London in a new context: a guide to the city from the locals

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

London in a new context: a guide to the city from the locals

On the streets of London is still alive the characters of Shakespeare, Dickens, Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. We found out from local residents where and how you can meet up with writers and their characters.

March 26, 2019 at 12:10


To visit the Dickens

Franks Ciboski, curator of the Charles Dickens Museum:

The house on Doughty street 48 Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine lived only two years, but every room remade for themselves – and this is the only surviving building, the walls of which remember the writer. The Dickens society founded a Museum (, where almost all the furniture – the originals of the XIX century. The restorers recreated the color of the carpet, the pattern on the Wallpaper, put up chairs and cabinets as described in his memoirs Dickens. A few of the rarities kept behind glass – for example, signed by the hand of the author, the contract for the first publication of “Oliver Twist.” Then you can go down to the basement and assess the modest size of the kitchen or to go to the attic, where was a baby. In the living room the table is set awaiting guests and on the women’s side someone left unfinished needlework.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

One of the halls in the Museum of Charles Dickens.

To visit the cemetery with vampires

Lucy Butterfield, the historian:

The dwelling place of the vampires of London called Highgate cemetery (, where the graves of Karl Marx, Michael Faraday, Douglas Adams and the parents of Charles Darwin. The neighborhood ghouls haunted the residents of nearby neighborhoods. My parents remember in 1970 it was a hunt for bloodsuckers: ravaged some of the most suspicious of graves, but the vampire was never found. So walk boldly! Here you can admire the Gothic tombs, Celtic crosses and statues of angels sleeping. The oldest and most magical part of the cemetery – West, which is accessible only with a guided tour.

Take a walk around the pubs

Agatha Walsh, actress and tour guide:

In London the pubs were all eminent writers: George Orwell and Dylan Thomas discussed their works in the pub, The Fitzroy Tavern, in The Spaniard’s Inn John Keats wrote “ode to a Nightingale”, and in The Anchor washed the plays of William Shakespeare. I work as an actress at The London Literary Pub Crawl ( – play Virginia Woolf. We of Dickens and a group of tourists go to pubs and read works in which they were mentioned. All ends, of course, a glass of ale.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

The pubs in Leadenhall market (Photo: Michael R Evans)

To get to the library

Elsie king, a specialist in public relations the British library:

Digitized copies of rare books can be seen on the Internet. We’re at the British library ( want to share our wealth live. We are constantly held various exhibitions: we decorated halls of Soviet propaganda posters in honor of the centennial of the revolution, were removed from the archives and rare books on magic for the sake of the anniversary of the Saga about Harry Potter. But one show runs continuously: any resident or visitor of London can come and see with your own eyes Magna card, a Gutenberg Bible, manuscripts of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, drafts of Beatles songs, and sketches paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. And we have the unusual gift shop: here you can even buy a drink “Drink me” from “Alice in Wonderland” and the works of Shakespeare in paraphrase Yoda.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

The British library is one of the largest in the world (Photo: Steve Vidler Andrew)

Go Around “The Globe”

Jake Harris, a guide in the globe theatre:

Our tour of the globe theatre ( talk not only about the building and theatrical costumes, but also on the development of the acting profession and even about such an important part in Shakespeare’s plays, as the fencing. In the showroom are indicative fights. Holds them an elderly man, we just call him Frank. His teacher was an old Russian, who arrived in London from tsarist Russia, where once fought duels. Thanks to his lessons, Frank has developed a system of fencing techniques, which to the viewer seem real and dangerous. Today, fencers of his school can be seen at the theater.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

The building of the globe theatre, reconstructed in 1997 (Photo: Luis Davilla)

To solve a murder

Timothy O’hara, actor:

Every night at the theatre St. Martin committed the murder. It was built in the early XX century, and in 1974, on the stage set the play “the Mousetrap” ( Agatha Christie wrote this story as a radio piece in honor of the anniversary of Queen Mary, and then gave her the birthday of her grandson, Matthew Pritchard. Detective daily give on the stage for 45 years: on display in the lobby indicated that the play was repeated 27,000 times. I played one of the characters – Christopher Wren – in the 2015-2016 season, know every line and every gesture, but when I visit friends from other countries, I will lead them to watch “the Mousetrap” – it is the spirit of England. Behind the scenes, still running the same car for wind and snow that the day of the premiere: she’s scary howls and throws paper confetti out the Windows. The scenery is also preserved from the first productions.

