London has always been a city of inspiration for writers, poets, and painters, alike. London has lots of cultural centers from museums to galleries and libraries. But one of my favorite activities here is exploring writer's house museums. Whenever visiting a new city, I make sure to visit prominent museums related to literature, and writer's houses to get into the minds of our favorite and most celebrated writers.
Here is a list of museums for book and literature lovers to explore.
Charles Dickens House Museum
The Charles Dickens Museum is the author's London home located at 48 Doughty Street in King's Cross. Dickens lived here with his family from March 1837 to December 1839. While living here, he wrote some of his famous books like Oliver Twist (1838) and Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39). Visitors can visit this museum from Wednesday to Sunday, and it is possible to book the tickets from the website. However, it is also possible to explore the museum virtually. The museum’s collection contains items like manuscripts, personal items and paintings. The museum also consists of different online activities like interactive tours to the house's different rooms like the study, dining room, morning room, Dickenses' bedroom or the drawing room. It is also famous for its wide range of educational activities like creative writing workshops and virtual explorer tours. Also, the museum's website contains short articles about Dickens written from various authors. You may also want to attend some of the virtual talks by his 3x great granddaughter Lucinda Hawksley or visit the historic house's latest exhibitions.
Victoria and Albert Museum
V&A was established in the 19th century and located in South Kensington with a
collection of nearly 2.27 million objects. Even better, the entry is free. It is one of my favorite museums in London, a museum that I think all book lovers should visit. The collection contains early printed books, contemporary artists' books, graphic novels, and many more. Some highlights are books about Shakespeare, Radical Fashion book edited by Claire Wilcox. Visitors can also virtually explore writer William Morris's artworks about literature and book design from the museum website. Currently, Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature exhibition is on display until 8 January 2023. Beatrix Potter is one of the famous children's authors of the 20th century, and the exhibition contains sketches, drawings, and illustrated letters from the author. l Also the museum holds a variety of events from free talks in The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre to workshops in the museum.
The Keats House
The Keats House is located in Hampstead, London. It is the house of romantic poet, John Keats. He lived here from 1818 to 1820 until he became ill with tuberculosis and moved to a warmer place. According to his friend Charles Brown, Keats wrote Ode To Nightingale in the garden of this house. It is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The visitors can explore the "Keats Inspired" exhibition which is on display. It will be closed from 24 to 31 December, but don't worry the museum will re-open from Sunday 1 January.
Dr Johnson's House
Dr Johnson's House is the house of 18th century writer Samuel Johnson, located in Holborn, London. The building dates back to 1700 although Johnson lived here from 1748 to 1759. This house is where he finished his famous work A Dictionary of The English Language. There are different exhibitions that visitors can explore like the Johnson and Satire exhibition in which visitors are introduced to 18th century's society. In the past, important exhibitions like "Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779-81)" and "Shakespeare in the 18th century: Johnson, Garrick and friends" have been displayed here.The museum’s collection consists of books, paintings and other objects. There are also educational workshops which range from bespoke tours, family tours to lifelong learning courses.
The house is open on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
The British Museum
The British Museum is located at Great Russell St, London, and entry is free. Its permanent collection is very interesting for archaeology and history lovers with its collection dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and many more. However, it is also brilliant for literature and visual arts lovers due to the different exhibitions related to books on display. Visitors can explore the "Artists making books: poetry to politics" exhibition until 17 September 2023. The works of various artists from New York to Damascus will be on display. You should not miss this exhibition because it is a unique experience to see how art and literature are interrelated.
Edited by Holly Cornall, Literature Editor