5 Reasons to Visit the Charles Dickens Museum

Doughty_StreetIn a quieter part of London, nestled near the middle of a quaint little street is a lovely place that not many people seem to know about. 48 Doughty Street was Charles Dickens’ home from 1837 to 1839 and is the location where he wrote The Pickwick PapersNicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist. It is now the Charles Dickens Museum, where I have been volunteering for the last few months. This may make you think I’m biased in its favour, but it’s genuinely a wonderful place, and here are five reasons you should give it a visit if you get the chance.

1. The museum is not just a collection of Dickens’ belongings, but a carefully curated experience.

Upon walking in, visitors will see letters written by Dickens hanging on one wall, and items such as maps, posters and playbills on the other, all of which relate to Dickens’ life (and to London at the time) in some way. The exhibitions in each room are designed to give you an understanding of what life would have been like at the time — not only for Dickens, but for his household as well. The furniture and everyday items are complemented by decor that forms a narrative. As you move from one room to other, there is an almost lived-in feel to the place; it’s not just a museum building or a house. It’s a home.

2. You are free to create your own experience.

Whilst there is a recommended order in which to look through the rooms, visitors are not obligated to follow this. You can look around at their own leisure and I have seen some spend hours perusing whilst others have been in and out in less than thirty minutes flat. If you take the time, though, each item on display has a certain significance you can find out about.

The reception also sells audio guides that enhance the whole experience and leave you with little kernels of knowledge you can use to impress strangers. Otherwise, the volunteers on duty are also vastly knowledgeable about many aspects of Dickens’ life.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Hi everyone! It’s been… a while… *nervous laughter* I hope you still recognise my name in your reader/inbox?! I thought I’d make my not-so-grand-return with a classic weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme is ‘twisted‘.

IMG_83921 (1)

I took this photo at a shopping mall in Denmark. Nothing too… fishy. 😉 Let me know if you have any thoughts and, as always, until next time!

A Walking Tour of London Bookshops

Recently, I met up with two friends from my old university, intending to catch up and wander a little bit. That “wander” turned out to be a trip to every bookshop within the area — and there are quite a few within walking distance of each other. So if you have an afternoon to spare (and a little money if you, like me, are prone to buying more books than you can read), then stop by some — or all — of these book nooks in London!


1. Skoob

We started the afternoon at Skoob, a secondhand bookshop near Russell Square. Every nook and cranny in this place is filled with books of all sorts; I could have spent the whole day just there. They also have a student discount until the end of October, so stop by quick if you’re eligible!

Here’s how well I did:

  • Willpower: broken
  • Books bought: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
    • Excuses: nostalgia (I enjoyed Riordan’s books in younger years)
    • I liked the Percy Jackson/Lost Hero series, and haven’t read the Kane series yet
    • I am internally about 10 years old
  • The Masterpieces of Shirley Jackson
    • Excuses: Halloween is coming up and I wanted some spooky reads
    • It will photograph well for my Instagram (Did you know I have a bookstagram? *shameless promotion*)
    • Student discount!

IMG_59683Yes, one of each, please

2. London Review Bookshop
Next up, we headed to London Review Bookshop. There is a quaint little cake shop attached to this one (which may or may not have been one of our main incentives to meet up). After a bit of cake and tea, we took a quick look around the actual bookshop.

  • Willpower: sustained (with some difficulty; they have signed copies of several books). My friends caved though!

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