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Holborn area guide

Explore the literary history of nearby Bloomsbury and discover Holborn’s best restaurants, bars and pubs in WC1 and WC2

Holborn starts at the western boundaries of the historic City of London, and its central location makes it a popular place to work. But that also makes it a great place to play. Holborn restaurants serve a range of international cuisine, from Korean to North American. The bars and pubs in Holborn comprise some of London's most historic hostelries as well as cutting-edge drinking spots. The shops in Holborn tend to be independent places that specialise in unusual stock. Where else can you buy an umbrella with a hickory crook when it unexpectedly rains on your way to the office?

What are your favourite Holborn haunts? Let us know in the comments. 

Love London Awards: this year's winners

Homeslice, Fitzrovia
Restaurants

Homeslice, Fitzrovia

A second branch of the popular pizza spot on Neal's Yard. 

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Store Street Espresso
Restaurants

Store Street Espresso

The clientele at this coffee bar smack-bang in the centre of uni-land, just a minute from Tottenham Court Road, combines academia and commerce. Quite apart from the enviable location, there’s much to entice. First is the long, attractive room with bright walls and skylights at the back. Second is the food, which is a cut above many basic coffee bars and very reasonably priced by West End standards; most sandwiches and baked goods are around £1 cheaper than at many comparable places. You’ll even find that rarity, a top-notch vegetable quiche. Third is the service, which is unfailingly friendly and well informed. Finally, there’s the coffee, all of it espresso-based. Most beans come from Square Mile, but there’s a changing roster of guest beans well worth investigating. On our visit, it was a Yirgacheffe roasted in (wait for it) Detroit, Michigan. The espresso from these beans is possibly the best we’ve had all year: properly tiny, lovely crema, with a rounded sweetness that required no sugar. A flat white was also judged a triumph. Store Street? We’d rather call it Star Street.  

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Revival Retro Boutique
Shopping

Revival Retro Boutique

From the ’20s to the ’60s, Revival Retro will have something in the style of each decade.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Sir John Soane's Museum
Museums

Sir John Soane's Museum

When he wasn’t designing notable buildings (among them the original Bank of England), Sir John Soane (1753-1837) obsessively collected art, furniture and architectural ornamentation. In the nineteenth century, he turned his house into a museum to which, he said, ‘amateurs and students’ should have access. The result is this perfectly amazing place. Much of the museum’s appeal derives from the domestic setting. The modest rooms were modified by Soane with ingenious devices to channel and direct daylight, and to expand space, including walls that open out like cabinets to display some of his many paintings (Canaletto, Turner, Hogarth). The Breakfast Room has a beautiful domed ceiling, inset with convex mirrors. The extraordinary Monument Court contains a sarcophagus of alabaster, so fine that it’s almost translucent, that was carved for the pharaoh Seti I (1291-78 BC) and discovered in his tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. There are also numerous examples of Soane’s eccentricity, not least the cell for his imaginary monk ‘Padre Giovanni’. In May 2015 the Museum opened Soane's private apartment and Model Room to the public. The apartments had not been open to visitors for over 160 years, so guests paying a visit to the fully restored model room, bedroom, bathroom, book passage, oratory and morning room will get a true glimpse of London's past.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Bradley's Spanish Bar
Bars and pubs

Bradley's Spanish Bar

Don't be fooled by the name: this red and yellow boozer just off Oxford Street's ropier end is not a hotspot for sherries and fine tapas (see nearby Barrica for that). In fact, it’s not even a bar. Bradley’s is definitely a pub, and with its jumble sale decor and tattered furniture, it sure puts the 'shabby' in 'shabby chic'. But don't be put off: Londoners love Bradley’s for its low-key and unpretentious vibe. At the tiny two-floor venue, the atmosphere is warm and friendly (except for when there's a Spain v England football match on), the drinks are a fair price for area and, the real showpiece, there's a vinyl jukebox pumping out Motown classics and disco bangers in the ground-floor bar. So fond of this place are the locals that in summer months the thirsty post-work crowd forgo chairs and tables (and walls) and take to the street outside, much to the annoyance of taxi drivers who use Hanway Street as a sneaky shortcut.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Eating and drinking in Holborn

Holborn restaurants
Restaurants

Holborn restaurants

The restaurants in Holborn offer outstanding food with a side of adventure. Take in some burgers, milkshakes and bowling at All Star Lanes, or enjoy afternoon tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury. Read the Time Out guide to Holborn restaurants and cafés to find the right one for you.

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Holborn bars and pubs
Bars and pubs

Holborn bars and pubs

If you fancy a pint after work or simply want a drink in central London, Holborn is a superb place to go. Try the Princess Louise to get a sense of what it was like to drink in Victorian times. If you'd rather be surrounded by pearls when you have a drink, head to Pearl Bar. Read on to find even more great places to have a drink.Think we've missed a great drinking spot in Holborn? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Comments

3 comments
Maria
Maria

My favourite place in Holborn is The Square Pig, nice pub, un-fuzzy down to earth food and friendly atmosphere. It also helps that they have a nice outside area.

DAVID SANCHEZ
DAVID SANCHEZ

i would enjoy being there in Holborn.. I really want to go and stay on this amazing area of london..

Luz Khan
Luz Khan

I have lived in Holborn for 25 years, and I would not change it for any other neighborhood in London. The progress in this area is amaizing. You are just a walking distance to Covent Garden, Oxford Street, London Bridge, and theBritish Museum. At night time is tranquil, refreshing and very safe. I LOVE HOLBORN....!!!!