With its elegant streets, rich history, intellectual influence – the area gave its name to The Bloomsbury Group, the literary circle that counted Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster amongst its members – and, of course, its array of shops, Bloomsbury is certainly one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in London.
At The Montague On The Gardens, we’re lucky to be situated right in the heart of Bloomsbury. For visitors to London who are eager to discover more of what the area has to offer, we’re currently hosting a series of Sunday Afternoon Tea Walks, beginning this month. In honour of the timeless British tradition, these tours lead guests to some of Bloomsbury’s most interesting historic landmarks before returning to the hotel for an award-winning afternoon tea, complete with all the trimmings.
Once our tour and tea experience has reached its inevitable end, get back out and discover a little more of the local area – this time with a spot of retail therapy. Below, we’ve handpicked five of our favourite Bloomsbury shops to further your explorations and fill your suitcase.
For elegant contemporary jewellery and accessories: Maggie Owen
Founded in 2003, the jewellery destination Maggie Owen settled into this Bloomsbury branch in 2006. Today, the shop – which is located on stylish Rugby Street – is a treasure trove of costume jewellery courtesy of a number of international designers, from Philippe Ferrandis and Anton Heunis to Stefanie Freydont and Karin Andreasson. Maggie’s carefully curated selection offers stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces that will certainly stand out in a crowd.
13 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QT, +44 (0)20 7404 7070
For a taste of literary history: Persephone Books
Given the area’s abundant literary history, stopping by a bookstore is a Bloomsbury must. One of the best is Persephone Books, a charming little shop on Lamb’s Conduit Street. Founded in order to give deserved attention to previously neglected mid-20th century female authors, the shop offers an array of hand-picked fiction and non-fiction.
59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB, +44 (0)20 7242 9292
For stylish home furnishings: Pentreath & Hall
Opened by architect and designer Ben Pentreath in partnership with friend Bridie Hall, Pentreath & Hall is a one-stop destination for home décor. Shoppers can pick up beguiling little items for the home, from hand-blown glasses and colourful vases to stationery and art prints. But beware: once you start browsing, it’ll be tempting to walk off with half the shop.
17 Rugby Street, London WC1N 3QT, +44 (0)20 7430 2526
For rainy weather accessories: James Smith & Sons
It’s no surprise that shoppers will find some of the finest umbrellas out there in London, and for those seeking hand-crafted quality and timeless style, James Smith & Sons is the perfect choice. This historic shop – which dates back to 1830 – still hosts a basement workshop. In addition to umbrellas, the Bloomsbury shop also sells elegant canes and walking sticks.
Hazelwood House, 53 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1BL, +44 (0)20 7836 4731
For contemporary arts and crafts: Cockpit Arts
Founded in 1986, Cockpit Arts is at once a social enterprise, a design incubator, a studio, and, at times, a shop. Created to support crafters and designers through every step of their creative processes, the hub hosts open studio visits as well as private shopping tours. Sign up for one and browse a number of unique pieces, including jewellery, ceramics, stationery, and textiles.
Cockpit Yard, Northington Street, London WC1N 2NP, +44 (0)20 7419 1959