London: A cheapo guide to Bloomsbury’s hotels, restaurants and bars
It’s not surprising why Bloomsbury is so popular with visitors to London. It’s both charming – picture streets of Georgian townhouses with pretty garden squares and cozy pubs – and convenient, being situated in the centre of the city with attractions such as the British Museum just around the corner.
There are still lots of budget accommodation available in the area, while the large student contingent, courtesy of University College London, means Bloomsbury offers plenty of cheap eats and entertainment options, too. What more could a Cheapo ask for?
Where To Stay
The Ridgemount Hotel
65–67 Gower Street
One of the few hotels on Gower Street that is still family run, the Rees family are charming hosts (you can read our interview with Aled Rees here). This is a clean and comfortable base for a stay in London that offers excellent value for money. Accommodation is split between private and shared bathrooms. Doubles from £64.
61–63 Guildford Street
Owner Rosanna Marazzi is also one of our favorite proprietors (read our interview here) and is responsible for the warm welcome visitors receive at the Celtic Hotel. This traditional townhouse is homely and bedrooms are small but pretty, and exceptionally clean. No wonder past guests have been known to refer to it as their “home in London”. Doubles from £79.
37 Tavistock Place, Russell Square
For a different kind of accommodation option, head to this socially inclined hostel. It sleeps over 800 and, while perhaps not the place for those seeking some peace and quiet, it is perfect for those on the look out for something more lively. It’s even got its own nightclub offering different events every evening. Doubles from £60
Want more options? Here’s a full list of our recommended budget hotel picks in Bloomsbury.
Where To Eat
Mary Ward Centre
42 Queen Square WC1N 3AQ
This small but perfectly formed veggie café offers a hearty and healthy pit stop. Prices are extremely reasonable and you can indulge in a homemade soup for £2.15 or a hot main for £4.30. There are always vegan and gluten free options on the menu, too. The café is situated within an adult education centre and opening hours can echo the times of classes, so it’s worth checking ahead before making a special journey there, especially over the weekend.
12 Tottenham Street
Gig’s comes with the recommendation of many, including Aled Rees of the Ridgemount Hotel (see above). It’s been based here since 1958 and offers generous portions of traditional British fish and chips in all their fried and battered glory. You can take away, or eat in to enjoy the charming service on offer from the staff. Its owners are Greek, so expect some kebabs and Greek specialties on the menu alongside the usual cod and haddock.
35–37 Theobalds Road
This family run Italian café bar will service your culinary needs for breakfast, lunch and evening. It’s all traditional fare, and better quality than many of the “Italian” chains you’ll find around the city. Generously filled focaccie are about £5 and you can pick up a pizza for less than £8. It’s well worth popping in for an aperitivo, served up with tasty finger food between 5 pm and 7 pm every day.
Where To Drink
15 Charlotte Street
Samuel Smiths pubs are always worth seeking out for their cheap drinks served in no-fuss environments. In this case, the Fitzroy Tavern’s rich history is simply another bonus. Built as a coffee house in the 19th century, it’s been a meeting place for many bohemians over the years including Dylan Thomas and George Orwell. Who knows whom you’ll be drinking your pint next to?
252 Grays Inn Road
This Grade II listed pub was originally built to serve traders and shopkeepers and, for a busy area of central London, it still attracts a friendly local crowd. It’s very much a traditional boozer, with chat taking the place of music or TV screen, and Young’s Ales on tap. There’s pub food available, too.
Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology
If you would rather avoid all the crowds in the Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, the Petrie is worth a visit. Part of University College London, it’s free and has one of greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archeology in the world, with over 80,000 objects revealing what life was like in the Nile Valley thousands of years ago.