Bloomsbury, Camden Town, Highgate. London.

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London oozes literature and Bloomsbury is the literary district par excellence, our admired Virginia Woolf lived here in what is now the Tavistock Hotel. The Bloomsbury literary group was born here at the beginning of the twentieth century, made up of writers and philosophers. In front of it I find the Tavistock park with her bust in a corner and the statue of Gandhi in the center. 

Nearby is the second-hand bookstore Skoob Books and Gay’s the Word, specialized in queer literature or Judd Books, where we can also find some gems.

Bloomsbury Square is one of the oldest squares in London since 1660.

Next to it is the great British Museum, I already told you about it in an older post and we passed by its large queue recently. 

Nearby is one of my favorite museums, the Charles Dickens Museum. I already told you that one of the most representative figures of English literature lived here. It also has a very cute cafeteria.

Dickens met with the famous Bloomsbury Group, where? in a pub, of course! The Lamb, around the corner from his house. And Lamb’s Conduit is a cute little street with cafes and restaurants.

The Wellcome Collection is a place that hosts exhibitions, has a library and a secluded place to sit and read, the kind we like so much. 

Arriving at Kings Cross station is arriving in the world of Harry Potter, the grandiose train station is fabulous. Inside stands an impressive statue several meters high, the favorite of the protagonist of the book “Mr. Livingston’s Bookstore”.

Part of that station is the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel I invite you to enter to give it a sneaky peak, its lobby is magnificent, its cafeteria is spectacular and, according to the friendly girls who work there, the protagonist of some important decoration magazine. Of course there is a staircase, worthy of queens I would say. 

The British Library is its next door, and what I was excited to see the most (as I told you back in the day) was Jane Austen’s desk, among other beauties. 

About ten minutes away I arrive at some charming canals, at the Camley St Natural Park, formerly a coal mine, now converted into a nature reserve. I’m looking for a very special bookstore, it’s called Word on the Water. It’s unique and floating, and yes, you guessed, it’s on a Dutch boat from the 20s moored to the canal. Another of my favorites, can you imagine living there? I do. 

I go a little further north, to the famous Camden Town neighborhood, where the Camden Market is located which has changed a lot in recent years, there you used to find all kinds of eccentricities, which was what made it so different and fun.

There is a pub (yes another) the Hawley Arms, where the singer Amy Winehouse worked, and where I can have a green tea. On the outside wall there is a mural of the artist. 

To get there I cross Regents Park, beautiful like all English parks and gardens, which are many. St John’s Lodge is a small oasis to enjoy reading and when spring arrives you can delight yourself with the rose bushes of Queen Mary’s garden. 

Further north is the Highgate neighborhood, where its famous cemetery is located. Belinda and I visited it recently, got up in the morning and took the tube directly to that area. First we had a delicious vegan English breakfast at Archie’s, a very cute place where they look after us very well.

Then we walked to the cemetery, the entrance fee is £10, they also offer guided tours and it is accessible to everyone. They gave us a map and I marked all the graves I wanted to find. 

Characters such as Karl Marx are buried there, impossible not to recognize his tomb, William Foyle, co-founder of the Foyles bookstore, or George Michael’s, somewhat less striking. The guard told us that he came a lot when his mother died and now his sister goes once a week to keep it clean and cared for, they don’t want it to become a place of pilgrimage, there is a sign asking that nothing is to be left on it. Like in the small tomb of the writer Douglas Adams where we saw many ballpoint pens stuck in the ground.

In front of Pat Kavanagh’s grave, editor and wife of Julian Barnes, we met some very nice ladies in love with literature, (we sniff each other out), which helped us search for the grave of Victorian novelist George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) and author of Middlemarch.

On the way out we went to see the Holly Village, a private mansion from 1865 in the shape of a fairytale village. It was built by Baroness Angela Burnett-Coutts. 

If you want to visit this area of Highgate, I advise you to do like we did, go first thing in the morning by tube and then return to the center to continue discovering the secret places of London.

Today’s book is, yes, you guessed it, “Mr. Livingston’s Bookstore” by Mónica Gutiérrez. It’s become clear that I love novels about books or bookstores, and this one is a very feel good one. Agnes from Barcelona moves to London, her job search does not bear fruit until one day she accidentally enters Mr. Livingston’s bookshop, and it just so happens that he is looking for an assistant. The magic of books will soon envelop her when one day one of the most valuable works disappears.  A detective will investigate the case and Agnes’ life will be turned upside down.

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Mis viajes alrededor del mundo siempre acompañados de un buen libro. My travels around the world always accompanied by a good book.