Squares of Bloomsbury

sights / Squares & plazas

Lonely Planet review

The Bloomsbury Group, they used to say, lived in squares, moved in circles and loved in triangles. It's the squares – Russell, Gordon and Bedford primarily – that have the most fascinating histories.

At the very heart of the district is Russell Square . Originally laid out in 1800 by Humphrey Repton, it was dark and bushy until a striking facelift a decade ago pruned the trees, tidied up the plants and gave it a 10m-high fountain.

The centre of literary Bloomsbury was Gordon Square where, at various times, Bertrand Russell (No 57), Lytton Strachey (No 51) and Vanessa and Clive Bell, Maynard Keynes and the Woolf family (No 46) lived. Strachey, Dora Carrington and Lydia Lopokova (the future wife of Maynard Keynes) all took turns living at No 41. Some of the buildings are marked with blue plaques.

Lovely Bedford Square is the only completely Georgian square still surviving in Bloomsbury.