A Very Short Trip to London!

Shall I go to Keats House?

Shall I go to Keats House?

I love London. The bookstores!   The theater!  (We can’t get tickets for Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet, but nobody can.)  I hoped you might have suggestions for sightseeing, bookstores, etc., for our short trip to London.

How about literary events?  On Sunday at The London Lit Weekend, Sir Peter Stothard, classicist, writer, and editor of the TLS,  will chair a session with Tom Holland and Edith Hall on “Why the Classics Matter Today.”  Stothard is a stunning writer (read Alexandria:  The Last Days of Cleopatra), and I enjoyed Tom Holland’s translation of Herodotus. But I have a bad record for ticketed events on vacation:  I skipped a literary event last time, because I didn’t feel like navigating the trains.  Perhaps I should read Holland’s new book instead?  (I’m waiting for Stothard’s next book.)

Is it necessary to see Chelsea and Soho, or was that a ’60s thing?  How about the antique shops on Kensington Church Street? Why can I only think of Muriel Spark’s A Far Cry from Kensington?  What’s your favorite place in London?

Last time I didn’t bother with Westminster. Should I?  Do I need to walk in St. James Park like Mrs. Dalloway?  I’m rereading Mrs. Dalloway for the trip.

My guidebook makes it sound as though Hampstead is in the wilds.  “[It] has always stayed aloof form London…”  But that’s where Keats House is.  And yet if I go to Keats House I will buy Keats merchandise.   Do I need more Keats books?  No.  But I might need the t-shirt.

Little-known museums?  Favorite ruins? Favorite restaurants? Plays I should see?

You-all helped me a lot in 2014, so please tell me your favorite London things.  This is just a mad dash! and no time for rendezvous or the English countryside.  You know London better than I…

8 thoughts on “A Very Short Trip to London!

  1. What fun! Hope you have a wonderful trip! I’m disproportionately fond of the South Bank – I adore the Royal Festival Hall because of its links to the Festival of Britain and its wonderful architecture. Plus there are books stalls nearby, loads of ambience and you can walk upriver to the Tate Modern. And don’t forget Foyles, Skoob and the Persephone Bookshop! In fact, there’s also the Bloomsbury Oxfam and the LRB bookshop – the latter has a small but perfectly formed cafe. Happy visiting!


  2. I highly recommend the Globe if you can get tickets. As you probably know, it’s on the South Bank, so be sure to walk the London millenium footbridge, which begins in front of St. Paul’s. And don’t forget the National Gallery and Blackwell bookstore. There’s also a downloadable guide for a walking tour of Bloomsbury available here: https://bloggingwoolf.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/download-audio-walking-tour-of-bloomsbury-groups-london-sites/
    But above all else, enjoy!


  3. I endorse Pigeon’s suggestion about the Globe. For London neighborhoods, go to the London Walks web site. They offer walking tours with very knowledgeable guides. I have visited Greenwich, Hampstead, the (formerly Jewish) East Side, and the Houses of Parliament with them and enjoyed every minute. Any area with literary associations is rewarding. Plus Westminster Abbey, the major parks, the flea market — there’s no end to it, only the limit of your time and energy.


    • Another great website! I do love the idea of a walking tour. After reading Helene Hanff’s book about visiting London, I realized she walked everywhere while I was busy taking the tube. Sounds like a great way to orient yourself. So much to do!


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