The Cultural Heart of London – Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury is one of the most culturally-rich areas of central London and a hive of activity for central London estate agents. Bloomsbury Theatre is well known for its relaxed atmosphere and dedication to performance arts. Bloomsbury Square is just one of several that make this area particularly suited to family living. Other keen selling points for Bloomsbury estate agents are the Bloomsbury museums, which include the world famous British Museum.

Few other areas of London offer the diversity that Bloomsbury residents take for granted. For instance, in addition to being within walking distance of the greatest museums in the world, Bloomsbury dwellers are also in a hub of educational excellence with such notable institutions as The Royal Veterinary College, University College London and the School of Pharmacy to name a few. Then there is the easy access to the best medical centres in the UK, such as the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College Hospital and Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.

If you prefer to spend your time outdoors, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of parks and squares in Bloomsbury. The most obvious example is Bloomsbury Square. It was one of the first squares to appear in London and was developed in the late 17th century by the 4th Earl of Southampton (it started life as the Southampton Square before its name was changed to reflect its location). Bloomsbury Square was immortalised by J.M. Barrie when he chose it to House the Darling family, whose children flew to Never Land with Peter Pan. Russell Square, near the British Museum in Bloomsbury, is a focus of tourist attention because of its memorial to the people who lost their lives in the July 2005 bombings. Mecklenburgh Square has a strong floral focus with lawns, ornamental trees and a garden dedicated specifically to flora from New Zealand.

Kids will love Coram’s Fields, where 7 acres have designed with children in mind. More of a park than a square, Coram’s Fields has been given over to the children of Bloomsbury with a playground, four half-sized football pitches, a pet’s corner, duck pond, basketball court and nursery; adults, i.e. anyone over 16 years old, are only allowed if they are accompanied by children, i.e. anyone younger than 16.

The Royal Academy of Dramatic ART (RADA) is one of the oldest drama schools in the UK, and joins the Bloomsbury Theatre in revving up Bloomsbury’s cultural vibe. The Academy enjoys the patronage of some of the finest actors of stage and screen that the UK has even produced. Lord Attenborough is President of the Academy and Alan Rickman is one of the Vice-Chairmen. And it doesn’t end there; associate members include Sir Michael Gambon, Kenneth Branagh, Ralph Fiennes (thus contributing hugely to the cast of Harry Potter), Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Roger Moore.

The British Museum is joined by the Dickens Museum, Petrie Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology, all of which put Bloomsbury firmly on London’s famous Museum Mile. Culture enthusiasts can also bask in Bloomsbury’s rich literary heritage. The Bloomsbury Group, composed of some of the most noted and forward-thinking writers and artists of the 20th century lived in Bloomsbury. Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell (Woolf’s sister and a famous artist in her own right), E.M. Forster and John Maynard Keynes met regularly to discuss their views on feminism, literature, art and sexuality, which was still considered risqué and taboo.

Those embedded in modern pop culture may be interested to know that Ricky Gervais (of The Office) once called Bloomsbury home, and makes semi-regular appearances at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Charles Darwin was also a Bloomsbury resident and would no doubt make excellent use of the Bloomsbury museums of today. Even Bob Marley briefly called Bloomsbury Square home. What other reasons do you need to need to stop by Bloomsbury to see the sights for yourself?