Sunday, September 11, 2011

Literary Sightseeing in London

I'm back from the city of London after a nice week vacation touring around. As I have books on the brain, I made a point to see several sights of literary interest while I was there. So for anyone who gets the chance to go London and take a look around, here are some sights you might want to check out. 

First off is Jane Austen's door....



   Ironically, there's a dentist office there now, but if you're interested in seeing where Austen lived in Bath, England, the place she lived is still there.  Bath strives to upkeep the history in its buildings, so a lot of things in Bath are just as they were in Georgian times when they were built. There's also a Jane Austen Center to check out for the really diehard fans.

And on to Harry Potter....



There are any number of tours in London to show you the various Harry Potter film locations. Although we didn't make it to platform 9 3/4, we still were able to see the front of Gringott's bank (the first picture,) and an alley that could perhaps be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. It started out wide under an archway, until the end when we had to push through single file. 

Outside of London was another Harry Potter site....


In a small town called Lacock, England, was Harry Potter's parent's house. The town is often used for filming as the buildings don't belong to those who live there, but are government owned. While it would be cool to have my house in movies, I have to say having to move my car off the street to film BBC's Pride and Prejudice might get old after awhile. 

Of course I visited a bookstore in London.... 


Hatchards is the oldest bookstore in London and has been around since the 1700's. It had five floors complete with twisting staircases and I could have spent the next week just in here. The children's section turned out to be on the top floor. I was winded by the time I got up there, but it was worth it, I found an edition of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Chris Riddell. Awesome!

I visited a library while I was there too....



I'll admit the British Library didn't have the elegance that I'd come to expect from British buildings. It was a sadly disappointing modern, brick building. Inside the King's Library is in encased in glass in the center. The Reading Rooms are off limits unless you have a pass, but that's okay because I was more interested in the exhibits. Pages from Da Vinci's journal, the original lyrics from the Beatles song A Hard Day's Night (written on a birthday card) and a special exhibit on the history of Science Fiction.

And who could forget Shakespeare's Globe Theater?


I sure can't, because I saw a play there. I was impressed by the staging that took into account the shape of the theater. We were off to the sidelines, but from our seats there were things we saw from the actors, (hiding on stage from other characters) that those front and center couldn't see.

A lesser known site would be Brown's Hotel....



Brown's Hotel is the inspiration for Bertram's Hotel for all the Agatha Christie fans out there. A hotel that was currently frequented by the author, she used it in her novel, At Bertram's Hotel. Miss Marple is described as sitting quietly next to one of the fireplaces with her knitting. Perhaps the one in the background? You never know...


Okay, so this last one is not strictly literary... but the nerd in me couldn't resist posting a picture of the tardis since they're so far and few between. Yes for all you Dr. Who fans out there, there are still a couple of these old police boxes around in London. You too can have the locals stare at you as you squeal in joy at finding this coveted relic. 

And so ends the literary tour of England. There are tons of other sites that I didn't even mention. So for those looking for a book lover's paradise, England is a good bet for a vacation.





3 comments:

  1. Looks like it was an awesome trip! Great recs for future trips too.

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  2. Love the pic of the tardis. Also, children's section on the fifth floor, those kids have so much energy!

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  3. Yeah, I have to admit the winding staircase made me dizzy after awhile...

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