When it’s cold outside there’s nothing more appealing then wrapping yourself in a duvet and getting stuck into a good book. But don’t let your love of literature stop you exploring all the city has to offer because, bibliophiles, we’ve got a solution. From graveyards to underground rooms, pubs to bars, we’ve found London’s most exciting literary locations.
The George Inn, Southwark
No pub in London has a stronger connection to your GCSE English lessons than the George Inn on Borough High Street. Back in the 1800s The George Inn was a famous inn, which served travellers journeying by coach. It counts Charles Dickens himself as one of its former patrons, and it is even referenced in Dickens’ book Little Dorrit. Also, given its location, it’s likely that William Shakespeare would have visited the pub as it would have been only a short walk to the Globe Theatre. Maybe some of their talent still lingers in the walls? Best order a pint or two to find out.
Gordon’s Wine Bar, Embankment
We’ve already raved about the wine cellar in Gordon’s, but did you know it has a great literary legacy as well? A room in the building was rented by none other than Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling. He even wrote his 1890 novel, The Light that Failed, in a parlour room above it. What is it with literary geniuses and bars?
Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s world famous detective has become very popular lately, with two hit TV shows and a blockbuster cinema franchise, so now is the perfect time to don your deer stalker and learn more about the man. The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a private run museum in a Georgian house dedicated to the sleuth’s many adventures.
And where is the museum? It’s at 221b Baker Street of course. Yes, you read that right; the museum has the same address as Holmes’ fictional residence. It’s almost like Sherlock Holmes really existed! In fact there’s a bit of a story behind the street address. The museum is actually situated between 237 and 241 Baker Street, with 221b Baker Street belonging to an Abbey National building. That meant that all the fan mail was delivered to the bank, rather than to the museum. However, in 1990, Westminster council assigned the museum with the number 221b, despite it not following the numeral order.
Highgate Cemetery, Highgate
It may seem like a morbid place to connect with London’s literary past, but Highgate Cemetery is full of some of the greatest and most well-known writers. From political musings (Karl Marx), to fiction based on Earth (George Eliot) and in space (Douglas Adams), authors from all genres are buried here. In the East Cemetery, where Marx is buried, visitors pay a £4 cover charge (if over 18) and are free to roam around the site between 10am and 4pm. To go around the West Cemetery you need to go on a booked guided-tour. A tour is £12 for adults and £6 for children aged 8 to 17.
Grimm Tales, Shoreditch
If you’d prefer to immerse yourself, rather than simply soak up London’s literacy, then we suggest you try the latest theatrical experience happening below Shoreditch. Philip Pullman’s Grimm tales: For Young and Old, is coming to life in the rooms and corridors below the Town Hall. Audiences will get to watch and touch characters from their favourite Grimm fairy tales, like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel. Be warned, these are the proper stories, not the kitsch Disney ones we’ve all grown up with. If you’re happy to view the stories with no talking animals, tickets are available now and the show runs from March 14 to April 24.