If you would like to take the opportunity to extend your visit and do a little sightseeing or shopping, the area around UCL has a lot to offer. As well as being within easy reach of most of London’s major tourist attractions, by bus, tube or even on foot, the local sights are more than enough to keep you occupied for a couple of days.
Bloomsbury is the area of central London immediately south of Euston station, with the British Museum and a number of academic institutions including University College London, Birkbeck and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at its heart. The art deco Senate House building is often used for television filming and houses the University of London library. Bloomsbury is also noted for its many garden squares.
The British Museum houses one of the finest collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts outside Cairo as well as over 7 million objects mapping the history of human culture. The stunning great court, which originally contained the British Library, was redeveloped in 2001 and has several coffee bars that are protected from the vagaries of the British weather by an impressive sculpted glass roof. Entrance is free.
On the south side of the Euston Road, the Wellcome Trust collection is a ‘free destination for the incurably curious”. The Wellcome Trust is the UK’s largest medical charity and a major funder of biomedical research. Two permanent exhibitions focus on the collections of the Trust’s founder Henry Wellcome, and the history of science and medicine. Several temporary exhibitions are usually on display.
Within the UCL Campus are two smaller museums, the Petrie Museum of Archaeology and the Grant Museum of Zoology. For fans of Victorian fiction, the Dickens Museum in Doughty Street is a few minutes’ walk south of UCL.
UCL is less than 10 minutes’ walk from London’s famous West End shopping district around Oxford Street. Department stores include Selfridges, John Lewis, and Debenhams (Oxford Street), Liberty (Regent Street). Hamley’s toy store, once the world’s largest, is also on Regent street and exclusive boutiques and jewellers can be found on Bond street. For antiquarian books visit Charing Cross road.
Theatres and Opera
UCL is within walking distance of London’s theatre land: Shaftesbury Avenue and thereabouts for musicals and plays and Covent Garden for the Royal Opera. There are many restaurants in this district that cater specifically for theatre goers, offering pre-show set menus. Birkbeck is directly opposite the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts on Malet Street
Not famed for its own national cuisine, London compensates by offering one of the most varied selections of foreign restaurants of all the world cities. You can find anything from oriental to Italian in one short stretch. If you would like to eat out near UCL, head for Charlotte street which is parallel with the west side of Tottenham Court Road. Here you will find, fish, south Indian, Italian, French, Portugese, authentic Spanish tapas and a myriad of other restaurants. If you are travelling via King’s Cross or St Pancras, and require an extravagant snack, visit Europe’s longest Champagne bar at the newly-refurbished St Pancras International station.