London: one of the world’s greatest cities. Like many cities the world over, London is fantastic to visit – it has superb transport, too, and the Underground is pretty iconic. Buses are decent, and you can see a lot more when riding on the top deck. Driving – not so pleasurable. But what about on foot? Walking around London is one of the best things you can do to explore the city.
For many, London is a book-lover’s dream. Sherlock Holmes fans may well know of his fictional home – 221B Baker Street, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum. What better way to experience Victorian London as it was in Holmes’ day?
Not too far away is Bloomsbury – this was and is a well-known area of the city, in the past associated with writers such as Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster, popular in the early 20th Century. Many writers lived and worked here – and just walking around will give you a great flavour of their splendid surroundings. Not too far from here is the Charles Dickens Museum – and many of you may well have spent time reading A Christmas Carol, or perhaps Great Expectations. Dickens’ London is beautifully presented at this museum, which can be found close to Russell Square.
Some may prefer something more contemporary, or fantastical. I probably don’t need to mention (but I will anyway, just in case) that London’s King’s Cross station is the fictional home of Platform 9 ¾ – the infamous train platform from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. For younger readers, or those who can’t resist a cute, cuddly animal, a stroll around Paddington Station is perfect to see its namesake bear.
Another notable work linked to the capital Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners is a great read about the lives of immigrants in the 1950s. In fact, we’re spoilt for choice. London has many literary links, whether it’s books that are set there or the favourite haunts of famous writers.
The next time you’re in London, then, take a walk around the streets. Look for the recognisable blue plaques on buildings to see who lived where and when; spend some time in the British Library, home to countless numbers of published books; visit Daunt Books, in Marylebone, and marvel at what’s on offer. Whatever you do, you will be sure to see that London is the perfect place for anyone interested in literature.