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London’s Holborn district is situated between the West End and the ‘City’.
Its prominent position in the centre of London Town means all of London is within easy travelling distance.
The district was officially created in 1855, bringing together outlying parishes. The name Holborn derives from ‘Hol’ for Hollow and ‘Bourne’ meaning a brook or river. As Holborn grew in size and population it became the home of journalists in the 1900s before they moved to neighbouring Fleet Street. Today Holborn is known as the thriving ‘Midtown’.
Landmarks in Holborn
Holborn was home to Charles Dickens who lived on Doughty Street in his early journalistic days, and a museum now stands at his former home. If you enjoy museums, another of note in Holborn is 35-43 the Hunterian Museum at Lincoln's Inn Fields. This interesting collection belongs to the Royal College of Surgeons and houses a huge collection of skeletons, skulls, teeth and wax teaching models.
Interesting museums are dotted around the Holborn district and it’s worth walking around Sir John Soanes’ Museum that houses a superb neo-classical collection.
In Holborn district you’ll also find London’s Inn of Courts where barristers train and practice. The Inns date to pre-14th Century and are a beautiful example of gothic traditional architecture. Within the Inner Temple of the Inn of Courts lies Temple Church which was first consecrated in 1185 as the Templar Knights home.
Holborn Shopping and Eating
There’s plenty of high end shopping in Holborn. One of the most popular places is Ede and Ravenscroft’s bespoke tailoring for gentleman and their popular ready to wear collection. After stocking up your wardrobe the Silver Vaults on Chancery Lane are worth a visit. This is a collection of over 30 shops offering the world’s largest amount of silver under one roof.
If you prefer to mix shopping with eating try the Natural Organic Kitchens who are supplied by River Cottage Gardens. This food emporium will keep you interested for hours as you browse through traditional and unusual but altogether tasty ingredients.
After shopping relax with a coffee at the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, an independent coffee chain worth visiting for its social hub and friendly atmosphere.
Lunch and dinner are easily sorted with a trip to Vanilla Black in Tooks Court, a modern vegetarian restaurant with an exciting menu and art deco design.
If you prefer quiet restaurants The Chancery is hidden in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and serves up European classics - if you can find it, or the Bleeding Heart Tavern is open all day for coffee and bacon sandwiches in the morning through to a three course meal in the evening. It’s been serving customers since 1747 so must be doing something right.
Holborn is a quieter area of London compared to the West End, but it’s full of life if you look around.
At 213 Strand The Funny Side comedy group will entertain you on a Saturday, and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London’s oldest theatre, has a palatial auditorium and plenty on throughout the week to sit back and watch.
Lovers of something a bit different will enjoy Bounce, a table tennis inspired restaurant where you can eat and watch the to and fro.
If you prefer a quiet pint then the Cittie of York is the perfect place to chill out. It’s a grade 2 listed building with three bars and plenty of seating. If you like music Pizza Express Live offers jazz and stand up events as you eat.
Transportation Links in Holborn
Because it’s right in the centre of London Holborn has excellent transport links.
Holborn has its own tube station serving the Central and Piccadilly lines, and a bus station just outside the door. Buses run towards Euston or Holborn Circus and Old Street.
If you prefer the comfort of a cab, there is a station at Great Queens Street, or you can usually hail one off the cuff at the stations.
Parking is at a premium in Holborn and the closest car parks are Covent Garden and Bloomsbury. Both a seven minute walk to Holborn, so get there early as spaces fill up quickly.
The quickest and most convenient way to travel to and from Holborn is by underground. Regular visitors can take advantage of cheaper prepaid tube tickets and beat the car parking rush.