right out of the gardens onto Tavistock Square, you will pass the memorial for the victims of the 2005 London Bombings. Opposite the memorial, you will see statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Virginia Woolf.
From here, head north towards the British Medical Association’s BMA House, which has been their headquarters for almost 100 years. The position where BMA House now stands was once the home of Charles Dickens.
Leave Tavistock Place via Endsleigh Place and head towards Gordon Square. Developed by Thomas Cubitt, many members of the Bloomsbury Group lived here, most notably Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.
These are the final few sights of the walking tour as you make your way towards Euston Road.
If you exit Gordon Square from the south, you will see Euston Church on your right. This Grade I listed church was built in the mid-19th century by master architect John Raphael Brandon and welcomes visitors for their midweek small groups (these usually take place on an evening, so if you wish to join in, you will need to time your walk accordingly).
Continuing onto Byng Place, the nearby UCL campus boasts many wonderful buildings, one of which is the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Named after former UCL professor Flinders Petrie, this wonderful UCL museum offers free entry to the public and houses one of the world’s finest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology.
If you head back towards Byng Place, turn right and then right again, you will find yourself on Gower Street. As you continue up Gower Street, you will find the Grant Museum of Zoology on your left, and further up on the right hand side is the main entrance to UCL. A further 100m up the road will bring you to the junction of Gower Street and Euston Road, where you will find Euston Square Tube Station on the corner.