This private walking tour takes you on an interesting 2.5 hour walk around the Bloomsbury district of London. What Montmartre in Paris is to the world of art then so is Bloomsbury to the world of literature. Bloomsbury was the center of the English-speaking literary world in the 19th and 20th centuries and to a degree still is. The beautiful squares and quiet neighborhoods created a special community where writers from around the world would come to live and write in a creative atmosphere.
On this tour you will visit the homes of a number of world-renowned writers, see the largely unchanged neighborhoods that they lived in and which helped form some of the greatest works of literature of all time. Just some of the places you will visit include the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Charles Darwin and the Suffragette Millicent Garrett Fawcett. You'll see the building that inspired George Orwell and his Ministry of Truth in 1984. Learn about the tragic life of Virginia Woolf, a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group and the location of where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented the famous sleuth Sherlock Holmes and why he never liked his famous detective.
Such luminaries as Gertrude Stein, Aleister Crowley, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats round off the tour, not forgetting J M Barrie whose wonderful story of Peter Pan continues to help a world-famous children’s hospital in London to this day.
Meet your guide in Fitzrovia in the afternoon, then start your tour with a traditional British pub quiz. Test your knowledge of Britain’s literary scene, then head onward through the City of London to further your knowledge.
During your tour, sample a selection of British beers (own expense) and meet a lifelike incarnation of Charles Dickens to hear what he has to say! Visit sites frequented by great 19th- and 20th-century poets and writers including Brendan Behan, Anthony Burgess, Karl Marx, George Orwell, Dylan Thomas, and Virginia Woolf.
Watch re-enactments of key moments in Britain’s literary history — such as the moment Dylan Thomas met his future wife Caitlin — and hear of the incidents and mishaps that shaped some of British literature’s most famous works.
Discover some of the places that have inspired more modern songwriters and artists like Paul McCartney and Damien Hirst, and enjoy book and poetry readings along the way. Afterward, finish your walking tour at The Coach and Horses pub in Soho, central London.
Alongside notable natives like actor Stephen Fry and author Evelyn Waugh, the Village of Hampstead has been a magnet for notables, artists, and celebrities since the 19th century. This is just a short list:
Among the legions of writers and authors we count Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, D H Lawrence, John le Carré, Martin Amis, P. L. Travers (Mary Poppins), T.S. Eliot, Ian Fleming, John Fowles, Aldous Huxley, A.A. Milne, George Orwell, Robert Louis Setevnson, H.G. Wells, and a nearly complete set of major Romatic poets: Lord Byron, Percy Bysse Shelly, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Keats (whose Hampstead home is now a museum).
Musicians Sting, Ozzy Osnourne, Paul Robeson, Boy George, Liam Gallagher (of Oasis), and Hary Styles (of One Direction) all have called Hampstead home.
Artists John Constable, Lucien Freud, Walter Gropius, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Piet Mondrian, George Romney, and the architect George Gilbert Scott have lived here, as did psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna Freud.
Hampstead was home to both the the famed adventurer and diplomat Sir Richard Burton (famous for his English translations of One Thousand And One Nights/Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra), and the famed Welsh actor who took his name, Richard Burton.
Other actors folowed: Peter Cook, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Palin, Elizabeth Taylor, Helena Bonham Carter, Ricky Gervais, Judy Garland, Jeremy Irons, Peter, O'Toole, and James Corden, plus director Ridley Scott.
However, in 2015 Cumberbatch and his wife moved just east to Dartmouth Park, and celeb power couples Tim Burton/Helena Bonham-Carter and Gwyneth Paltrtow/Chris Martin (pre-divorce) decamped just south nearby Belsize Park along with James Corden (who then moved Stateside to take over The Late Late Show) and Cameron Diaz. Are Hampstead's glory days as the Beverly Hills of London over?