It’s no secret that I love London. It’s my favourite city to visit though I don’t think I’d want to live there, especially not with two young kids! I was born there though, and I think that helps me feel tied to it in some way. I love reading history books about London, or historic novels set there and one day I’d love spend a weekend exploring my favourite parts of London from the books I enjoy so much. Using London Serviced Apartments as a base to explore the city here’s my literary London itinerary…
Dr Johnsons House
Right in the City of London surrounded by alleys and little courtyards you’ll find Dr Johnson’s House, a charming 300-year-old townhouse. Samuel Johnson lived and worked here during the eighteenth century, writing the Dictionary of the English Language. The House is open to the public with a collection relating to Johnson, a research library, restored interiors and lots of original features. 17 Gough Square looks like a clam place to spend a few hours in a bustling city.
St Olave’s – Resting place of Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys the great diarist lived in London for most of his life, retiring just outside the city in Clapham. There is a bust of Pepys in the church yard of St Olaves, and his prayer book is located in the church too, though is sometimes lent out to exhibitions. A memorial to Pepys is on the south wall of the church. Pepys had his own entrance to his parish church, and his own pew. Now a bust of his wife Elizabeth stares down at it adoringly! Famed for his diaries that show us so much of what happened during the Great Fire, the plague and a Civil war or two. I have tried to read his diaries a few times, the language makes it pretty hard but they’re fun to dip in and out of.
Ragged School Museum & Charles Dickens Museum
Both these Museums would give a real taste of what life was like when Dickens was writing his epic tales of London life. The Ragged School museum puts on ‘real’ Victorian School lessons. Opened as a real school by Dr Barnardo as a way to help to educate the poorest children, for free, in East London. With displays and talks it would help to give a taste of what life would have been like for many of the children in Dickens’ novels. Then the Dickens Museum holds the biggest collection of Dickens’ memorablia, letters and photos. He lived in the home where the Museum is housed for a period too, writing Oliver Twist there.
No literary visit to London would be complete without visiting the Globe Theatre, home of Shakespeare’s plays, though they do show other playwrights too. There is an exhibition and tour too, plus the impressive re construction theatre, based on the original Globe that stood a few hundred yards away, knocked down (after being rebuilt when a fire ruined the original building) to make room for homes. There are plays on almost daily, and ‘yard’ tickets where you’ll stand to watch the shows like the poorer Londoners would have are only five pounds!
Other places to visit
- Visit the Paddington Statue at Paddington Station (don’t forget your Marmalade Sandwiches!)
- Take your photo taken at Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, then visit the Harry Potter shop here
- Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker St
- Take a trip to the British Library – which has the most catalogued books of any library!
- Go and see Oscar Wilde, well a statue of him anyway! You’ll find him at Adelaide Street near Trafalgar Square
For more ideas of how to spend your time on a visit to London then the online app from SACO The Service Apartment Company will help you make the most of it, with lots more ideas on a variety of themes! It’s free to use and will be a help to anyone visiting London, helping them to find their way around the city more easily.
Where are your favourite places to visit in London? You see a kids literary tour of London I did with the kids earlier this year here.