London: 10 Literary Places to Visit

THE LONDON LIBRARY

Address: The London Library, 14 St James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4LG (closest Underground station: Piccadilly Circus)

The London Library was founded in 1840 by a Scottish author and historian, Thomas Carlyle and it became the largest independent lending library in the world. It is a home to over a million books spread across seven interconnecting buildings. Please do not confuse with the British Library. They are two very different places.

The London Library is stunningly beautiful, enchanting and it allows you to enter the world of literary fairy tale. It resembles something out of “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books” as described in tetralogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It offers public tours taking place in the evenings, starting at 6.00 o’clock. I highly recommend booking it in advance.

Members of the London Library included some of the greatest writers including Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Harold Pinter and Laurence Olivier. The London Library still attracts some of the biggest names in the contemporary literary world.

It is located just a short walk from Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus, Central London, and it is my number one place to visit for all the bibliophiles!

The Charles Dickens Museum

Address: 48-49 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LX (closest Underground station: Russell Square or Holborn)

The Charles Dickens Museum is the Victorian house where the great storyteller wrote one of his most famous books: “Oliver Twist”, “Pickwick Papers” and “Nicholas Nickleby”.

The museum displays handwritten notes of Dickens, his writing desk, furniture, china, marble busts, paintings from that period. Also, if you are interested in the Victorian architecture and in that period of history, the Charles Dickens Museum is a must.

The Charles Dickens Museum is an international centre for research on Charles Dickens and is a home to over 100,000 items relating to the author’s life and work which is the largest collection of this kind in the world.

You can then walk from there to Bloomsbury to visit London Review Bookshop, Persephone Bookshop and the British Museum.

Dennis Severs’ House

Address: 18 Folgate Street, London, E1 6BX (closest Underground station: Liverpool Street Station)

Dennis Severs’ House is a time capsule into the 18th and 19th century world of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers. Through sights, smells and sounds of the house you explore the lives of one family across the generations. The experience is nothing one can compare to.

They have special tours over Christmas period which is worth booking if you happen to be around in London. I would also encourage you to read about Dennis Severs himself as he was a very unique human being and he left something special for all of us to enjoy.

Dennis Severs’ House is located near Spitalfields Market and just a few minutes’ walk from Brick Lane with all its vintage shops.

LONDON REVIEW BOOKSHOP

Address: 14 Bury Place, London WC1A 2JL (closest Underground station: Holborn Station, Tottenham Court Road Station or Russell Square Station)

London Review Bookshop is a lovely place for all the bibliophiles. There is a lovely coffee shop adjacent to the bookshop and they run great events including talks with writers and various artists. They have great book recommendations and it is just a stone away from the British Museum.

FOYLES BOOKSHOP

Address: 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT (closest Underground station: Tottenham Court Road Station)

Foyles Bookshop is one of my favourite bookshops. It used to be the largest bookshop in the world and it still offers plethora of titles which are hard to find in other more commercial bookstores.

Foyles opened in 1903 and has been a place of literary explorations for many book lovers since then. There are regular literary events held on the 6th floor of the bookshop.

They have great titles on display and wonderful recommendations which are always worth taking into consideration. There is also a lovely café on the 5th floor which also hosts a small gallery. It is a great place to explore new titles!

WATERSTONES GOWER STREET BOOKSHOP

Address: 82 Gower Street, London, WC1E 6EQ (closest Underground station: Gower Street, Warren Street, Euston Square, Euston Station or Tottenham Court Road Station)

Waterstones Gower Street, located in Bloomsbury, is Europe’s largest new- and second-hand bookshop spread over three floors of grade II listed building. It is worth visiting not only for a huge number of books in every possible area of interest, both also for a stunningly breath-taking building which occupies. There is also a lovely coffee shop and vinyl store for lovers of vintage records.

This is a number one place for the ones who look for very rare and specialist books; if you have a very particular interest, this might be the place for you! The staff is extremely knowledgeable and have great book recommendations to offer.

This is a number one place for the ones who look for very rare and specialist books; if you have a very particular interest, this might be the place for you! The staff is extremely knowledgeable and have great book recommendations to offer.

Waterstones Gower Street looks like a bookshop from every bibliophile’s dream!

HATCHARDS BOOKSHOP

Address: 187 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9LE (closest Underground station: Piccadilly Circus and Green Park)

Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop, established in 1797 and has been occupying the same building for over two centuries. It is worth visiting as the atmosphere there is very unique and the interior of the bookshop is breathtakingly beautiful. All the lovers of fine editions will be happy to know that these booksellers specialise in stocking signed copies and first editions of the well-known authors.

SHERLOCK HOLEMS MUSEUM

Address: 221b Baker Street, London NW1 6XE (closest Underground station: Baker Street or Marylebone Station)

If you enjoy reading the adventures of the world most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr Watson, paying a visit to the museum is a must. Spreading over three floors, the Sherlock Holmes Museum allows the visitor to travel in time and to admire the Victorian architecture of the Grade II listed Sherlock Holmes’s house.

Following the visit to the museum, I am certain that reading the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would become even more enjoyable and magical.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Address: 13 Lincoln’S Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP (closest Underground station: Holborn Station)

Sir John Soane’s Museum is a breathtaking place to visit. It resembles magical places craved out of the pages of the books of Carlos Ruiz Zafon or Erin Morgenstern. It is a home to the collections of paintings, drawings and antiquities.

Located just a few minutes’ walk away from Holborn Station, Sir John Soane’s Museum is worth paying a visit. You will not regret it!

DAUNT BOOKSHOP MARYLEBONE

Address: 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW (closest Underground station: Baker Street, Bond Street or Marble Arch Station)

There are six Daunt Bookshops in London, however the one in Marylebone is the most beautiful and with a wonderful history behind. I would definitely recommend every bibliophile a visit to Daunt Bookshop Marylebone. The bookshop hold many events and talks with the writers and literary figures.

It is a just a few minutes from Baker Street Station and The Sherlock Holmes Museum.

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