Literary tours of London – From Charles Dickens to Harry Potter

Where else in the world would you find such a rich source of literary heritage and inspiration, than on the streets of London?  Whether your tastes lean towards JK Rowling, Shakespeare or anything in-between; England’s capital city has sights and information to enable you to soak up a wide range of experiences.

You could pick out your favourite authors and concentrate on guided tour groups to explore their homes, work-places and muses. Or you could imagine yourself in the stories themselves, by visiting locations connected to these great characters; visit Baker Street to see the world of Sherlock Homes, “It’s elementary, dear Watson”

London literary pub crawls

National trust owned The George Inn, which dates to the 16th century and was once frequented by Shakespeare, and then Charles Dickens. It is just one of a wide range of drinking places connected to famous authors.

Nor surprisingly then, London offers organised, guide-led literary pub crawls. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a pub crawl, it’s a British leisure pastime to visit a few different drinking places, while enjoying a stroll between each one (not a literal crawl).

Self-guided tours

You can also enjoy self-guided tours of London to visit sights connected to both authors and the fictional characters they created.

For example, one of the more recent additions to this is a “Platform 9¾” sign and other literary props at Kings Cross Station, which creates the perfect photo opportunity for Harry Potter fans.

You could also choose to take a 2-3-hour self-guided literary tour around Hampstead and along Hampstead Heath.  This will allow you to explore another beautiful area of London and some great London green spaces as well as the properties formerly owned by such literary giants as A. A. Milne and Evelyn Waugh.

Literary London tours with a guide

Here are many guided tour options around London for those who love fiction or poetry – or both. They can take you on a weaving exploration of some of London’s most historic streets and alleyways, in search of landmarks associated with such well known authors as Samuel Pepys.

Or, you could take a Harry Potter Black Taxi Tour in London or a London Bus Tour dedicated to the boy wizard.

There are plenty of museums and other attractions in London for book-lovers too, including the fascinating Roald Dahl Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition.

Bloomsbury

This region of London deserves special mention as it is well known to many in literary circles.  Hours can be spent hunting blue plagues all over this lovely area of London.  A special treat for guests staying with Merino is the ‘doorstep’ access to some of world’s top literary figures.   You might be aware of the influential Bloomsbury Group, a group of English writers, artists, intellectuals and philosophers who met to discuss their work and beliefs in their private Bloomsbury homes. The group’s most famous members included individuals such as Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. The 1920’s was a booming time for Bloomsbury, Virginia Woolf was publishing her most popular modernist novels, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell had extraordinary exhibitions and E. M. Forster wrote A Passage to India, one of England’s highest regarded novels on British imperialism in India. Another great author who lived in Bloomsbury was Charles Dickens, known and treasured all over the world with his remarkable work such as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and The Pickwick Papers. He resided at 48 Doughty Street during the1830’s with his family, where he paid £80 rent a year. Today, the address is a museum, just across the street from the Merino offices, where the literary interested can step inside the home of this writer and social critic. In addition, other notable inhabitants of the neighbourhood include Mathama Gandhi, Charles Darwin, Bob Marley, Ricky Gervais and Charles Dickens.

 

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