Top tips for new students to the Warburg Institute

Moving to a new area can be exciting, but it can also take a while to get to know the neighbourhood. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a whole host of tips for new starters to the Warburg Institute. 

Read on to discover recommendations from Warburg students, staff and fellows including favourite lunch spots, where to get second-hand books, the best place to get a pint, and more:

At the Warburg Institute

The Warburg Institute holds a great deal of resources for you to make the most of whilst studying; a library which holds more than 360,000 volumes on Renaissance studies and the history of the classical tradition; a Photographic Collection with tens of thousands of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs and slides; and an Archive of the working materials and papers of the Institute’s founder Aby M. Warburg and of other distinguished scholars closely associated with the Institute.

The Warburg Institute offers a varied and exciting range of public lectures and conferences available to students. As well as the events taking place at the Warburg, there are eight other research institutes in the area as part of the Univerity of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS), all of which host a number of interesting eventsAdditionally, due to the Warburg being located in an academic and cultural hub, not only do we have all of the SAS institutes to take advantage of, there is also University College LondonBirkbeck, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the Institute of Education, the British Library and the Wellcome Collection; all of which have their own programmes of events open to the public.

Something important to note when beginning your studies is to take a look at what each of your tutors has published, which can be found on each tutor’s profile page. You will get a sense of your tutors’ interests, the approaches they take to scholarship and the arguments they support on some of the issues you will be studying.

The Institute is not only a great resource of books but also of people. Enjoy sharing your research interests not only with staff, other students and fellows but also with scholars and readers who happen to work in the library. Afternoon teas and Wednesday lunches in the common room offer the best opportunities.
Dr Alessandro Scafi

Places to eat

From Indian restaurants to Italian cafés, there are a wealth of places to choose from for lunch, dinner, and coffee in the area surrounding the Warburg Institute.

“Go to Planet Organic on Torrington Place for great value hot meals and salads plus a student discount. Do not, however, go between 1pm and 1:30pm as you will be stuck in a very long queue to pay!”
Genevieve Verdigal, former PhD Student

© Planet Organic

“I often go for lunch at Moreish at the junction of Marchmont St and Tavistock Place, nice sandwiches, hot dishes and cake, and good coffee. Over the way from Moreish in Tavistock Place is the cheapest pizzeria I know, Pizza Sophia, run by Italians and very good. On your way down to Moreish and Pizza Sophia, also in Tavistock Place, is the Bloomsbury Coffee House, which is good too, and a bit cheaper than Moreish.”
Dr Paul Taylor, Curator of the Photographic Collection

“There is a vegetarian Indian nearby: Diwana on Drummond Street. They have an excellent and very cheap lunchtime buffet.”
Dr Eckart Marchand, Deputy Curator of the Photographic Collection

Buffet lunch at the Diwana Bhel Poori House | Photo by Alan Stanton

My top tip for a nice meal in the neighbourhood is The Life Goddess on Store Street (authentic Greek cooking in a lovely space very near Senate House). We are exceptionally well served for South Indian restaurants (vegetarian). The most famous street for them is Drummond Street, just above Euston, and Diwana is a family favourite with a particularly tasty (and filling!) buffet at lunch. The Indian YMCA in Fitzrovia is also well worth a visit: it has vegetarian and non-vegetarian.”
Professor Bill Sherman, Director

“The School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has a very reasonable canteen, it’s in the basement and open to anyone with a UoL card.”
Ian Jones, Warburg Photographer

“The best hot chocolate is from Senate House’s South Block café; it’s better than Costa’s and Nero’s, and it’s cheap! I also recommend the Bloomsbury Farmers Market, located just by the Warburg Institute. Taking place weekly on a Thursday, everything on the market either comes straight from the farm or contains local, sustainable ingredients.”
Sarah Wells, Personal Assistant to the Director and Administrative Officer

“Obviously people need to walk down towards St Pancras and try The King of Falafel – best lunch (try the wraps – 5 pounds!). Slightly more luxurious Middle Eastern food is available at HIBA (opposite Holborn Tube Station).”
Dr Julia F Christensen, Research Fellow B.I.A.S. Project

“I’ve recently stumbled upon the app Too Good To Go. It allows you to save a restaurant’s leftover food at much cheaper prices – i.e. the food that’s not been sold by the end of the day, which is perfectly edible. A great way to save money AND help cut down on food waste”
Hannah Freeman, Digital Communications Officer

The Fryer’s Delight in Holborn | Photo by Andrew Dickson

“I highly recommend this place for the best Fish & Chips, The Fryer’s Delight in Holborn. Gordon's cafe at UCL's Student's Union serves good coffee. In addition, there are the street food stalls at the American Church on Tottenham Court Road, and the great cheap Pizza place ICCO on Goodge Street.”
Mark Amies, Warburg Library Scanner Operator

Places to drink

Those that like a tipple or two can find plenty of drinking spots in the area. from students bars to pub, there are a variety of drinking spots in the vicinity of the Warburg Institute.

