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Bloomsbury Hotels, History & Area Guide

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Find out more about the history and appeal of Bloomsbury, its attractions and why the Rathbone is one of the most iconic hotels in Bloomsbury & the perfect location from which to explore Britain’s capital city.


Bloomsbury – The Perfect Location for Your Visit to London

One of the most fascinating districts of London, Bloomsbury is perhaps most famous for its association with the arts, education and medical science. Today it’s the perfect location from which to explore the city and some of the most popular places to stay in the city are listed among the hotels of Bloomsbury.

In the London Borough of Camden, Bloomsbury was first mentioned by name in 1201 AD, although at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 it was recorded as a vineyard and ‘a wood for 100 pigs’.

Today, Bloomsbury is bordered to the north by the Euston Road, to the west by Portland Place, to the east by Gray’s Inn Road and to the south by Oxford Street. Its central location makes it the perfect location from which to explore.


Bloomsbury Hotels

Today, the hotels in Bloomsbury rank among the most popular in London due to their great location and close proximity to a number of famous London places such as University College London, the British Museum, SOAS and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The hotels in Bloomsbury give a nod to the area’s artistic heritage and there are a number of smaller Bloomsbury hotels bordering the famous squares. For those seeking a boutique four star hotel in Bloomsbury, The Rathbone offers it all – location, service and quality all without breaking the bank. We are one of the most iconic Bloomsbury hotels and are within easy walking distance of the area’s most popular tourist sites, including the British Museum with its 7,000 years of art and artefacts and Pollock’s Toy Museum. Beyond these great attractions, you’ll find dozens of bookshops, pubs and restaurants all within walking distance of The Rathbone Hotel, as is the sixth tallest building in the UK, the 620ft BT Tower! We’re also one of the most popular Tottenham Court Road hotels and one of the closest hotels to Oxford Street.


The History of Bloomsbury

The name Bloomsbury was first noted at the beginning of the 13th century AD, when William de Blemond – a Norman knight and nobleman – bought the land. The name is an altered version of the word ‘Blemondisberi’ – which literally means the bury, or manor, of Blemond.

At the end of the fourteenth century, the manor was bought by King Edward III. He gave it to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse who kept it as farmland. However, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, King Henry VIII took back control of the land for the Crown and handed it to the 1st Earl of Southampton. The Earl built what finally became Bloomsbury Square and over the following 150 years the area took shape. Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford developed the north side of the area using Russell Square as its centrepiece.

The history of the area can be charted by its plethora of magnificent formal squares. Bedford Square, Bloomsbury Square and Russell Square are the best-known and are surrounded by some of the finest Georgian houses in London.


Bloomsbury and the Arts

The Bloomsbury Group (or Bloomsbury Set) comprised a group of artists, writers, intellectuals and philosophers – most educated at Cambridge – who lived and worked in the area and included novelists Virginia Woolf and EM Forster, economist John Maynard Keynes, artist Roger Fry and author of Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey. While they collectively denied the formality of their ‘group’, they were united in an unwavering belief in the importance of the arts to British society and their collective works have gone on to influence vast tracts of literature, design, criticism and economics as well as forming our modern attitudes towards sexuality, feminism and pacifism.

It was in Bloomsbury that Charles Darwin first developed his theory of natural selection and where Karl Marx created Communism and the Bloomsbury hotels are perfectly located for exploring the area and it’s history.

Today Bloomsbury is home to a number of famous theatres and many guests choose the Rathbone specifically because we’re one of the top rated London Theatreland hotels.


Beyond Creative

Bloomsbury is also a hub for world-class medical research facilities including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the British Medical Association, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.

In addition, Bloomsbury is a base for some of the finest educational establishments in the world, including University College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the Royal Veterinary College and RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts as well as housing London campuses of American universities such as NYU, Florida State and Syracuse.


Getting Around

Bloomsbury is the perfect place from which to explore London. Within a few minutes’ walk of The Rathbone Hotel, you will find Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Russell Square, Euston Square, Goodge Street and Warren Street underground stations from where you can explore the whole of London.

Just to the north of Bloomsbury are King’s Cross St Pancras and Euston mainline stations. From King’s Cross you can get around the UK and take the Eurostar to Paris and Brussels and Euston gives you access to the west of the UK.

There are over a dozen bus routes in and out of Bloomsbury and if you are interested in the disused underground stations that are all over London, you can see parts of the British Museum tube station from adjacent trains where LU staff use it to store sleepers and other equipment.


Why the Rathbone?

If you are seeking the best Bloomsbury hotels, we are a boutique four star hotel and have earned our reputation as one of Bloomsbury’s best hotels for our warm welcome, our exceptional customer service and our location – we believe The Rathbone is the best hotel in Bloomsbury and we’d like to think that our guests would say the same!



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08 December 2023