After my final wander through Paris, I hopped on the Eurostar and set out for London. The Eurostar was so great. The trip lasted for a little over 2 hours, the majority of which was spent travelling through the French countryside. As I was holidaying on my own, I thought I’d splash out and buy a standard premier seat (which is the next level up from the cheapest seats). In these cars you have your meal brought to you and there are sockets for charging your electronic bits and pieces (if you desperately need to). The meal I got was pretty great – it was a selection of cheeses with an onion relish, a bread roll, a passionfruit tart, and a little bottle of wine. And then another little bottle of wine. The time really did fly, even that spent in the darkness of the Channel Tunnel.
When I arrived in London it was surprisingly warm. Luckily my hotel was just around the corner from the St Pancras International train station, but after walking 5 minutes in the wrong direction, a short walk around the corner turned into a 15 minute walk while dragging along a suitcase. After finally making it to my hotel and checking in, I flopped onto the KING SIZE BED (that I had to share with NOBODY), relaxed for a little while, then headed back to St Pancras where the bookshop, Hatchards, is located (you can see my purchases here). Then it was early to bed as I had a big day planned the following day, including visiting the Imperial War Museum and seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe.
I woke up late the next morning to a reasonably nice day, and after having the HUGEST breakfast (including a proper English one with bacon and eggs and the lot) I headed out into the city. I realised I had more time on my hands than I initially thought that day, so I decided to stop at the Charles Dickens Museum on my way to the War Museum.
The Dickens Museum is located along Museum Mile, which is made up of a bunch of museums all in really close proximity to each other. So if you only have a limited amount of time in London, but want to pack in a few things without having to travel too far, then this is the way to go. You’ll discover some weird and wonderful things along the way, I promise.
Located at 48 Doughty Street, the Dickens Museum is housed behind a lovely turquoise door (which is numbered 49 for some reason) in the only remaining property that Dickens lived in during his career. It was his first house and he lived here for two years with his family. During that time he wrote Nicholas Nickleby and Oliver Twist, along with finishing The Pickwick Papers. Also, he was still in his mid-twenties at this time, so go team Dickens.
When entering the home, you are immediately transported back to Victorian England. It’s quite dark in some spaces and the incredibly narrow stairs were definitely not designed to be frequented by people in modern society. Many of the items inside once belonged to Dickens and his family members; of particular note is Dickens’ writing desk and some handwritten correspondence by him. But it’s not just a lesson in the life of Dickens, it’s also a glimpse into what life was like in England in the mid-1800s, as all furnishings have been chosen to replicate those that Dickens himself might have owned in that time.
It probably takes around an hour and a half to go through the house, depending how slowly you go, so it’s a nice and quick museum to get through. It wasn’t packed with people either, which is always nice. The gift shop has a whole bunch of Dickens souvenirs you can pick up, but if you want an extra special memento, grab a copy of one the Dickens novels for sale there and have it stamped with the official Dickens museum stamp.