London is a top global destination with millions of visitors flocking to the English capital every year to visit world class museums and see iconic attractions such as Buckingham Palace. For book lovers, London is a particularly fantastic place to visit. There are wonderful bookshops, stunning libraries and evidence of the city’s literary heritage at every turn. These are five highlights on any book lover’s visit to London.
Peter Pan Statue, Kensington Gardens
Peter Pan is the iconic story about a boy that doesn’t grow up, and where better to read the book than under his gaze at Kensington Gardens? Of course, the copyright to most books expires 50 years after the author dies, but an exception was made for Peter Pan as the author J.M. Barrie had passed on the copyright to Great Ormond Street Hospital, itself a London institution.
The British Museum Reading Room
The British Museum Reading Room, built in 1857, used to be the main reading room for the British Library, but after a purpose built library was built in 1997 it was temporarily closed. Reopened in 2000 to the general public for the first time, this beautiful room is currently used for exhibitions. Any lover of books will marvel at the interior and savour the chance to visit a reading room that had been used by Sherlock Holmes, author Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Sherlock Holmes Pub
Talking of the great detective, once you work up an appetite you can head to this Sherlock themed pub on Northumberland Street. As you might expect, the menu is themed with Sherlock inspired dishes – who could resist having a ‘Hound of the Baskerville’ (toad in the hole) for lunch? Make sure you don’t miss the reconstructed study, which has been designed to look as if Holmes is still hard it work conducting investigations.
John Sandoe Books
While websites like Amazon have made getting your hands on books easier than ever, it definitely lacks a certain charm. Remind yourself what it was like to browse through shelves of books at John Sandoe Books, a fantastic 18th century building at 10 Blacklands Terrace. The interior is just as inspiring with a creaking spiral staircase and staff that are ridiculously knowledgable about books just waiting to help. They’ll even make recommendations – of course, Amazon does that as well, but it’s not quite as impressive somehow.
The Library Suite at the Connaught, Mayfair
After an exhausting day discovering all the fantastic things London has to offer book lovers you’ll want to finish it all off with a book of your own. Except usually getting in a comfortable position to read in your hotel bedroom is impossible while your bedside lamp is too dim or too bright. If that sounds familiar book yourself into one of the finest hotel suites in London the Library Suite. As you can imagine, there is luxury from floor to ceiling in this suite, and the library itself is a fantastic space whether you want to read or simply relax. Designed by architect Michael Blair, you’re bound to find something fascinating to read if you haven’t brought something of your own.
We’re just getting started…
As you walk around London you’ll begin to notice the Blue Plaques that have been erected to show you where famous people lived or worked – Enid Blyton, Herman Melville, Marry Shelley and Robert Louis Stevenson are just some of the names you’ll see. Then there are all the famous landmarks and sights that you’ll recognised from passages in your favourite book, such as the section of the Thames between Southwark Bridge and London Bridge – the area where corpses were dragged up in the Charles Dickens novel ‘Our Mutual Friend’. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start a story of your own.
This article was written by Polly a London based travel blogger. She likes to find new things to do in all the cities she visits, and specialises in luxury travel.