Charles Dickens Literary Tour
Dickensian London (half day or full day)
Start in Camden Town where Dickens spent his early youth and got inspiration for many of his characters. Jarndyce and Jarndyce (Bleak House) begins at the Court of Chancery at Lincoln's Inn (open on weekdays).
See also Grays Inn, one of the Inns of Court, where Dickens was a solicitor's clerk in 1828, and the nearby Old Curiosity Shop. Go on to Doughty Street, Clerkenwell, and the Dickens House Museum, his first real home with his wife Catherine and where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. It houses fascinating Dickens memorabilia and a comprehensive library of his work.
Move down to the Thames which features so often in his books. Cross to Southwark and the site of the Marshelsea Prison where his father was imprisoned for debt. Finally end the tour with a visit of Westminster Abbey, to see the Poet's Corner where the author is buried.
Enjoy lunch at one of Dickens' favourite places and one of London's oldest and most authentic pubs described in A Tale of Two Cities, or book a table at a famous traditional English restaurant where Dickens regularly ate.
Dickens in Portsmouth & Winchester (9 hours)
Visit Portsmouth where your tour will include the birthplace of Dickens where he was born in a modest house 200 years ago. The small terraced house has been restored, decorated and furnished in the Regency style appropriate to his parents.
You will also visit the dockyards in Queen Street where his father worked. On your way visit Winchester, once capital of England with its fine Norman cathedral, ancient school and quaint streets that wind their way up to the castle where the round table believed to have been King Arthur's can be seen.
Rochester & Canterbury or Broadstairs (10 hours)
Visit Rochester in Kent where there are some strong connections with Charles Dickens. You will see Restoration House, the Satis House of Dickens' "Great Expectations", Rochester Castle and Cathedral.
Then finally onto Dickens' former home at Gads Hill Place just outside of Rochester which was where Charles and his family lived from 1857 to 1870. He wrote a number of his novels here and he died here whilst working on his uncompleted book, 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood.' Gads Hill Place is now a school standing in the pleasant grounds. You can visit part of the house and stroll in the grounds and appreciate Dickens' love for his country home in the Garden of England. If travelling with children, time permitting ask your guide to take you to Dickens World amusement park for light entertainment.
In a 10 hour tour, combine Rochester with a visit to Canterbury or Broadstairs. The Dickens House Museum in Broadstairs, Kent is the house of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, the basis for Miss Betsey Trotwood in David Copperfield. It is visible across the bay from the original Bleak House (not open to visitors) where David Copperfield was written. The museum contains memorabilia, general Victoriana and some of Dickens's letters. Broadstairs also holds an annual Dickens Festival.
Alternatively visit medieval Canterbury, known and loved by Dickens and featured largely in David Copperfield. Visit its splendid Norman cathedral, the scene of the murder of Thomas à Becket in 1170 when he was the Archbishop of Canterbury.