Travel Club: 5 literary landmarks in London
Spots every bookworm should visit
To expand our perspective.
To buy yourself something nice as a reward.
An intensive shopping session.
Rare objects, often associated with a work of art.
To go for a walk.
A book with a paper cover (op: hardback).
A theatrical representation.
By José Viera, coach at What's Up! Terrassa
Are you looking for amazing places to visit this summer? The holiday season is just around the corner, and new opportunities to have fun and broaden our horizons await! Many English students choose London as their destination for a short trip – after all, who could say no to the most iconic British city?
What fewer people know, however, is that London is also a popular literary location. As a student of English back in my university days, I was (and remain!) fascinated by the stories of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, J.K. Rowling or Arthur Conan Doyle – all of whom are connected with London either through their stories or the places where they wrote themselves. As you may assume, my first trip to London felt like a dream come true! Here are some of my favourite literary spots in the city – you might find new reasons to grab a ticket!
The British Library
If you are into libraries, and if you are reading this I am certain you are, you simply cannot pass up the chance to visit The British Library, which houses the most exhaustive catalogue of literary works in the world. Visitors can consult historical documents, pamphlets, maps and even original manuscripts of famous works such as Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales or Mrs Dalloway… and I was personally captivated by the library’s breath-taking atmosphere! So many shelves!
Platform 9¾ and the Harry Potter shop (King’s Cross Station)
As a massive Harry Potter fan, I got to fulfil my literary fantasies at King’s Cross Station, where we can pose for a picture next to a reconstruction of the famous Platform 9¾, the magically hidden platform from which the Hogwarts Express departs every year. Apart from immortalising the moment while dozens of others fans wait (yes, it gets crowded!) you can also treat yourself to a few souvenirs at the official shop. I definitely enjoyed the most charming shopping spree!
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Located between 237 and 241, Baker Street (of course!), the Sherlock Holmes Museum immerses visitors in the world of the most celebrated literary detective. Contained within a Georgian house built in 1815, the museum is famous for its irresistibly Victorian atmosphere (I loved the wallpapers!) and, above all, for the numerous collectibles referenced in Conan Doyle’s stories – including even Sherlock’s daily copy of The Times! For a moment, I felt like a bit of a detective myself!
Bookshops on Charing Cross Road
When I first visited Charing Cross Road, I could not believe my book-loving eyes! If you take a stroll down this legendary street, you will be rewarded with an endless stream of second-hand and independent bookshops. Make some room for extra books in your suitcase, though – I could not resist the temptation to buy some 1-pound paperbacks to read on the plane back home! Charing Cross is also home to one of the most iconic bookshops in the city, Foyles – five floors full of literary wonders!
As a student, I was lucky to participate in a few amateur representations of Shakespeare’s plays… yet nothing compares to the feeling of visiting his very own theatre! A faithful reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe opened in 1997 and has since hosted a wide variety of plays – mostly over the summer. If you happen to visit London in winter, do not worry! The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the Globe’s indoor theatre, hosts performances all year round.