For anyone who finds themselves in need of R&R while on the tourist (or any other type of) trail in London over the holiday season, can I recommend the recently refurbished Wellcome Foundation’s Reading Room and attached restaurant? It is quite the most spectacular room to hang out in -for free- I have seen for quite a while.
I stumbled across it while out on a cultural safari with the fabulous Jane Brocket, who was researching another of her useful Pocket Brockets. We checked it out and it was all I could do to not move in. The place is beautiful, with lovely mid-century furniture, tasteful sofa areas, snug corners to hide in and obvs loads of books you can pick up and read (or bring your own, of course).
The staff are keen to talk. The idea is that it’s a place to ask questions, discuss and even play -you can sketch your portrait or muck around with any of the game ideas they have scattered around the space.
But for me, the best thing was the bean-bag staircase; wide stairs which were lined at the edges with giant, super comfy bean bags, where you were encouraged to sit back, relax and read. There were quite a few laptop users around I guess there’s good wifi connection here too.
The stair bean bags are so comfy, you might see some visitors having a quiet 40 winks……But no one seems to mind.
Once you’ve marvelled at the historic medical artefacts adorning the central space and pottered around the book shelves and maybe read for a bit, you might also like to try the delightful Kitchen cafe, which is open for lunch and supper and looks lovely. We also visited the Undress Your Mind exhibition on sex, which was fascinating and well worth a trip, if only to see the charts a few enterprising Victorian women scientists kept on their (many) sexual partners so as to better analyse the sexual act. Riveting stuff. Sadly, no photos allowed here.
Anyway, go and chill out here when you next have free time if you are near Euston Station or on your way to Bloomsbury. For more on the space, the events they also hold and opening hours, check here and the Wellcome website lists upcoming exhibitions.