Holborn: Home to Hodd Barnes and Dickins

Hodd Barnes and Dickins has been lucky enough to call Holborn home for over a hundred years.  We love being part of the rich history of the area, which we’ve shared with Charles Dickens, the legal Inns of Chancery, and even Sainsbury’s HQ.

Having served the eyes of Holborners since 1903, we figure we’ve got the lay of the land.  So here’s our quick guide to what to do, eat and drink in glorious Holborn…

Things to Do

The world-renowned British Museum opened its doors in 1759, and over the centuries has seen millions of tourists and locals pass through its cavernous exhibition halls.  Displaying an extensive collection of artefacts from all corners of the globe, it’s possible to complete a world tour through historic Egypt, Rome, Asia, the Middle East and Britain all in a single afternoon.  Key pieces include the Rosetta Stone from ancient Egypt and the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens.

But whilst the British Museum hosts ancient artefacts from the civilised world, the nearby Hunterian Museum instead houses one of the country’s oldest collections of pathological, zoological and anatomical specimens.  Assembled by anatomist John Hunter, it features over 3,500 items including the 7ft 7in skeleton of the ‘Irish giant’ Charles Byrne and Winston Churchill’s false teeth!

A stone’s throw from Holborn lies Covent Garden – a vibrant and well-trodden shopping, dining and cultural destination.  Famed for its street performers, market and cocktail bars, Convent Garden is one of our favourite weekend haunts and is home to London’s Royal Opera House and the transport museum.

Eating Out

During the week we love to visit the nearby Leather Lane, which boasts a wonderful market that has been running for an astonishing 400 years.  Now the street is bursting with food stalls selling everything from artisan burritos, to bangers and mash, to healthy smoothies.

If you’re looking for a quick but impressive pre-theatre dinner, Barrafina Drury Lane is the perfect spot.  This famous bar serves a diverse affair of crab buns, tender pork belly, roast lamb and patatas bravas, which we think is some of the tastiest fare in central London.

But for something a bit more fancy, the Delaunay is the perfect place to relax over weekend brunch or afternoon tea.  Whilst on the expensive side, you can sink you teeth into apricot and lingonberry buttermilk pancakes, a blue lobster roll, or bacon and potato gröst.  The perfect treat for a loved one.

Drinking Spots

Built in 1546, the historic Ye Olde Mitre pub is set in Ely Court, and offers an array of real ales on tap and homemade pub snacks.  Henry the VIII was married in the neighbouring church – St. Ethelredas – and it is rumoured that Queen Elizabeth I danced around the cherry tree in the yard.

The Cittie of Yorke is similarly steeped in history.  Taverns have been standing on the site since medieval times, though this Grade II listed building was constructed in the Edwardian era.  Serving Sam Smith’s beer, the pub features cosy booths, wooden beam ceilings and a great iron fireplace.

So whether you’re a seasoned local or just visiting, we hope you enjoy the sights of our district through the best eyewear in London.