Dress up as a hero

Jeremy angel, creative Director at Angels Costumes:

Early in his career our great, great grandfather was the owner of a thrift store and bought mens suits at lunch-newsy widows. But it does not bother anyone. Atelier Angels Costumes ( opened in 1840, it sold cheap outfits that actors bought for auditions. Angels Costumes even collaborated with Dickens – Shyla costumes for one of his productions. In those days we were only one of a dozen tailoring firms, but that all changed with the advent of cinema. Name any popular series, winner of the award “Oscar” – and it turns out that the outfits for them are sewn in our workshops: “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Alice in Wonderland,” “Game of thrones”, “Fantastic beasts”… In our warehouses there are even costumes from “Doctor Who”. It’s like a time machine – I can’t hold my children’s delight when they see dozens of shelves with crowns and caps, the rows of military uniforms and ligaments, and ladies ‘ gloves.

Invite to dinner, the cat

Aria Gianquitto, Executive Director of the Savoy:

The British are very superstitious. There is a saying: if you sit at the table of 13 people, the one who gets over it first will die. In 1889 there was a loud story: a businessman from South Africa Wolff Joel ordered at the restaurant Savoy ( dinner for 14 persons, but one of the guests was not. Not wanting to put friends in an awkward position, Joel got up from the table first and after a few days was shot. Since then, the restaurant decided not to tempt fate and always add to the devil’s dozen plus one. Strangers confused the audience, and so there is a Casper – meter wooden statue of a cat. It sits to the table, where there were 13 guests, and serve as full client: change the dishes, start a conversation. Those wishing to have lunch with him – the whole turn. Winston Churchill not only regularly invited Casper to meetings of a political club, but had dinner with him behind closed door tete-a-tete.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Paddington bear went to buy sweets on Portobello road — and that he should take an example.

Follow the white rabbit

Masako Marklew, blogger

Walk on Portobello road ( is like falling down the rabbit hole past frozen in time objects. Portobello road market itself – a Country of miracles. On Saturdays there are antique sales, where can be a couple of pounds to buy fake croquet ball or XVIII century authentic Japanese engraving of century XVI. Most of all I love to shop Alice from “Alice in Wonderland”. Inside the chaos of designer clothes and Antiques and the sellers smile like Cheshire cats. In good weather they are getting out of assorted tables and arrange the teacups.

Find the right guide

Vicky Jones, a seller in Stanfords:

Stanfords ( – book for travelers. It was opened in 1853 by Edward Stanford, the future official cartographer to Queen Victoria. Here you can find everything that you may need the researcher and the tramp: from the globe to the jar, from the Atlas of fantastic worlds to guide to Devonshire. And in 2015 Stanfords even set up his own tourist route around London in an old horse-drawn omnibuses.

To Drink Of Sherlock Holmes

Nick Hennegan, screenwriter and writer, founder of The Maverick Theatre:

The Owner Of The The Sherlock Holmes Pub (10 Northumberland Street) recreated on the second floor of his establishment of the famous London apartment of a detective. Here you can look through the glass into the room full of evidence, retorts and recognizable Souvenirs from crime scenes. To log in, however, is impossible – this is private property. But at the bar you can enjoy a glass of ale inscribed “Sherlock Holmes” or “Watson” and watch on the walls photos of the actors and illustrations to various publications detectives.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Baker street really exists, though the house with the number 221B on it was not. Now have appeared as a Museum for tourists.

