‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. Samuel Johnson 1777
Many writers have been inspired to write about London and its inhabitants, due to the variety and complexity of the metropolis.
The earliest of these is the father of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, who, in the late 14th century related fictional stories of pilgrims on their journey from London, in The Canterbury Tales. William Shakespeare came to London from Stratford in the late 16th century becoming first an actor and eventually England’s greatest wordsmith and playwright. Two of England’s greatest writers of the 17th century were Daniel Defoe and Samuel Pepys both of whom related contemporary events in the capital city through their own eyes. Pepys’ famous diaries provide us with a reliable first hand account of the Great Fire of London, while Defoe is generally credited with developing the novel, as we know it today.
The 19th century saw the rise in popularity of the English novel most notably in the work of Charles Dickens. His stories of an insanitary, socially deprived and criminal London did much to bring the plight of the poor to the attention of those that brought about social change. But, it was in the early twentieth century that London became the centre for writers who were inspired by the diverse and rich seam of its society. Among the ‘Bloomsbury Set‘ were TS Eliot, who wrote his elegiac poem The Waste Land, Virginia Woolfe, who wrote about London life in her novels such as Mrs Dalloway and E.M Forster, author of Howard’s End. Other literary London residents have included W. Somerset Maugham, George Orwell and JB Priestley.
This tour includes:
- Westminster Abbey, visiting Poet’s Corner, to see the tombs of among others, Dickens, Kipling, Tennyson and Browning.
- Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street where, according to his creator Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, the great detective lived and solved many of his mysteries.
- The Dickens Museum, the house in which he lived and wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.
- Lunch at ‘The Lamb’ , Dickens’ ‘local pub’
- The British Museum to see Shakespeare’s First Folio, Jane Austen’s notebook, and other items connected to the literary world.
- A tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
- A walking tour of literary Southwark
- Visits to the outside of homes and haunts of literary figures
8 hour literary London tour £525/£550
The cost includes the use of a driver guide and his vehicle and is NOT the rate per person. The lower price is for up to 4 passengers and the higher for 5/6 passengers. All parking charges are included but admission fees are additional.