A bibliophile’s journey to London

Excerpt: It is a universally accepted truth that any self-respecting book lover should stop at these amazing places in London.

From Hamlet to Harry Potter, London has been an endless source of inspiration for the literary masterpieces of our society for centuries. Literary museums, often located in former writers’ houses in London, cafes and restaurants where iconic books have been written, monuments immortalized on pages, shops that bring the magic of fiction and stories to life. Bookstores with centuries of history and iconic places where literary history has been made: these are just a few of the special places to visit that London has in store for the book-inclined crowd.


Literature lovers looking for a particularly bookish adventure around London, stay tuned to all these must-see places!

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Literary landmarks

As you roam the streets of London, keep an eye out for the blue plaques that dot its many historic buildings – you might walk past your favorite author’s former residence without even realizing it!

Charles Dickens Museum

This is the case of the Charles Dickens Museum, the London home of Charles Dickens, where he lived from 1837 to 1839. Dickens wrote classics such as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol.

The Dickens Museum retains rooms like the Victorian writer’s former apartment, with artifacts and furniture belonging to Dickens, and has been open to the public since 1925. In true homage to the Christmas carol, the museum will also host a number of events from Christmas, virtually and in person.

  • Site: 48 Doughty Street
  • Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bloomsbury

Okay, Bloomsbury is an entire neighborhood, not a landmark. But its history is so interwoven with literature, culture and the arts that it is a must visit for any self-respecting book lover – and it is dotted with literary and cultural monuments. Reserve a day to explore this fascinating neighborhood!

Bloomsbury is located in London’s West End and was the namesake of the Bloomsbury Set, a group of writers, artists and philosophers who lived, studied, worked and produced art there, among them Virginia Woolf and EM Forster.

In Bloomsbury, you can visit Bloomsbury Square, through the home of Virginia Woolf, the British Museum, Bloomsbury Publishing House and University College London.

  • Site: Bloomsbury, West End

Baker Street and Sherlock Holmes stops

Enter a world of thrilling mysteries, magnifying glasses, Victorian gas lamps, and plenty of Sherlock Holmes trinkets (and photo opportunities!).

Arguably London’s most famous address, 221B Baker Street was actually totally fictional – although Baker Street was always real – but after the continued success and impact of Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock holmes books, the neighborhood was built from an old accommodation building and opened as a museum in 1990, featuring a recreation of what Watson and Holmes’ apartment might have looked like, memorabilia and a dedicated store.

  • Site: 221B, Baker Street (of course!), Marylebone
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those who prefer a more interactive (and drunken) literary outing can visit the Sherlock Holmes Pub, home to an actual Sherlock Holmes collection since 1951 and a bar recreating Apartment 221B.

  • Site: 10 Northumberland Street, St. James
  • Hours: Sunday – Saturday, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Platform 9 ¾

Inside King’s Cross Station, among the many trains and passengers, see the famous Platform 9 ¾ to join the Hogwarts Express, a trunk rack halfway through the magic barrier!

There is a queue and a photographer ready to take pictures of all visitors and scarves from one of the four Hogwarts houses are available to choose from, and a short walk from the train station, a Harry Potter store with memorabilia, merchandise, and other fun merchandise can be a fun place for many fans.

  • Site: King’s Cross Station, Euston Road

Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

There is simply no way to take a literary tour of London without stopping at this iconic literary landmark: Shakespeare’s Globe Theater!

The original Globe was built in 1599 by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, William Shakespeare’s theater company, and was the scene where many of Shakespeare’s iconic and groundbreaking plays such as King Lear and Macbeth were presented to its contemporary audience. The theater burned down in 1613 during a performance of Henry VII – no one would have been harmed except for a men’s pant, which was then extinguished with beer -, rebuilt the same year , then forcibly closed in 1642.

Today, a few meters from the site of the original theater stands the new Globe Theater, a recreation of the original Globe from Shakespeare’s Globe, inaugurated in 1997. Guided tours, educational activities and, of course, plays by Shakespeare et al and always available. It is truly a unique chance to discover a play during the Renaissance!

  • Site: 21 New Globe Promenade, Bankside
  • Hours: The hours vary according to the interest of the visitors!

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Bookstores not to be missed

After all these literary tours, one may want nothing more than exploring new books to take home. As a true literary city, London is also full of must-see bookstores.

Charing Cross Road is a central London street dotted with specialist bookstores, antiques and second-hand books to turn any bookworm’s head.

Geek enthusiasts will have fun at House of Spells, the trinket and book store at 69 Charing Cross Road, where you can find merchandise. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and more.

And finally, the British Library, the national library of the United Kingdom, is a place not to be missed. One of the largest libraries in the world, it has around 14 million books, special events, exhibitions and a gallery of treasures. In the library, visitors can see historical artifacts such as the Magna Carta, royal jewelry, and ancient letters between prominent figures.

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