Moving a little eastward from our previous Residential Roam bundle, today we’re going to immerse ourselves in London’s literary culture. (And please let me preface this by saying that I seriously wouldn’t expect anyone to see everything I suggest for these bundles in only one day…I’m just letting you know what’s around so you can pick and choose or in case you really are this ambitious!)
An ideal place to start is from King’s Cross Tube station. First of all, head upstairs from the Underground into the main station to see Platform 9 3/4, where Harry Potter’s cart is pushed half-way through the brick wall as he makes his way to Hogwarts! Then, just a block or so beyond is the British Library. A notable (and free) feature of the library is its manuscript room, where you can find original writings of the likes of Jane Austin and Charlotte Bronte—read my previous post for more info. A 15-minute walk away (or you could take the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square station) is the Charles Dickens Museum. I haven’t been there yet, but hoping to follow my own advice here and go there this summer to explore the life and works of this classic author—man, I wish every writer could develop character as well as he did…but I digress 🙂
Another 15-minute walk will take you back into the vicinity of Russell Square, so you can have a rest in its large garden before tackling the mammoth British Museum. Now this is definitely not a place to take on in one day; that wouldn’t do its collection remote justice, so research in advance what’s there that you’d be most interested in and divide and conquer over time. Hey, it’s free at least, so go as many times as you want! Housing innumerable artifacts across centuries and civilizations, you can experience different visual forms of literature in ancient languages—be it mythology sculpted into the Parthenon’s frieze or painted round an urn (think of Keat’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” for a lovely mental visual) or the Egyptian hieroglyphs, including the famous Rosetta Stone (on this, a decree is inscribed in Egyptian—both hieroglyph and demotic script—and Greek, thus breaking the translation code). Poetry can even be found inscribed in jewelry, as evidenced by the museum’s collection of “posy” rings (my husband and I own replicas of one on display there that we wear as our wedding bands when traveling…it says, in a form of old French, “Here is my heart, guard it well.” Awww…aren’t we just so cute you could slap us…).
The final element of our Literary Line-Up is the fact that you are at this point situated in the neighboorhood of Bloomsbury, where author Virginia Woolf once lived and mingled with her elite “Bloomsbury Group” of intellectuals at 46 Gordon Square. This is a cute area to stroll around as you eventually settle down and rest your active, literary-genius mind over a pint and dinner at the Bloomsbury Tavern, a traditional Victorian pub. Cheers!