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Best known – and mostly used - for its proximity to the colourful liveliness of Covent Garden, just a five minute walk to the west, Holborn has history and attractions of its own to match anywhere in central London.
Like Covent Garden, Holborns past is inextricably linked with Charles Dickens and decadent behaviour: Dickens lived in Furnivals Inn for a while and placed many of his characters around Holborn, and modern-day Shoe Lane was the site of the notorious Mother Clap’s Molly House, an 18th century homosexual brothel whose patron gave her name to an equally notorious downstairs disease.
If you are looking for a hotel near Holborn then have a look at the Grange Holborn Hotel which is a 5 star luxury hotel with a swimming pool and spa. If this is above your budget then check out the popular St Giles Hotel on Bedford Avenue, close to Holborn.
Londons legal life is based around Holborn’s Inns of Court: every barrister in the country belongs to one of the ancient four - Lincoln’s Inn, Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple – and a wander round these chambers, many of which survived the Great Fire, is an atmospheric treat.
To the south, Christopher Wren’s statue of a griffin on Temple Bar marks the point where Fleet Street – the legendary former home of British newspaper journalism – becomes the Strand, and marks the western boundary of the official City of London: the Queen ceremonially waits here for permission from London’s mayor to enter the city.
The stunning Somerset House (Strand, 020 7845 4600, www.somersethouse.org.uk) on the banks of the Thames has been a key building in London’s history f or five hundred years.
Built as a royal palace in the 16th century and a favourite of Elizabethan monarchs, Oliver Cromwell’s body lay in state here, it was home to the Admiralty of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, Canaletto painted it twice and great London architects like Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones variously added finishing touches to it over the years.
These days Somerset House hosts major art exhibitions, summertime concerts in its beautiful fountained courtyard, offices for HM Customs & Excise and one of the capital’s best outdoor ice rinks in the winter.
Holborn is also perfectly located for many West End theatres near to Aldwych.
The Central and Piccadilly Underground lines serve Holborn tube.
|Holborn Station||1||Central - Piccadilly||0.17 miles|
|Chancery Lane Station||1||Central||0.46 miles|
|Covent Garden Station||1||Piccadilly||0.68 miles|
|Temple Station||1||District - Circle line||0.78 miles|
|Russell Square Station||1||Piccadilly||0.79 miles|
|Farringdon Station||0.91 miles|
|London City Thameslink Station||0.95 miles|
|Charing Cross London Station||1.19 miles|
|London Blackfriars Station||1.21 miles|
|Barbican Station||1.37 miles|