Today marks the birthday of author Charles Dickens. To celebrate, here are five places you and your group can visit year round to learn all about the famous writer.
The writer, known for his works such as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby, was born on 7th February 1812 in Portsmouth.
Having made his mark in world and literature history, the novelist gained inspiration from a multitude of locations, some of which you can visit today. From museums to walks, there are many ways in which you can remember Dickens, who is described by many as one of the world’s most famous Englishmen.
1. Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum, Portsmouth
The writer was born at 1 Mile End Terrace in Portsmouth, which is now the setting of the museum. This house was the first married home of his parents and where he spent some of his younger years. The birthplace museum is a great place to start your exploration of Dickens and groups visiting can view the rooms laid out how they would have been in Dickens’ early life and guided walks around the local area can also be arranged.
Displays at the museum include furnishings, household items, personal belongings and even the very couch on which Dickens died. When visiting Portsmouth, you might also spot the recently added Charles Dickens statue in the guildhall square, a great spot for a group photo.
2. Charles Dickens Museum, London
This museum allows you to explore the place in which Dickens wrote some of his most famous works, including Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. This Victorian house is where he lived when he became famous for his writing. Visitors can explore the many rooms, such as the servants’ quarters, the family bedchambers and his study. All group visits are self-guided and pre-booked visits are recommended.
Pictured: Charles Dickens' Birthplace Museum in Portsmouth (Photo credit: VisitEngland/VisitPortsmouth)
3. Rochester Dickens Festival
This year's Rochester Dickens Festival in Medway is planned to take place over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd June. Dickens is believed to have spent about 20 years of his life in Medway and the festival will involve celebrations, entertainment and the chance to discover more about the author. Visitors will see costumed parades, street acts, competitions, a fair, and readings from Dickens' work. Coach parking will be available for groups.
4. Dickensian Christmas Market
The Grassington Dickensian Festival and Christmas Market will take place over two weekends, 1st and 2nd of December, and 8th and 9th December. A full programme of entertainment will be hosted throughout the weekends, great for those wanting a Christmas market experience with a Victorian, literature-themed twist. The cobbled streets and quaint village houses offer the perfect location for Dickens fans to immerse themselves in his era.
This festive event will see Victorian costumes, entertainment, bands, buskers, and street entertainers. There will also be mulled wine and festive market stalls as well as Santa’s grotto for groups with children.
5. Dickens London Tours
These tours look at the life and career of the famous writer. On a walk you'll be accompanied by an author guide, who will tell you interesting facts, locations linked to Dickens and quotes from his much-loved works.
You'll learn about his professional and personal journeys, from 'rags to riches'. The tours will allow you to view London 'through Dickens' eyes' and walk in the paths that he once took, taking in the atmosphere and learning about the places he used to sketch and gain inspiration from.
If literature themed trips spark the interest of your group, you can read our recent article on Robert Burns, the ‘Scottish National Bard’, here.
Lead image: Charles Dickens tour in Portsmouth (Photo credit: VisitEngland/VisitPortsmouth).