“For those who drink, the Marquis Cornwallis in Marchmont St keeps its beer well, and serves OK food; the room upstairs is always a bit quieter. The Norfolk Arms in Leigh St has rather more expensive meals but keeps its beer well, and over the way from that is the North Sea Fish Restaurant, in case you want to soak up the alcohol with a plate of chips. The Lord John Russell in Marchmont St is also a nice pub, but it’s beer, crisps and TV only.”
Dr Paul Taylor

Marquis cornwallis pub Coram Street, Marchmont Street | Photo by Philafrenzy from Wikimedia Commons


With Bloomsbury home to some of the best libraries and academic institutions, there are naturally a number of wonderful bookshops in the area. As well as Waterstones, there are also a variety of independent ones including Treadwell’s BooksJarndyce, and The London Review Bookshop amongst others.

Skoob Books in the Brunswick Centre, in my (humble) opinion it is the best second-hand book shop in the area, and it has a real character.”  
Mark Amies, Warburg Library Scanner Operator

“For second-hand academic books, Judd Books on Marchmont Street is one of the best.”
Professor Bill Sherman, Director


There are a number of stationery shops located near to the Warburg Institute where you can purchase pens, notepads, post-it notes and all other items of stationery you could possibly think of (most probably). On Tottenham Court Road you can find a large Paperchase. Additionally, in the Waterstones located on Gower Street (a three-minute walk from the Institute) you will find a Rymans, both offer student discount.

In terms of pharmacies, there are a total of three Boots stores and a Superdrug located nearby again on Tottenham Court Road. Again, both offer student discount, but you will need to sign up for either a Boots Advantage Card or a Superdrug Health & Beauty card to claim.

"Always carry your student card with you and ask shops, restaurants and cafes if they have a student discount. Not everywhere does, but many places do, and it’s not always advertised! It’s also a good idea to download the apps UNiDAYS and Student Beans - both of these give you access to loads of discounts."
Louisa McKenzie, PhD Student

Things to do

There are plenty of things to do in the Bloomsbury area during your time at the Warburg Institute, below are just a few examples:

Store Street is a must – super nice coffee shops, flowers, shops e.t.c.”
Dr Julia F Christensen, Research Fellow B.I.A.S. Project

© Store Street Gallery

"Take advantage of London’s green spaces. Regent’s Park is nearby, and Hampstead Heath, just a bus ride away, feels like a slice of the countryside in London. Alternatively go for a walk alongside the River Thames - there’s loads of routes to choose from. If you want to stick nearer to the Institute, head to Coal Drops Yard near King’s Cross - there’s a great selection of shops, cafes and restaurants - and then walk alongside Regent’s Canal to Gasholder Park.";
Louisa McKenzie, PhD Student


coal drops yard
Coal Drops Yard photo by diamond geezer on Flickr

“There is a plethora of green spaces and parks around the Institute and Bloomsbury area; perfect for lunches in the summer, sitting with friends, or taking a stroll through when in need of some nature.

I also really recommend taking advantage of the multitude of museums and galleries in London. With over 250 cultural institutions in London, most of which are free, there is no excuse not to go and check them out. It’s a short tube journey from Goodge Street to the National Gallery; who we offer our MA in Art History, Curatorship, and Renaissance Culture in conjunction with. The Wellcome Collection is only a ten-minute walk away and regularly hosts various free exhibitions around the themes of science, medicine, life, and art. Additionally, it’s worth visiting the British Museum, also a ten-minute walk, which has a permanent collection of about eight million objects dating over two million years of human history and culture.”
Hannah Freeman, Digital Communications Officer

The British Museum | Photo by Pablo Fernández

Part-time work

“For people who are looking for jobs, these are the two websites with information about Postgraduate Teaching Assistant jobs (I did it for Latin in the Classics department at UCL for one year):”

UCL Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Scheme

“There are also bucket loads of tutoring agencies in London that pay quite well, here are just a few:”

Bright Young Things | Academic Tuition 
Keystone Tutors
Young Giants Tutoring Agency
Holland Park | Tuition and Education Consultants

Antonia Von Karais, PhD Student

> Find out more about our postgraduate programmes