The THATMuse blog has content pieces about the actual museums where you’re hunting, but we’ve also amassed plenty of recommendations of what to do in Paris and London apart from your museum time. Check out our Travelling in Paris & London category on the blog for pieces from kid-friendly parks, cafes and toyshops to romantic cocktail lounges near our museums.
From hidden garden cafés to cavernous cocktail clubs, take a British Museum break & tally treasure hunting scores over a drink to see which team earned their THATMuse medals! All are steps from the “World’s Museum.”
Pied Bull Yard
Pied Bull Yard is an enchanting little gem of SILENCE just opposite the throngs of tourists mulling about the BM’s Great Russell Street. Tourists and natives alike walk right past its (many) elegant entrances, unaware of its picturesque, leafy courtyard where you’ll find the scrumptious cake-room of independent bookstore’s London Review of Books, a flakey croissant by the hand of French culinary students of the Cordon Bleu or one of London’s few proper biergartens in the form of the English pub Truckles, which serves ales in pewter tankards. Tracing its history is tricky, as this delightful nest of back alleys and courtyards was off the map till 1746 when it appeared on the Rocque Map as “Stable Yard”. Accessed by Bury Lane & Bloomsbury Sq Garden.
Dickens Museum Garden Café
Dickens Museum Garden Café is about 10 minutes by foot from the BM, making it just far enough from the tourist trail that one finds themselves in genuine Bloomsbury. Well worth a walk to Doughty Street, the museum itself is a double Georgian row house where Dickens wrote Oliver Twist among others. Great for teens who may have just read one of his treasures, but also a treat for families with tots; my toddler, Baz, has investigated every stone of this garden as he patters about barefoot while I rest my tootsies over a gin ‘n tonic or tea & cake. Pleasant staff and a precious gift shop finish it off as a destination unto itself. 48 Doughty Street https://dickensmuseum.com/
Bloomsbury Hotel, just a toddle away on Great Russell St., the venerable neo-Georgian edifice with grand iron-framed stairs leads you to several choices. Feeling fancy for a frilly high-tea? There’s Dalloway’s Terrace or the hotel’s tony lobby, perfect to off-set the crowds of the street. In November 2017 The Bloomsbury Club renovated their lobby to make a super-flash new bar. Or if it’s later in the day, head down a level, below the venerable Old Central Club is the wood-lined cocktail club, the Bloomsbury Club. French bartender Sebastien shakes a mean martini as wonderful jazz tunes can keep you there for hours. Built by British architect Sir Edward Lutyens (famous enough to have a whole neighborhood named for him in New Delhi) in the 1920s, this was London’s first home to the YMCA (which incidentally is now in the Brutalist building down the road). 16-22 Great Russell Street www.doylecollection.com