To look in Diagon alley

BEA Mochi, a teacher of literature:

Show Hogwarts during our themed walks, I can not promise, but will be able to demonstrate Diagon alley. We collect the tour and go to Leadenhall market ( Here filmed one of the first films about Harry Potter. Such a place did not expect to meet among the mirrored skyscrapers. Leadenhall is one of the oldest markets in London, and it still works. In the XIV century it sold the game, now trade products. Among the edible commodities lost a stationery store – a perfectly ordinary, but after a tour of the magical market children see the handle on the counter – it’s like choosing a magic wand.

To read in the subway

ADEM Otis, an employee of the metro:

If you believe Neil Gaiman and his novel “Nikogda”, the London underground is a twilight city under the Blackfriars station are the Black Monks, under the station Angel through the empty corridors of haunting angel, but somewhere deep in Knightsbridge is a Bridge, collecting human tribute. The capital’s subway is so firmly entrenched in contemporary English literature that she mentions sometimes don’t even notice. Here you will remember that the Director of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore has a scar in the form of a diagram of the London underground? I believe that the London underground is the most comfortable place to read in the world. No wonder the actress Emma Watson and her online club of Our Shared Self hide here autograph books. Try to find one of them.

Stock up on pixie dust

Julie Chapman, an employee of Visit Britain, Kensington garden:

For me, the most magical place in London – Kensington gardens (, where the fairy Tinker bell to teach a young Peter pan to fly. Find trails among the Park the monument to the boy who refused to grow up, not so easy. Place in 1912, were chosen by the Creator of the book, James Matthew Barrie. What really angered the Parliament – at that time the authors were not allowed to erect monuments to their heroes. But Peter pan is defended by the British. In 2000, here in the Park opened a Playground of Princess Diana – she was designed by books about Peter pan. On it there are tepees and a pirate ship, and mythical dragons. As in the books of James Barry, the adults can go to the magical country unless accompanied by a child up to 12 years.

To help the little bear

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Operator BBC Michael Brooke gave this bear to my wife, naming in honor of the station, near which they lived, and then began to write about his stories and everything is gone.

Christopher Pen, officer public relations Great Western Railway:

Britain is the home of the bears. At least the most famous. We gave the world Winnie-the-Pooh, we’re introduced to a planet with Paddington. The hero of children’s books by Michael bond comes from darkest Peru at Paddington station. That is why his new friend Mr. brown, and gives him that name. Today at the station there is a monument to the curious bear in a broad hat and with a famous tag on his neck “Please take care of this bear”. Actually it is a bear to care about the station – it attracts tourists, even when they don’t have anywhere to go. The passengers here are in no hurry, and arrive in advance to walk down the platform. The attentive visitor will find the monument to the engineer Isambard Kingdom the Brunel memorial to the soldiers the railroaders the First world war. Here, even the waiting rooms are filled with symbols and metaphors from the long history of London.

To join the club

Vivek Sigh, cook in the Old library of Westminster:

Clubs – here is famous for the highest London society. Many are still working, but not in the “Reform club”, where supposedly started in his circumnavigation of Phileas Fogg, nor in the club “Diogenes”, which was seeing Mycroft Holmes, without membership card you will not be allowed. But there is a solution: the Old Westminster library ( recreated the atmosphere of the closed mining companies. Here you can dine surrounded by old books, talk about literature and politics. Local managers have invited famous chefs of India – your humble servant. The popularity of men’s clubs came at a time when India was a British colony. So the fashion for all things Indian, including Indian cuisine, the British are now in the blood.

To brew tea

William green, a waiter in a restaurant Savini at Criterion:

From us in the restaurant ( it all started in 1881, when Mr. Stanford met Dr. Watson and told him that a Sherlock Holmes looking for a roommate in an apartment – we even have a special commemorative plaque. Every lover of literature considers it his duty to drink a Cup of tea. During a tea party next to the hotel install triple hourglass. They each flask is designed for the correct brewing of tea leaves: 1 minute for green tea, 3 minutes for black and 5 for Oolongs and floral fees. The tea need to be served with traditional cucumber sandwiches and little cakes.

