The four star Montague on the Gardens makes the perfect base from which to explore London’s many attractions. Eurostar and the newly refurbished St Pancras Station are only a few minutes away – you can get here from Brussels in two and a half hours and Paris in three. And once you’re checked in there’s so much to explore!
Bloomsbury is a fashionable residential area that contains some of London's finest parks, buildings and grand garden squares - Russell Square, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury Square, and Coram Fields, to name but a few. It’s home to the University of London's central bodies and departments and numerous healthcare institutions, including the British Medical Association, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, amongst others.
The Montague on the Gardens is almost in the British Museum. Step out of Reception onto Montague Street, turn to your left and walk 200 yards to the junction. Turn right onto Great Russell Street, take about 30 paces and there’s the museum on your right. Housed in one of Britain's architectural landmarks, the collection is one of the finest in existence, spanning two million years of human history. And access is free, so it’s not surprising there are about 6 million visitors a year.
The permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is amongst the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its earliest beginnings to the present. Clearly, you are not going to get around them all (ever!). So what are the highlights? Everyone will produce their own list, and our Concierge has picked 10 of his favourites. However, for a bigger overview of what to see, we recommend the book A history of the world in 100 objects. Written by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, it accompanies a series of 100 15 minute BBC radio broadcasts which you can view as videos. You can also read about each one on the museum’s own website. The museum also hosts a series of spectacular and unique exhibitions – so even if you’ve visited before there’s always something new and exciting to enjoy.
Just walking around the museum takes some stamina (the displays cover an area equivalent to nine football pitches!) and you’ll expend a huge amount of mental energy in every room. That’s why it makes so much sense to stay with us. You can get there nice and early, without a tiring tube or bus journey, and before the crowds arrive. This allows you to take things at a more leisurely pace and means you can even pop back to the hotel for a quiet lunch (much more relaxing than the museum’s busy restaurant and cafes). Then let us revive you with one of our legendary afternoon teas - either served outdoors at the Garden Grill or in our light and sunny conservatories.
To make the whole experience even more appealing we’ve also created a special museum package which includes accommodation, tickets to the current major exhibition, and your breakfast and afternoon tea.
The Sir John Soane’s Museum, home of the famous 19th century architect (who helped found the British Museum), is also nearby. His vast and eclectic collection of antiquities, furniture, paintings, sculpture and timepieces makes it one of the quirkiest and most eccentric museums in London.
The Transport Museum in Covent Garden offers an understanding of London’s past and engages you in the debate about its future. Celebrating 150 years of the tube, the museum has a great number of exhibitions looking into the history of the tube and how it has become what it is today.
The British Library, with 14 million books, 920,000 journal and newspaper titles, 58 million patents, three million sound recordings, and much more is just up the road. The Wiener Library, one of the world's leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era, is also in Bloomsbury. The Library's unique collection of over one million items includes published and unpublished works, press cuttings, photographs and eyewitness testimony.
The area is also rich in literary associations – the Bloomsbury group, as the name suggests, frequented the area and The Charles Dickens Museum, in his only surviving residence, is just five minutes' walk from The Montague. With over 100,000 items including individual manuscripts, rare editions, personal items, paintings and other visual sources this is a great place to find out and visualise more about the great author himself. Finally, there’s the tiny but hugely entertaining Cartoon Museum, just a few minutes' walk from the Montague, featuring the finest examples of British cartoons, caricatures and comic art from the 18th Century to the present day.
A short walk to the south you’ll find cosmopolitan Covent Garden, with intriguing boutiques and speciality stores at every turn. Visit this historic market for its unique shops, street performers and numerous restaurants and bars, set within an Italian-style piazza. Equally close, to the west, is the start of famous Oxford Street, leading to Regent Street, Bond Street and the glittering attractions of Mayfair.
The vibrant streets of Soho, the cinemas around Leicester Square, the theatres of the West End, the restaurants of Chinatown – they’re all tantalisingly close to the Montague either on foot or by tube. Shaftesbury theatre is just a few minutes' walk away and is famous for having shown some of theatre's most magical productions including Peggy Sue Got Married, Thoroughly Modern Millie, High Society, Daddy Cool and Hairspray. A little further down the road is the Cambridge Theatre, a beautifully decorated Grade II listed building in the heart of London. A wonderful theatre that has staged some timeless classics.
Why not take a slow stroll into Chinatown, where you can taste some of the most mouth-watering Chinese delicacies or pop into one of the many shops and pick a souvenir. The Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden, is home to one of the world's leading opera companies and Britain’s largest ballet company.
‘The City’, London’s hugely powerful business and financial centre, ranking above New York City as the leading centre of global finance, is just to the east. Here you can see iconic St Paul’s Cathedral, walk down famous Fleet Street, and visit the fascinating Museum of London. Just to the south of here is the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
You are also not far from Sotheby’s – the world’s oldest international auction house, which has been in continuous operation since 1744. Hatton Garden is to the north-east, and home to the jewellery trade. It’s a centre for the rough diamond industry, and excellent for buying and jewellery repairs.
If you are looking for large green spaces head north to huge Regent’s Park. Covering 410 acres it includes stunning rose gardens with more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. The dramatic views from Primrose Hill have made it a popular place with Londoners for over 150 years.
At the bottom of Primrose Hill you’ll find London Zoo, with enough wildlife to keep the whole family occupied for hours. Once here you should visit Camden Lock, one of London’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment areas – it offers live music and comedy venues, café’s and bars.
Or how about one of the other Royal Parks? Hyde Park is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers' Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fountain. The park also offers various outdoor recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding.