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 Collectionwith tens of thousands of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs and slides; and anArchive of the working materials and papers of the Institute’s founder Aby M. Warburg and of other distinguished scholars closely associated with the Institute.
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.“ Dr Alessandro Scafi, Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural History
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
“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.” 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
"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 YMCAin Fitzrovia is also well worth a visit: it has vegetarian and non-vegetarian.” Professor Bill Sherman, Director
"My favourite place is The Life Goddess. I recommend getting the daily special, which is always amazing, and the portions are massive. Also very good coffee." Gavanndra Hodge, MA Student
"For a cheap meal out nearby, I'd always head to Ciao Bella on Lambs Conduit Street - its family run and a classic. Whenever anyone asks for food recommendations though, I also have to mention Koya in Soho, possibly the best Japanese in London. Fork Deli, Store St Expresso (both on Store St and Tavistock Place) and The Observatory offer coffee, yummy daytime food and a friendly space to sit with a book or laptop should a library break be needed." Thalia Allington-Wood, Lecturer in Art History
“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
“I highly recommend this place for the best Fish & Chips, The Fryer’s Delightin 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
"Here are my suggestions in the nearby area for barista-style coffee and good cakes, pastries and the occasional sandwich or light lunch. Some of these coffee shops are small and hard to find, but well worth seeking out:
As well as a huge Waitrose, the concrete walls of Brunswick Shopping Centre conceal a number of useful eateries including Itsu, Nandos, Starbucks, Slim Chickens, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Hare and Tortoise (Asian fusion), Fuwa Fuwa (Japanese pancakes café), and a large Leon on the corner of Bernard Street.
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 Russellin Marchmont St is also a nice pub, but it’s beer, crisps and TV only.” Dr Paul Taylor, Curator of the Photographic Collection
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 Books, Jarndyce, 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
"In addition to Skoob Books and Judd Books (both a must), check out the London Review Bookshop (which also has great cake) on Bury Place and Gay's the Word on Marchmont Street, the oldest LGBTQ+ bookshop in the UK -- both also organise a host of great events too." Thalia Allington-Wood, Lecturer in Art History
There are a number of Ryman 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). Make sure to have your student card ready as they also offer student discount.
In terms of pharmacies, there are a total of three Boots stores and a Superdrug located nearby 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:
"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
“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." Hannah Freeman, Digital Communications Officer
Museums and galleries
"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
"For Renaissance and early modern material culture, The Wallace Collection is a local gem. UCL Art Museum, just across the road, has an amazing collection of Renaissance and early modern prints, with often a lot more availability for viewings than the British Museum's Prints and Drawings Collection. Anyone with an interest in the history of collecting and antiquities must pay a visit to Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields. I'd also recommend visits to Leighton House Museum, the Freud Museum and Dennis Severs' House - all, like the Sir John Soane's Museum, are homes now turned into museum spaces. The latter is particularly interesting when thinking about historical afterlives, imagination and the hyperreal: it is the house of a late 20th century individual, Dennis Severs, who designed and lived in his house between 1979 to 1999 as if it belonged to an Huguenot family who had lived there since it was built in 1724, with each room fashioned as if it was the eighteenth century. Oh, and The Foundling Museum right by the Warburg Institute is worth a visit and often has lunchtime concerts, free with a museum ticket." Thalia Allington-Wood, Lecturer in Art History
Other things to do
"The Curzon Cinema and the Barbican often have well curated film programmes (the Barbican also has excellent exhibitions and concerts to check out and fantastic brutalist architecture to explore). If near the Barbican, check out the music events at LSO St Lukes, and actually on the subject of amazing church spaces to hear live music in London, the Union Chapel in Islington is amazing." Thalia Allington-Wood, Lecturer in Art History
“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
"If you are a PhD student, I really recommend The Brilliant Club, where you teach self-designed courses in your subject to less-advantaged A-level students with the aim of helping them access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there. It is both great teaching experience and incredibly rewarding to boot!?" Thalia Allington-Wood, Lecturer in Art History
“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):”