London! The capital and largest city within the United Kingdom. The big smoke draws in hundreds of thousands of tourists every single year and most guides will recommend the same old same old route around the six zones. Of course, these are things that you should try to make time for on your ventures. The London eye gives you, well, an eyeful of the sprawling centre of the city. London bridge has years of culture and history attached to it, as do the London dungeons. Big Ben may well be under construction, but it’s still worth a peep through the scaffolding and repair works. However, after one or two trips, you may well want to try out something a little different. If you’re reading this post, chances are that you’re a book lover. So, here are some of the top hotspots when it comes to literary London, home to a whole host of authors, literary landscapes and Victorian storylines.
The British Library
Let’s start with the literary giant: the British Library. Like the name suggests, the British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, but did you know that it’s actually the largest library in the entire world? As you’d imagine, it’s absolutely packed with reading material with something to suit almost anybody’s tastes. But the main appeal of this space reaches further than a few shelves filled with dusty old books. It has a whole host of specialist collections, archives, and original manuscripts alongside exhibitions. If you have a research project and are likely to need access to the library for more than a day or two, consider short term lets from London Serviced Apartments. This way you’ll have a comfy cosy space to return to after a long day’s reading.
The George Inn
Perhaps one of the most famous London based writers who brings images of Victorian London to life in the minds of modern day readers is Charles Dickens. So why not stop for a drink in one of his favourite spots, the George Inn? Based in Southwark, the original establishment (which features in his novel Little Dorrit) was virtually destroyed in the Great Fire of London. However, having been restored, it remains the only galleried coaching inn in London. It’s not surprising that the National Trust have protected this literary haven!
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
If you alight the tube at Baker Street Tube Station, you’ll be greeted by images of one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time: Sherlock Holmes. Take a closer look at the tiles to see his signature hat and pipe! Not too far from the tube station is the Sherlock Holmes Museum. According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, the mystery solver lived at 221b Baker Street with his friend Dr Watson and the spot is now protected due to its huge importance and interest. Stepping through the doors is a step back in time, as the property has been as immaculately preserved as possible.
These are just a few places to consider. If possible, don’t forget to fit in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and a trip to the lesser known Libreria book shop in Shoreditch. You’ll have your own tales to tell after this trip!
I recently collaborated with Expedia’s Hotel Edit on the best literary hotels in England – including London and other literary cities. If you’re interested in all things books and travel I recommend you go take a look!