Walking tours that follow the locations of Dickens’ novels bring book lovers in touch with the Victorian novelist’s sources of inspiration.
Inspired by the bustle and humanity of the London metropolis, Charles Dickens included many London historic buildings and places in his novels. More than a century after they appeared in such Dickens’ novels as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Christmas Carol and Little Dorrit (to name only a few), these locations are today part of a secret London: buildings that exist between the real and the fictional and whose uses have changed many times over the years.
To walk London following Dickens books is to try to see the modern metropolis through the Victorian novelist’s eyes; to recreate the atmosphere of his stories; to take a glimpse of Dickens’ creative process by contemplating the material objects of his inspiration. Walking tours in Dickens London are ideal gifts for book lovers.
Walk London, Tours of London for Book Lovers
Some of the London buildings and locations that appear in Dickens’ books are historic landmarks; others belong to a secret London that only dedicated book lovers will discover. To walk London following Dickens’ books consider booking one of many guided walking tours which take the visitor through the best secret London locations associated with Dickens’ novels. These include:
St Paul’s Cathedral; a London historic landmark dating to the 16th century, St Paul’s is a background to many a Dickens novel.
The Old Curiosity Shop, Portsmouth Street; the original shop was behind the National Gallery but this shop was also known by the author. It is a curiosity in itself as it is one of few surviving 16th-century buildings.
London’s Inns of Court, or London’s legal quarter, very much unchanged since Dickens’ times remind book lovers of Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, Barnaby Rudge and the Great Expectations.
The Royal Exchange on Cornhill is associated with the Christmas Carol but also features in many Dickens books.
Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, a historic building dating from 1667, it features on the Tale of Two Cities.
A secret London Dickens location, Ely Place, is a private street tucked away behind Holborn Circus. Ely Place is a setting in David Copperfield. Nearby is the Bleeding Heart Yard that features in Little Dorrit.
Staples Inn with its impressive Tudor facade is a location in Dickens’ last unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The steps that lead down from London Bridge into Montague Close are known as Nancy’s steps, the Oliver Twist character.
Best Secret London Walks Following Dickens Books
Guided walking tours can be booked online, a gift that book lovers and Dickens enthusiasts will appreciate. There many websites that offer detailed information about Dickens London with directions to buildings associated to the novelist and his books. These are useful for self-guided tours.
Dickens walks are also available in print, for example from Amazon, for those book lovers that want to indulge in a thorough read before embarking on a London walk on the footsteps of Dickens characters. The Charles Dickens Museum also has a collection of books about Dickens London walks. Consider also to walk London at night to recapture the Victorian love for ghost stories.