10 places to visit in the local area
Goodenough College is located in Bloomsbury which is filled with a variety of interesting places to visit. To give newcomers an introduction to the area Thomas Kelly, a current Member of the College, has put together a list of his 10 favourite places.
Living at Goodenough College and in leafy Bloomsbury, you are spoilt for beautiful locations to explore. From high-class restaurants to quaint coffee houses, secret gardens to bohemian speakeasies. Here is my selection of some of the most unmissable places located just a short 10 minute walk away from the College.
1. Tuttis Café
This classic local spot should be renamed Freddies 2.0 for the large amount of GC members who can be seen sipping coffee. Tuttis Café is located about a quarter of the way down Lambs Conduit street on the corner of the junglesque Great Ormond Street, making it ideal for people-watching. The vast selection of jacket potatoes, delicious smoothies, and, of course, top-notch coffee make it incredibly popular with locals and students alike, with GC students even receiving a 10% discount.
2. Gray’s Inn Gardens
Hidden away from prying eyes by an impenetrably thick hedge, Gray’s Inn Gardens is located at the end of Doughty Street on Theobalds Road. Its sparse opening hours (from 12-2:30 pm on weekdays) and clandestine location mean it deters most of the public, making it a more tranquil and idyllic place to spend a lunch break. Historically known as ‘the Walks’, it was first laid out by Sir Francis Bacon in 1608, who created its avenue of neatly clipped trees ideal for a short promenade.
3. Galvin Bar & Grill (Kimpton Fitzroy London)
If you’re seeking an evening of luxurious fine dining, look no further than Galvin Bar & Grill, located in the opulent dining room of the Victorian mega-hotel, The Kimpton Fitzroy. Specialising in the traditional English roast, the best time to visit is on Sunday and order their succulent Cotswold White roast chicken with a side of grilled hispi cabbage with bacon and cauliflower cheese. And, of course, no Sunday dinner is complete without the pièce de résistance, the sticky toffee pudding smothered in ice cream.
A lesser known fact about this hotel is that it used to be known as the Hotel Russell (being on Russell Square). A group of university heads met her in 1994 to form the Russell Group of 24 public research universities. The Russell Group is like the Ivy League in the USA. UCL, LSE, KCL, Imperial and Queen Mary’s are all Russell Group universities.
4. Curzon Bloomsbury
Is this a Bond villain’s secret lair? A Nuclear Bunker? No, it’s the Curzon at the Brunswick Centre, your local cinema. If you’re looking for the latest blockbuster, this place isn’t really for you; it’s for those who know their Kubrick from their Tarantino, their Lynch from their Scorsese, and either love or hate Wes Anderson with a fiery passion. Head down its concrete steps and expand your knowledge of arthouse cinema with an experimental documentary, bio-pic, or surrealistic masterpiece.
5. The Foundling Museum
Located practically next door to Willy G (our affectionate name for William Goodenough House), The Foundling Museum tells the story of the UK’s first children’s charity hospital. Established in 1739 by Thomas Coram, whose name adorns the children’s playground, Coram’s Fields and the adjacent charity. The current building dates from the 1930s yet adopted many 18th-century architectural features from the original, demolished buildings. Their current (2022) exhibition, Superheros, Orphans & Origins, offers a fascinating account of the representation of foster children, orphans, and childhood in comic book fiction. The painter Hogarth and the composer Handel were governors. Handel’s Messiah was first performed in its chapel and there is a large collection of both Hogarth’s and Handel’s work in the Museum.
6. Bloomsbury Lanes
If you’re feeling competitive and looking to beat your friends, head down to the 50s-style bowling alley at Bloomsbury Lanes on Bedford Way. Book a lane with your friends and sample some of their retro-themed cocktails, fast-food snacks, and over 16 beers on tap. When you are done bowling, there are also karaoke rooms for hire, so choose your best singing partners, and belt out Dancing Queen together.
7. Gay’s The Word Bookshop
The UK’s oldest LGBT+ bookshop, established in 1979 by a group of gay socialists, has been a community space for people to come together, share resources, hold events, and raise awareness of LGBT+ causes. It is featured in documentaries, films, and tv shows, most notably Pride (2014), which tells the story of a group called Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners that used to meet in the bookshop and raise money for the striking Welsh miners.
8. New Bloomsbury Set
Subtly located at the corner of Marchmont Street, you’ll find the New Bloomsbury Set, a speakeasy cocktail bar named for the group of intellectuals, philosophers, artists and writers that wandered these streets in the early twentieth century. It specialises in tiki style Caribbean cocktails and is known for its orange and pineapple daiquiris and pina coladas that are excellent thirst-quenchers in the summer heat.
9. Leather Lane Market
Only a short detour down Clerkenwell Road, you’ll find Leather Lane food market, which runs every weekday from 10am to 2pm. Spanning the entire length of the street, the market sells everything from second-hand clothes to fruit and veg, and, of course, street food from all around the world. From Indonesian to Jamaican, Louisiana BBQ to Indian dosa wraps, the market has something to suit any taste, with every stall having vegan and vegetarian options.
10. The Piano Works
Are you sick of listening to the same music played by the same DJs every weekend? Deep down in a Victorian basement, there is a totally unique live-music venue, The Piano Works, in which the audience decides exactly what is played. Write down your request on a slip of paper and pass it to the barman, and the musicians will perform it.
11. WC Cocktail Bar
We know it’s supposed to be 10 but we couldn’t resist slipping in an extra.
Down these tiny steps to what used to be a Victorian public toilet is the closest bar to the College. The interior still has the cubicles and urinals where you can now sit and enjoy a fantastic Negroni or Martini while nibbling on a shared platter of charcuterie (WC stands for Wine and Charcuterie – not what you thought!) It’s not cheap so treat yourself to one here before heading back to the College’s GBar where you’ll find the cheapest drink in the area.