Cover to Cover: Literary London

Discover the best places for a book lover to visit in the capital.

Fancy some literary tourism? Here are the best places to visit if you are a book-lover in London:

The Globe Theatre

The redeveloped site of Shakespeare's theatre is amazing, built to look almost exactly as it had during his time. The exhibition will teach you all about the history of the theatre and how shows used to happen, as well as how the shows they produce today return to traditional methods from Shakespeare's time. You can see the theatre itself and even buy tickets to performances there too!

The British Library

The British Library is THE site for book and history lovers with its Treasures exhibition including original manuscripts, complete with annotations of famous historical authors. They also have changing exhibitions, I saw the Alice in Wonderland and West Africa ones which were brilliant!

Walking Tour

Visit areas of London where famous authors lived, like Bloomsbury, home to modernists like Virginia Woolf. Not far from there is the building that inspired Orwell's Ministry of Truth from 1984 and the bust of Woolf in Tavistock Square. Do some research to find where you want to see or just keep an eye out for the plaques commemorating these writers.

Bookshop Crawl

Take an afternoon along Charing Cross Road browsing beautiful independent bookstores, old second-hand shops and bargain basements. You will end up in the flagship Foyle's store which is one of the best bookshops I have ever been in.

Literary Pubs

Fancy somewhere to take a break or just want to see the watering-holes of your favourite writers? Visit pubs like The Wheatsheaf, The Marquis of Granby, or The Duke of York which frequented by the likes of Dylan Thomas, Virginia Woolf and George Orwell.

Dr Johnson's House

While seeing the home of the man who wrote the first comprehensive dictionary might seem a bit too educational, this is a lot more fun than you would expect. You will learn a lot about the man who pretty much shaped the modern English language, as well as seeing his original publication and getting to explore the ridiculous definitions.

National Portrait Gallery

This gallery is full of paintings of for famous writers, so a great stop if you want to check out your favourites. My top picks were William Blake, Charles Dickens and the more abstract T.S Eliot.

Oscar Wilde Statue

An abstract depiction of Wilde with an engraved quote, this statue seems slightly out of place in the middle of the street but is a great homage to the famous novelist poet and playwright if you can find it.

Charles Dickens Museum

See just what Dickens' house looked like and explore the place which became important inspiration for many of his works. At Christmas the house is decked out with traditional decorations which take two days to put up and take down!

221b Baker Street

The home of the famous fictional detective. You can get a guided tour of Sherlock Homes' house by staff in character and costume, as well as the brilliant parlour gift shop, or just pass by to get a snap of that famous door!

Author

Ellen Orange

Ellen Orange Voice Contributor

I am a 24 year old Marketing Officer from the North East with a passion for arts and writing. I did a BA in English Literature and an MA in Twentieth and Twenty First Century Literature at Durham University, because I love books and reading! I have experience in writing for a variety of student publications, as well as having contributed to Living North, a regional magazine and Culture magazine, a supplement to regional newspaper, The Journal. I have been part of a Young Journalists scheme writing for NewcastleGateshead's Juice Festival, a young people's arts and culture festival, and have since become a Team Juice member. As well as reading and writing, I love theatre, photography and crafts.

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