Authors find their inspiration from their surroundings. If you love great works of fiction or want to understand the practices at a new level, you’d like to take a London literary tour. From Chaucer to Dickens, Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf, London has inspired (and home to) some English language’s most celebrated writers. You can venture a walk on your own and explore at your leisure, or you can sign up for an organized walking tour.
1 British Library
This library is the country’s most excellent book repository. It’s the home of over 150 million items, including original manuscripts by Jane Austen, the Brontës, Lewis Carroll, Angela Carter, and James Joyce, among many others. This library gives access to electronic copies of rare manuscripts from Lewis Carroll’s original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground to William Blake’s notebook. For lovers of literature, there are hours of good, nerdy fun.
For more details about the library’s holdings, a list of its hours, and more transportation information see the British Library profile
2. 50 Gordon Square
BLUE PLAQUES marks the headquarters of the Bloomsbury Group, a loose collection of writers, artists, and economists, including Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and John Maynard Keynes, who met here in the early 20th century.
3. Charles Dickens Museum
If you’re a Charles Dickens fan, you’ll want to visit 48 Doughty street street street, the home of Charles Dickens from 1837 until 1839, and now a museum. Here, Dickens wrote Oliver Twist and completed The Pickwick Papers. Said to be the last surviving London home of the novelist, the house contains his study, manuscripts, original furniture, and other personal items.
4.Take a Break — Fitzroy Tavern
Make some time for a reasonably priced pint in this quaint old pub, part of the Sam Smith’s chain, where Dylan Thomas and George Orwell once hung out. It’s at 16 Charlotte St., W1.
Founded by Edward the Confessor in 1065, Westminster Abbey holds monuments and tombs of everyone from Queen Elizabeth I to Charles Darwin. Though the church and the cloisters are worth exploring, writers will gravitate to Poets’ Corner, located in the South Transept. Here you’ll find the tombs of luminaries such as Chaucer, Browning, Dickens, and Tennyson, among others, as well as memorials to Milton, Keats, Shelley, Dylan Thomas, and Henry James.
To get to Westminster Abbey, take the tube to Westminster or St. James’s Park. See Westminster Abbey for a list of hours.
6. Charing Cross Road
From Westminster, it’s an easy walk to the historic Charing Cross location of Foyle’s Bookshop. Founded in 1903 by two brothers who had failed their civil service exams and were amazed by the response to the ad they placed to sell their textbook. Foyle’s has been at this location since 1906. Regulars have included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G. B. Shaw, and Walt Disney.
7. Shakespeare’s Globe
Finish your day of literary delights with dinner and a show at the re-created theatre of England’s most famous playwright.
8. Sherlock Holmes’ London
Even after 100 years Sherlock Holmes still captures readers’ imaginations when he first gained popularity in the pages of Strand Magazine. Sherlock’s London remains shrouded in fog. London is now a very modern city with many roads that little resemble the cobblestone streets and narrow lanes of Holmes’ era.And you can still visit historic areas throughout the city. These include the site for 221B Baker Street (it is now a museum).
Final step to author greatness.
Take the graduate course and check out the British Brain Shop,
Explore Great Britain’s notable writers from Harry Potter to Shakespeare, the plots and protagonists of famous British books. This guide includes the most influential writers and their most important pieces of work. Discover where to visit to experience great literature that comes to life.
Go home and become a great author.