A Book Addict's Literary Tour of London

The enchanting city of London offers something for everyone from historic landmarks to encounters with royalty. Harry Potter fans can even visit the infamous 'Platform 9 3/4.' But as the Paranoid Traveler discovered on her recent visit, London is much more than tea, tiaras, and crumpets. It can also be considered one of the literary capitals of the world with streets bustling with attractions to draw in book addicts at every turn. 


I am an Anglophile. So you can just imagine how giddy I was when I was finally able to see the most exciting city in the world---London! The city is bursting with rich culture, heritage, history and of course, literary works. As a certified book addict, I could hardly contain myself when I visited its most famous literary landmarks.

sherlock holmes museum
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
221B Baker St (naturally)

The Sherlock Holmes Museum was my very first stop in my literary tour. You will be greeted by a guard, dressed in a Victorian-era police uniform, who is kind to tourists wanting a photo op with him. You can even don either a deerstalker’s hat or a bowler’s hat while at it. The museum is next to its shop where tickets are sold. Smart move because Sherlock fans, like myself, come out purchasing an armful of memorabilia.

As Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, the museum does not house any authentic relics but it recreates the room and atmosphere as described in the books although it has actual letters from people who wrote to the world’s only consulting detective.

Tube station: Baker Street

charles dickens museum
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
48 Doughty Street

I am not really a fan of Charles Dickens but because I am so familiar with his works which I find to be enjoyable, I had to include it in my itinerary. Locating the museum was kind of difficult; you have to walk several blocks after getting off the Tube station and if you blink, you will miss it. I had to do a double turn before finally finding it. Compared to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum has a very unassuming presence. It is the actual house the author lived in for a few years. It contains letters, pictures, restored furniture and memorabilia. On the ground floor is the museum shop which proved too much for me to resist. And may I reiterate that I’m not even a fan?

Tube station: Russell Square

platform 9 3/4 harry potter
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Platform 9 ¾
King Cross Station

Like Dickens, I am no Harry Potter fan. Never read any of the books and only saw the first film just to see what the fuss was all about. And because I saw the first in the franchise film series, I recognized the scene in front of me while I was waiting for my tour guide at King’s Cross Station. They say it usually has long lines but since I was there at six in the morning, I was the only one there snapping away.

Tube station: King's Cross Mainline Station

london literary tour
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Agatha Christie Memorial
Covent Garden

As much as I am a Sherlock fan, I am more of an Agatha Christie devotee. I had wanted to visit Torquay, her birthplace, but my London schedule was too tight to accommodate an out-of-town trip. (Maybe next time?) So I settled for the Agatha Christie Memorial statue. Not that exciting but still thrilling to be able to tick it off my Agatha Christie bucket list.

Tube station: Covent Garden

london literary tour
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside

Of course, one cannot go on a literary tour of London without visiting the famed Shakespeare Globe, right? Which I did but I didn’t go inside anymore because I’m sorry, once again, I am not a fan and there was just too much on my itinerary that day to bother going inside. I was also too tired from looking for it which took several minutes. I just had my picture taken and that was all there was to my brush with the greatest playwright of all time.

Tube Station: Southwarks

london literary tour
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
Commemorative Signs

Walking the streets of London, it is not uncommon to see blue round signs on the facades of houses to commemorate the residency of cherished authors in the past like the one in the photo.

london literary tour
Copyright Photo: The Paranoid Traveler/PFN
40 Gay Street, Bath

Our last stop is not found in London but in Bath, some three hours away on the bus. Located there is The Jane Austen Center in which the gift shop was more exciting than the museum. I am a fan of Jane Austen (I have an altar in my room complete with an action figure), however, I was not impressed with what the museum had to offer so I passed up on it and just enjoyed the gift shop.

Jane Austen did not really live in Bath but stayed there only for a short while. It is believed that she didn’t particularly care for it but she made Bath a literary mecca when she featured IT (not them) in two of her novels.


Traveler's Notes:

3 comments:

  1. No latest news? (e.g. closing of NAIA due to arrival of Pres. Obama this afternoon)

    ReplyDelete
  2. We communicated the temporary closure of NAIA for Obama's visit via Facebook as there was little else to report.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent post! Very soon I'm going to visit the enchanting city of London. In fact, I'm looking forward to a list of flights to London.

    ReplyDelete

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