World Book Day 2020: A Guide to Literary London
Celebrate World Book Day 2020 and read your way around the capital with our book lover's guide to London
From Shakespeare and Dickens to Keats, Holmes and Potter, London has been home to some of the finest literary minds and most cherished fictional characters. A city steeped in literary history, with famous writers creating master works in the capital throughout the ages, you'll want to bookmark this page - we've put together a book lover's guide to London. We've assembled this lineup of London literary hotspots to celebrate World Book Day 2020, which falls on March 5th. So follow us on a literary tour of London, taking in writer haunts, literary attractions and settings from some of the country’s top tales, including...
- The recreation of Shakespeare's Globe
- A walking tour dedicated to some of the most famous movie adaptations of classic books
- A guide to the London pubs favoured by some of the country's most lauded writers, thinkers and drinkers
- The homes of three literary figures (two real, one fictional), now operating as world class museums
- And much, much more
See The Bard's masterpieces performed as was intended at London's most famous theatre. The 16th century playhouse has been rebuilt to capture its former glory, close to its original location near the Thames. Shakespeare was a member of The Globe's resident theatre troupe and wrote many of his greatest works to debut at the 'wooden O'. The circular structure with a glorious thatched roof puts on Shakespeare plays during the summer. Audiences choose between the seating and a standing areas. The latter is worth the cheaper price tag, if you can stomach standing for a few hours. Outside the summer season, catch a play at the indoor Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. They're putting on The Taming of the Shrew on World Book Day 2020. With guided tours and exhibitions dedicated to spreading the love of Shakespeare, the Globe is a must-visit for any theatre lover on World Book Day 2020. Access the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour with The London Pass. To find out more about the pass, click below.
Visit the Hampstead home where legendary Romantic poet John Keats lived and wrote. Now a museum dedicated to this giant of Romantic poetry, see his drafts and glimmers of his personal life at the site. Take a self-guided tour of the home's restored rooms, learning about the man's life and work. And the garden is alive, a showcase of the natural world that so inspired him. But this was a tragic place too. As Keats grew ill, he was kept isolated from his love, Fanny Brawne, who was literary the girl next door. Keep an eye on their events calendar as Keats House host many cultural happenings, ranging from touring exhibitions to poetry readings. On World Book Day 2020, join a guided tour of Keats House. They run at 13.00 and 15.00 daily, subject to availability. Access to the tour and the rest of Keats House is included with The London Pass. Find out more below.
With over 100,000 of his personal items and even original manuscripts preserved and put on display, this is the most extensive Charles Dickens exhibit in the entire world. Housed in one of Dickens' former homes and teeming with quirky antiquities, the permanent collection embodies the lifetime of the literary great and paints a full picture of his character, lifestyle and works. It's the kind of place that betters even the greatest of expectations. His writing desk is a true highlight. And make sure you stay for a slice of cake and tea afterwards to round off your tour. Explore the only surviving London home of Charles Dickens. And do so with The London Pass. You see, if you have The London Pass, entry to The Charles Dickens Museum is included. If you want to know more about the pass, click the button below.
The creative types sure knew how to party/drink/write whilst full of wine...and Fitzroy Tavern has long been a favourite pub of the best of them, with the likes of Dylan Thomas and George Orwell gracing its bar. Teeming with personality and covered in British artwork, slip out of the front room when it starts getting packed...head downstairs to the quieter Writers and Artists Bar for a dose of much needed inspiration to accompany your libations.
Okay, okay, we know, we know. But please hear us out. Behind most good movies is a book. And that's certainly true of many London-set movies covered by Brit Movie Tours. Sign up for their Harry Potter Walking Tour of London for heaps of Potter-related surprises. You'll see plenty of locations from the movies, sure to delight even the most avidly 'the films are nowhere near as good as the books' Potter Head. And the Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London will make detectives of you all. Join your guide to piece together the mysteries of Holmes's London, featuring settings from the books and the many big screen and small screen adaptations that have followed. A walking tour with Brit Movie Tours is included with The London Pass. Simply book your tour in advance, then show your pass when you arrive. Click below for more details.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
A visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum is elementary, my dear Watson. Located close to Baker Street tube station (which has been fittingly decorated to honour the super sleuth), the museum is full of Holmes memorabilia. It's even got Holmes's study, carefully replicated from descriptions in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. With a fantastic gift shop for fans to take a memento of the detective home with them, you'll find the museum between 237 and 241 Baker Street. However, of course, the door says 221b, in tribute to the unlikely detective pairing and their digs. [caption id="attachment_6402" align="alignnone" width="1000"]
The George Inn
Another drinking establishment on the list, The George Inn is just around the corner from Shakespeare's Globe. It's thought to be where the famous playwright would go for a pint after work. This 400 year old inn has seen the twists and turns of British history, including its near destruction during the Fire of London. Today, it's deliberately preserved to remain true to its original 16th century spirit. Charles Dickens was one of its many patrons and loved it so much he included it in his novel Little Dorritt. [caption id="attachment_6401" align="alignnone" width="1000"]
Pay tribute to some of the biggest names in British literary history at Westminster Abbey, where a section of the South Transept is dedicated to those who have significantly contributed to Britain's cultural heritage. Over 100 writers and poets are buried or commemorated here. With tributes to a huge range of authors and poets, including Jane Austen, W.H. Auden, William Blake, the Bronte sisters, Lord Byron and more, it's worth braving the Westminster Abbey tourist crowds to see the greats for yourself. And, don't forget, entry to Westminster Abbey is included with The London Pass. Yes, it's true. So are many other big gun London attractions. To find out which ones, click the button below.
The Hercules Pillars
Located in the heart of Soho's rich nightlife, the Hercules Pillars is a reconstruction of a previous pub with the same name dating all the way back to 1730. It was mentioned in A Tale of Two Cities by regular patron Charles Dickens. In fact, adjacent Manette Street owes its name to Dickens' character Dr. Manette. With a distinctly Victorian feel to the interiors, it has since continued to be an important literary site for more contemporary authors. We're talking the likes of Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Julian Barnes. So head there, make a scene, and you could be immortalised in a bestseller. Or just have a drink and look at the sculptures.
A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
It's only fitting that a writer with as big a personality as Oscar Wilde should have a statue dedicated to him. To find this unique sculpture, head to Adelaide Street, close to Trafalgar Square. Part bench and part artwork, fans of Oscar Wilde can sit and converse with a bust of his head as the London crowds pass by. Completed in 1998, it features one of Oscar Wilde's best known lines. It comes from Lady Windermere's Fan: 'We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.' Perhaps the bronze statue isn't to everyone's taste. Perhaps it isn't to anyone's taste. But it's nice to have a bit of London dedicated to a man of such talents. And it's nice to take the load off whilst exploring London's literary sites on World Book Day 2020. So go for a chat with Wilde on World Book Day 2020. You probably won't be the only one making the pilgrimage. [caption id="attachment_6400" align="alignnone" width="1000"]
atlasobscura.com[/caption] So, that's it for our World Book Day 2020 guide to London's literary sites. However, if you have any to add, let us know in the comments below. And, of course, don't forget to check out The London Pass. See how it can help you see the very best of literary London. To find out more, click below. The button that says Find Out More. There it is. You've got it. Now click.