To tease passers-by

Julia Charalambides, Professor of literature:

If you want to feel like a hero of English literature, bring a good buddy, go to St. Paul’s Church on Bedford street, stand on the corner and wait for of Covent garden starts to go people. Then start loudly discussing them, guess who they are by profession, so much so that you heard. It was Professor Higgins, when he met the flower girl Eliza Doolittle in the play Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. Soon, fascinated by literature, be sure to examine itself “the actors Church”, built by the famous architect Inigo Jones. According to legend, the Earl of Bedford funded the building, and warned Jones that the costs should be minimal. And Jones replied, “well, you will have the most beautiful barn in England”.

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

Лондон в новом прочтении: гид по городу от местных жителей

One of the rectors of St. Paul’s Cathedral was the great poet John Donne

To get to the hospital

Dewi Evans, guide Brit Movie Tours:

If you ask what is the most famous hospital in London, then no one will remember about St. Thomas hospital, where he worked first in the world to nurse Florence Nightingale. The rumor will lead you to a nondescript building of the hospital of St. Bartholomew ( It was here that he once studied John Watson, and here he became acquainted with Mr. Holmes, where they conducted medical experiments and hence jumped from the roof of Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV series “Sherlock”. Cost place, long known in the literature, to Shine in the movie, it immediately became popular. Now sand-colored walls inscribed with love messages in all languages of the world. The most frequent inscriptions: “I love you, Sherlock” and “I love you, Moriarty”. Incidentally, this is the oldest hospital in London, her gate is the only surviving statue of Henry VIII, and inside a Museum of health care. But all this is forgotten when you mention that here was sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I drive tours here, and if you see near these walls is a man who lies on the pavement in the crowd taking pictures of the tourists, you know – I depict a fallen actor Cumberbatch.


Simon Gilkes, Director of sales at Hotel Mondrian London:

Francis Drake can not be considered as a literary character, although it’s written dozens of books. But he’s part of British history, and this story at the time was inspired and Stevenson, author of “treasure Island”. When tourists ask where to go in London, I say, “Go Drake sails!” Today an exact copy of the Galleon “Golden hind” emblazoned at the pier on the Thames and serves as a Museum ship life ( On Board it is easy to imagine yourself in the crew: a small close quarters, to stand at the helm, to Pat on the smooth side of unwieldy the gun and smell of the ship of tyre is a special resin, which in the XVI century were lubricated ropes. The history of Britain – history, naval victories and great geographical discoveries. Although today it is hard to believe that such a small toy ship when it was possible to circumnavigate the entire globe.


How to get

Regular flights from Moscow to London carry out “Aeroflot” (, British Airways ( and S7 ( The flight takes four hours.


In London it is better not to adapt under the weather (too unpredictable), and under the events calendar in summer, the city hosts the birthday of Her Majesty and the Wimbledon tournament will start in the autumn Week of fashion and contemporary art Festival in Regent’s Park, winter begins, Christmas markets and spring flower Festival in the Royal hospital in Chelsea. But the rains always.


British Embassy issues visas to citizens of Russia for six months, a year or two. You need to supply proof of income in English. But tickets and hotel reservation are not required. You can apply at least two weeks before the trip.


The most budget way to travel around the London underground. If you buy transport card Oyster (, the country’s main tourist areas will cost much cheaper. The card is valid on city buses. Before leaving, it can take at the box office of the metro and get back the cash.


Themselves Londoners like to eat in Chinese and Indian restaurants, but don’t forget about British traditions: in the top of the compulsory courses – British Breakfast, fish & chips and roast beef. However, if we all follow to the letter, Charles Dickens advises guests to enjoy traditional English pudding, George Orwell insists that a proper Haggis is prepared only on these shores, and Conan Doyle proposes to take with you on the go local oats, rice cake.


Living in London is expensive: even the cheapest hostels charge from £ 50 per night. But the real literary fans are willing to pay and £ 500 a day, just to stay at Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel ( The founder of the hotel was the Valet of Byron. In the tea room of the hotel liked to visit Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson, Agatha Christie, this building inspired the novel “the Hotel “Bertram”.

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